vancouver/victoria/& ferries

Nov 28th, 2007, 07:39 AM
  #1  
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vancouver/victoria/& ferries

We are planning a trip to this area in summer 2008.

plan to spend the first few days in vancouver. then to drive to whistler and stay over night.

next day back and to victoria. get the ferry from???? horseshoe bay (they take cars?). or tsawwassen?

if the first option works what is the time frame? get to ferry how early to line up (with a reservation)? crossing is 1 1/2 hours and then how long to drive to victoria?

Also a few days later would go from victoria to vancouver to airport. - again times to allow, etc.

thanks
Joanel is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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I don't live in Canada, and I am sure that you will hear from someone who does, but I can tell you that you pass the Horseshoe Bay exit on your way south from Whistler to Vancouver. Ferries out of HB are car ferries, and they land you on the island north of Victoria...as I recall, the ferry terminal is closer to Nanaimo than Victoria. Check www.bcferries.com to be sure.
Bobmrg is online now  
Nov 28th, 2007, 08:53 AM
  #3  
ALF
 
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Yeah, as noted, Horseshoe Bay is on the way from Vancouver to Whistler, so it is definitely the best choice if you are coming from Whistler. The ferry goes to departure Bay, Nanaimo, which is 140km (85mi) from Victoria. The road is a good one, but not a big highway, so allow 2 hours.

In the summer, it is a good idea to make a reservation for a specific ferry run; then you are guaranteed to get on that sailing. Otherwise, you should arrive 2 hrs before the run you hope to board.

When returning from Victoria, you should take the Swartz Bay-to-Tsawwassen route. Swartz Bay is 30km (20mi) north of Victoria, and Tsawwassen iabout a half-hour drive from the airport. Again, you can make reservations for this route too.
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Nov 28th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Joanel

We are from the UK and did exactly this journey in June 2007 - before I give advice - what makes you tick - countryside or cities?
markrosy is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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mostly countryside,into nature, scenery, birds, gardens, not the beach except for birds and view. (as I cant walk long distances any more, or stand for long periods of time so cities can be harder). but like some of both.

what ideas do you have?
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Nov 30th, 2007, 11:22 AM
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Joanel

Reason for the question was our personal experience on the holiday - we stayed for a week in Vancouver and a week on Vancouver island.

I have to say and I may be totally sniped at for this - I thought that the week in Vancouver was a waste of 6 days. I had read so much about the city and fully acknowledge that it is IMO THE best place that I have ever encountered to LIVE in.

I cannot think of any world city in a more beautiful setting with a higher standard of living/quality of life. It took us 20 minutes to drive to the Downtown area on a Monday moring rush hour from Kitsilano where we were staying.

All this said - it doesn't have the cultural and historic attractions of many world cities. but that is simpl,y my opinion.

Vancouver Island was in our view a totally different experience - we stayed in Sooke which had wildlfe wandering around everywhere - in the UK we shot most of our wildlife around 300 years ago.

Low tide at Sooke was an experience our 2 year old (and I) will never forget. We read the book "The Highest Tide (based across the water in Washington state) prior to going to Vancouver Island. We literally did get the feeling that anything could have appeared.

We had trips up to Port Renfrew and Victoria - there were bears wandering across the road.

The restaurants in the area are sparse but the standards are very good.

We do regret not making it up to Tofino but the travel time wasn't fair on a toddler who wanted to explore the rock pools out of our back door.

If you appreciate gardens - Butchart just outside Victoria is right on your route - it is very pretty but if you are a garding purist it does fall little short in terms of design (the planting is very good).

We thought Victoria was a great characterful place - at lunchtime in Vancouver the kids wore Prada in Victoria we saw one family in their pjs - and to quote - "they didn't want to get dressed this morning!" hats the measure of Vancouver and Victoria.

In summer I would well and truely suggest a trip up to Whistler - the road in stunning and Whistler is very pristine. However, there were severe road works when we were there, in preparation for the winter olympics.

In summary, I would very much agree with your route but in our opinion we did spend far too much time in blandish Vancouver.
markrosy is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 02:17 PM
  #7  
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which beach at sooke? great reply thanks for all the info. may spend more time in victoria area.

in vancouver did you do stanley park? any museums?
Joanel is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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any canadian holidays between june 15th - august 31st that would impact a visitor?

how is weather end of June? that different then July? or ok already in terms of rain?

Joanel is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 07:59 PM
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"All this said - it doesn't have the cultural and historic attractions of many world cities."

Quite true-anyone who lives here could tell you that.

If you spent your time visiting the sad sack Art Gallery or that joke of a Steam Clock you were wasting holiday time-the only Museum worthy of the name here in the Anthropology Museum @ UBC.

Renting bicycles and taking day trips/picnics to local parks/gardens is what this place is about.

Local tourism operations are somewhat stuck between the scenery and trying to direct visitors onto a well defined 'tourist track' and it's concomitant revenue stream.

Dumbing down is the byword and I see the dumb options offered up weekly on this and other Internet Fora.
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"any Canadian holidays between June 15th - august 31st that would impact a visitor?"

July 1st-Canada Day-excuse to get drunk (not that Canadians need excuses to overindulge transportation options are jammed that weekend.

First Monday in August BC Day-a smaller scale repeat of July 1st.

Sam_Salmon is offline  
Dec 1st, 2007, 05:45 AM
  #10  
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July 1st is a tues in 2008. would it affect the weekend before?, if we came around then would be going up and coming back from whistler and taking ferry to victoria.
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Sam Salmon

in a rambling sort of way - you have repeated what I said - I agree it must be a great place to live but I didn't travel 4,500 to cycle round parks! I also agree Gastown is a joke.

Joanel

we stayed in a cottage on the beach at Whiffen Spit and had a great time. Stanely Park was a "nice" city park and we did unfortunately spend a lot of money to go up to the theme park on Grouse mountain. At least my son got to see a bear close up.

markrosy is offline  
Dec 29th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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To get to Victoria, take the ferry from Tsawassen. It is 1.5 hours crossing time. You can book it ahead, online, for $17.00 reservation fee. Reservations have to show up at least 30 min. before sailing time. (see bcferries.com) I would book it if you are coming on a long weekend as the ferries are really packed. Otherwise, you just drive up to the terminal and get a ticket. If you take the horseshoe bay crossing, you'll land in Nanaimo, a 90 minute drive north of Victoria.
In the summer, the ferries often run every hour and we just got huge, HUGE new ones so they will have a lot of capacity. On a clear day, the trip over is beautiful. Islands everywhere, little lighthouses, sailboats. I've seen killer whales once so far (I live here) but know many who see them often. Bald eagles abound in the summer and so do dolphins.

July 1st is the big holiday of the year. . .Canada Day. . .some of us do actually appreciate our nation's birthday and aren't just out for a drunk. Although it can be had. In Victoria, anyway, lots of maple leaf painted up kids, buskers, events downtown, and fireworks over the harbour at night. The same in most Canadian cities except Ottawa where they have more money We don't make as big a deal as the US but it's still fun. There is a lot of drinking and yelling at night though, that's true, but if you're not looking for it you should be fine (and if you are, well, you'll find it!).

If you have any other questions, post away. The weather should be fabulous and you'll have a great time.
otxena is offline  
Feb 16th, 2008, 09:03 AM
  #13  
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thanks so much for all the helpful information.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 09:05 AM
  #14  
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whoops posted too soon. however, this trip will have to be put off till a later year, but will save all the info you provided.

probably going to oregon instead due to people we need to visit this year.
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