Kwisitis Visitor Centre in Pacific Rim National Park
The Kwisitis Visitor Centre is a beautiful and astonishingly elaborate little museum next to the very nice Kwisitis Feast House(previously the Wickaninnish Restaurant). Both the Centre and the Restaurant lay in the rainforest of Quisitis Point that separates Wickaninnish Beach and Florencia Bay. The restaurant has incredible views and the Kwisitis Visitor Centre is free.
Kwisitis, in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, means "other end of the beach". The restaurant and visitor centre are in a very nice building perched on a point in the middle of seemingly endless beaches in either direction. The restaurant is perched so far out on this point of land that you feel as though you have ocean all around you. There is a huge sundeck outside the restaurant where you have the ocean crashing below you.
You hear about "must-see" mentioned about places, however in the case of the Kwisitis Visitor Centre, it is definitely a must-see. The restaurant alone is worth the drive(or hike) to with its amazing ocean views. Even on a dreary day you will be captivated by the wonderful view.
The Kwisitis Visitor Centre exhibits are stunning. A full size recreation of a whale hunt takes up much of the main room. The attention to detail is amazing as you can see the intensity in the hunter's faces as they go for the kill. Several other depictions line the walls. You may only spend 15 minutes in the visitor centre, but you will appreciate the wonderful look into the history of the area.
The Kwisitis Visitor Centre is in the midst of some great hiking trails that can all be done in an afternoon. Florencia Bay is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Pacific Rim National Park. Branching off from Florencia Bay is the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail that takes you past a wonderful array of interpretive murals, then along the South Beach Trail to the Kwisitis Visitor Centre.
After lunch at the Kwisitis Feast House you can either retrace your steps the way you came back to your car at the Florencia Bay/Nuu-chah-nulth trailhead parking or you can follow Wick Road back to your car via a more direct, though not very scenic route. On Wick Road you will pass the Shorepine Bog Trail. This very unusual forest bog is well worth walking through. A short boardwalk trail takes you on a circle route through this weather-beaten, though captivating forest unlike any other in Pacific Rim National Park.
Directions to Kwisitis Visitor Centre
13k from Ucluelet or 28k from Tofino look for the turnoff to Wick Road. This road leads to Florencia Bay, the Shorepine Bog Trail, the and the beautiful Kwisitis Information Centre(museum) and Kwisitis Feast House(Restaurant).
Trails & Beaches Near Kwisitis Visitor Centre
The Nuu-chah-nulth Trail is an amazing interpretive trail that gives a glimpse of First Nations culture as it meanders 2.5 kilometres through the rainforest from Florencia Bay to Wickaninnish Beach. At Wickaninnish Beach there is the wonderful Interpretation Centre, the Kwisitis Visitor Centre, as well as the spectacular . Also known as the Wickaninnish Trail, the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail Trail is one of the most interesting and beautiful trails between Ucluelet and Tofino. The interpretive trail has several beautiful and informative stops along the way identifying the history and fauna of the area. After about 30 minutes of hiking through the deep forest, mostly along the nice boardwalk you come to a great viewpoint. From here you can turn left and in just 200 metres reach South Beach, or turn right, continue on the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail and in 600 metres arrive at the amazing Kwisitis Information Centre(museum) and Kwisitis Feast House(Restaurant). Florencia Bay, named after the ship that was wrecked here in 1861 is certainly one of the most amazing places in the world. Just a short, 1 kilometre (.62 mile) walk to the beach you descend down a wonderfully sketchy tangle of wooden stairs onto a fantastic, wild and secluded feeling Canadian beach. Florencia Bay seems to have it all. Gorgeous, sandy beach. Excellent waves for surfing. An absurdly wild jungle forest that spills over the beach alive with colour. It has to be explored to be appreciated. The 5 kilometre bay cuts a wide arch, often with abrupt cliffs just off the beach. Florencia Bay is known locally as Wreck Beach due the shipwreck that happened here. Four people died when the 200 tonne ship, the Florencia was wrecked. The Florencia actually capsized elsewhere, however, during the salvage effort, the ship towing the Florencia had engine trouble and cast off the Florencia to be wrecked here. The Bay's name was officially changed to Florencia Bay in 1930, but the original name is often still used. Hiking/walking the is a surreal experience. As you wander through this weather beaten forest that looks nothing like anything else you've seen in the rest of the park. It is absolutely bizarre. Pacific Rim National Park is almost entirely rainforest. Giant trees, wet, mossy ground, dead and decaying giant trees, laying on the dark, wet forest floor. And yet the looks more like a desert. Everything looks blasted by wind, and unexpectedly dry, very dry. The Rainforest Trail is a fantastic, deep, dark, wet and wonderful walk through a giant tree forest. There are, in fact, two beautiful 1km rainforest loop trails. One on the ocean side of the highway, the other on the forest side. Both are equally nice and both have an elaborate boardwalk system that at times seems luxurious as it keeps you tidily above the deep, mossy, wet, and chaotic forest floor. For an amazing, jungle-like experience this is the place to go. The Spruce Fringe Trail in Pacific Rim National Park is located at the edge of Long Beach, 22 kilometres from or 19 kilometres from Ucluelet. The trail begins as gravel then a wonderful boardwalk and then leads to a stunning force of nature. The Krummholz Tunnel is a weather blasted tunnel of trees. Thick and surprisingly dense, this bizarre feature of the Spruce Fringe Trail has a nice information board explaining it and it's wondrous formation. Long Beach is the wonderfully accessible beach that spans the middle of Pacific Rim National Park for several kilometres. It's the longest stretch of surf swept sand on west coast of Vancouver Island. In fact, if you include Florencia Bay, Wickaninnish Beach, Combers Beach and Schooner Cove with Long Beach, then it is the longest sand dune on Vancouver Island. Surfing, walking and wandering the beach are the main activities here. Winter storm watching and summer sunshine make Long Beach hard to beat. It is popular and huge, so you don't feel crowded even in the busiest of summer days.