Bamberton is a provincial campsite on the other side of the Malahat. The Malahat is one of the roads I will avoid on a bicycle at all costs. Luckily there is a ferry that goes from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay, which is what we took to get to avoid rising on the Malahat. We arranged to camp with my folks for the night, we brought the grand kid and they brought the food, the BBQ and the beer.
The Brentwood Bay ferry
The ride to the ferry terminal in Brentwood Bay is nice and enjoyable. Most of the ride is along the galloping goose (actually the Lockside trail). After nearly 18 km on the Lockside trail you turn left and head west across the Saanich Peninsula.
This is when the cycling becomes less enjoyable, but it is still fun. There are a couple of hills, in the next 3km you will climb 60m and then you will have a nice dement to the ferry. During this leg of the trip you will no longer have a dedicated (or nearly dedicated) bike route like on the Lochside Trail. Some of the roads are lacking a shoulder but the traffic was willing to accommodate is and it was still enjoyable.
The best part about riding a bike on a ferry is bikes load first. You get to fly by all the waiting cars and show up minutes before the ferry docks (as we did) and you will still get on. We passed the long line of cars and watched the ferry dock.
We cut this section really close. We left Fol Epi at 9:30 and got to the ferry, 23 km away at 10:45. We wanted to catch the ferry so we pushes ourselves the whole way, which was tough as we were both fully loaded. The reward was getting to the ferry terminal in perfect time.
The Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay ferry is small and charming. Enough room for a handfuls of cars, this ferry has to be the smallest ferry I have ever been on. The views are amazing and in the beautiful weather, this was a great trip to Mill Bay.
The last leg
We got of the ferry and started to ride the last 2km to our campsite. There is a big hill in that 2km and we climbed 106m of elevation. We pushed ourselves to get to the ferry, we were hungry and this last hill was very tough for us with our fully loaded bicycles. About 3/4 of the way up my parents passes us in their truck and camper. They offered to take our panniers to lighten the load.
What a huge difference no bags make, I still had the trailer with Oli, but the bike still felt much lighter. We rolled into the campsite around 12 noon and had lunch.
The campsite and beach
Bamberton is a nice campsite. Trees protect you from the mid day heat and we were sufficiently away from the highway that I don’t remember hearing it at all.
The beach is a bit of a hike down a wide gravel path. The walk was nice but walking up it wouldn’t be. I wouldn’t take my bike down there either, it is a big climb from the beach back to the campsite.
The tiered beach was nice and there are many picnic tables and trees to provide shade to escape the heat.
Oli loved playing in the water and I think his grandmother enjoyed ever minute of it as well.
A great experience
Tanya and I don’t typically camp in a group, but this year half of our trips are with another couple. This time with my parents was great fun. We were ale to hand off Oliver to the grandparents and have a little break from running after him. My parents brought a truck and camper which brought other luxuries as well: a fridge, a BBQ and a nice breakfast.
The campsite is nice and getting there by bicycle is totally doable (just remember about that last hill before you get there). This could serve as a great spot to rest before heading up island further. The Cowichan Valley is a great place to cycle and this would be a perfect spot to spend the night on an extended island tour.