Of course, the Pacific Rim National Park is what it is - an incredible piece of protected land and ocean that encompasses rich forest and breath-taking beaches. The days of naked partying on Long Beach are pretty much gone, but it is still a nature lover's haven. This is one of the best surfing spots in Canada (October - February), as many die-hards will attest. Don't go home without having eaten it up.
Sproat Lake is nestled comfortably in the Alberni Valley. Due to the warm temperature of the lake's waters (in comparison to the nearby ocean), Spoat attracts many swimmers, water skiers, wind surfers, and fisher people. It is a haven for the fun cottage-type lifestyle, even if only for a few days of a hosteller's stay (and home to the Mars Water Bombers).
Stamp River Falls illustrates well the fact that Port Alberni is renowned for being the Salmon Capital of Canada, as it is site to some of the most fantastic salmon runs and ladders in the world. Salmon boot it up the falls to spawn and you can go watch their journey. Photo ops around every conceivable corner in the trail. Neat-o!
For those of you who are somewhat organized and actually plan your travels, there is the West Coast Trail, which tends to book up really early. But, of course, like everything else in life, there are always cancellations, so despair not. Port Alberni is the last place on the Vancouver Island map before you embark upon the Trail to get a civilized pint or hot shower. The Fat Salmon hostel would be happy to see you off on your magnanimous journey properly.
Cathedral Grove, the most overwhelming forest of old growth Douglas fir trees you will see in Canada, is located on the highway that leads into Port Alberni. A wonderful spot to remind yourself that we are only here for a good time, not a long time, so have a grand time while the sun is shining upon you
The Fat Salmon is equipped with a large communal lounge area (complete with the best music this side of the Hump), a fully-equipped sit-in kitchen with a view of the rising sun, six comfortable dormitories, and a cozy reception area. There are four bathrooms and lots of storage. There are two groovy decks our front and a BBQ for all fo the salmon and corn that you wish to slap onto it. All of the dormitories are shared rooms, and range in size from four beds (The Knickerbocker Room & The Rotorua Room) to eight beds (The Carnie Room & The "Oh, The Places You Will Go" Room) per room, and much in between. We try our best to accommodate groups together in a given area of the hostel. There is an inexpensive laundromat just a hop, skip and jump around the corner, by the Kingsway Pub (where you can have a pint while you wait for the spin cycle). Parking is provided on site and at street level.
The Fat Salmon offers 6 varied sizes of dormitories for its guests. We have two dorms of 8 beds, two dorms of 6 beds and two of 4 beds. Our total capacity is 36 people. All linens are provided for the beds. There are four washrooms on site; three with shower blocks and one, aptly named "La Gorda's Suite", complete with a large bath tub for after-the-hike soaks. Towels are available upon request.
Conveniently located within easy walking distance (1 to 5 minutes) from pubs (Port Pub, Kingsway Pub, Somass Pub, The Beaufort Pub, FX Nightclub), restaurants (Beijing Grand, Jade, Swale Rock Cafe, Cecilia's, The Pines, Little Bavaria, Grandma's Chicken, Smitty's), grocery shops (Fairway, Quality Foods), Western Union money wire transfer, second-hand clothing stores (Salvation Army, SPCA Thrift Shop, Bread of Life, The Green Door), theatres (both movie and theatrical), banks (Montreal, CIBC, TD, RBC), travel agents, an Internet cafe, a yoga studio, second & first-hand book stores (Queen Bee Books & Literoti) and several adventure tour companies (Choo Kwa, Batstar, Rendezvous Diving), Fat Salmon Backpacker's Hostel brags its fins off about being in the sweetest spot in Port Alberni. Boasting a brilliant view of the working port, we are only a 2-minute stroll from the Alberni Inlet, where eco-tours, adventure tours and tour boats, as well as kayak-hire and fishing tours, abound. We are also a brisk walk from the Tofino Bus bus station and a 2-minute stroll from the MV Lady Rose's dock.
If you don't feel up to the task of cooking (although the Fat Salmon kitchen rocks it out), just pop into the Beijing Grand Chinese food restaurant, located right beside the hostel, for one of the best, inexpensive authentic Chinese cuisine experiences on offer in the Alberni Valley (Carmen and Queenie will spoil you quite rotten, to be sure - the sweet and sour pork is nearly to die for).
The Fat Salmon is over the moon to offer:
* free tea, coffee & hot chocolate
* free movies (with very hip collection of both national & international titles)
* free library
* free fresh herbs, when in season
* telephone & fax service
* inclusive linens
* information centre on premises, and brilliant travel/hostelling advice from experienced staff
* located a 2-minute walk from the MV Lady Rose/Francis Barkley and harbour Quay
* a short walk the Tofino Bus pick-up/drop-off point
* pick-up/drop-off point for the West Coast Trail Express Bus in Port Alberni
* fantastic music (!)
* best and most competent service this side of the Hump
* affiliated with Batstar Adventure Tours & Rendezvous Diving Adventures
* member of Backpackers hostels
Canada, Pacific Hostels Network, Chamber of Commerce, Women's Business Network and Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Policies & Restrictions
We offer quad rooms and suggest these as suitable for families looking for a little bit of privacy, or for couples travelling together. There is no smoking permitted inside of The Fat Salmon, however, much effort has been made to provide comfortable smoking areas on all of our outside decks for those who partake. We also have very funky ashtrays. We are dog-friendly, too, as long as your dog gets on with Lily, the Wonder Dog, who is our resident dog-goddess.
The Fat Salmon is a proud member of Backpackers Hostels Canada, Pacific Hostels, the Alberni-Clayoquot Chamber of Commerce, the Alberni-Clayoquot Women's Business Network, Tourism Advisory Council of Port Alberni and Canadian Federation of Independant Business.
Travelling north-west on Highway 4 from Victoria or Nanaimo, we are the last town before Ucluelet and Tofino. Just after the Coombs Candy Store on Highway 4, turn left at the Alberni Valley Information Centre, onto the Port Alberni Highway (which changes names to Redford Street along the way). At the bottom of Redford, turn left onto 3rd Avenue. We are atop the wee hill on 3rd Avenue, two blocks before the corner of Argyle Street, in the heart of "South Port", Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We are right beside the yummy Chinese food restaurant, Beijing Grand (authentic cuisine). Look for the bright yellow house with the purple lettering. We are waiting for you!
We are pleased to offer group discounts to people travelling together in groups of 12 or more. Rates for these people are $21 CAD/each/bed/night, inclusive of all taxes.