Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page >

Victoria/Vancouver itinerary and transport to Butchart Gardens

Victoria/Vancouver itinerary and transport to Butchart Gardens

May 25th, 2006, 10:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 112
Victoria/Vancouver itinerary and transport to Butchart Gardens


We will be saying in the James Bay/Inner harbour area of Victoria for 2 and Ĺ days in July/August and following the many helpful tips on these pages are planning the following: -

Day 1 (This will be after 21hrs of travelling the day before) so hopefully not too much.

Begin the day with a stroll around the inner harbour area basking in the sunshine (It will be sunny). Stop off for a light lunch (Any ideas?) before a 3hr whale watching cruise with Orca Spirit adventures starting at 13:00. (This is near our hotel Ė has anyone used this company? And should we book before we arrive?).

After the whale watching trip find somewhere to eat (again any ideas?). Then onto the Royal BC Museum (Closes at 22:00 on a Saturday, again should we pre-buy tickets?) and if time a look at the Thunderbird Park near the museum.

Day 2

Visit Butchart Gardens (Iím guessing we can make this a full day?). We arenít going to have a car and Iíve been struggling to work out how best to get there.

Greyline offer a trip but itís only 3 hrs long and Pacific coaches donít seem to do a trip.

Looking at the BCtransit website I am confused. Route 75# goes there but donít know where it starts.

Can anyone help? It looks a long way from where we are staying so I guess a taxi would be expensive?

Day 3

We are due to travel to Vancouver but not yet sure when we will be leaving. I think we will probably spend the morning/lunch in Victoria before catching the Pacific Coach line bus/ferry across.

Does anyone have any ideas for must see places in the morning near where we are staying.

Open to any alternative suggestions on the above.

After this we will be in Vancouver for 2 full days so any ideas would be helpful. A cycle around Stanley Park is one idea.

Thanks for your help.

TeddG is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,155
Milestone's restaurant is right there at the inner harbor, and we had a nice light lunch there on our trip.

The Royal BC Museum is a must see, but I wouldn't bother with buying tickets ahead of time. The Thunderbird Park is right next door and won't add too much time, so definitely stop there.

I think a full day at Butchart is too much, but that is just my opinion. We loved it, but a few hours was plenty for us.

We took a float plane ride that afternoon, and it flew over the gardens, which was fun to see. The ride was a highlight and I would recommend that if you are the least bit interested.

Take a walk all the way through Beacon Hill Park too, if you have time.
mms is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 603
Since you have the entire day to do Butchart's (and it won't take you that long) I would suggest using the public bus. I'm not sure where you'd catch it downtown (probably close to the Empress Hotel) but I'm sure your hotel desk clerk could certainly point you in the right direction.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 01:52 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,087
Ok - here is the answer regarding Butchart Gardens transportation.

In the bus terminal behind the Empress Gray Line have a desk where you can buy tickets to get you to the gardens for $6.00 each way. Until July 1st they operate pretty much every hour (give or take a few minutes. You can also buy your admission tickets to Butchart Gardens from them right there.

Starting July 1st the service will operate approximately every 1/2 hour. You can check the exact times but it is pretty close to what I have said.

I highly recommend this because you are not at the mercy of a tour bus because you can spend as little or as much time as you would like at the gardens. You will just have to be sure to be there for the last return bus.

I should post this separately because there are so many inquiries regarding transportation.

I don't know if the 800 number works in the States or not but it is 800-663-8390.

Hope that helps everyone.
traveller69 is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,121
Yes, a taxi to Butchart's would be expensive. As for the BC Transit bus, you should be able to catch it downtown on Douglas St. Look for the signs showing the buses that go to each stop. The bus Traveller69 mentions might be just as easy or easier, although I have never tried it.

Milestones is right on the harbour. Sam's Deli is across the street. Murchies further into town is fine for snacks and the Dutch Bakery on Fort St. is cheap. There is a cafe in the museum too but I don't know how late it stays open.

The only trouble with your visit is that you miss seeing the entire waterfront from Victoria through Oak Bay. Maybe you could fit in a bike ride.
April is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,121
But then if you're staying near the Coast Hotel, it has a restaurant and so does the Laurel Point Inn. There is also The Superior with its wacky decor on Superior St., and a dessert/coffee cafe at Shoal Point.
April is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 11:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 112
Thanks all for your eating suggestions we will be staying at the Laurel Point, never thought of that (The things you over look).

'mms' - Where need to you catch the float plane from/with who? From reading the comments we could split the second day into two (Morning only at the Gardens) and try your idea in the afternoon

or 'April' suggestion of a bike ride - (Anyone know where these could be hired?).

'Traveller69' thanks a lot this was just what I was looking for.

Thanks, all will make some changes for the 2nd day based upon your ideas.

Better start looking at Vancouver now.

TeddG is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,155
We did indeed do the gardens in the morning, then the float plane in the afternoon. It was cool to see the gardens from the air after just being there.

A good website for looking into thing is www.tourismvictoria.com. In the section under "things to do", is scenic air tours. Several companies are listed, and I just called all of them to see what fit our plans the best. We ended up going with Hyack Air (www.hyackair.ca) and we were pleased. They are located right on the water, on Wharf Street. We took a lot of pictures from the plane and the scenery was amazing!
mms is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 91
Pagiliacci's for lunch is really good, right on Broad Street, but you need to get there before the lunch crowd because it fills up quickly. They also have an Indian Buffet at the Bombay room in the Empress, very nice atmosphere and seating (no kid allowed though)

Also, I know it's kind of a gimmick, but you can consider Afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel after your whale watching trip (you need to reserve ahead of time). It's kind of expensive but you get a sense of the old tea times in England and the tea and sandwiches/scones are excellent.

If you do have children, beacon hill children's park is great (located in beacon hill park as mms mentioned earlier), they have a little petting zoo/farm, great playground, pretty walkways/flowers, and a water playground that the kids will surely love.

In Vancouver, of course you probably want to visit Stanley park. The capilano suspension bridge is neat, you can hike around when you get to the other side. Downtown is fun to walk around and the vancouver museum is very nice- lots of modern art and old egyptian artifacts. Finally, you don't want to miss Granville Island- it has a lot of nice shops and a smaller version of Seattle's pike place market with fruit/vegetable stands, food, etc.
clelbong is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,121
You can also take the float plane over to Vancouver, which best done without a lot of luggage.

Bikes can be rented at 747 Douglas St. (Cycle BC.CA Rentals), right behind the Empress Hotel not far from where you're staying. They also rent scooters and you can often see people riding these to the side of the traffic along the waterfront. Under Bicycle Rentals the phone book also lists IMT Motorcyle Rentals at 329 Belleville, which would be closer to you still. Another outfit called Harbour Rentals at 450 Swift St., would be further away.
April is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 373
Hi you catch the #75 bus at Fairfield and Blanchard. You can purchase a day pass for $6 and ride transit as much as you like for a day. If you goe to the bctransit web site they have a map of the route which shows the pick up and drop off spots in downtown Victoria
weasel is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 02:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5
Wow Weasel! Can you really read that BC Transit Downtown map? I nearly went crazy trying to figure out the routes on that map. There's no street directions given or colored lines or arrows to show the routes so I downloaded the written schedules and it's not any easier with them. At times they have buses traveling from one street and turning onto another yet the two streets don't even intersect! I figured I'd better choose a place to stay where I don't have to ride the bus. I read some BAD stuff about violent crime in the Centennial Square area around the courthouse. Does anyone know where that area is or can you confirm my info? Also they said for everyone to beware of pickpockets since it's such a touristy place! That can ruin a vacation - from one who knows!
travelready is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,121
Centennial Square (where City Hall is) and the courthouse are in different areas. Centennial Square is out of the usual tourist zone and there'd be no reason for you to go there. I've never been pickpocketed in my life, so just be careful as you would any place.

I have caught the bus to Butchart's before on Douglas Street (not near Centennial Sq.). If you want to know the exact corner, I can find out for you.
April is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 05:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,981
In Vancouver, we toured Stanley Park via horse drawn carriage. Then walked Denman Street, which is right across the street, one mile to English Bay. Denman Street has such a International flavor. We then turned left and walked the Bay to the Ferry's. We took the Ferry to Granville Island (which takes about 5min) and had a wonderful lunch at Bridges Restaurant on their outside deck overlooking the boats and waterway. We then walked around the colorful and busy Island and ended up stopping at the Public Market. Loved this place! We were tired so bought some wonderful cheeses, crackers, fruit and wine, called a taxi, went back to our hotel, took a hot shower and ate our dinner while watching a movie. It was a great day.
cd is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,546
We took Pacific line from Victoria main bus station to Butchard garden, and it was aa very good idea. You do not need a tour there. You will take your time to visit the garden, to haave a coffee or a light meal and then, take the bus back to Victoria. I think that there are two buses per hour.
valtor is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 193
We are staying at the Royal Scot. How close are scooter rentals and what is the cost?
Mycuppajava is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 193
One other question...
We are staying one night in Victoria...
Murchies for tea
BC Museum
Scooter rental for water front
Coffee at Empress
Pacific Coast Lines (through Buschart Gardens) to Vancouver

Other ideas? OR will this take up most of our time. Arrival will be from Seattle via Clipper, so we will lose a bit of the first day.

Mycuppajava is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 08:31 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 62
The scooter rentals are just a few blocks from your hotel. (Right behind the Empress Hotel) Suggestion - instead of coffee at the Empress try their curry buffet in the Bengal Room. Or at least have your coffee in the Bengal Room. Have a great visit.
wrldtrvlr05 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 193
Thanks so much, world traveler 'o5
Mycuppajava is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,121
Scooter rental rates are shown at:
April is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:37 AM.