Help us see Vancouver island

Old Aug 28th, 2014, 12:14 PM
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Help us see Vancouver island

We have one week in Vancouver .... Trying to work out how many days in the city and how many on Vancouver island. First trip to Canada for all of us, two couples early 50's. We are all into walking, eating, and natural beauty for amateur photographers. I must confess to not knowing too much about the island before this trip planning started and am a little over whelmed by it's size .... We know we can't see 'it all' in a few days but we are excited to experience as much as we can.

I'm guessing with limited time flying is our best option? Accommodation - happy to stay in 'nice' motels/inns along the way - meaning it doesn't need to be 'The Ritz' but clean with some charm would be nice.

Thanks as always
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 04:58 PM
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My favorite place to stay in Victoria is the Surf Motel- small, clean, rooms have kitchens which are handy and best of all, right across the street from the ocean. There are wonderful walking paths across the street from the motel with great ocean views and we found it easy to walk to the inner harbor from the motel as well.

You can lay in bed in the AM and see cruise ships floating past while you drink your coffee.
Parking is included in the fee.

Apparently some people think its too noisy, but I am a sound sleeper so not a problem for me.

I have stayed there several times now

http://surfmotel.net
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 05:08 AM
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This is a tough question. You probably want to spend two days in Vancouver. Then the big decision is whether you want to visit Victoria. Beautiful city and nice surrounding area. But it takes you south and the other nice sites on the island are west and north.

The last time we were there there were more Aussies in Tofino than Canadians. You have to go there. There is Campbell River to fish (1.5 days) or Comox/Courtney/Mount Washington to hike/mountain bike. It all depends on how active you want to be.

Personally I prefer to drive on the Island. There are so many places to stop the car and just look around.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 11:11 PM
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Thanks so much... I knew it was a toughy!! I'm stuck exactly for the reasons you mention cooluphere here. I'm guessing we 'have' to go to Victoria....who knows if and when we will return.

We will definitely drive.... we can ration four nights....how bout fly into Victoria, stay two nights the head to Torino ????

Thanks sunbum1944.... Will look into it!
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 03:48 AM
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Aussiedreamer - yes that sounds like a plan. With many destinations I might say you could skip the car until you head out of the major cities but in this case having one in Victoria would be nice.

I have a couple of other comments but they need a bit of research. I think you'll be in bed before I post them.
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 05:04 AM
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Oh boy, this is complicated. My first thought was not to fly from Vancouver to Victoria, but rather take the ferry. Assuming you have just flown into Vancouver two days previous(ly), who wants to head back to the airport? Though you could fly from the city harbour. Here is an article on the subject:

http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g15....Victoria.html

If you don't already have your air tickets leaving Vancouver after the one week, you might be better to go Vancouver - Tofino - Victoria and then fly on from there. That would save you returning to Vancouver from Tofino.
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 12:50 PM
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Keep it coming...this is so great. We are actually doing a 7 night cruise from the 28th. So will need to be back in Vancouver. We would love to drive it...but we would use up so much time!
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 02:02 PM
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Aussiedreamer I am trying to piece your trip together through your other thread. So you arrive in Vancouver from Brisbane with seven days to spend before your cruise? And if you are going to be doing a lot of driving in other beautiful areas then that somewhat negates the need to drive on Vancouver Island. That is important as I would usually say that the drive/ferry/drive method of transportation around that area is so magnificent that the time spent doing it should not be considered "lost travel time" as it usually is here on Fodors.

So if you are willing to fly between Vancouver-Victoria-Tofino-Vancouver then have at it, though it may be a bit expensive. The one thing we would do differently (and just about no one else would) would be to fly directly to Victoria upon arrival in Vancouver (even from Brisbane). Get that out of the way and then only have two transportation legs left over the next week. But if you are willing to fly from the downtown Vancouver harbour to Victoria then that transportation leg is not that onerous.

I just checked the one way flight cost from Vancouver harbour (right downtown) to Victoria harbour - found a flight for as low as 120 Aus dollars. Not as bad as I thought it would be.

I am making some assumptions above. Sorry if I am off the mark.
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 03:57 PM
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I think the float plane from Vancouver would be fun and you can take from Vancouver Harbor and land in Victoria Harbor so no going back to airports.

I have taken the float plane from Seattle to Victoria and thought it was a fun experience-
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 05:23 PM
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You're assumptions are pretty spot on and appreciated. I did consider the float plane....which I thought could be a fun new adventure. Maybe one way, then on the return we would only have to get from the airport to the cruise terminal, it's about double the cost if I'm correct?!? I think we really do need to drive on the island..... Us Aussies are pretty used to covering long distances, especially when the scenery is new and lovely. I might get our traveling buddy to jump on and read some of your thoughts too.

Keep it coming
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 05:26 PM
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Dh has just chimed in with " I think we should drive to Vancouver island!!
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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I like your husband. You get your speed up, find a good hill and ......

The distances are not that long. Perhaps 4.5 hours between Victoria and Tofino and 5.5 hours between Tofino and Vancouver (much of that on the ferry). But they may seem like long trips when you have so little time.

There are a lot of variables at play here. How to get to the island. Which island location to visit first. The possibility of drop off charges if you fly to the island but drive back to Vancouver.

The good news is you really can't go wrong. I agree with driving on the island. I read somewhere that Michelin rated the drive between Victoria and Tofino as was one of the three prettiest drives in Canada.
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 07:08 PM
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Sold
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 08:38 PM
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Just some food for thought. There is a bus from downtown Victoria that will take you directly to the cruise ship terminal in Vancouver. You could see Vancouver and then come to Victoria by bus/ferry http://www.bcferries.com/ It is a very scenic route. (The bus takes you right to downtown Victoria) You could rent the car in Victoria for your trip to Tofino. Then spend the last night in Victoria and get the bus to the cruise the day of.
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Old Aug 31st, 2014, 06:04 AM
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If you are now planning on making that drive to Tofino, be sure not to miss stopping at Coombs Country Market. Pick up some picnic chow for that beautiful drive across the island, see the goats on the roof. http://www.oldcountrymarket.com/

A lovely drive, indeed.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2014, 12:24 PM
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After Victoria, you could rent a car and drive to Tofino. It's about 4 hours ( I live in Nanaimo, about half way in between). The drive to Tofino is very scenic especially past Nanaimo. The joy of it is that you can stop at many interesting sites, Cathedral Grove, (huge cedar trees), Coombs possibly for lunch, lots of lakes and rivers. After Tofino, you could drive back down to Nanaimo and take a BC ferry to Just outside Vancouver. There is a bus to link to downtown vancouver or take a $45 cab ride to Canaca Place where your cruise ship is probably docked. There are nice hotels right there. No need to look elsewhere. Just another thought, the above Surf motel is not downtown Victoria which is extremely attractive place to stay. I could highly recommend that as that is where you can hook up to tours, resturants etc.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2014, 10:03 PM
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Thank you Colleen, very helpful.

sludick, I did answer you by saying thanks for the reminder about 'the goats on the roof' but for some reason it was removed?

<I>Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators</I><b> ??????</B>
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Old Sep 2nd, 2014, 11:17 PM
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The Surf motel is really only 5 min from the Inner Harbor and I think very walkable- but then, I am a walker. It has a full array of brochures for any tour you might consider.

The Inner Harbor is a nice area to stay in but the Surf Motel is a reasonable option
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Old Sep 3rd, 2014, 04:14 AM
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Very weird that comment was removed. Have a great trip!
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 05:05 PM
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ok......the planning is down to our 4 nights on Vancouver Island.

Its been decided we will drive taking the ferry.
What's your thoughts on <b>Tofino 2 nights, Victoria 1 night and somewhere 'pretty/scenic/rustic/lovely' in between?</b> Remembering our interests are, scenery, photography, walking, eating and drinking .

And should we head straight for Victoria or Tofino on arrival?
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