Vancouver / Victoria for stopover

Old Nov 27th, 2023, 09:53 PM
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Vancouver / Victoria for stopover

I'm thinking of a few days stopover in Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Flying out of Brisbane (Aust) to Vancouver and then on to London. In mid to late May 2024.

It's not the usual route that Australians take to London but I'm trying to break up that long journey. I'd plan on 2 or 3 days in Vancouver, then same amount of time in Victoria on the way back. Plan to rely on public transport. I might join a day tour but also want time just to wander, enjoy coffee and people watching. Good idea or bad idea? Any thoughts?
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Old Nov 28th, 2023, 05:39 AM
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H Kay.
Lots of folks do a quick Vancouver, Victoria split and May is an excellent time to do it. Two full days (3 nights each) is decent, although 3 in Vancouver would give you a better chance to enjoy it. Both are walkable cities with very good public transit, so in my opinion tours aren’t necessary.

Before anything else though, it is highly recommended to be in Vancouver, the night before an international flight. Travelling between the two, can be done via public transit and walk on ferry, a downtown to downtown bus, each taking about 4 hours, or a half hour, scenic, harbor to harbor on a float plane.

The usual Vancouver attractions are; rent a bike and ride the seawall around Stanley Park, or just visit the park and aquarium on foot, Grouse Mountain, Capilano suspension bridge, Granville Island and much more. Don’t bother with Gastown or Chinatown, stay west of Burrard Street; Sutton Place, Blue Horizon, or the Sylvia Hotel will give you a good cross section of three neighbourhoods and rates. https://www.destinationvancouver.com/

In Victoria it’s Fisherman’s Wharf, the inner harbor, a very tiny Chinatown, the Parliament Buildings, Royal BC Museum and of course Butchart Gardens.

The Best Western Plus Inner Harbour (NOT the BW Carlton Plaza) is a central, economical accommodation, popular with both locals and visitors. For something a little different and fun, the Surf Motel is a hidden gem a short a 15-20 minute walk from the inner harbor. https://www.tourismvictoria.com/

Knowing more about you, if you are solo, your accommodation budget, mobility, and more of your interests, will help get you sorted.

All things considered and I do understand the desire to break up the long haul, you might just look at doing a week at the end of your London trip, instead; maybe Brisbane > London > Victoria > Vancouver.

Last edited by Captim; Nov 28th, 2023 at 05:57 AM.
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Old Nov 29th, 2023, 01:09 AM
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This is all useful, thanks. I haven't done any detailed planning yet but being IN Vancouver the night before my flight is a must. I'm travelling solo, not used to it and find it daunting. I like historic architecture - particularly anything grand, markets, gardens with lots of flowers, art galleries, being by the water. Happy to walk and midrange $$ accommodation likely. Cheap and cheerful cafes/meals are more appealing than upmarket restaurants.

When you say each taking 4 hours, is the journey from Vancouver to Victoria, (including bus, ferry, bus?) 4 hours? Is it one ticket for the whole journey?

A long time ago we stayed at the Blue Horizon and also a cheaper hotel on the same street. I remember it rained for days. I'm doing a lot of dithering and need to make up my mind. Thanks for all this info, I'll check it out in more detail.
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Old Nov 29th, 2023, 09:21 AM
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About that run from Vancouver to Victoria, on the ground.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/N3pUdLWjygrHbcDn7

The ferry crossing from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria) is 1.5 hours. If using public transport and depending on your Vancouver starting point, it will be 1.5 hours by train/bus to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal and 1 hour by bus from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal to downtown Victoria. Each of the three legs is paid separately. Total cost about $30.

The same route via private bus all the way is about the same amount of time, single fare. Cost about $95. https://bcfconnector.com/

With option 2, you are paying for the convenience of having your luggage stored on the bus and not having to mess with multiple transit changes, fares, crowds and dragging luggage along.

Though not a big difference in weather, Victoria is warmer and drier than Vancouver and Victoria in May will be in full bloom. I live near Victoria and if I’m not in shorts at the beginning of May, something is wrong.

Neither Vancouver nor Victoria are old, so historical sights are limited and have more to do with settlers, industrialization and resource development. Victoria street markets begin in May. Cruise season is on in both cities, driving costs through the roof. Airbnb and other short term rentals will be heavily regulated come May 2024, so demand and cost for accommodation will be affected. Book refundable accommodations early.

Vancouver has great ethnic diversity and several distinctly different neighbourhoods. I hope BC_Robyn sees this thread, as no one knows Vancouver food, drink, shopping and tourist hot spots better. From what you’ve said, the list is endless, but I think you would enjoy roaming Main Street https://govancity.com/vancouver-shop...s/main-street/
Victoria Drive https://govancity.com/vancouver-shop...ictoria-drive/
Granville Island https://vancouversbestplaces.com/top...nville-island/
The West End https://vancouversbestplaces.com/cit...uver-west-end/
Kitsilano https://vancouversbestplaces.com/cit...ver/kitsilano/

The notable gardens: https://www.destinationvancouver.com...eeing/gardens/
And Museums: https://www.timeout.com/vancouver/th...s-in-vancouver

Victoria is small by comparison and is best visited with a limited agenda; just wander and hit the spots that draw you each day, but here’s a start https://www.tourismvictoria.com/see-...s/garden-parks

Both cities are very easy to move around, people are friendly and helpful. You’ll have no trouble wandering and making conversation if desired.
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Old Nov 29th, 2023, 06:25 PM
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Victoria is worth a day or two, especially if the weather is good enough for the gardens, but Vancouver is worth as much time as you can spare. BTW, there is a free alternative to the Capilano suspension bridge - Lynn Canyon.

For my time in Victoria see: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...very-victoria/

For Vancouver see: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...-a-good-start/
https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...-a-bad-finish/
https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...-to-vancouver/
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Old Dec 1st, 2023, 02:12 AM
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Thanks for this info. I have to work out if a 4 hours+ journey, each way to Victoria for a short stay, is something I want to do. We had about 2 days there years ago, it left a good impression. A street market sounds great, I don't usually buy much but I love the atmosphere. Thanks for all the links, I've got lots to look at over the weekend. With Tsawwassen, is the first S silent? It's hot and humid here in Brisbane, and this is the first day of summer. So different from what I imagine Canada is like at the moment.
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Old Dec 1st, 2023, 05:13 AM
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Hmmm.The correct colonial translation and pronunciation of Tsawwassen is saa·wa·sn
The lazy white man says Tah-wass-en.
In the Tsawwassen First Nation (indigenous) language the name is hun’qum’i’num, which, when translated to English, means “land facing the sea.”

Canada at the moment is experiencing temperatures ranging from -18°to +8° Celsius, with bright sun, rain, snow or strong winds.

Many visitors to Vancouver, will travel to Victoria for the day. Most either by tour bus, or public transit, with the target being the globally marketed Butchart Gardens. Some would say the ferry ride alone is worth the trip.
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Old Dec 6th, 2023, 12:11 PM
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Hi Kay,

If you do make it to Vancouver, do think about taking the SeaBus over to North Vancouver and exploring the Shipyards District. Loads of restaurants, bars, and interesting places to visit and things to do.

Amar
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Old Dec 7th, 2023, 05:42 PM
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Thanks for all these ideas. I live in Brisbane near the river and love travelling on our ferries, so the Seabus to North Vancouver sounds appealing. Current thinking is I'll stop in Vancouver on the way over and also on the way back. I'll probably save visiting Vancouver Island for another time. There seems to be a lot to do in Vancouver and I find I'm travelling at a slower pace these days.

I'm glad you say Canadians are helpful and friendly as I have zero sense of direction which frustrates me enormously. I can imagine I'll be constantly asking, is this the way to ....?

I put a question on the Airlines forum, about whether to join Aeroplan (Air Canada loyalty) to just add to my KrisFlyer points, as they're both Star Alliance. Any thoughts or tips on frequent flyer points would be helpful too.
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Old Dec 11th, 2023, 08:58 AM
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Hi Kay,
Are you flying Air Canada? Whether you are or not I think joining Aeroplan is a good idea if you are currently in a Star Alliance program. You can never have enough points and that flight from Australia will net you quite a few. Depending on how many points/your status you currently have you can ask to be put on the upgrade list as well.
The Blue Horizon hotel still exists. An out of town friend used to stay there occasionally and I joined her a couple of times for a night (pre covid) and it was comfortable and clean, great location.
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Old Dec 11th, 2023, 06:32 PM
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Thanks for the info about the Blue Horizon. I had a look at Vancouver hotel prices for May and was taken aback at how expensive everything was. I do want to be central so will have to live with the cost. I have another thread on the Airline forum and the consensus seemed to be to book Air Canada but use my KrisFlyer (Singapore) membership number on the booking. I think partly to prevent having points here and there with all different airlines. Do you think that's the best way to go?

Join both Singapore/KrisFlyer and Air Canada/Aeroplan ?
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Old Dec 11th, 2023, 07:10 PM
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Monday, May 20, 2024 is a federal holiday, meaning a very busy weekend for travel, especially on ferries and at the border. May is also well into cruise season and prices soar.

A little known Vancouver gem is the YWCA Hotel. Very central, very clean and very reasonable. Just be aware, some rooms share a bathroom, https://ywcavan.org/hotel
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Old Dec 12th, 2023, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by KayF
Thanks for the info about the Blue Horizon. I had a look at Vancouver hotel prices for May and was taken aback at how expensive everything was. I do want to be central so will have to live with the cost. I have another thread on the Airline forum and the consensus seemed to be to book Air Canada but use my KrisFlyer (Singapore) membership number on the booking. I think partly to prevent having points here and there with all different airlines. Do you think that's the best way to go?

Join both Singapore/KrisFlyer and Air Canada/Aeroplan ?
Yes the cost of hotels has gone up quite a lot since covid. I took a quick look at the Blue Horizon's website for May and it looks like approx $369.00 per night. That's quite good compared to many other hotels in the downtown area.
I looked at your other thread re the points issue, maybe it's better to just use the one membership. I think maybe you get more points per flight by using the program of the airline you are flying but you still do earn some points because of the alliance so maybe just stick with what you have. Although someone on that thread suggested switching your points to Velocity because of better advantages?
I meant to say before that you might enjoy an outing to Granville island market, you could walk from your hotel (it's a bit of a walk, but do-able) down to the Aqua bus stop at the foot of Hornby St. Google maps says a 26 minute walk, but you could take the bus to the stop as well, Google maps will tell you how.
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Old Dec 12th, 2023, 09:19 AM
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Also Kay, there is a grocery store called Urban Fare near the Blue Horizon on Alberni St. (4 mins walk away), they have nice things in general, but they have good ready meals you could pick up if you don't want to eat in restaurants all the time. My friend used to pick something up there when she was on her work conferences and take it back to the Blue Horizon. The rooms at that hotel are quite big so you have quite a bit of room to relax in.
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Old Dec 14th, 2023, 11:40 PM
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Thanks for the info about the hotel and grocery store. That's just what I'd like to do, be out all day but relax later in the room with something to eat. I'm having trouble booking Air Canada online. Payment would not go through, tried multiple times. Got an online message that wasn't helpful. I rang for assistance but hung up after waiting too long. Googling I found others who had their payment go through but then had no booking. Might not be going after all.
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Old Dec 15th, 2023, 09:37 AM
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Oh no! Don't give up. Sometimes their website is glitchy.
Which number did you call for help?
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Old Dec 15th, 2023, 11:23 PM
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Glitchy sounds too polite. I'd use a different word. Tried again online, all fine but at the end it would not take the payment. Tried again to call and gave up waiting. The problem could be just about anything so I think I'll give up and go to Plan B, whatever that is.

I called the number from their website (Contact International) when you click on Australia - 0011 800 6699 2222
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Old Dec 16th, 2023, 08:28 AM
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Well that is super annoying. Qantas and Air New Zealand fly here too.
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Old Dec 21st, 2023, 05:15 AM
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We just went there in September - in Vancouver you have to go to Deep Cove for canoeing and try the donuts in the cafe - amazing!
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Old Dec 21st, 2023, 05:17 AM
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And then ferry over to Victoria to try the fish lunches on the pier - quite a queue though but its worth it (sorry, my replies seem to centre around food a lot!)
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