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dottyp Feb 3rd, 2013 09:16 PM

Vancouver Island activities agenda.
Have finally had a chance to discuss with DH some activities we would like to do on Vancouver Island. We arrive on the ferry about 11:30am ish and leave the next day on the float-plane at 6:00pm ish.
I am wondering if we will have the time to visit these places in the time we have without a car to scoot between the venues.

~ Butchart Gardens
~ Victoria Butterfly Gardens
~ Royal BC Museum
~ CraigDarroch Castle
~ Fort Rodd Hill etc and lighthouse
~ Esquimalt Lagoon - (birdwatching)
~ Swan Lake - (birdwatching)

I was rather surprised to see that most of these places don't open until 10:00am or later. That could make it difficult to accomplish all. What time do the shops open, please?


Southam Feb 4th, 2013 05:10 AM

The museum is worth half a day all by itself for its artifacts and displays on First Nations cultures. Slow down and appreciate what you do visit.

traveller69 Feb 4th, 2013 06:35 AM

If you don't have a car it would be impossible to get all of these venues in. Fort Rodd and Esquimalt lagoon are not close to downtown. You can take a bus to Butchart Gardens - I would forget Butterfly Gardens unless you are on a tour that includes them. The Swan Lake website gives you directions on getting there by bus so if you have time you could fit that in. Depending on when you are coming - it stays light here in the summer until 9 PM

The museum is a must and allow enough time for that as southam advised. It is world class. Just enjoy the downtown inner harbour lovely to walk around. Perhaps do the museum the first day and maybe Swan Lake then take a tour to Butchart Gardens the second day. The shops are open at 9:00 am (most of them anyway)and they do stay open in the evening during the summer.

Enjoy your visit.

dottyp Feb 4th, 2013 10:10 PM

Thank you both for your replies. I felt that we were being overly optomistic! The Gardens, museum and Swan Lake will definitely be visited, and we will spend the rest of the time around the harbour. I had hoped to include CraigDarroch Castle but sounds like it might not be feasible.
We are visiting 7 / 8 October this year.


AndrewDavid Feb 9th, 2013 02:00 PM

Dot, i've seen a lot of landscape gardens in UK, Japan, Italy , USA and here and quite honestly Butchart is a disappointment. the original quarry garden was probably lovely as it would have been site specific. the whole place is very over planted. on the other hand butchart is quite a spectacle w/ dining rooms and carousels and gift shops and fireworks and shows.

a better imho choice and more convenient would be Abkhazi in the fairfield neighbourhood of victoria a block from the #7 bus ride from downtown as well as the gardens at government house about a 15 minute walk back towards town and near craigdarroch castle.
i don't have my calendar out but that sounds like it's near thanksgiving long weekend


dottyp Feb 9th, 2013 04:01 PM

Hi, AndrewDavid,

Thanks for your suggestions. I have been looking into the possibility of hiring a car, much as we don't want to, just to make sure we don't waste valuable time waiting for a bus!
I had seen mention of the Abkhazi Gardens but as everyone (including my own brother who is a horticulturist and just loves the Butchart Gardens) says "Oh you must go see the Butchart Gardens", I dutifully put them on the list! Admittedly I would like to see them, and will revamp our second day to fit them and the Abkhazi gardens in, too. I am so cross with myself that I did not do enough research before finalising our flights back to NZ. I also thought we had to be back within 3 months or our superannuation payments would be suspended - should have checked that out too, because then would have been able to add more time to Vancouver and Vancouver Island. :(

By the way, according to google Thanksgiving Weekend is the following weekend!


AndrewDavid Feb 13th, 2013 09:56 AM

hi dot, monday last was our newest provincial holiday , "family day". i'm surprised at how many people i spoke who were unaware.

don't worry you can always hope to come back sometime


dottyp Feb 19th, 2013 09:12 PM

Thanks, AndrewDavid.
I am back at school so haven't as much time now for planning travel, etc, as I do in the holidays. Interesting how people don't always know what is going on around them, isn't it.

I am already thinking of ways to come back to Vancouver, etc, but have a couple of other places to go to before we do.


ktspiv4 Feb 21st, 2013 02:28 PM

May or may not be helpful but here is our trip report from last year:

dottyp Feb 21st, 2013 09:24 PM

Thanks, ktspiv4. I have read your report once but enjoyed it equally as much a second time around. We won't be riding bikes - I haven't ridden one for 49 years, and my husband even longer! - but I do want to go up Grouse Mountain and both Lynn Canyon and Capilano. A great-uncle sent my parents a photo of Capilano well over 50 years ago and I'd like to take a photo from the same place, if possible. We will definitly go to the Park, forgotten its name, but the park with Beaver Lake and the wildlife. Mind you, we will be in Vancouver in early October so not sure if wildlife will be around as much nor if the grizzlies you mentioned seeing on Grouse Mountain will be there!

ktspiv4 Feb 22nd, 2013 01:30 PM

You are going to have such a wonderful time!!! I can't wait till we can get back there.

dottyp Feb 23rd, 2013 12:13 PM

Hi, again, ktspiv4. Have just checked the start of your report to find the name of the park - it annoyed me I couldn't remember - and realised it was Staney Park. Duh, how silly of me as that is on our list of things to do!

We sure are going to have a wonderful time in Vancouver as well as on Vancouver Island. Just need to pace my excitment over the next few months till we get there!

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