Duncan and Victoria BC Canada

Old Apr 30th, 2010, 01:16 PM
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Duncan and Victoria BC Canada

My husband and I will be spending a few days in Brentwood Bay before driving out to Tofino this July. We especially like nature and bird watching. We are thinking about taking the ferry from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay, assuming you can take your car on the ferry, then drive to Duncan to go to the Pacific NW Raptors Visitor Center. It looks as though there are some nice estuaries there that would be good for birdwatching close by too, like Somenos Marsh Wildlife Refuge and an estuary at Cowichan Bay. Has anyone been to any of these places and if so, is it worth going there?

We were initially thinking of just stopping at the raptor center on the way out to Tofino but it doesn't open until 11 and we really wanted to be further along by then. So we would need to devote a day to doing this, and then driving back to Brentwood Bay. It doesn't seem like it is very far but maybe our time is better spend elsewhere.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions. We also plan to go to Butchart Gardens, walk around Victoria, etc., but weren't sure about the other day we have free. Other ideas, if this one is not a good one?

Thanks!
JoniC
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Old Apr 30th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Just wondering if there's any particular reason you want to take the Brentwood Bay-Mill Bay ferry. You'd be missing a very beautiful drive along the Malahat, and I don't think it saves you any actual time. Others might want to correct me on this, but it seems to me that the only rationale for taking the ferry is to avoid traffic delays on the Malahat during rush hour.
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Old Apr 30th, 2010, 06:52 PM
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That is a good point about the ferry. I had thought about doing it because we are staying at Brentwood Bay right next to the ferry and I assumed it would be a lot quicker than driving but if not, it may not be worth the hassle. I had also heard the ferry ride is beautiful. Maybe take the ferry one way and drive along the Malahat on the way back?
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Old Apr 30th, 2010, 07:51 PM
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If you are staying in Brentwood Bay then it is quicker. It is a delightful little ride across the inlet. I would certainly recommend the ferry. You will see plenty of beautiful scenery on the rest of your drive. Are you planning on seeing Victoria after you go to Tofino - if so you can drive the Malahat on the way back. Have you seen this website? http://www.birding.bc.ca/regions/victoria/index.php
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Old May 1st, 2010, 08:51 AM
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Another place you may want to stop instead on the way to Tofino is in Errington, just past Parksville, called the 'North Island Wildlife recovery centre' if you are into birds and wildlife.
http://www.niwra.org/
You can then stop at Coombs for a bite to eat at the Coombs Market for your half way point to Tofino.
http://www.oldcountrymarket.com/
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 10:35 AM
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Take the ferry over (especially since you're staying right beside it!) and then drive back down. I'm hope that I misread your posting, you aren't planning on driving up to Tofino just for day are you? It's a 5 hour drive from Victoria.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 10:42 AM
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You guys are absolutely right - the ferry is quicker if you're staying in Brentwood Bay.
The Coombs Market is fun, and the Parrot Refuge is very close to it, if that interests you. If you don't want to have lunch at the Market, do at least treat yourself to one of their amazing ice-cream cones.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 01:04 PM
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Meetshare - I may have posted this before when someone mentioned the ice cream at Coombs but I have to tell you my funny story. Several years ago when we lived in Qualicum my daughter and SIL were visiting (it was in the early fall). We were driving around and my SIL saw the ice cream stand in Little Qualicum. I said just wait we are going to a place where they have the best ice cream and it is a really good deal. He said - So what is it free?? When we got to the market they were closing up for the season and in front of the ice cream counter was a big sign "Free Ice Cream" We still laugh about it. Moral of the story - find out when their last day is and pay them a visit!!!!
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 10:03 PM
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I'd better not do that - I would gain about a hundred pounds just looking at the sign!
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Old May 4th, 2010, 01:22 PM
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Thank you for all the great suggestions! No I am not driving to Tofino for the day! We are going there for 4 days after we visit the Victoria area. Will drive there and then was thinking about trying to get a float plane back from Tofino to Seattle directly but it doesn't seem like anyone does this. Closest thing I could find was a regular wheel plane charter with Rite Brothers. (Are they reputable?) Tried contacting Kenmore Air but no response from them. I know they used to go between Tofino and Seattle but not sure if they still do.

Thanks again,
JoniC
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