Nanaimo has lots of lovely green spaces, ocean front to rainforest. Gabriola Island and Newcastle Island, are both worth visiting. Gabriola has some fantastic sandstone formations. Nanaimo can be a gateway to the rest of Vancouver Island. After decades here, there are still lots of places I haven't explored yet.
The biggest problem is getting here from Vancouver. The ferry ride is worth taking, threading through the Gulf Islands. Foot passenger is reasonably priced, but it is a long bus ride from Vancouver to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Taking a vehicle on the ferry is expensive. On the Nanaimo side the ferry arrives in town. You can also fly from downtown Vancouver to downtown Nanaimo. More expensive than the ferry. Very attractive if time is tight - it's a 20 min flight. Bussing from downtown Vancouver to the ferry, and over to Nanaimo is at least 3 hours.
Would certainly be glad to give some pointers, maybe show you around.
Do you like hiking?