Vancouver to Victoria

Old Jul 24th, 2005, 07:58 PM
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Vancouver to Victoria

I'm confused! Do you recommend taking a "tour" to Victoria or is it possible to do it ourselves in Victoria? We will only have one full day. We will be staying in Vancouver.

I'm not sure which ferry to take, what we do when we get to Victoria, etc. We will not be renting a car.

Thank you very much for any advice.
DianaT is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2005, 09:41 PM
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Many people don't realize this, but you don't take a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. You take a bus.

www.pacificcoach.com

It's a 3:35 trip, including 1:35 on the ferry. A roundtrip is 7 hours - not really day-trip material.

You can also fly from Vancouver to Victoria, including on seaplanes.
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 09:48 PM
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You do not need to take a tour to Victoria. You can get the bus yourselves - they go on the same ferry. The bus leaves the terminal in Vancouver every hour at quarter to the hour. You will be in downtown Victoria in about 3 1/2 - 4 hours depending on the traffic. The bus takes you right downtown in Victoria and that is where most of the tourist attractions are. You can just walk around and enjoy the inner harbour, go to the Royal BC Museum, see the Legislative buildings etc and the famous Empress Hotel. If you want to take a local tour they leave from the Empress Hotel which is less than a block from the terminal. There is also a bus from Victoria terminal that takes you to Butchart Gardens and has scheduled pickup times for the return. Here is the website for the bus from Vancouver to Victoria and return http://www.pacificcoach.com/
you can see you can leave as early as you want to give you lots of time to enjoy Victoria. I hope that answers your questions but if you have any more just ask.
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 09:50 PM
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Hello DianeT,

I typed a long reply to you and returned to find that rkkwan and traveller69 already had given you good information. However, since my response contains some additional detail I'll go ahead and post it anyway.

The number one thing to see in Victoria is the Butchart Gardens, which is some way out of downtown. The other landmarks that a day tripper would want to see are within walking distance of each other -- the Inner Harbour, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the legislative buildings, etc.

You have the option of crossing the Georgia Strait by floatplane or by ferry. One of the companies that operates floatplanes is Harbour Air. For the purposes of a day trip, there is only one ferry that is practical, and that is the one that BC Ferries operates from Tsawwassen on the mainland to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. But more about those choices later.

Although I have not used a tour company for a day trip from Vancouver to Victoria, I know they exist.

For example, an Internet search brought up Vancouver Tours. They offer a 12.5 hour tour for 105 CAD per person. That includes hotel pick up and drop off in Vancouver, ferry voyages across the Georgia Strait and back again, admission to Butchart Gardens, and a little time to explore Victoria's downtown core. Since the tour begins at 9.15 a.m. and lasts 12.5 hours, it would finish up at a rather late 9.45 p.m.

Vancouver Tours offers a shorter but more expensive tour for 191 CAD per person. That tour also starts at 9.15 p.m., but lasts only 9.5 hours. The reason for the shorter duration is that, while passengers travel to Victoria by ferry, they return by floatplane.

You can find out more about Vancouver Tours at:

http://www.vancouvertours.net/tours/...cfm/ttid2/1184

Pacific Coach Lines offers a day tour of Victoria. It costs 124 CAD per person. Departure time is 9.30 a.m. Passengers are taken to Victoria and back to Vancouver again by ferry. Hotel pick up and drop off are included. The tour includes a visit to Butchart Gardens, but it's not clear to me whether or not the fee for the tour includes the admission charge for Butchart Gardens.

The way I read the web site, admission to Butchart Gardens would be extra. Summer admission to Butchart is 22 CAD, but perhaps if you were with Pacific Coach Lines you would qualify for the 19.80 CAD group rate.

Your return time to Vancouver would be at your discretion, because you would be able to use any one of Pacific Coach Lines' scheduled buses back to the mainland.

If you wanted to catch Pacific Coach Lines' scheduled buses from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria and back again, it would cost 65 CAD per person. I believe that price would exclude hotel pick up and delivery to Butchart Gardens, but it would include the ferry fare.

You would have a choice of departure times from downtown Vancouver, once every hour starting at 5.45 am up to September 11, 2005. For the return journey you could depart downtown Victoria every hour on the hour until 9.00 p.m. up to September 11, 2005. After September 11, 2005, the number of departures in both directions is reduced, and the last daily departure from downtown Victoria is 8.00 p.m.

http://www.pacificcoach.com/

If you used Pacific Coach Lines' scheduled service, you could make your own way to Butchart Gardens by cab or city bus. I'm sorry I don't know the prices of those options.

Alternatively, you could do a Gray Line bus tour from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens and back to downtown again for 45 CAD per person. That fare includes admission to Butchart Gardens.

http://www.graylinewest.com/victoria...ing_tours.html

Harbour Air offers a day trip from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour and back again. The journey is done by floatplane in both directions. The basic flights cost 249 CAD per person PLUS 7% GST.

A double-decker coach tour to Butchart Gardens can be added for 45 CAD per person PLUS 7% GST.

A 3-hour whale watching cruise can be added for 70 CAD per person PLUS 7% GST.

I believe you would be reponsible for getting yourself to Vancouver Harbour for take-off. However, the harbour is adjacent to downtown, and it would be a short cab ride from a downtown hotel.

http://www.harbour-air.com/

The Pacific Coach Lines bus / ferry combination would take about 4 hours from downtown to downtown in each direction. The floatplane takes 40 minutes from harbour to harbour in each direction.

Probably the best way to handle this day is to go by bus / ferry and to return by float plane, which is one of the options that Vancouver Tours offers. That way you would do the scenic voyage amongst the Southern Gulf Islands on the way to Victoria, but you would get to see the scenery from a different vantage point and have a shorter journey when you returned.

Hope that helps.

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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 11:19 PM
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Judy FYI - as I said in my post there is a bus (not city) from the downtown depot that goes to Butchart Gardens several times a day and picks up there as well. I am not sure of the cost this year but it is much cheaper for someone to get that bus and pay the entrance fee to Butchart themselves. It also offers the advantage of staying as long as you like by choosing the return pickup time that suits best. Just thought I would let you know because you are giving such good and detailed advice. I also got a kick out of rkkwans post. You do take a ferry to Victoria but have the option of taking the bus onto the ferry. Just thought I should clarify that because some people may get the idea that you can't take a car. Also a lot of people drive the car to the terminal and park for the day and walk on the ferry. You can pickup the bus on the ferry if you want a ride downtown. Lots of options here!
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Thanks to every one of you that answered this. I really appreciate your time and feel very well informed!
DianaT is offline  
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