Located about 41 km from Victoria and situated at the northern end of the Malahat Drive, Mill Bay is a quaint village founded in the 1860s with lumber and milling as its primary industries. It is an ideal destination for beach lovers with beautiful spots like Old Mill Park, Botswain Bank, Mill Bay Beach, and Bamberton Provincial Park located in close proximity.
Mill Bay is also famous for its ferry ride to Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula, which serves as an alternative to the steep highway route – Malahat Drive. This short ferry ride from Mill Bay could save you from the sometimes treacherous Malahat Drive and get you to Brentwood Bay comfortably.
In addition to its natural beauty, Mill Bay is home to Brentwood College, a well-known private co-ed school that is renowned for preparing its students for post-secondary education. The Mill Bay Centre, one of the shopping malls in the area, provides a regional shopping haven for the south end of Cowichan Regional District.
Real estate prices in Mill Bay are quite reasonable, making it an ideal residential location for retirees, infrequent commuters, and vacationers looking for a peaceful and scenic retreat.
Mill Bay Sub-Area Attraction Pages:
Unsworth Vineyards welcomes wine lovers to a unique wine tasting and seasonally inspired dining experience. Discover the taste of fresh and local sustainable ingredients, paired with award-winning wines and exceptional service.
Location and Attractions
Located on 2915 Cameron Taggart Road in Mill Bay, Unsworth Vineyards spans over 12 acres of land. The property includes a grape farm, walnut orchard, organic herb garden, and organic vegetable garden.
Unsworth Vineyards is also minutes away from other popular destinations, including:
- Enrico Winery, where you can enjoy locally made wines in a natural setting.
- Bamberton Provincial Park, offering ocean views, beaches, camping sites, and trails.
- Blue Dog Kayaking, offering kayaking and paddleboarding lessons, excursions, and tours.
About Unsworth Vineyards
Unsworth Vineyards is one of the newest vineyards in the area, offering excellent wine products. The winery’s pristine site provides the perfect coastal climate for growing some of the world’s finest and most unique wine grapes.
Unsworth Vineyards offers beautiful tasting rooms where visitors can enjoy an interesting and fun tour and tasting. Their wines are delicious, and visitors can purchase them from the Tasting Room. Please note that wine prices at the restaurant include a hospitality markup, so it’s better to buy them from the Tasting Room.
Visit Unsworth Vineyards for an unforgettable wine and dining experience, surrounded by gorgeous grounds, wonderful food, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Tasting Room Hours:
HIGH SEASON – MOTHER’S DAY THROUGH THANKSGIVING
Mon – Tues 11am – 5pm
Wed – Sun 11am – 6pm
LOW SEASON – THANKSGIVING THROUGH MOTHER’S DAY
Mon – Tues 11am – 5pm
Wed – Sun 11am – 6pm
Across from the parking lot from the winery’s tasting room, a 115-year old farm house has been beautifully renovated to accommodate the award-winning restaurant, showcasing the best of local ingredients from around Vancouver Island.
Grab lunch or dinner in the garden, where they pair delicious local food with an idyllic west coast setting. Enjoy refreshingly delicious and thought-provoking menu items which change frequently. On their menu you will find a selection of small plates and more traditional large plates; and of course, their wine list features award-winning wines from their vineyards.
Unsworth Vineyards visitors are invited to explore Cowichan Valley cuisine through
- Cooking classes
- Chef’s discussions overlooking the vineyard
- Garden tours among the heritage apple and walnut trees in the winery’s orchard.
By joining their Community Support Restaurant (CSR) Program, you will enjoy the benefits of Membership in exchange for a share of a farm’s produce.
- Memberships include five 3-course dinners
- Members receive a bi-weekly email featuring the CSR menu for that Thursday and Friday – simply call to reserve.
- Once Members have experienced their initial five dinners, they may continue to enjoy CSR menus for $35 (price for non-members is $45).
Wednesday – Sunday lunch & dinner starting at 11am.
Would you like to reserve a special wine tour or restaurant table for a small or large group? Contact Unsworth directly at 250-929-2292 to set up an appointment.
Traveling from Victoria
Head north on Highway #1. Turn left at Shawnigan-Mill Bay Road. Follow this road for 3 kilometers and then turn right on Cameron Taggart Road. Continue on Cameron Taggart Rd. for 2 kilometers. Unsworth Vineyards will be on your right hand side.
Enrico Winery, located in Mill Bay on the picturesque southern Vancouver Island, is a perfect destination for wine enthusiasts. Their Tempest Ortega wine has been named one of the top fourteen BC wines by the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence.
Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tour
Enrico Winery offers a delightful wine tasting experience where you can sample their award-winning wines and even take a leisurely walk through the vineyards. You can explore the vineyards that include Pinot Gris, Cabernet Foch, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Libre. Stop and savor a glass of wine in their picnic area, while enjoying the view of the stocked trout pond.
Wine Club Benefits
Becoming an Enrico Winery Wine Club member has its own advantages. You can join the club by purchasing one case of wine at regular price either at their wine shop or online. As a member, you can enjoy professional food and wine pairing suggestions, advance invitations to special events and festivals, a 10% discount on wine purchases (in person or online), and advance notice of new releases.
Weddings at Enrico Winery
Enrico Winery is an exceptional venue for weddings. The owners and staff will go above and beyond to make the day extra special. They will even organize a wine tasting for your guests. Their attention to detail is second to none, and the wedding couple and their guests are always made to feel like family. For more information on how they can help you with your special day, contact them either by phone at: 250.733.2356 or by email at: [email protected].
Enrico Winery has an amazing wine shop where you can purchase your favorite wines either on site or online. Some of the wines offered include:
- Braveheart Cabernet Libre 2013
- Newton Pinot Noir 2014
- Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
- War of the Grapes Vintners Blend 2014
- Duchess Pinot Gris Reserve 2014
You can even rate their wines once you’ve tried them. Simply visit their online shop and click on the wine you would like to review. Enrico Winery’s wines are available at many restaurants and wine shops throughout the Island and the mainland. If you visit a venue that doesn’t carry Enrico Wines, let them know, and they will do their best to make them available.
Visit Enrico Winery
Getting to Enrico Winery is easy. You can find detailed directions on their website. If you mention where you heard about them, they will send you a voucher for two free wine tastings! Their wine tasting room is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for Christmas Day through to the end of January. If you plan on visiting with a larger group, it’s a good idea to call ahead and let them know you are coming so they can show you their amazing hospitality and prepare an informative guided tour.
Blue Dog Kayaking
Blue Dog Kayaking offers a range of kayaking courses and tours for all skill levels on southern Vancouver Island. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, they have a program to suit your needs and help you improve your skills while having fun.
Their Basic Skills program is perfect for beginners who want to learn kayaking. For a relaxing and stress-free day of paddling, you can try their Day Paddles tour. Families with children can enjoy their Wildlife Watching, Full Moon, and Sunset tours, with children under 12 getting a 50% discount.
- Wildlife Watching Tour – You will certainly enjoy all the sites and wonders of nature such as bald eagles flying above you, harbour seals, and if lucky perhaps sea lions, dolphins, and maybe even a killer whale.
- Full Moon Tour – Launch time is dependent on the specific moon phases. It’s impossible not to get a sense of peace and relaxation as you watch a full moon rise over Salt Spring Island.
- Sunset Tour – One of the more popular tours, kayaks leave about two and a half hours before sunset to enjoy a relaxing paddle then enjoy refreshments and something to eat at the Bistro.
To book one of these amazing tours simply click on the tour you are interested in or you can give them a call at: 250.710.7693.
If you want to hone your kayaking skills but would prefer a private lesson, that’s not a problem, they will be happy to accommodate you at whatever level you are at. Some of the skills you will learn may include:
- Maneuvering between narrow gaps that exist in and around islands.
- Strokes needed to paddle with confidence in moving water including; S & J-turns, rolling in currents, and rescue scenarios
- Learn to read current tables for safe paddling.
For those with an interest in upgrading their kayaking skills, the Paddle Canada Programs is an excellent opportunity to learn sea kayaking and obtain your nationally recognized certifications in:
- Five skill levels
- Five instructor levels
- Four instructor-trainer levels.
If you are looking for an exciting kayaking adventure while paddling the picturesque coastline, Blue Dog Kayaking offers a great range of expeditions and tours; a few of which are:
- Barkley Sound – This includes two island groups; the Deer Group and the Broken Group. You may choose to explore either island or take a longer expedition and paddle both groups.
- Clayoquot Sound – Starting in Tofino you will explore various channels and the outer coast along an area that is referred to as ‘Kayakers Paradise’.
- Gulf Islands – This expedition begins at their paddling centre in Mill Bay and together with your guide you can choose from a number of options. This specific tour is perfect for those with little kayaking experience.
Blue Dog Kayaking also offers some amazing and unique summer youth programs for kids ages 12 to 18. This is a great opportunity for kids to experience kayaking and paddle boarding, have fun, meet new friends, and learn some valuable skills.
There really is almost no limit when it comes to the kinds of programs that Blue Dog Kayaking has to offer when it comes to kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. From programs for beginners to experienced kayakers, instructor training and certification, rescue techniques, and more, whatever your interest in kayaking, Blue Dog Kayaking will have what you are looking for. If you are looking for skills in specific areas, you will definitely want to check out ones such as: Rock Hopping Clinic, Rolling Clinic, Stroke Clinic, or even their Surf Lesson. Give them a call at 250.710.7693 or email them at: [email protected] and get ready for a fun and exciting kayaking adventure.
Bamberton Provincial Park
Bamberton Provincial Park, located in Mill Bay, BC, is a popular destination for families seeking outdoor adventures. The park boasts of varied trails, massive campground areas, warm sandy beaches along with picnic and washroom facilities.
History of Bamberton Provincial Park
The park was established in 1960, with an area of approximately 68.94 hectares, after it was given to the province by the British Columbia Cement Company in 1959. The park was later reduced in size in 2004 to 27 hectares. It was named after H.K. Bamber, now known as Ocean Cement.
About Bamberton Provincial Park
Bamberton Provincial Park is a perfect spot for visitors to come and spend a day or two. The tempting water and the 225-metre long sandy beach have made it a popular destination for families. While children romp in the warm water, parents can lounge in the sand and enjoy the views of the shores of the Saanich Peninsula, the southern Gulf Islands, and Mt. Baker behind.
The park also sports an abundance of arbutus trees – Canada’s only broadleaf evergreen which can only be found on Vancouver Island and the lower coast of mainland British Columbia.
Activities Available at Bamberton
Bamberton Provincial Park can accommodate and offers facilities for various sports and summer activities. The activities available include:
- Canoes and kayaks may be used in the inlet; the sheltered inlet around Bamberton is a great paddling location with views of Mt. Baker and the Saanich Peninsula shore.
- Bicycles are allowed so you can peddle your way around nature.
- The warm waters surrounding Mill Bay are a popular destination for local fishermen seeking a variety of salmon and rock fish.
- A 1.5 km trail joins the campsite to the seashore, which makes hiking more exciting whether you follow the paved path or create your own adventure.
- Pets are also allowed – leashed – on the trails and the areas surrounding the parking lot but are NOT allowed going down to the beach.
- The appealing warm water and the 225-metre long sandy shore provide excellent opportunities for swimming; but note there are no lifeguards and no designated swimming area.
Bamberton Provincial Park Facilities
- Drinking Water
- Picnic Areas
- Pit and Flush Toilets
- Vehicle Accessible Camping
- Wheelchair Access
- Winter Camping
You can view a map of the park to find out the trail and location of the facilities.
Traveling to the Bamberton Provincial Park
The park is located approximately 45 km north of Victoria off Highway 1. Turn east off Highway 1 onto Mill Bay Road, near the north end of the scenic Malahat Drive.
BC Ferries offers service from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay, a distance of 8 km by sea with a crossing time of 25 minutes. Bamberton Park is located 5-minute drive south of Mill Bay.
Attractions around Bamberton Provincial Park
Bamberton Provincial Park is located within a few minutes’ drive to other popular destinations in the Mill Bay area including:
- Enrico Winery – where you can enjoy wonderfully made local wines in natural surroundings
- Unsworth Vineyards – for a seasonally inspired dining experience showcasing fresh, local, sustainable ingredients, accompanied by great service and award-winning wines
- Blue Dog Kayaking – kayaking and paddle boarding lessons, trips and tours with experience levels ranging from novice to pro