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A Day in Victoria as side trip to Vancouver visit - need transport advice

A Day in Victoria as side trip to Vancouver visit - need transport advice

Old May 6th, 2002, 11:27 AM
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A Day in Victoria as side trip to Vancouver visit - need transport advice

We're in Vancouver for three nights this summer - (been there before) - plan a day in Victoria. Main objective is Butchart gardens and (might as well!) high tea at the Empress. What do you experts advise for us (4 adults) in how to handle the transportation? We will have a rental car but had hoped to leave it at our Vancouver hotel (a couple of blocks from the cruise ship terminal). But now that I study the BC ferries' website (and locations of terminals), as well as location of the Gardens, it's unclear what's best. Help! (also, any info about the new, highspeed catamarans?) THANKS!
Old May 6th, 2002, 11:45 AM
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Don't mention the high speed "fast cats" around here! They are a nasty word. They don't work in our waters and are for sale, although there don't seem to be any buyers.

Ferries to Vancouver Island don't leave from the cruiseship terminal. Ferries to Nanaimo leave from Horseshoe Bay, while Ferries to Victoria (actully a 25 minute drive from Victoria) leave from Tsawwasan, a 45 minute drive from downtown Vancouver. If you want, you can take a bus from downtown Vancouver (Grayline I believe) that goes on the ferry and will drop you in downtown Victoria. You may want to take your car over, though. That will allow you to explore a little more on the island and drive yourself to Butchart Gardens. You can take a tour to Butchart from downtown Victoria, but the additional cost of you taking a tour, rather than going to the gardens yourself, probably eats up a good chunk of the savings you would have by not taking your car on the ferry.
Old May 6th, 2002, 12:22 PM
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You should reserve for tea at the Empress beforehand.

The trouble with taking a car is that you're facing ferry line-ups or you have to pay extra for reservations. It would be more convenient for getting to the gardens though.

I'm wondering if it would make sense to take the bus over on the ferry (no worrying about line-ups this way) but get off at Swartz Bay and take a taxi to the gardens. From there you could take the city bus #75 into Victoria ($2.50 each). That is probably what I would do. Otherwise, you'd be going into Victoria, back out to Brentwood Bay and then back to Victoria.

Another idea is to take the float plane over. Or you could take the plane one way and the ferry the other. You don't have to reserve for the bus across on the ferry, by the way - just show up at the bus depot, which in Victoria, is right by The Empress Hotel.
Old May 6th, 2002, 02:07 PM
G Mitchell
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If you don't want to take the car you can get a bus from downtown Vancouver (www.pacificcoach.com ) , get off at Swartz Bay and take #70 bus to Beacon( ask for a transfer ), transfer to #75 which will take you to the gardens. To get into Victoria from the gardens, take the #75.

If you are going to Victoria just for Butchart, you might want to consider going to VanDusen Gardens right in Vancouver. Butchart is very commercial and heavily promoted. Many real gardeners consider VanDusen a better garden -- bigger and less crowded. Also visit Queen Elizabeth Park just east of VanDusen.

The Empress high tea is VERY expensive but the hotel lobby is certainly worth a visit. There are cheaper and better "teas" served in various locations around Victoria.Try Point Ellis House, Oak Bay Beach Hotel and White Heather Tea room.

cheers, enjoy
Old May 8th, 2002, 11:59 AM
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Thank you all for the advice - lots of info with which to refine our plans.
We've been to both Van Dusen Gardens (hit it during an especially big weekend four years ago) and Queen Elizabeth park - both were wonderful. I've not been to Victoria before...
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