They say that life is about the journey, not the destination. And as much as both of the destinations are amazing, the journey to Victoria from Vancouver can be one of the best parts of the trip! Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria offers incredible history, gardens, viewpoints, dining and wildlife viewing. There’s so much to do, you can easily spend a few days enjoying the city, and its an easy addition to a stay in Vancouver.
When it comes to choosing how to get to Victoria from Vancouver, you have options. Here are three suggestions, courtesy of the staff at the British Columbia Visitor Centre @ Peace Arch:
Take a cruise through the Straight of Georgia from Vancouver to Victoria aboard BC Ferries. Travelling by ferry comes with many benefits: an unlimited supply of fresh air, a deck-side view of breathtaking scenery not accessible by land and a high probability of spotting marine wildlife. On-board, enjoy incredible sights as you cross the Straight of Georgia and travel through Active Pass – make sure to have your camera ready! Wildlife such as whales, dolphins and sea lions frequent the waters along this route and it’s not uncommon to spot them, especially during the spring and summer months. During summer, you can take advantage of BC Ferries’ Coastal Naturalist Program and learn about the ecosystem that you’re traveling through. A little hungry or feel like doing some shopping on the way over? The ferries have got you covered with various food options (hello Pacific Buffet!) and Passages Gift Shop, the perfect place to pick up west coast jewelry, clothing and souvenirs. The ferries have viewing platforms both inside and outside. It can get chilly when you’re out on deck, so don’t forget your coat! Your cruise ends at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal in Sidney, about 30 minutes by car from downtown Victoria.
Know Before You Go
Get a little closer to the water in one of Prince of Whales‘ whale watching boats on an Ultimate Day Tour to Victoria and back. The trip starts in Vancouver, where you load the vessel bright and early in the morning. An approximately four-hour whale watching tour takes you through the Gulf Islands, ultimately ending in Victoria’s Inner Harbour in the early afternoon. From there, you have some free time to enjoy Victoria before getting on your choice of four shuttles to the world-famous Butchart Gardens. The length of time you want to spend in the gardens will determine which shuttle time you choose. The shuttle takes you on a scenic drive to Butchart Gardens (where your admission fee is pre-paid) and you get the opportunity to experience the incredible floral display gardens before heading to a private dock accessed through Butchart’s Japanese Garden. Once back on the boat, grab a seat, relax and enjoy a sunset tour back to Vancouver. It’s a long day – but it’s definitely worth it!
Insider Tip: If you want to spend more time in Victoria, Prince of Whales is happy to let you break the trip into two or more days.
If traveling by water isn’t your style, how about a flightseeing tour instead? Harbour Air Seaplanes will get you from the Vancouver harbour to the Victoria harbour in about 40 minutes, leaving lots of time for you to experience Victoria. These small aircrafts depart several times a day, so you can pick a schedule that works for you. Arrive early (or pay the extra fee) to make sure you get a window seat, as the scenery is stunning! You’ll witness amazing aerial views of Vancouver, Victoria, the Gulf Islands and the Pacific Ocean.
Insider Tip: Make sure that you make reservations in advance… the planes only seat so many people and they book up!
With all of the amazing ways to get to Victoria from Vancouver – what are you waiting for?
Are you a BC travel guru? Why not share your experience and write for the HelloBC blog?