Courtenay, about 100 km north of Nanaimo, was founded in the 1860s as a farming community in the Comox Valley. There is a garden known as the mile of Flowers. The town is the terminus of the ferry to Powell River. In the nearby Puntledge River valley, in 1989 an intact fossilized skull of a 9 metre long (30 ft) elasmosaur, which was a long-necked marine reptile that lived 80 million years ago. Nearby recreation includes Mount Washington and Forbidden Plateau ski areas. The town has a beautiful view of glacier-capped Mount Washington, which rises a mile into the air (accessible from Campbell River)
You can travel along the east coast of Vancouver Island on Highway 19A, the Oceanside Route, much more leisurely than Highway 19. This route extends from Parksville all the way to Campbell River, 50 km to the north of Courtenay.
VIA Rail Victoria -Courtenay train (the Malahat)
On the Malahat you’ll discover some of the most beautiful countryside in Vancouver Island between Victoria , at the southern tip of the island, and Courtenay, at the northern end. A very pleasant way to discover the Pacific coast! With “Comfort Class” ticket you can get off at Chemainus, Nanaimo, Parksville or Qualicum Beach for the price of one ticket to your final destination. The round-trip between Victoria and Courtenay costs only $58 (purchase seven days in advance, taxes extra, some conditions apply). The Malahat offers one departure per day in each direction. The journey time to Courtenay is approximately 4½ hours.