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16 January 2013 / leggypeggy

Bariloche, Victoria Island and Bambi’s Forest

Victoria Island, Argentina

A breath-taking view from Victoria Island

It’s no wonder Bariloche is a popular tourist and resort town in Argentina. Set in the heart of Patagonia and the country’s scenic Lake District, the town feels a lot like Switzerland.

Snow-capped mountains, ski fields, networks of lakes, lush greenery, carved gables and a glut of classy restaurants, cafés and chocolate shops go a long way to making you feel like you are in the centre of Europe and the Alps.

Lake Victoria Ship

Our ship to Lake Victoria. There were at least 10 of us and we had the ‘cabin’ right at the front—plenty of windows

Some of our group hired bikes and spent a day pedaling along the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. They raved so much about the scenery that we wished we’d had an extra day in Bariloche. (If any of them are reading this, don’t forget you promised to write a short spiel and send photos!)

While they were pedaling, a group of us bought the makings of a picnic lunch and way-too-many bottles of wine and headed to the chairlift at Cerro Campanario for a chance to overlook the surrounding lakes.

But it wasn’t picnic or wine time yet. We were saving that for Victoria Island. So after Cerro Campanario, we hopped on a bus to the port where we caught the boat for a lake cruise to the island and later to Los Arrayanes National Park.

Rock art, Victoria Island, Argentina

A lone piece of rock artwork on Victoria Island. I wonder if there is more?

Victoria Island is incredibly scenic. As expected, Poor John and Super Jong were the only ones to set off on a couple of island walks. The rest of us lounged around eating and drinking wine. Some of the bravest ones went swimming—it takes a lot to get me into bathers, swimmers, bathing suits or whatever you call them and even more to get me into cold water.

So most of us just tucked into the wine and picnic food, told tall tales, laughed at silly jokes and stories, and counted our blessings for such a lovely day.

But stage two was in the offing, and what a great stop it was. Our boat (which had made a second run to the port to pick up more passengers) returned to collect us and take us all to Los Arrayanes National Park.

This incredible reserve protects a forest of myrtles, with some trees being 15 metres tall and between 500 and 650 years of age. Timber boardwalks (and a Spanish-speaking guide) led us through the trees. The most surprising aspect is the fact that this forest inspired the animators who ‘sketched’ the surroundings for the Disney film of Bambi.

Gosh, we could look at the forest and see the inspiration. I could have stayed for days.

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Leave a Comment
  1. skippersy / Jan 17 2013 10:29 am

    LP & PJ,

    No end to you finding still another very good location to explore and enjoy…

    Sy S.


  2. Ken Berry / Jan 17 2013 8:30 pm

    I well remember going to the mirror image of this across the border in Chile in 1996 — and I called it Switzerland with volcanoes!!


    • leggypeggy / Jan 17 2013 8:43 pm

      Switzerland with volcanoes! Why didn’t I think of that? It’s the perfect description 🙂


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