Ferry to Vancouver Island

Old Jan 11th, 2003, 05:53 PM
Posts: n/a
Ferry to Vancouver Island

Which is the best route for an overseas visitor to take to get from Vancouver to Vancouver Island? Looking at the BC Ferries website (excellent information) I am confused because there seems to be more than one choice.
Can you book ahead to take a car? During May/June would there be any difficulty in getting on board?
Any information on the ferry situation or good places to stay/see on Vancouver Island would be appreciated.
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 06:35 PM
John Kostiuk
Posts: n/a
The best way would be to take a sea plane from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria.

If you decide to take the ferry during the spring / summer you would be best advised to make a reservation for the ferry if you are bringing along a car.
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 06:50 PM
Posts: n/a
You can fly from the airport, or take a float plane from downtown Vancouver. The Victoria airport is actually in Sidney, a half hour drive away from town but there are convenient shuttle buses. The float planes land right in Victoria's inner harbour so it is quicker and requires no extra transportation expense. There are helijets as well.

You can also take a ferry to Nanaimo on the island.

I don't know that I would rent a car just to take over on the ferry. May/June is usually good but there can be waits at any time. Reservations cost more. You can take a bus from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria (no waits that way) and rent a car there if need be. Where to stay on Vancouver Island? Tofino would be another good choice but it would be best to have a car for that.
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 06:59 PM
Posts: n/a
Hi Marg,

You're correct that there is more than one way to get from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. In Greater Vancouver, there are two ferry terminals: Tsawwassen (pronounced "ta-WOSS-in") and Horseshoe Bay. For most visitors' purposes, the Tsawwassen terminal is the one to use. Ferries from that terminal go to both Swartz Bay (just north of Victoria) and Duke Point in Nanaimo (the two most popular routes), and it's the closest terminal to the Vancouver airport. If, like most travelers, you're going to Victoria, the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry is the one you want... As for booking ahead, you can indeed make reservations on the most heavily traveled routes. On BC Ferries' website, just go to Schedules -> Frequently Asked Questions -> About Reservations, and you should be set. If you have reservations, you should have little difficulty getting on board regardless of when you go. If you don't, the longest wait you'd likely encounter would be the Victoria Day long weekend near the end of May, which might be 2 or 3 sailings. Three sailings is a long time to wait, so I don't recommend going that weekend. If you go mid-week, you shouldn't encounter anything longer than a 1-sailing wait, perhaps not even that... As for places to stay/see, don't miss the Empress Hotel in Victoria. It's expensive but luxurious and high tea there is a must. Also fascinating is the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Provincial Legislature, both of which are only a stone's throw from the Empress on the waterfront downtown. If you're feeling adventurous, I'd recommend going whale-watching while you're on the Island as well. Some operators offer tours from Victoria, but the best whale watching is off the west coast of the Island, near the community of Tofino, a five-hour drive from Victoria. I went whale watching there in 1996, and it was the experience of a lifetime - we saw a whole pod of orcas in Tofino Harbour, and a huge grey whale swam right under our boat on our way to Hot Springs Cove (which is also not to be missed). There are many tour operators in Tofino as well, but I recommend Jamie's Whaling Station (www.jamies.com)... Anyway, I hope this helps, and if you have other questions, feel free to e-mail me at the above address. Cheers!
Old Jan 12th, 2003, 08:11 AM
Posts: n/a
Hi Marg, The ferry trip to Vancouver Island is rather nice. The most scenic is going from Tsawwassen to Victoria - a beautiful trip. It is still nice taking the ferries to Nanaimo, though. It depends on where you want to go on the island. Renting a car in Vancouver is the easiest and creates less hassle in my opinion. It only costs about $15 to reserve a ferry so I always do that myself if I really want to catch a particular ferry. I don't like having to wait. How many days do you have? The island is quite large and diverse. Tofino and Pacific Rim National Park are definite "must sees". Many people do a circle trip, if they have time, taking in the Sunshine Coast as well. They go Victoria then up to Tofino on the west side of the island, then back to the east side and up to Comox. From there take another ferry over to Powell River. From there another ferry to the Sunshine Coast and then to Horseshoe Bay (a pretty little community). You get lots of lovely scenery and the ferries down from Powell River are particularily scenic. You can email me directly if you wish for more information on Tofino.
Old Jan 12th, 2003, 10:07 AM
Posts: n/a
Just as a matter of interest, the BC Geographical Names dept lists it as "sa WOSS-en" but the pronounciation with the t is often heard.
Old Jan 15th, 2003, 12:23 AM
Posts: n/a
If you have time in Vancouver, go to the Aboriginal Museum in the University of BC grounds.

Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Aug 23rd, 2010 08:59 AM
May 10th, 2008 05:05 PM
Feb 6th, 2008 01:35 PM
May 23rd, 2006 11:03 PM
Jul 31st, 2005 01:01 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -