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Ferrying a car from Vancouver to Victoria and back

Ferrying a car from Vancouver to Victoria and back

Aug 6th, 2001, 11:06 AM
  #1  
Jeanne
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Ferrying a car from Vancouver to Victoria and back

We will be spending Labor Day weekend (September 1st and 2nd) in Victoria and then driving over to Sooke for a couple of days before we return to Vancouver for our flight home to the U.S on September 5th. Since I know nothing about ferries, I need some advice. Will we need reservations for the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria and return? I'm assuming so, but don't know for sure. Will Labor Day create a traffic problem on Saturday the 1st? Also, how much time should we allow on the return from Victoria back to Vancouver? We'll have to return the car to the airport and meet our flight at 4 pm. We thought about just renting a car while we're in Victoria, but the logistics of catching buses, catching ferries, carting luggage around etc., boggles my mind. Any advice?

 
Aug 6th, 2001, 11:40 AM
  #2  
Robyn
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The first thing to realise is that the Labour Day weekend will be a very busy time at the ferry terminal. While reservations aren't necessary during most of the year, I would definitely reserve this time, especially since you have a very strict time schedule.

For example, if you don't have reservations and you arrive at 8am for a 9am sailing, but there are already hundreds of people there, chances are the 9am ferry will be full, and you'll have to wait for the next ferry at 10am. It will eat into your vacation time.

http://www.bcferries.bc.ca is the BC Ferries website. You can get all the schedule information and reservations there.

I wouldn't worry too much about traffic than I would about the lineups at ferry terminal, but having a reservation will help you avoid waiting in long lineups. Typically I would arrive 45 minutes before the ferry departs.

Another thing I should add is that the main ferry terminaly technically isn't in Vancouver, it's in the suburb of Tsawwassen which is a 40 minute drive south of Vancouver. The ferry takes about an hour and a half, once it departs Tsawwassen. It will arrive at the main ferry terminal in the town of Sidney, about a 30 minute drive north of Vancouver. Take into consideration the wait for the ferry, etc, I'd give yourself at least 3 hours between Vancouver and Victoria.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 11:43 AM
  #3  
Robyn
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Ack! Excuse my typo - I meant to write:

"It will arrive at the main ferry terminal in the town of Sidney, about a 30 minute drive north of VICTORIA."

Sidney of course, is on Vancouver Island and a short drive away from Victoria. Take into consideration the time it takes to drive from Vancouver to the Tsawwassen terminal, and the drive from the Sidney terminal to Victoria.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 11:49 AM
  #4  
Rita
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Yes, you can make reservations for the ferry between Vancouver (Tsawassen terminal) and Victoria (Swartz Bay terminal) - a good idea since long weekends usually produce long lineups and sailing waits. Check out the website at http://www.bcferries.com/ for more information and online reservations. The cost of the reservation is $15CDN each way. The ferry crossing time is about an hour and a half.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 12:02 PM
  #5  
April
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Labour Day weekend should be busy on the ferries. I don't know that I'd bother reserving though unless I absolutely had to be somewhere at a certain time... although on that weekend it might be worth it. Reservation times cannot be changed so be sure of the ferry you want, or you lose your money.

September 5th should not be a problem but I would still give myself an extra sailing, probably two, to be sure. Arrive at the terminal at least half an hour before the sailing. The trip itself takes about an hour and a half, and then there is the driving time to the airport.

I understand what you mean about not wanting to bother with luggage, buses, etc., but it might be worth reconsidering. You can leave from downtown Vancouver (or the airport too, I believe) and go directly to downtown Victoria. During the trip, forget about your luggage. It stays locked on the bus while you go to the upper decks on the ferry. No ferry line-ups to worry about. I've never been on a bus that didn't make the next sailing, and they are usually first on and first off.

The bus terminal in Victoria is next to the Empress Hotel. Depending on where you're staying in Victoria, you may not even need a car right away. If you do, however, there are apparently two car rentals - Budget and National across the street.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 03:04 PM
  #6  
Jeanne
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April, if it wasn't for the fact that I assumed we'd need a car to drive up to Whistler, I'd wait to rent one in Victoria. What do you think we should do? Our itinerary is: Vancouver-Whistler-Victoria (including Sooke, so we'll need a car for that, right?)-Vancouver. Can you arrange for bus transport from Whistler straight to Victoria via ferry or would you have to get on another bus to cross to Victoria?
Does the bus from Victoria take you directly to Vancouver airport? See why I'm confused?

 
Aug 6th, 2001, 04:08 PM
  #7  
deb
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check out www.pacificcoach.com for the bus schedules, routes and fares.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 04:56 PM
  #8  
April
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You can take a bus from Whistler to Victoria but I understand you'd have to change buses at the Vancouver depot.

Not all buses go to the Vancouver airport from Victoria. There may be only a few that do.

So - it might be simpler for you to rent a car the whole way.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 04:59 PM
  #9  
Jeanne
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Yes, after looking at that bus schedule, I think I'll just rent the car! Thanks for the ferry schedule and the advice about reservations.
 

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