Help plan trip to Vancouver Island

Aug 7th, 2008, 07:02 AM
  #1  
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Help plan trip to Vancouver Island

My wife and I are planning a 7-10 day trip to Vancouver Island next summer. We'd like to stay at least 2-3 days the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino.

Aside from that, we are not sure where to spend the rest of our time and which route to take to get to Tofino. Here are some general questions -- of course, I'm open to other suggestions also. THANKS!!

1) Should we stay in Victoria? How long? Any small hotels that you would recommend?

2) Since we're flying into Vancouver, should we stay here instead of Victoria before heading to Tofino?

3) Should we rent a car and drive along the west (and/or east?) coast.

4) I've seen some great spots to stay on the Sunshine Coast/Desolation Sound (Sonora Resort). Should we try to make this part of the trip and take a ferry to/from Vancouver Island?
ekjojo is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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You haven't really said anything about what you're interested in seeing and doing so without knowing that, it's hard to recommend Victoria vs Vancouver, etc.

That said, if you're at all interested in outdoors activities, 2-3 days is the bare minimum to spend in Tofino--4-5 days would be much better. There's so much to do there.

And yes, renting a car to get to Tofino is a good idea, as car rentals there are very expensive (if you fly). There's only one route to Tofino btw--Rt. 4 across the island. Cathedral Grove is a must stop on the way.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 08:30 AM
  #3  
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Thanks NWWanderer - - we love the outdoors, which is a big reason we're coming to Vancouver.

Wildlife watching, day hiking, biking, etc. are what we're looking for. Which is why I was leaning towards Victoria, rather than Vancouver. We also want some time to sit and relax.

I'd love to stay in Tofino the whole time, but I don't want to miss out on the rest of what Vancouver Island has to offer. Especially if it's worth spending a couple days in Victoria.

Could we use Tofino as a base for day trips?

I read about Cathedral Grove, which looks great. Could this be a day trip from Tofino?

Thanks again for the info.
ekjojo is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 09:06 AM
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I'm trying to figure out how you're planning on getting to Tofino from Vancouver without renting a car. Personally I think an overnight trip to Victoria is worthwhile. It's about a four/five hour drive from Tofino. Butchart Gardens is always worth seeing.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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I also thought about taking a sea plane into Tofino from Vancouver or Victoria, which would provide some good views of the island.

Sounds appealing, but having a car would be nice to get around.

Anyone recommend a sea plane? Or is the drive just as scenic?
ekjojo is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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I would spend 2-3 nights in each of Victoria and Vancouver and the rest of the time in Tofino (assuming a 10 day trip).

There's no sea plane service to Tofino from Victoria or Vancouver that I know of, just regular small planes (but that may have changed).

You definitely want a car there to take day trips to Pacific Rim National Park for hiking. The other day trips will be for things like kayaking, whale watching, Hot Springs Cove, etc.

Victoria is a city--a small city, but still a city. It's worth seeing but I think a day or two there is plenty. And Vancouver is just a great city, period, so worth a night or two.

NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 12:27 PM
  #7  
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Thanks again NWWanderer - - any quick recommendations for a 2-3 day itinerary in Vancouver? Could we spend the entire time exploring the city or should we venture outside of the city up the coast?

How about hotels in Vancouver? We like smaller hotels, but would be open to anything.

Thanks for the great info.
ekjojo is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 01:23 PM
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There are any number of posts about things to do in Vancouver if you do a search--Stanley Park, Granville Island, Yaletown and the UBC Museum of Anthropology would be at the top of my list. Time permitting you could do a day trip to Whistler along the dramatic Sea to Sky highway. And then there are the restaurants...never enough time for all the good ones!

The Wedgewood would be my choice for small hotel in Vancouver.





NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 8th, 2008, 04:58 AM
  #9  
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NWWanderer - - sounds great.

How long does it take to drive to Whistler from Vancouver?

Should we stop along the way anywhere?
ekjojo is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 03:43 PM
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ekjoj...2 days minimum in Victoria, and you would not need a car for that. This is what I would reccommend that you do if time is short and sweet:
1) Butchart Gardens (bus tour)
2) Whale watching
3) Royal BC Museum
4) lots of walking and exploring from the downtown area
5) 2 day 'hop-on-hop-off' bus pass allows for easy access and scenic tour
6) kayaking

A car is nice making way to Tofino, lots to see and do along the way that you would miss by plane.

Tofino: whale watching for Gray & Humpback whales, & hot springs cove, nature walks on Meares Isl.

Victoria: whale watching for Orca (Killer Whales)

check out Trip Advisor for unbiased reviews on who to use and what to do...www.tripadvisor.com

Have fun!
MegaL41 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 09:31 AM
  #11  
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Thanks MegaL41 for the info. I like the idea of the bus passes for 2 days, especially since we like to walk and explore.

To get to Meares Island, would you recommend doing a kayak trip with the walk?

Is the orca whale watching better near Victoria than up near Tofino? Is that why you'd recommend doing it in Victoria?

Thanks again!
ekjojo is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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There are 3 resident pods of orcas in the Strait of Georgia and the Juan de Fuca Strait (the bodies of water immediately around Victoria) but there are no resident pods of orcas on Vancouver Island's west coast (by Tofino). The only whales that pass by Tofino are migratory whales - grey whales and humpback whales. Of course, that isn't to say that there are never orca sightings around Tofino, but it would be a pretty slim chance compared to the 95% guarantee of seeing them around Victoria.
Carmanah is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 08:06 AM
  #13  
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Wow, thanks Carmanah for the great information. That helps a lot.
ekjojo is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 06:52 PM
  #14  
 
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Try this link, our European homestay visitors last year used this service & had a good time

http://tofinobus.com/


They found it reasonable & more convienent than greyhound buses.

daun0 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Also, in Victoria - for dinner, PAGLIACCI's ...just trust me, it's worth it to wait in any line up, the prices are reasonable and it's got good food and pleasant service, live music some nights too. Every time we to Victoria, we go here.
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Feb 1st, 2009, 07:56 PM
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I have gone to Tofino for 3 summers. We always fly into Nanaimo, rent a car, and drive across the island to Tofino. I usually stay 3-5 days but it is never long enough. It is a very relaxing, stunningly beautiful place on this earth. You are surrounded by mountains, ocean, and gorgeous architecture. I always stay near the Wickaninnish but usually in a Bed and Breakfast that is on the beach. My son surfs so I want to watch him. I have gone whale-watching, taken a large yacht tour out of Uclulet, gone to stay at the Inn-Chanter at Hot Springs Cove, eaten many times at SOBO, participated in the Lantern Festival. The drive to Tofino is beautiful. We stop whenever we feel like it. You will love it!
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Feb 2nd, 2009, 04:53 AM
  #17  
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Thanks bonlou, do you have any favorite stops on the drive to Tofino? We'd be up for any kind of stop - - if it's off the beaten path or not.
ekjojo is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 05:23 PM
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There's only really one main road between Nanaimo and Tofino, so you can't get too off track.

The two major stopping points:

Coombs - specifically the "Goats on the Roof" market.

Shortly after Coombs is Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park - a majestic stand of ancient Douglas firs.
Carmanah is offline  
Mar 20th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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Hello, Where are you visiting from? I would suggest, spend a couple of days in Vancouver. Go up Grouse Mountain in the afternoon to come back down and see the sunset. Visit Stanley Park and English Bay. Granville Island is a great place to visit too. Rent a car and take the ferry to Nanaimo. Drive up to Coombs (goats on the roof) and maybe spend a night in QUalicum Beach or Parksille to break up the trip. The drive from Parksville to Tofino is around 2 1/2 hours depending upon traffic. You want to take your time because the sceanery is spectacular and the road a bit hairy. On the way is Cathedral Grove as mentioned and well worth a stop.
The Wickaninish hotel in Tofino I think is over rated. Nice, but overrated. I would suggest the Long Beach Lodge or Pacific Sands. A more budget minded place is Tin Wis and Ocean Village on McKenzie Beach. They are all right on the beach. You can take a whale watching tour either by zodiak or boat from Tofino. I have never been skunked. You can also go by small float plane to hot springs cove which is a great trip. Takes about 20 minutes to fly there, you hike to the springs and then the plane will pick you up again a few hours later. Dont miss going to Ucluelet, which is a 1/2 hour drive from Tofino, and hiking on the Wild Pacific Trail. A wonderful trail that hugs the ocean and takes you through old growth trees. There is a charming little aquarium in Ucluelet. You can arrange a fantastic boat tour of the broken islands for the day from Ucluelet and see whales, bears and sea lions aboard the yacht Archepelao (sp?)Lunch is great at either the new Black Rock Resort on the ocean in Ucluelet or the Wickininish interperative centre (not to be confused with the hotel) which is also on the ocean and provides wonderful views a great sand beach and has a wonderful little museum.
After Tofino you can drive to Victoria. Stopping on the way to see Chemanius (murals) would be a good way to break up the trip. The drive from Tofino to Victoria non stop would be around 4 hours - 5 hours depending upon traffic.
Victoria has lots to do that has already been mentioned
Have a great time here!!
live42day is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:10 PM
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hi just came back from a birthday weekend in tofino. we stayed at long beach lodge ( which i believe is less expensive than the wic) the service was excellent , the food exquisite ( and less expensive than "fine" dining in tofino townits a pretty beach and as part of it is w/i the park boundary there is less development than near the wic on chesterman beach. our favourite hike was the kilometer down through the forest on the boardwalks to schooner cove w/i the park we. were there on a gorgeous sat afternoon in early march and shared about 5 km of beach w/ literally a dozen others

cheers
AndrewDavid
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