I am thrilled to have been chosen as one of 7 bloggers to participate in the Parksville Qualicum Beach QR Code Road Rally 2013! My husband and son travelled with me, so we stayed a couple of extra days and made a nice little vacation out of it. We stayed at The Beach Club in downtown Parksville. It’s right on the beach and a lovely destination for families, girl’s getaways or a romantic rendezvous. I’m a big fan!
Our first stop took us on a 40 minute drive from where we began at Tigh-Na-Mara. We went out to Bowser, B.C. and visited the Deep Bay Marine Field Station. What a neat facility! Our task here was to visit the touch tanks and have our photo taken with one of the sea creatures. There were interesting shellfish, sea cucumbers, starfish, etc.
From here we went back toward Qualicum Beach and were tasked at finding something fun to do on the beach. Two young fellas were skimboarding, so I of course asked them to let me join in! I don’t know if I’m too old or too uncoordinated but I couldn’t figure it out at all. In fact, I looked so ridiculous I’ll make you head over to our Twitter feed if you really want to see the photo, ha ha!
After skimboarding we visited Milner Gardens & Woodlands. I had NO idea how cool this place is! As soon as I got out of my car, a little girl asked me if I had seen any fairies yet. Little did I know, we were on a fairy house hunt. I will be back here. The gardens, the plant species were absolutely incredible and beautiful. The fairy fun for the children is ingenious. I was in a rush to get to our next stop and didn’t take nearly enough photos here (and the ones I did get were with my iPhone). A special island treasure, this is.
^^^Here I am checking to see if any fairies are ‘home’ ^^^
Englishman River Falls was our next stop. We were thrown for a bit of a loop here as the park rangers had removed our QR code sign! On a positive note, we got to see both the lower and upper falls while we searched for it. Any waterfalls are stunning; this one is no exception. Standing on the bridge, watching the powerful falls storm down between the rocks was breathtaking. It’s a fairly easy walk about to view both the upper and lower falls and both are picturesque BC at its best.
We were then directed to one of my favourite places on Vancouver Island – Coombs Country Market. Every time we visit the area, my family makes a trip here to visit the quirky shops, delicious Cuckoo restaurant and to buy great local and imported groceries from the market. Here we were tasked with taking imaginative photos at the Emporium. I’m swimming with the whales here, in case you can’t tell
Our last stop before heading back was Community Park. I talk about this park in my last post on The Beach Club. It is a fantastic park, beachfront, that has something for everyone. My family and I could have spent the whole weekend here!
At the end of the rally, we were to meet in The Grotto mineral pool at Tigh-Na-Mara. The winner was going to be announced in the pool and whisked away for a custom massage! Melissa of The Thirties Grind was crowned the winner of this year’s rally. She’s super fun – check out her site, here. The rest of us lounged in the mineral pool and hot tub, relaxing and unwinding after a fun but hectic event. By this time I had happily put my phone away for the day, but you can learn more about The Grotto mineral pools from this post. Always an amazingly relaxing place to visit.
This was an innovative way for the local tourism organizations to utilize their marketing dollars. They chose influential social media types, with a broad spectrum of audiences, to participate and showcase some of their local hotspots. Throughout the day we were required to solve easy riddles using a scanned QR code at each location. This code led us to our next stop and had us perform one task at each location. To gain points, and ultimately try to win, we would have to take create photos while performing our tasks. Each time we posted, we used the hashtag #PQBRally13. At the end of the day there were some 350 posts from the 7 of us! That’s a pretty great reach to our audiences! I would love to see some other regions take on this kind of neat approach to marketing.
And, just wanted to put this out there, I think I should have been awarded extra points for having the cutest cheerleader ever!