Mark is a great guide and a wonderful person. The hike of Gowlland is a must see for anyone visiting Vancouver Island. The fjord, the trees, the lighting, and the beauty of the park itself were extraordinary.
-Luis K. - Mexico City - April 2, 2017
Mark picked up our family of four from our hotel and we spent the most of the day hiking in Gowlland Todd. Mark is super friendly and very knowledgeable about the local area flora and fauna and photography. We had two teens with us and they both had a fantastic time (my 13 year old son liked it so much he took the time to write his own review). We would highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to enjoy the outdoor amenities surrounding Victoria!
-Nancy H. - Winnipeg, Manitoba - March 25, 2017
Mark took the four of us on a hike to Gowlland Tod where we had a picnic lunch. Our two sons (16 and 20 years old) and my husband and I had a great time looking at the scenery and talking to Mark. He knows a lot about the area's history as well as the different types of trees and plants. The hike was one of the highlights of our trip. He's also a fantastic photographer and we have his wonderful photos of our family with the amazing scenery that we can't wait to share with our friends and family.
-Susan S. - Prairie Grove, Arkansas, USA - March 20, 2017
Spent a day hiking with Mark from HikeVictoria and can honestly say it is a brilliant day adventure for anyone visiting Victoria. The hike is spectacular and Mark's knowledge of the fauna and flora is top-notch! Justin Walker Editor Aus Geo OUTDOOR
-Justin Walker, Sydney, Australia - March 10, 2017
I was recently visiting Victoria solo and wanted to go for a hike but not by myself. Mark was a wonderful guide and exceeded my expectations! He is not only very knowledgeable about the history of Victoria, the flora and fauna of the region, he is also a professional photographer. He was more than happy to share all his knowledge; including some valuable photography tips that I put to practice the next day in different locations he suggested I visit while in Victoria! He also took many awesome pictures of me in this beautiful scenery, great memories! Thank you Mark! I will definitely contact you when I go back to Victoria!
-Jessie L. - Gatineau, Quebec - March 3, 2017
Our family of four (two teenagers) enjoyed a wonderful afternoon hike in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, with our guide Mark. The hike was probably the highlight of our week long Victoria vacation because of the stunning views, natural beauty of the area and the pleasant company of our guide. Mark is knowledgeable, considerate and extremely organized. He's also a real people person and from the moment we got picked up we felt that we were in good hands. The hike provided many breathtaking views and the climb for us was relaxed and the pace just right. It is a beautiful hike and for us the perfect way to spend an outing with the family. Highly recommend it.
-Jo Anne C. - Oxbow, Saskatchewan - February 27, 2017
Mark took us on a great hike, set the pace we wanted, and checked to ensure our comfort. The views were excellent and he took some good photos. It was an excellent experience.
-Tess V, Sooke, B,C. - February 26, 2017
Mark is an amazing guide with tons of knowledge and experience! He was able to personalize the hike and he knows where all the wonderful views are. I'm glad I was recommended to HikeVictoria. The experience was one of a kind and the photos were awesome too.
-Angela C. Brampton, Ontario - January 8, 2017
This was a fantastic day out. Mark went above and beyond to ensure we had the best experience possible, including adjusting our itinerary to wait out the weather. He was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the landscape and we learned a lot about the local wildlife and annual salmon run. His pictures were great and we really enjoyed jumping around on the mountain for that perfect adventure shot. He was also full of helpful for things to do post-hike. A great adventure for our last day in Victoria.
-Charlie W. Salisbury, England - October 28, 2016
We had a blast with Mark on the Gowlland Tod hike! We loved the door to door service, there was a perfect mix of history & nature facts while hiking, and Mark made sure we were moving at a pace that was good for us, taking plenty of breaks when needed. Not only was the scenery gorgeous, but Mark takes pictures of you throughout the hike and offers them at a reasonable price. We had so much fun posing for goofy pictures, and we're very happy we have all of the pictures to remember such a wonderful day! We also opted to the the Cider Tasting at the end of the hike and were so glad we did! The Cider was even better than we thought it'd be and the lunch there was the perfect ending to the day.
-Tracy K. Chicago, Illinois - October 10, 2016
We spent a lovely afternoon with Mark hiking in the Top of Gowlland Tod Park. As promised, the views are quite spectacular! Mark was a wonderful guide. He provided us with water and snacks, great commentary and even better photos. I highly recommend doing this hike if you get the chance! :)
-Daniel M. Sydney, Australia - October 6, 2016
I had the best afternoon on the hike to the top of Gowlland Tod. I really enjoyed the small group size (only myself and another couple). The tour guide/owner Mark shared some very interesting information about the area and history, and was extremely attentive to the group. He ensured we had frequent rest/water breaks and pointed out which areas of the track to walk on so we didn't slip over, and of course took us to the best spots to view the breathtaking scenery. You don't have to be super fit to go on this hike and enjoy it, I found the 3-4 hours just breezed by. I also had so much fun with the photo opportunities - hanging upside down in a tree and the jump shot. I would highly recommend this as an awesome afternoon out for any visitors or locals of Victoria BC. I am looking forward to my next tour with Mark in a few week's time - The Salmon Run Tour.
-Angela P. Melbourne, Australia - October 6, 2016
We recently had the opportunity to visit Victoria for the day as it was one of our ports on our Pacific Coastal Cruise. We booked in advance with Mark the Gowlland Tod Hike. It was definitely one of the high points of the entire 12 day cruise.
Prior to our arrival , Mark was very responsive to our emails and confirming our arrival date and time. Mark met us at the port to begin our adventure. He provided us a back pack, a walking stick, water and the best oat bar I have ever tasted. On the drive to the trail head, he told us great stories about Victoria, pointed out sites and even engaged us in a US political discussion. Once we got to the starting point he gave us a lesson on how to use the hiking sticks and other safety pointers. Despite all the hiking I have done, I did learn a few good tips.
The hike was magnificent and the views were incredible. Mark is a very skilled photographer . He got some awesome pictures of us that we will be printing and framing. I actually look like I am cliff jumping!
You can tell throughout the entire hike that Mark loves where he lives and loves his job and the people he gets to meet.
Mark takes his time along the hike to take pictures, and explain the fauna. Additionally, he provides several opportunities to rest and watches the pace of those on the hike.
We completed the hike by 1:30 pm and still had the afternoon in town.
I would highly recommend this hike to anyone visiting Victoria.
-Nicole A. Fort Lauderdale, Florida - October 2, 2016
I entered the wilderness with Mark, a very friendly, informative and helpful guide and photographer. I enjoyed very much every moment I spent with Mark and learnt much from his historical review of the region and his insights of natural phenomena we ran into during our hike. Mike was taking my photos at breathtaking observation points throughout the park and I made some cool photos thanks to his help.
-Shai M. Telaviv, Israel - October 1, 2016
This day out was irreplaceable! We could not have shown ourselves around and discovered as much about Victoria. Mark's enthusiasm for his city shines through with his knowledge and gentle sense of humour. The views were stunning and involved some reasonable exertion.We had a chance encounter with the Royal Children while feeding harbour seals at a local marina, we were asked to not take pictures!
-Charlene S. Peterborough, Ontario - September 26, 2016
Based off of the positive reviews I saw on TripAdvisor, I decided to book a hike with Mark on a recent trip to Victoria. From the initial inquiry to see if he had openings, all the way through the follow-up from Mark with pictures, it was a positive experience and one that I would highly recommend to others who are considering taking a hike while in Victoria. My husband and I went on the hike to Gowlland Todd and we were in a group with two other people. After Mark picked us up and drove us to the hiking location, he provided us with water, a backpack, snack and even a hiking stick! The pace of the hike was just right. We stopped several times while he gave us some safety tips, information about the history of the location and also some information about the trees and plants that we passed along the way. Mark took some wonderful photos that we have as souvenirs of a wonderful day and captured the scenery perfectly. He even gave us some great recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants for our last day in Victoria.I wish we were closer so we could join him on his Salmon Run tour! Thank you, Mark for a fabulous hike!
-Melissa F. Hartford Conneticutt - September 26, 2016
Thank you for a wonderful experience, very rememberable. Plenty of trail, forestry information and scenery that was breathtaking. Constant attention to safety of all hikers. Having professional photo's taken along the way was a bonus, these will be treasured. Looking forward to doing it again on our next visit.
-Yvonne W. Airdrie, Alberta - September 21, 2016
Hike was amazing. Mark is very knowledgeable about the area, and didn't push too hard. The trail full of small challenges, but not too difficult even for someone that has never hiked. Mark also took some great photos for us to remember our day. We had lots of fun and breataking views. Definitely something I would do again.
-Paula D. Airdrie, Alberta - September 21, 2016
Mark provides a guided walk up to several spectacular viewpoints above Gowland Tod just outside of Victoria with informative and off beat commentary about the local history, fauna and flora. The walk itself is short in distance but with decent elevation and amazing views across the Saanich inlet.A lift from your accommodation to the trail head plus a tasty snack is all included as is a photo from the trip and if you're interested in photography Mark has excellent guidance to getting the best shots in the area. My girlfriend and I really enjoyed the hike and we can't recommend hike victoria enough.
-Jim H. Manchester, England - September 18, 2016
I would recommend hike Victoria to everyone,Mark is a really great guide,who is very knowledgeable about the history,flora & fauna & geography of the area.He only takes small groups 4 people max. so you really get the one on one experience.He is also a professional photographer and you get one free picture included in the price of the hike or you can buy the package of photo"s for a reasonable price.The hike itself was amazing,My fiance and I went on a really clear day so we saw beautiful views of the fiord"s and the mountains.The hike itself wasn't too hard but there were a few tough spots but we went at a pace that suited everyone's fitness levels.All in all a great day out at a very reasonable price.
-Dan F. Calgary, Alberta - September17, 2016
This hike was just what we were looking for! Mark was quick to respond to our inquiry before the trip and told us what to expect. What an excellent guide! We would have never found this beautiful hike and views on our own! We felt safe the entire hike since Mark knew the route so well. Such invigorating exercise without being too strenuous. He was full of information on the area, was friendly and amusing. What a great guy! The views were spectacular and Mark's photographs were stunning! This was the highlight of our trip to BC! We highly recommend Hike Victoria!!
-Nicole P. Saginaw, Michigan - September 17, 2016
Our hike was above the Gowalnd Tod.Totally beautiful and inspiring. Mark the guide loves what he is doing and made the trip special. He has an excelent personality and knew how to set the pace for us...medium. Fantastic grasp of the history to go along with what you see. My wife and I are still talking about that day. We plan on going back sometime soon.We would plan on a spring hike and see what else Mark has in his bag of Victoria's wonders.
-Gary L. Huntington Beach, California - September 16, 2016
My wife and I honeymooned on the island and I found this guided hike with Mark that seemed perfect for us! When I inquired, Mark quickly responded and was extremely informative and helpful in organizing it for us and explaining what would be needed. He picked us up from our hotel in Colwood and was friendly and informative. We drove to the hidden trailhead and he prepared us with lots of water, snacks, and safety gear.
The hike itself was beautiful and moderate in difficulty. On the particular day we went, it was the hottest day of the year, but we took it easy, Mark leading the way with steady and gentle determination. We stopped at many picturesque locations along the way and each one surpassed the other. Mark took many fantastic photos and we had a great time! It was a beautiful and fun and one of the highlights of our trip! I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to Victoria who has a free afternoon. Such an amazing time! 10/10
-Zach S. Edmonton, Alberta - August 27, 2016
Mark is a knowledgeable and charismatic guide who is quick to point out minute details in unexplored areas of Victoria's nearby parks. He uses his expert familiarity with the area to create a magical hiking experience with insider tips, historical facts and indigenous plant identification. For anyone looking to experience more of Victoria than just the city sights, Hike Victoria is a wonderful introduction into the hidden little gems, such as Gowlland Tod. Make sure to eat an oat bar!
-Carrie B. Victoria, B.C. - August 25, 2016
Coming off a long haul flight from Sydney, we found Mark’s ‘Natural Beauty’ tour of Victoria the perfect antidote: some gentle walking combined with local sights and engaging interpretation. Similarly, the next day, Mark’s “Top of Gowlland Tod” tour proved to be just what we needed to stretch our legs in preparation for a hiking holiday in Newfoundland – and introduce us to some stunning Canadian (Vancouver Island) scenery. It was a pleasure to spend time with Mark. His local knowledge, friendly style and professional photography skills combined to ensure an especially enjoyable and memorable experience. Thanks again Mark, and the photos just received are terrific!
-Carol E. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia - August 23, 2016
My wife and I were visiting Victoria for the weekend from Seattle and wanted to do a hike and were considering renting a car until we came across HikeVictoria.com. We called the number and Mark was able to accommodate our schedules and he took us on a wonderful hike we would have never found on our own. On top of leading us on a fabulous hike, Mark provided us with all sorts of history and information on the area that we would have never otherwise had learned (but he also asked us ahead of time if that was of interest to us ... he didn't bore us with info we were not interested in!). Finally Mark took absolutely wonderful photos of us during our hike and even thought us a little about photography along the way so hopefully we take better photos in the future. All in all, well worth the cost and so glad we didn't end up renting a car and trying to figure it out ourselves!
-Martin B. Seattle, Washington - August 20, 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed our morning's hike with Mark. He's a knowledgable and affable guide who quickly got to grips with our capabilities and interests. He clearly knows this trail really well so we always felt in safe hands. He also took a series of beautiful photographs of us, which are a lovely reminder of the morning. Would happily recommend the experience.
-Simon B London, England - August 12, 2016
When we booked this adventure we were unsure what to expect. Mark surpassed all our expectations! We were picked up at our hotel in downtown Victoria is a pristinely clean car. On the way Mark told us some interesting facts about the area. When we arrived at the trail head Mark had everything we needed including a small backpack, water bottles, hiking sticks, and an oat bar. It took about two hours to get to the peak (~1,300 feet) with breath taking views along the way...and the best part way that Mark is a gifted photographer and he took picture all along the way. We ended purchasing 44 great photographs. It was the best value experience we had during our 4 day stay.
-Rob M. Charlotte, North Carolina - August 3, 2016
We were staying at the Brentwood Bay Resort and the concierge told us about Hike Victoria. We went on the Gowiland Tod hike and saw some jaw dropping vistas. Hiking was moderately challenging ,but definitely doable for even weekend warriors. Mark was super friendly , knowledgable and gave helpful safety tips along the way which I appreciated. Best part of the trip is he is a photographer and we got to take some unique shots that were super fun! He also gave me some photography tips and we were able to purchase professional shots for a reasonable price. Definitely a must do if you are in the area!
-Cathy C, Irvine California - August 2, 2016
Mark was an amazing guide! He picked us up at our hotel at the exact time promised and everything after that point was far above our expectation. We were a little uncertain of the terrain as we had our 4 year old son and 6 and 8 year old daughters with us but Mark paced the hike perfectly to their skill level! The views were amazing, like none we had seen before, his patience with our children was a treat and his willingness to explain what he was doing with his camera was beyond our expectations. This is an amazing tour for anyone wanting to explore Gowlland Tod, learn some neat photography techniques or just get some really cool pictures taken. We were thrilled with the tour and the photograph's we received! Thanks Mark!
-Brian P. Stettler Alberta - July 29, 2016
Excellent hike and excellent guide. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our hike with Mark. It was informative and very interesting. If you are going to Victoria this hike is a must. The scenery was spectacular.
-Stacy M. Toronto, Ontario - July 26, 2016
I've been able to join many hikes throughout the world the past few years. I know that a guide can make or break the experience. Mark was experienced, personable and my favorite - a great photographer! I'm an amateur photographer so it was amazing to be able to learn from him as he took photos throughout the hike. I also think it's important to experience nature away from the city, and Gowlland Tod was the perfect escape! Many thanks, Mark!
-Lesley M. Buenos Aries, Argentina - July 25, 2016
When I look back on our five days in Victoria, our hike to the top of Gowlland Tod with Mark was the favorite activity of our trip from my perspective as well as my husband and two teenage kids. Not only do you get the best views of the gorgeous surroundings of Victoria (they take your breath away!!!), Mark is an informative naturalist, a great historian, a personable Canadian host and a lot of fun to be around. He is also an amazing photographer and we had great fun working on our jump shots! I can't recommend Mark enough and this amazing hike. You won't see crowds of people either - - we had the "mountain" to ourselves! I feel so fortunate to have had this experience for me and my family. We will definitely hire Mark again if we are lucky enough to vacation in Victoria again. What a treat!!!
-Rose L. Chicago Illinois - July 24, 2016
Great idea for spending a day outside the city! The hike was great, well paced and very informative about the history of the area. First off, kudos to Mark on his open communication before and after the trip- he was highly responsive to my inquiry and throughout the days leading up to the hike. Additionally, he sent the photos later that night that we took the hike. Excellent "customer service" if you ask me. During the hike, he was sure to check in with each of us and make sure we were comfortable with each step. I also like that he keeps the limit of participants small and intimate. Great guy, great experience.
Colleen F. Seattle, Washington - July 21, 2016
When I travel, I almost always try to schedule a hike--I've found it's the best way to experience the natural beauty of a place. Victoria was no exception, and Hike Victoria was one of the best hiking experiences that I have had. Mark was attentive and knowledgable on the hike, and the hike was the perfect mix of challenging, peaceful, and stunning. He also bent over backwards to work with me and my mother to schedule the hike, working us in when his regular times were booked. And because our hike time overlapped with dinner, Mark added a picnic dinner to the hike--don't pass up those sandwiches!
-Amy M. Columbia, South Carolina - July 19, 2016
I'm so glad, we booked this hiking excursion to "Gowlland Tod" .We had a blast with Mark from beginning to end.He picked us up from the Port,then it was a 20-25 Minute car ride to were we started to hike.Mark brought all the goodies , walking stick, backpack ( when you didn't bring your own), water and a yummy bar.The Jumpshot pic's are lots of fun and most of all a great hike and Beautiful scenery.
we definitely would book another tour with Mark when in Victoria BC.
-Martina G. Westchester, New York - July 18, 2016
Had a wonderful time on the Natural Beauty Tour with Mark. Victoria is absolutely stunning and Mark brought us to the best spots in Victoria where we got a ton of great pictures. We originally had booked the Gowlland Tod hike, but I got injured prior to our trip and Mark was super accommodating and suggested this tour instead. Glad we decided to do it! We learned a lot about the area and had a lot of fun, and this truly was a highlight of our trip. We look forward to booking a hike next time we return. Thanks Mark!
-Jill B. Nashville, Tennessee - July 17, 2016
Victoria was the last stop on our Alaskan cruise, and the stop was quite short. I wanted to do something different, so I scheduled a sunset hike with Mark. We got to port late due to weather, and we had bad luck with rain while in Victoria. Fortunately, Mark and his wife Pam were very flexible and worked with us in the limited time we had. The hike was not do-able due to the weather and time (not to mention the sunset wasn't visible bc of clouds). They took us to two very beautiful places that we would have never known about on our own. Our kids got to do some really fun "jump shots" and we did a nice family photo to wrap up our vacation. We really wanted to have a little bit of time downtown before we left the city, so we parted ways and walked the city ... Not knowing that one of us had left a backpack with passports in their van. Pam went out of her way to walk around town looking for us to give us the backpack. They are genuinely nice people, and it was so nice to have a personal tour, rather than a bus full of people going on an excursion. Highly recommended!
-Jamie N. Birmingham, Alabama - July 13, 2016
The 'Hike Victoria' Gowland Tod hike was just what I needed. Mark's local knowledge and hiking expertise provided wonderful background to great scenery and a great day out. Much better exercise than 'pounding pavement', much more informative than looking around buildings.
-Janet R. Sydney, Australia - July 12, 2016
When planning our family vacation for this summer we knew we wanted to hike up in the mountains. Our research led us to Victoria, British Columbia. We stayed at a hotel that recommended we take a hiking tour with Mark from HikeVictoria.com. It was definitely a highlight of our trip. It was everything we wanted in a hike - mountains, rugged trails, somewhat of a workout and opportunities to take great photos. We went with our two teenage kids who throughly enjoyed it as well. Mark provided walking sticks for us, backpacks, water, and a really good oat bar. He shared info about the area, what we were seeing, and made the hike extra enjoyable. Mark did a great job of communicating with us before and after the trip which I really appreciated. I would highly recommend this hike and Mark as your tour guide.
-Valerie B. Farmington, Minnesota - July 10, 2016
I really enjoyed the Gowlland Tod hike I booked with Mark. Mark is a great tour guide - pleasant and very knowledgeable about the Victoria area. It is a a tour in small groups (maximum 4 people) with lots of breaks to enjoy the beautiful scenery and take photos. Mark is an outstanding photographer and gave us many tips on how to take better photos. I highly recommend this tour to everybody who is looking for a scenic hike in the Victoria area with stunning views!
-Lena R. Bonn, Germany - July 9, 2016
I was on the Star Princess and during the ship's stop in Victoria, BC I booked a hike with Mark Vukobrat, and his company HikeVictoria.com. It was a terrific way to spend a day in port, and I was extremely happy I did it. After being on a ship it felt good to get out into nature and hike in a very scenic area. He picked me up at the ship, and after only a brief ride out of town we arrived at the trailhead. There were some uphill sections, and would be an easy hike for anyone use to hiking and maybe a moderate hike for someone with no experience. It would be a good choice for families with kids, who could get out and burn up some energy. The effort was worth it as there were beautiful views of Finlayson fjord all along the hike. Mark is a professional photographer so could point out the most photogenic spots. The best was a location where he takes a photo from an angle that makes it look like you are leaping off the edge of a cliff. The jumping area is actually large flat and very safe, but the angle he found to shoot the picture makes it look very dramatic. It’s a photo you definably will want to put on your Facebook page. I enjoyed my time with Mark and the hike, and highly recommend it.
-Bruce N. Los Angeles California - June 14, 2016
"This tour was such a fantastic experience! A definite must! Mark was so accommodating, for example, when he saw that it was supposed to rain, he gave us a call and gave us the option to move our tour up so that we could have a more enjoyable experience. Moreover, throughout the tour he was very considerate to our needs, allowing us to take as many breaks as needed. The tour itself was absolutely breathtaking! And he was able to capture this beauty in the pictures he took of us throughout the tour. The pictures made SUCH great souvenirs of our trip!. In addition to the beautiful sights and pictures, Mark was also very knowledgable about the different plants, trees, and mountains that we saw along the trail. In my opinion, you haven't experienced Victoria until you have done this tour!"
-Sarah H. Ottawa Ontartio, Canada - June 12, 2016
"I did the Gowland Tod hike with a friend of mine and we had a great time. Mark was very personable and knowledgeable of the area. He also knew where the best places to take photos were! Furthermore, he gave us a bunch of tips on how to take better photos. We didn't feel like we were in a rush at all during the tour and Mark was very accommodating when we wanted to take our time to get more photos. Overall I would highly recommend this tour!"
-Jacky C. Kingston, Ontario - June 11, 2016
"What a fantastic day with Mark. Very informative and great advice on taking photos to get the right vision. Well worth it." -Graham H. Sterling, Scotland - June 11, 2016
" I just went to the Top of Gowlland Tod Park with Hikevictoria this past weekend. It was absolutely an amazing experience and I recommend it to anybody looking for a scenic hike in the area. Mark was amazing! He knew the local history and geography very well and had a great knowledge of the park. He is extremely personable and it is nice that this tour is in small groups (Maximum 4 people). Not only did Mark act as a superb tour guide, but he is also an outstanding photographer with great ideas and advice! I have just started to gain an interest in photography and he was keen to share his expertise with me which was great! He also took some amazing shots and was happy to take pictures of everyone. I also enjoyed that Mark stopped at numerous locations in the park, where we got to see many different vantages and parts of the park! Mark and hikevictoria was great and I had a terrific time experiencing the amazing views with him! I would recommend this tour to anyone interested in hiking, photography, and beautiful scenery!"
-Scott D. Kingston, Ontario - June 11, 2016
"My husband and I did a photography workshop while hiking with Mark and were absolutely thrilled with the experience! He was patient, accommodating and generous with his time and expertise. We took hundreds of pictures and learned a great deal which we put into practice at the Butchart Gardens the following day. If we had more time, we would do all the tours that Mark offers so we will definitely include him in our plans when we get back next time. We also loved the hike with many beautiful vistas and the chicken sandwich that Mark brought for us. Good hiking shoes and some fitness level is essential while Mark provides everything else."
-Victoria O. Toronto, Ontario - June 9. 2016
"I was lucky enough to find Mark through a concierge at one of the hotels in Victoria. I don't know why, but luck seems to follow me. I had planned a trip to Victoria, BC to propose to my now fiance. There were a few things I really wanted as part of the trip: hiking, beaches, and a photographer. Lucky for me, Mark is both an avid photographer and a hiking guide! From the beginning, Mark was extremely generous with his time, over delivering on service to help me make our trip to Victoria perfect. Mark was very patient with some indecisiveness on my part during the planning phase, and went out of his way to renegotiate his schedule to meet my needs. Fast forward to our arrival in Victoria. On day one I decided to propose to my fiance in Beacon Park (upon Mark's recommendation). It was a perfect setting, and after the proposal Mark met up with us to take engagement photos! I was immediately taken aback by his love and passion for photography, and was surprised when he told me he had already scoped out the park earlier in the day to find some great spots to take pictures. Enjoying the spontaneity of the moment, we decided to explore a few stops on Mark's scenic beauty hike, all of which turned out to be phenomenal locations for both sight seeing and some great photo opportunities! The lighting was perfect, and Mark made the very most of it. Day two we joined up with Mark again to hike to the top of Gowlland Tod. I've hiked all over the world, but this is the first hike where I've seen forest, ocean, and snow-capped mountaintops all on the same hike and from the same viewpoint! Growing up in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, I'd classify the hike as beginner/intermediate, with moderate incline in the beginning followed by light assent to the top. It's a very scenic hike, with epic views and beautiful forests along the way. Mark was familiar with the flora and fauna on the trail and pointed them out along the way. During the hike, Mark took some amazing photos of my fiance and me, including some really fun shots on the edge of the rocks at one of the lookout points. Noticing that we had missed some shots from the place where I had proposed, Mark met up with us briefly on day three to capture some epic photos in Beacon Park.
Every step of the way, from the time we first made contact over the phone until the day he sent me all of the photos (255 in total) via a dropbox link just days after we left Victoria Mark went above and beyond my expectations. Mark's love for photography and the wilderness in Victoria was contagious. Without knowing it he had become a central piece to our time in Victoria, and looking back I wouldn't have changed a thing. I hope to see Mark again soon, and join him for another adventure around Victoria. I highly recommend Mark for both his professional photography skills (think engagement, weddings, etc.!) and his beautiful guided hikes around Victoria."
-Adam C. Denver, Colorado - May 13 & 14, 2016
"One of the highlights of my holiday!! After a recommendation by tourism Victoria, who were fantastic and called on my behalf to arrange my hike. Mark (Hike Victoria's guide) very kindly agreed to take me out on the Gowlland Tod hike the very next day. He picked me up from my accommodation, this took the pressure off me and meant I could relax and enjoy the trip as I was still getting to grips with the local area. We started out on the trail from an area not many locals were aware of and we set off on our trial. Marks knowledge of plant life and trees is fantastic and a real add on. He made the hike so interesting pointing out flowers and trees, with various facts along the way. I was absolutely delighted to discover that mark is also a professional photographer and he was taking beautiful photos to capture such an awesome hike! The scenery was absolutely stunning and I feel so fortunate to have been able to enjoy such a beautiful hike with such a fantastic, knowledgeable guide who was able to provide picture perfect memories with the photos taken. My only regret was I had run out of time on my holiday to book another hike before flying home! I can’t recommend this hike and Mark's services enough, a definite must for all visiting Victoria - not to be missed! I look forward to returning and enjoying another beautiful hike. Many thanks to Mark again for an unforgettable day!"
-Katy L, Aberdeen, Scotland - May 7, 2016
"Victoria is beautiful! Mark took my husband and I around Victoria and customized a tour for us. We booked the Natural Beauty Tour and added a hike up Mount Douglas because we had the time and desire. Mark was very accommodating and responsive setting up the tour. The actual tour was a lot of fun! The weather was beautiful and clear on the day of our tour. Mark took great shots of us around Victoria and told us all kinds of interesting stories about the area. He even made recommendations for good local pubs. We are very grateful for the awesome experience in Victoria and look forward to visiting again!"
-Rachel F, Houston, Texas - May 6, 2016
"On my third day in Victoria, I was running out of things to do, so I asked the friendly concierge in my hotel what to do and she recommended Mark's hiking tour, as she stated that she had taken it before and had a blast. Boy, was I glad to book the tour with Mark, as it became one of the highlights of my trip to Victoria. Mark showed me some of Victoria's most gorgeous natural scenes and best of all took extremely good photos of me during the trip (something that I really valued, as I was travelling solo at the time). Thank you so much Mark for a wonderful experience. More power to you and your business."
-Billy M., Toronto, Ontario - April 20, 2016
"We booked with Mark ahead of schedule to make sure we could go while we visited Victoria. Our family consists of my wife and I and three kids ranging from 31 to 21. Mark was patient and paced the hike according to our speed. The hike has varied terrain and spectacular views. The photo opportunities were endless and Mark even gave us tips on how to take better pictures with our digital SLR. This is one of the best experiences we have ever had on vacation. Ask Mark for his granola bar suppliers, the bars are the best!"
-John F., Salt Lake City Utah - April 16, 2016
"The Gowlland Tod hike offered by Mark was stunning. Mark collected us from where we were staying and brought us to the optimal location for hiking and views. A short and enjoyable hike later (filled with insight into the history of the area, and the local flora), we reached multiple vantage points that made for excellent photo opportunities. Definitely visit the Apple Cidery if you can, for delicious cider and a well earned charcuterie board. Mark is an absolute champion and made sure every aspect of the trip was a blast!"
-Chris H., Sydney Australia - April 10, 2016
"This is fantastic! We were in Victoria with our teenagers, ages 15 and 18 and really wanted to get out see things beyond the usual landmarks. I booked this primarily for the hiking experience, thinking a few photos would be a nice bonus. As it turns out, the photography piece was fun for the entire family. It was not a painful, family portrait experience, it was bonding for us all! We were all having fun with it, a few goofy shots among some of the best photos I have of my family. Mark's photography skill level is understated, he is a pro.
Mark was prompt and prepared. He picked us up at at the hotel and had backpacks, water, a snack and even some hiking poles. He also provided historical and cultural insight as well as recommended some great eating spots. Mark is a super nice guy, so glad we did this - it was one of the highlights of our vacation!"
-Lisa C., Exeter, New Hampshire - March 15, 2016
"'Nature's Beauty'" was an enjoyable and informative tour. Given the limited time of stay in Victoria, I would not have found and reached those places on my own. Mark was a great tour guide - knowledgeable, enthusiastic and a fun person to be around. If I am visiting Victoria again, I will definitely take another hiking tour with Mark."
-I.C. Fort McMurray, Alberta - March 14, 2016
"I had booked this tour with Mark through the Fairmont Empress as part of their "F-Stop Escape" package when planning a trip to Victoria from Seattle to get away for the weekend following the New Years Eve Holiday. I was not disappointed! As a point of reference - I am an amateur photographer. I can use the manual mode on my camera and understand the major features, but I'm in no way an expert. I would say I'm an experienced hobby level photographer at best.
To start the day, Mark picked me up at the hotel and we drove out to the first park (Gowlland Tod Provincial Park). We picked up the trail in a pretty local area that I wouldn't have found otherwise and started our way up the mountain. The hike was moderate - a bit slippery due to the conditions, but otherwise easy for anyone who's in shape. We stopped multiple times up the hike for to chat & discuss the area and the history as well as stopping for photo opportunities when I saw something that caught my eye. Mark was very interested in local history and I learned a lot about Victoria on my hike as well.
When we got to the first stop, Mark set me up with his tripod and one of his filters and got an idea of my skill level as we worked through an exercise photographing the landscape & mountains in the distance. Mark let me use one of his very nice neutral density filters (first time I'd used a graduated ND filter) and we compared photos with and without. We continued on to other sites (which were breathtaking) and following the same format of working on setting up scene composition, trying different camera and flash settings, and just getting an awesome chance to have some assistance in using my camera while doing a gorgeous hike. In addition to working on my shots, Mark also got some awesome shots with me on the hike.
Following the provincial park we headed over to a local waterfall and once again Mark helped set me up with his tripod in a few different areas downstream to improve techniques for shooting the falls with and without a subject in frame. It was really excellent and a beautiful short hike to cap off the end of the day.
Overall I loved my visit and would definitely book a trip with Mark again. I was traveling solo, but I would recommend this trip for couples or friends looking to hike and build on their photography skills as well!"
-Daniel G. Seattle, Washington - January 9, 2016
"We ventured to Victoria for the New Years' weekend and being nature lovers from Seattle without a car, preferred to see the beauty of Victoria and its surroundings rather than shopping and doing high tea. We found Mark through Trip Advisor and contacted him on the off chance he was available for a New Year's Day hike, which he was. Being winter and 35' C, it would just be the three of us. Mark's email responses were always prompt. He picked us up early at our hotel and drove us about 30mins to the trailhead to hike. Mark is extremely personable, knowledgeable, and an amazing conversationalist. He mingled the hike (and the car rides) with historical information and made sure he kept a pace we were comfortable with. He actually provided more historical info than the CVS City tour we took. He took several photos (he's a great photographer) and asked if he could take many of us, which was great since I wanted some nice couple photos and it was a gorgeous, sunny day. He also brought snacks for us.
Overall, it was hands down the best part of our trip to Victoria"
-Viven L. Seattle, Washington - January 3, 2016
"This hike was the best time I had during this vacation to Victoria! Mark is an awesome guide and very informational about the area. Due to the fact that this was my very first time hiking, Mike made sure that I was fine and wasn't trying to rush me to keep up. Actually he hiked and set the pace where i was comfortable and also able to enjoy the beauty of the hike. I absolutely recommend Hike Victoria. I felt very comfortable as soon as I meet Mike giving the fact that I was on vacation alone. Also I really wanted to see some eagles and I did! Another plus is the fact that Mike is an amazing photographer and will take photos of you thru out the hike. Thank you Mike and Hike Victoria for a awesome time!!!!!!!"
-Gloria S, Texas - November 29, 2016
"This was our first visit to Canada and Victoria turned out to be a great choice. We stayed at the Fairmont Empress (downtown Victoria) and were interested in experiencing the outdoors. The great folks at the Empress recommended Mark & Hike Victoria. Initially, we were expecting to be dropped off at the Goldstream Park and perhaps a trail head or two and we had actually wondered aloud as to whether we'd have to find our own way back to the hotel. Simply put, we were blown away by the service and care Mark showed us. He treated us like we were dear friends of us. Guided us the entire way, hiked along side us, ensured our safety, fed us water/snacks, served as our personal expert on local history and took some really great photos ... all during a pouring rain! If you are considering Victoria, we highly recommend it but you will be missing out if you don't spend a day with Mark & Hike Victoria!"
-Clint D., Lookout Mountain, Georgia - November 22, 2015
"I recently visited Victoria for the first time and during my stay at Oak Bay Beach Hotel, I went on a three-hour excursion with Mark. I was on a bit of a time crunch so I was surprised we made it to both the Salmon Run and the Goldstream Park Train Trestle without feeling rushed. He was really good about catering to our interests and also taking into account the sunset so we would have the best views possible.
Mark was extremely warm and welcoming upon picking my colleague and I up at the hotel and it is very clear that he is passionate about nature in Victoria. On top of that, he is very professional and knowledgeable, which is a winning combination for any tour guide. I felt very comfortable asking Mark questions about the surrounding landscape and the local culture in Victoria.
Another perk of booking with Mark is that he is a highly-skilled photographer and can take photos of you during your hike if you please. I usually travel solo so for me, I really appreciated having a few photos of myself throughout the hike. All in all, this was a great experience with an even better guide!"
-Meagan M., San Francisco, California - November 17, 2015
"Mark is a terrific guide and a pleasure to be with. We went to see the Salmon Run and even though it was raining it was just great. Mark had umbrellas and talked knowledgeably about the area and the wildlife and then took us on to another beautiful area to see the scenery and hike thought a forrest to a waterfall and a trestle bridge. just great, highly recommend this and his other Gowland Tod trip which I thoroughly enjoyed earlier in the week. thanks Mark"
-Julie S., Melbourne, Australia - fOctober 31, 2015
"The weather was not good but Mark made up for it. He never gave up on finding a view that was clear. He took some great photos for us and then we went to do tasting at Sea Cider. It was delightful and a great way to finish our day. Mark is passionate about his work and I highly recommend ANY of his adventures. We are even going on another later this week!"
-Tami G., Seminole, Florida - October 27, 2015
"Spending a half-day with Mark was a definite highlight of our trip. It was a great experience to be out with a knowlegeable nature photographer. He showed me quite a few things on my camera and patiently answered all of my questions. We had our photogragphs that we requested by the next day. Service was amazing! My suggestion would be to book ahead and not lose out on an opportunity to hike/shoot with him."
-Cheryl S. Chicago, Illinois - October 19, 2015
"My son and I decided to Google hiking tours and came across Mark. Wow were we ever lucky. What a joy. If it is one thing you will want to do its this. We chose the Top of Gowlland Tod hike. Absolutely gorgeous. A 4 hour hike of the most beautiful scenery we have ever seen. Having Mark there guiding us through the hike was the perfect thing to do. The history and information he passed along was priceless. We got to see things and hike areas no one would think of doing by themselves not being a local but even then he took us to a couple of untouched areas that were out of this world. We had a blast . Well worth every penny. To be quite honest , Mark made it even more enjoyable. Definitely a people person and loves to pass on all his knowledge . He even picks you up and drops you back off at the hotel and that's included in the price.He really is what made this hike even better than what it already was. Make sure to spend the little extra and get the photo package. Highly recommended. Awesome hiking tour. Thanks Mark."
-Fahim J, Ottawa, Ontario - September 28, 2015
"As a first time hiker Mark and the HikeVictoria.com company are a great option. I am in fairly decent shape and chose to go on the 4 hour Gowlland Tod Park hike. To begin the door to door service was so accommodating. Not having to worry about transport early in the morning while on vacation is a pleasure. The vehicle was clean and comfortable.
Mark, the tour guide is very knowledgable and entertaining. He is full of energy without being too much. He kept everyone on the tour at a good pace walking, while helping us learn the variables of the land (i.e how to identify safe terrains to walk on). The highlight of the tour were the scenic picture opportunities. I would recommend taking this tour above all others."
-Stephanie J., New York, New York - September 17, 2015
"It was a lovely hike to start the day with. We were picked up and dropped off at our AirBNB. Because of the small groups - we were lucky to be the only two - there's much personal focus from the guide. I'm currently injured so I felt a bit burden but we had no rush at all. It's not just a hike but Mark also tells you a lot about the history of this park which is really interesting. Would definitely recommend if you don't like big groups and love nature!"
-Hester B. Amsterdam, Netherlands - September 13, 2015
"Great activity, the hike was amazing especially for a person who has never really hiked before. Our guide Mark was the sweetest and nicest person, very knowledgeable about the nature there, the trees, the birds, and of course the trail and a very patient man. It was one the best things i did during my visit to Victoria which is a very beautiful place and this hike made it an even more special place. It helped emphasize its beauty and its spectacular views. I highly recommend it. You will be thrilled you did it."
-Lena S. Austin, Texas - September 4, 2015
"Mark took us on a hike in Gowlland Tod to a peak overlooking a magnificent fjord. The views were amazing and Mark is incredibly knowledgeable. He took a ton of fantastic pictures for us that are of the highest quality. We're definitely using them for our holiday card this year and enlarging a few to be hung up in the house. They are that good! We highly recommend using HikeVictoria.com."
-Robert C. Harrison, New York - August 25, 2015
"My wife and I were looking for an experience that gave us a 'taste' of the landscape around Victoria. The advertised guide experience and knowledge was a bonus but turned out to be the best part of our time with Mark. Together we made special arrangements to make an experience happen that fit his and our schedules. His welcome and hospitality, picking us up at our hotel and sharing his passion for hiking as he guided us through the hike and time together was a real bonus. The hike itself was spectacular. Just right as a medium difficulty hike. My wife, with a new knee, made it through just fine. It was the highlight of our trip to Victoria this time."
-Phillip R. Seattle, Washington - August 24, 2015
"We decided to celebrate our 40th anniversary by doing the HikeVictoira tour with Mark Vukobrat. The hike takes place in the Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and Mark proved to be a very personable and informative guide who documented our experience with excellent photographs taken in unique places. Not only did we get gorgeous scenery and great hiking, but we also have wonderful mementos of the day. It was only three and one half miles round trip but is a moderate level hike. Be prepared for some fantastic views!We opted to include the visit to Sea Cider Farms after the hike! I would strongly recommend this! We had a repast of smoked salmon dip with crackers, cheese, sausage, bread, crackers and blueberry preserves along with a flight of nine different ciders from dry to sweet! We were brought cake desserts in honor of our anniversary, The weather was outstanding and all was lovely! It was a perfect way to celebrate our 40th! Yippee!"
-Annie F. Dallas, Texas - August 23, 2015
"We expected a three hour tour. What we got was a new friend and amazing scenery with a guide to tell us about what we saw and who took his time with us. He helped us set up great shots and we finished up 4 plus hours later absolutely thrilled with the experience. Mark also took pictures of our family along the way and emailed them to us within a couple days! Great memories and pics! He also provided snacks and water. Thanks Mark!!"!
-Joylynn S. Riverside, California - August 17, 2015
"We had such a wonderful time with our guide, Mark! He was knowledgeable, personable, and a great photographer. The hike was a lot of fun in and of itself, but Mark really made it special. Would recommend him highly to anyone who wants a great hike, with beautiful views in an incredible setting that also comes with excellent photographs to memorialize your journey."
-Roberta S. Santa Ana, California - August 16, 2015
"Victoria is definitely one of the top places to visit in Canada, most of all because of its beautiful landscape. And on this hike I've seen so much of it. It's a lot of fun and not too difficult, and the view is amazing. Mark is a great guide who loves to share his knowledge of the area. One of the highlights was taking photos in front of the beautiful scenery. Thanks to Mark's experience, these are probably the best shots of my whole vacation. I can recommend this to everyone who loves nature, it's totally worth it."
-Marian S. Berlin, Germany - August 14, 2015
"August 5, 2015 "Our family of 5 had an unbelievable experience hiking with Mark. He's one of the most genuine and nicest guides you could ever be lucky enough to meet. Our 8, 10, and 15 year olds each loved the hike to the top of Gowland Tod mountain, which had breathtaking views at many stops along the way. Mark is also an expert photographer and was incredibly patient and helpful in terms of getting the right shots of our family. He also offered many excellent suggestions for other things to do while in Victoria and Vancouver. I really can't say enough about his customer service and our hiking experience, it was just perfect and way beyond our expectations!!!"
-Mark O. Clearwater, Florida - August 5, 2015
"Our family of four all agree that Hike Victoria was the #1 highlight of our trip to the Pacific Northwest! (kids are 19 and 17) Mark is a wonderful person and a fun and interesting guide. He is very sincere in his efforts to make sure you enjoy this hike. He went above and beyond to flex to our schedule, including picking up and dropping off, and provided a delicious lunch and snack. Throughout the hike at Gowland Tod, he shared some of the history and stories of Victoria. His passion and love for the city is obvious. We made many stops along the way and the views were absolutely spectacular. Mark let us set the pace for the hike and was flexible as to how long we stayed to admire each view. The photographs he took are amazing - some of the best family photos we've ever had. If we had more time in Victoria we would have done a second tour with Mark. We can't say enough about how much we enjoyed this experience and will cherish the memories for a lifetime."
-Karen B. Lisle, Illinois - August 5, 2015
"Have you ever been disappointed with your vacation pics, either because it doesn't capture the beauty of where you were or because you look worse than your driver's license photo? That's part of the reason I booked this hike and, also for my fourteen year old son to get an interactive experience in Victoria where he might enjoy nature. My son was worried that either his legs would "die" or he'd die of boredom, but Mark made sure that we both had a great time. He drove us to several destination points and we went for short hikes to get different perspectives of Victoria, all beautiful. Inexperienced hikers don't need to worry. Mark is very attentive and shares his passion for photography, but if you're not crazy about being photographed and just want more hiking, then he's very respectful and accommodating. He makes it clear the tour is about you, which was great because we went on a tour the day before so we skipped some of the initial points of interest and i think he may have added some other places to visit. The hard part was leaving each point. I loved seeing the deer and we were lucky enough to see and feed a seal. My son loved the last destination with a 360 degree view of Victoria. On top of a great experience are awesome pics of the beautiful places we visited which were included in the price of the tour, and quite a few where I look better than my driver's license photo. : ) Thanks very much Mark for sharing both your passion for photography and hiking. Look forward to your other tour next time."
-Lana L. Vancouver, B.C. - July 29, 2015
"I found Mark's hiking business online and sent him an email requesting a hiking trip. He was very quick in getting back to me. He emailed me pictures of some of the adventures he has been on. I found Mark to be very friendly and easy to talk to. He is very knowledgeable in the area we were hiking. I was put into a all ladies group from all over the world. We were captivated by the scenery Mark lead us too. Not only does he guide you he also takes amazing photos of you on your hike. It was a thrill of a life time for me and a very spiritual experience. I would recommend Mark for your next hike."
-Myrtle B. Alberta - July 21, 2015
"My wife and I took the easy hike and SeaCider lunch and tasting with Mark two days ago. We had a great time. We were fortunate to see some beautiful, but little known, sights in Victoria. Mark is HikeVictoria, so he is everyone's tour guide. Mark is very knowledgable about Victoria, loves the area and is eager to share his enthusiasm with his guests. He is also an easy person to spend several hours with. An added bonus was that Mark is a professional photographer and took several excellent photos of us and sent them to us at no extra charge. If you want to see more of Victoria than just the downtown area, but without the bother of renting a car, then HikeVictoria with Mark is an excellent way to do it."
-Michael P. Tulsa, Oaklahoma - July 20, 2015
"My husband and I were so lucky to have our concierge give us the information about Mark's hiking tours. We were picked up and dropped off at our hotel. Mark had everything we needed for the hike. What a fantastic time we had! Although my husband was very apprehensive about his hiking ability he was so pleased that we agreed to book a hike with Mark. Mark was excellent at pacing the hike so that it was enjoyable and not too challenging for my husband. Mark was an excellent guide and the hike was absolutely beautiful. I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning in the summer in Victoria- out exploring the beauty of nature with a knowledgeable, experienced and such a personable and friendly guide! There were plenty of stops to take our own scenic pictures. What an added bonus to have some great pictures Mark had taken to remember our experience. I cannot recommend this enough. It was definitely a highlight of our trip to Victoria to celebrate our wedding anniversary."
-Rachel V., Calgary Alberta - July 19, 2015
"We hiked to the top of Gowlland Tod. It was a lot of fun and Mark was a great guide; he took the time to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves, told us great stories of the history of the park, and took awesome pictures. The hike wasn't too hard for someone who doesn't hike up mountains very much, but I did work up a good sweat. Very enjoyable for someone visiting and looking for an outdoor adventure."
-Britainnie P. Saskatchewan - July 17, 2015
"Victoria is a beautiful city -- ocean, mountains, great neighborhoods and architecture -- but the difference is Mark, the owner and guide (his is a one-guide tour company). Our group was three generations (grandparents, daughter, and teenage grandsons). Mark managed to engage and connect with each of us individually, as well as with the g