Luxury travel means having the comforts you want when you need them. Wants and needs come into play big-time when a commute involves transporting precious cargo, whether it by land, sea or air. For us, the journey ahead involves land, sea and our most precious cargo—three children under the age of six. We have our sights set on Gabriola Island, a two ferry commute starting at Vancouver, BC. Gabriola Island is an adored destination for travellers looking for exquisite sandy beaches, ocean waters thriving with sea-life and a community of artists, agriculturalists, bakers and stewards of the land. The Island is a place for our family of five to cut loose from the confines of city life and enjoy a kind of luxury experience that softens the edges of the parent life, full of routines and structure.

The Commute...

The 2019 Lexus RX 350 L Luxury 7-seater comes in at around $70,000 CAD rolling on 20" alloy wheels, up-to-date tech with a 12-speaker audio system, climate control throughout the cabin and everything you'd expect from a premium automobile brand like Lexus. What sets this vehicle apart from other luxury cruisers is the quiet cabin, flexible seating and excellent gas mileage. Our first ferry ride is spent watching movies on the iPad, searching for whales and dolphins from the upper outside deck and consuming some snacks that we prepared and packed in the 18.4 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats. The second ferry ride is a short-commute on a vessel that is essentially a floating parking lot with small cabins for walk-on traffic. We opt to stay in the Lexus and pretend it is an amphibious car/boat with lasers that ward off rogue sharks. The refined cabin layout and design show its value with soft touch plastics, high quality perforated leather seats and heated wood and a leather wrapped steering wheel that creates a relaxing atmosphere as we reach the final stage of our six hour door-to-door commute.

The Beaches...

Gabriola Island has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, so naturally we load up the Lexus with sand toys, a pop up tent and a cooler of food. The optional trunk liner and independently folding third row seats make packing gear for the entire day a breeze. We pull up to Twin Beach and set up camp for a day of fun in the sun. We notice a beached sail boat and decide to investigate. A young man that looks to be in his late teens lets us know that he has been exploring the coastline over the last several months and when he is unsure about ocean currents, he prefers to "park" his boat by letting the tide go out and beaching his floating home. He says that beaching the boat for the day is a safer bet than risking the possibility of strong ocean currents dragging his anchor and landing up on rocks. We watch the tide come in few hours later and lift the boat away in search of more adventures. We find our own adventure collecting sea shells and turning over large rocks so we can watch baby sea crabs scatter for cover.

Island Creatures...

With kids, its best to avoid spending too much time in the sun, just ask any dermatologist, so we decide to visit Paradise Island Alpaca Farm rather than spend another day at the beach. Paradise Island is close to Gabriola town center and is a must visit spot on the Island. The alpacas, goats and a few ponies are cared for by Dave and Taylor Turrie, however tours of the farm are often led by gregarious Island youngsters that call Gabriola home. The tours consist of exploring the farm grounds which includes a fairy garden walk, time with the animals as well as a look at the looms that turn the alpaca fur into thread for sweaters, hats, gloves and puppets. A gift shop stop at the end of the tour is a great finale as everyone leaves with a souvenir to take home.

To cool to cook...

Part of enjoying Island life is finding good spots to enjoy meals with locally sourced and grown ingredients. The Kitchen located at the town center is steps from a grocery store, art gallery and children's playground which makes it the perfect 'skip the dishes' destination. We love the aztec chicken wrap, kitchen burger (add guac) and baked crab dip. Another spot worth tracking down is Salt & Co. food truck. The sad news is they only roll out the goods during July and August, and run out of the popular menu items pretty quickly, which means plan to eat lunch early.

Fishing adventure...

You can drop a fishing line at any of the beaches and coastal Island spots and catch-and-release little rock cod or minnows, but be sure to purchase a fishing license before hand. If this is your speed, visit Drumbeg National Park for some catch-and-release fun. You can stand on large rock outcroppings and cast directly into the inlet. Those looking for a true ocean fishing experience can charter a variety of fishing tours through Silver Blue Charters. Owner and long time Gabriola resident, Captain Bob Meyer, has over 30 years of experience from fishing all over the world, and works closely with clients to customize tours in ways that makes the entire experience, safe, fun and loaded with action. Our 6 year old, Remy, loves boats, fishing and loves talking about boats and fishing. Bob is super patient with him and is able to mix up our tour with time for me to try some proper trolling and some coastline jigging for the Remy. Sadly, I let 'the big one' get away as I can't reel in the line fast enough. The fish swims at the boat so fast that the hook pops out of its mouth before we can net it. The boy caught several rock cod, and a green ling cod that is big enough to take home. Bob also put out some prawn traps that fill up nicely by the end of our tour.

The Jury...

The 2019 Lexus RX 350 L Luxury 7-seater provides the perfect blend of a comfortable cabin, great fuel economy with rugged off-road driving potential that makes family travel for five relaxing and smooth.