Vancouver in June - does this sound OK?

Jan 9th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,175
Vancouver in June - does this sound OK?

Now the festivities are over (Happy New Year, if it's not too late), it's time to get on with planning my trip to Vancouver. Based on previous advice from my posting before Christmas and a bit of initial research, how does this sound for an initial stab at a route.

Arrive from UK early evening:
- 2 nights Vancouver (no car) to explore and get over flight
- pick up hire car (from airport?)
- 2 nights Victoria (I quite fancy visiting the Butchart gardens)
- 4 nights Tofino
- 3 nights Ruby Lake Resort (or similar)
- 3 nights Whistler (Chalet Luise or similar)

Any thoughts on this? Reasonably priced accommodation recommendations would be welcomed. I'd hoped to get rooms for £100-ish (at current exchange rate 170 CAD) but maybe willing to pay a bit more, if needed. Of the ones mentioned, Ruby Lake was recommended to me on here and Chalet Luise looks good on Trip Advisor.

As mentioned on my previous post, we like scenery, wildlife, walking (not too strenuous), gardens, photography, etc. Don't want to spend too much time in the city. Any suggestions and advice would be most welcomed.

Thanks in advance, Maria

Maria_H is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 10:58 AM
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Hi Maria

We too visited the area in June (2007). We love the outdoors and would suggest the following :

(I will be criticised on this board for this but) Vancouver city has little to offer as a world city - we recognised that it did seem to be one of the world's top cities in which to live. However, it just didn't have the culture or history of many other destinations. Its huge attraction to many as a place to live is its proximity to the wilderness. we spent a week in the city - it was 5 nights too long - 2 nights as you suggest seems perfect - Granville Market, Kitsilano and Grouse Mountain were good trips.

Victoria - a far smaller city and a little off the wall - think Savannah of the north. Came across a family shopping in the downtown whose son was wearing pyjamas at lunchtime - I asked why and was told that he didn't want to get dressed - that's Victoria.

How about skipping the car hire in Vancouver and taking the seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria - it looks like one of those adventures of a lifetime. We didn't and missed out.

Butchard is ...pretty (but we are British gardening snobs) its worth a trip if you are in Victoria.

Vancouver Island - we stayed in Sooke and had a whale of a time. The eating out was very good (even the low key pubs were very good). There was wildlife everywhere including pubs with pet wild seals and black bears on the road. Low tide on the beach was like Forrest Gump's box of chocolate! The big attaction was that you had civilation on the edge of the wilderness.

We didn't make it as far as Tofino due to the fact that it isn't possible to drive further than Port Renfrew - you have to go back through Victoria on a huge detour to get to Tofino from Sooke.

However, in term of nature Tofino appears to be a more extreme version of Sooke due to its location on the open Pacific Ocean.

One note on Orca trips - they may not be everyone's taste - the magic of the experience is tempered by the fact that the pods are hounded by around 20 tourist boats.

Enjoy your trip.

markrosy is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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ps after a lot a research we had decided that the islands to the north of VI looked our best fit - Quadra Island especially.

We backed out as some areas looked a little isolated to visit with our two year old. These islands may be worth a look.

markrosy is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 08:54 AM
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Hi Maria,

I would suggest three nights in Vancouver as the trip from the UK is long and there is a nine hour time difference. You will need the time to get over jet lag. You can pick up a car within the city itself-no need to return to the airport to do so. Please check out the University of BC's Anthropology Museum in addition to everything else that the other poster has suggested. Vancouver is a young and culturally diverse city. We do not have the history of the UK but we offer something different: nature on our doorstep, clean,modern facilities and infrastructure, excellent and varied cuisine, all at relatively affordable prices.

Tofino is nothing like Sooke. The westcoast of Vancouver Island is spectacular but it is a significant drive from Victoria. Don't let that deter you! I am wondering if four nights may be a bit long for that area however.

The Sunshine Coast (Ruby Lake) is also nice but the weather in June can be unpredictable. (as with most of southern BC at this time of year)

You will get better weather in the Okanagan Valley, which is one of Canada's wine growing regions. It is about a 4-5 hour trip from Vancouver by car, but it is worth a visit if you can re-juggle your itinerary.

Whistler is also very nice in the summer-lots of mountain biking and other outdoor activities. You could even consider travelling a few hours past Whistler into the Cariboo-Chilcotin region and stay at a dude ranch for a truly unique experience. (there are several good ones)

I hope this helps!

Enjoy your trip.
pirouette is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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IMO 4 nights is not too much in Tofino at all--that's just three full days, since it's going to take you 5 hours to drive there from Victoria. I have been numerous times, most recently for 5 nights, and I never feel like I have enough time to do all the things I want to do there.

I would agree with the previous poster that Tofino and Sooke are not all that similar.

I'd suggest spending one more night in Vancouver as well, and take the night away from the Sunshine Coast or Whistler.

When are you coming? If early in the summer, the hiking may not be great yet up at Whistler as there may still be snow at the higher elevations. So less time there might make sense.

In Tofino in your price range, I'd recommend the original lodge at Middle Beach.
NWWanderer is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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I just realized you said June in your posting title...sorry I missed that. When in June?
NWWanderer is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 10:45 AM
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Maria, you have five different accommodations in your 14 day visit. It's doable but you might want to re-jig your itinerary.

Since you want to limit your city experience, I'd suggest you bypass Vancouver and fly immediately to Victoria. Pick up your car in Victoria, get over your jet lag and enjoy Victoria and environs.

Your three other destinations are lovely but I like Pirouette's suggestion of substituting either the Caribou or the Okanagan Valley for one of them for a very different experience.
BowenLinda is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 06:10 PM
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"We didn't make it as far as Tofino due to the fact that it isn't possible to drive further than Port Renfrew - you have to go back through Victoria on a huge detour to get to Tofino from Sooke."

Too bad Mark never consulted a map then he would have seen that there's a back road from Port Renfrew to the Cowichan Valley and onto Duncan-paved these days too! =D>
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:00 AM
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Thanks for the input so far. We arrive on 20th June, so hopefully there is a higher chance of some reasonable weather late in the month to the begining of July. Our visit to the Rockies in '05 was the same time of year and we had a mix of sun and rain, never bad enough to stop us getting out and about. I realise the weather could well be entirely different on the coast. We had a similar number of stops there (Canmore, Lake Louise, Icefields, Jasper, Banff - done from Calgary) and that seemed about the right balance of seeing new places but not moving every day.

In one way, avoiding Vancouver appeals but our flight arrives around 6.30pm, which will feel like the early hours to us. I don't want to risk a short connection after a transatlantic flight and don't realy want to be hanging around when we will already be tired. I suppose we could go to an airport hotel and fly to Victoria the next morning but we'd then either have to get back there to fly back to Vancouver and do the second half of the trip from there (2 hire cars) or get one-way flight and car hire from Victoria to Vancouver, if that would be possible. Hiring a car after a couple of days and sticking with that until we fly home seems least problem.

Any more suggestions are more than welcome. Thank you all!
Maria_H is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Hi Maria, I live just south of Vancouver. I agree with several points mentioned so far but not with all. What I would suggest is this 2 nights in Vancouver no car. This really only gives 1 full day to explore. Stay somewhere downtown possibly Delta suites, Bayshore. walk Robson st, Stanley Park. If weather good take city tour to give good overview. Or take gondola up Grouse Mtn.
Take sea plane from harbour to Victoria harbour on day 3. Stay 2 nights victoria. Stay in dowtown Victoria The Delta hotel, Laural point inn, Grand Pacific, You can walk the downtown area very easily. There is a bus from downtown to Butchart Gardens. Day 5. Rent car. P/U Victoria return Vancouver. Drive to Tofino On the 5 hour drive Stop at Coombs for Lunch The market is known for their goats on the roof. 1/2 hour after this you pass by Qualicum falls. This is a good place to get out and stretch your legs. Or wait until Cathedral grove (very large douglas fir trees). 4 nights Tofino. Look into renting a cabin on Chesterman beach. Go for lunch or dinner at the wikkininish inn. Take the Zodiac tour to hotsprings cove. It goes up the clayquot sound,then walk 1/2 hour to hotsprings have lunch and go into natural hotspring that forms pools from rock face down to the ocean. If it is not too rough your zodiac may go back along the coast where you may see grey whales. At Chesterman beach If you go to the left (during low tide) you go around a few points and can find some great sea caves that are totally under water at high tide. Make sure to watch the tides! They can rise 15 feet here very quickly. Take ferry from Naniamo to horseshoe bay Can make a reservation on line through (highly recommend) As schools are out by now. Go to Whistler. Stay at Horstman house. They have free parking, suites with full kitchens and some of the best price for accommodation at Whistler. Also on free bus route into town so you don't always have to drive and find parking. 3 nights in whistler sounds good. After this you have some options. I would probably skip the sunshine coast and Ruby lake. It will still be too cold to swim and there is not a lot to do there ( I summered there as a teen) Also it means more ferries. The suggestions for the Okanagon are good except you will lose 2 days in driving. It is 5 hours from Vancouver 7-8 from Whistler. If you don't mind driving you could go north from Whistler towards Lilloett and come back to Vancouver through the interior. This to me may be more interesting. You could also go back to Vancouver and explore the greater Vancouver area with your car. There is Richmond ( the richmond night market is interesting) Steveston Village. White Rock promenade and pier. Crescent beach. Lynn Canyon park, Cypress Mountain. Deep Cove. Take a day trip to Bowen Island?. Hope you have good weather but make sure to bring rain gear for Tofino.
weasel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:08 PM
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If it's not too expensive, you may want to pick up a car on arrival in Vancouver. The city is quite spread out, and travelling with a 2 year-old on public transit while you're jet lagged isn't my idea of a good time.

The sea plane to and from Vancouver would be an interesting experience, but it's not cheap. Fares are about $135 Cdn one way (and I'm not sure if that includes taxes and fees). Kids 2-5 are 50% off.

Make sure you make ferry reservations if your trips to and from Vancouver Island are going to take place on Friday-Sunday or on a holiday (especially since at the end of the trip you'll be getting close to the Canadian July 1st long weekend).
frogoutofwater is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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>>>>>>>>Too bad Mark never consulted a map then he would have seen that there's a back road from Port Renfrew to the Cowichan Valley and onto Duncan-paved these days too!

Our map had that road down as a "loggers dust track" whatever that may be. We don't do those here - if we are going to do something we finish it off (unless it involves a train of course).

From google earth it appears to be 60 miles long and we had nearly mown down monsters from Jurassic Park in Port Renfrew.

Maria - Personally, I would reconsider Whistler - in our experience it came across probably the best winter sky resort in the world - In June without the skiing - the scenery paled compared with say our Lake District.

I am now ready for the criticism from our Canadian friends (re Whistler) but coastal Vancouver is VERY different from (and better than) coastal Britain. In future trips we would spend all our time on Vancouver Island. You are not going to see Orca in the Irish Sea.
markrosy is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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ps One point I would back up is the value of eating out - we found the quality of all our meals to be high and generally cheap.
markrosy is offline  

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