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 Home > Discover BC > Provincial Parks > Newcastle Island Marine

Newcastle Island
Located in the Inner Harbour of Nanaimo Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park is very easy to get over to explore. Regular sailings leave at Maffeo-Sutton Park daily. The service is run by Snuneymuxw First Nation starting in April and runs right through to September.

Maffeo-Sutton Park
Maffeo-Sutton Park is located right next to Front Street and Comox Road. Parking is available at the park. If you are staying in one of the waterfront hotels, just walk to the park along the Waterfront Walkway. Once at Maffeo-Sutton Park, you can find flush toilets, a children's playground, benches and a hot dog vendor.

Newcastle Island Ferry
The Newcastle Island Ferry is located at the small dock along the rocks next to the harbour. It is a passenger-only ferry that has both an outdoor and indoor seating area. The various captains and staff are very friendly providing a very relaxing means of getting to Newcastle Island.

Dock Area
The ferry sails to the island in about ten minutes. At a very leisurely pace, it navigates to the east side of Mark Bay on Newcastle Island. On the way the ferry passes through an area where people have boated over and dropped anchor. If you want to boat over, there are also public docks located next to the ferry slip.

Picnic Area
Once docked you disembark up the loading ramp to a viewpoint. From here you walk up to a trail past public washrooms to a beach for swimming - a large grassy suitable for picnics, lying in the sun and a children's play area. Beyond here is the park headquarters and an old pulp stone quarry.

Historic Pavilion
Located next to the park headquarters is the old historic Newcastle Island Pavilion. The island's largest structure, the pavilion has available a hall, BBQ pit, chairs and picnic tables and is available through the Snuneymuxw First Nation. If you happen to have a large group or are planning a wedding, this place is ideal. Contact the Snuneymuxw First Nation for booking and fee information.

There are camping sites available at Newcastle Island with a group site near the pavilion and individual sites farther away towards Brownie Bay in the north. The sites here feature lots of privacy complete with a picnic table, campfire rings and pit toilets close by. Firewood is available and can be obtained through the park attendant.

Biking Trails
Newcastle Island is great because various bike trails have been set up around most of the island. For a ferry cost of only $2 (2006) you can bring over your bike and ride around most of the coastline, especially along the Shoreline Trail. This 7.5 km trail goes around Newcastle Island and can be walked in about 2.5 hours at a brisk pace.

Giovando Lookout
The highlights along the walking and biking trails are numerous. On the island you can find an abandoned sandstone quarry, mine shaft, an old dam at Mallard Lake and a great viewpoint at Nares Point called the Giovando Lookout. From here you look over towards the north side of Departure Bay towards Nanaimo's Hammond Bay Road.

Beautiful Trees
Besides the great ocean views the trails go through beautiful groves of Douglas Fir, Garry Oak and Arbutus trees. The forest is habitat to a number of animals including various birds, deer and raccoons. You can view them eating shell fish along the water's edge.

One thing that is very comforting on Newcastle Island is that the trails are fairly well-marked with mapped signs at most trail intersections. There is a pdf map available from Snuneymuxw First Nation that highlights the trails' names plus interesting stops dealing with the history of the island.

  • PDF Map - Snuneymuxw First Nation

Protection Island
Protection Island is located right next to Newcastle Island towards the east from the ferry dock and Brownie Bay. At low tide if you're careful you can walk across the channel separating Newcastle and Protection Island. There are some public access points located at points along the shoreline.

Dinghy Dock Floating Marine Pub
Once on Protection Island there is a roadway that can take you around the island. Here you can find walking trails, three parks; Smugglers, Pirates, and Gallows Point as well as Smugglers Lake and Beach. Canada's only floating pub, the Dinghy Dock Marine Pub, is on Protection Island and is located across from the Newcastle Island Ferry Terminal.

"Protection Connection"
If you would like to come over direct from Nanaimo to Protection Island, the "Protection Connection" ferry leaves the Inner Harbour daily. Catch the ferry at the southeast end of Seawall Walk near the Commercial Boat Basin. The last "Protection Connection" ferry leaves the Dinghy Dock at 12 midnight in the summer and at 11 p.m. in the winter.

Further Information


Maffeo-Sutton Park Ferry Treminal
Maffeo-Sutton Park Ferry Terminal


Snuneymuxw First Nation
Snuneymuxw First Nation


Newcastle Island Ferry
Newcastle Island Ferry


Waterfrront Campground
Waterfrront Campground


Shoreline Trail
Shoreline Trail


View from Giovando Lookout
View from Giovando Lookout


Sandstone Quarry
Sandstone Quarry


Private Campsites Available
Private Campsites Available


Towards Tyne Point
Towards Tyne Point

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