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Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

Liverpool, United...
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420 posts
42 reviews
Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

Following on from my post last week about wanting to return to BC in 2020 and kicking around ideas, this is what I have come up with and just wanted to see what you thought about the logistics of it, the only thing I am slightly worried about is getting from Vancouver Island to Vancouver airport on the final day.

So, 15 nights holiday it will be because of the flight dates and times that are the usual schedule for Manchester to Vancouver.

Land in Vancouver and drive to North Vancouver for 5 nights. (the original plan was to head to Vancouver Island but after our 9 hour flight from the UK I really don't want to be taking the ferry and doing much more travelling) From our base in North Vancouver we will have a day at Whistler, visit Deep Cove and Lynn Canyon that we missed last time, a day in downtown for Granville island and then visit a few more places for hikes/waterfalls etc around the north area.

Then Horseshoe bay for the ferry over to Departure Bay. Stop of in Coombs on the way to Ucluelet for 5 nights, thinking of staying in a cabin here with a hot tub and water views. From our base here we will explore Tofino and the rainforest walks, do a bear tour and visit the many beaches.

From there we will drive down to south Vancouver island for our final 5 nights, I am thinking of somewhere near Sooke. On the way we will stop at Nanaimo for lunch, obviously i'll need a Nanaimo bar too seen as they are so nice ;-) and call in at Cheminus to see the murals. This should break the long drive up. From our base in Sooke we will be able to visit Victoria and Buchart gardens, the Goldstream tressle, Mystic beach and all the other sites on the south of the island.

The flight home to the UK from Vancouver is usually scheduled for 6pm. This 'should' give us plenty of time to travel from Sooke to Swartz Bay and then over to Tsawwassen. I'm not against getting up early and catching one of the first ferries to make sure we get there. I had thought of booking a 1 way car hire and dropping it at Victoria airport and flying back to Vancouver but this will just add to cost and I doubt it would be much quicker anyway once you factor in airport security and any flight delays.

Interested to hear your thoughts on this.

10 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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68,542 posts
66 reviews
1. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

My only caution would be to get over to Vancouver the night before your flight out. As is you would need to be at the airport by 3 pm. Things can go wrong on ferries, not very often, but when they do and you happen to be on the ferry that has lost its power, lost its steering, stopped to search for a pax who has jumped overboard the risk of missing your flight increases as does the risk of having to buy new fares at walk up rates, if any are available at all the next day. Anyway you slice that, it would be expensive.

Vancouver Island...
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1,896 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

2019 Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen schedule:

June 24 to Sep 02, Monday to Saturday, except the 3 Monday holidays, sailings every hour beginning at 6am.

If you really want to remain on the island until flight day, there is almost zero chance of not getting aboard any of the seven sailings between 6am and noon. About all I can think of is a massive storm or an entire terminal out of service.

I would not stay anywhere west of Victoria on your final night. Maybe move closer to Swartz Bay; Brentwood Bay or Sidney and reserve the earliest sailing you can deal with.

Liverpool, United...
Level Contributor
420 posts
42 reviews
3. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

My only thinking for leaving VI the day of the flight, was that if we left the day before, we would be all day waiting around to go to the airport. Might as well get as much time on VI as possible

Thanks for the advice. I may consider doing it the opposite way around and travel to VI once we land in Vancouver and do north Vancouver our last 5 days keeping us closer to the airport on our final day

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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68,542 posts
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4. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

Coastal Inspiration experiences repair delays, 4 days at the end of June affected: “A planned repair to a propeller hub on the vessel is taking longer than expected. BC Ferries says it's unfortunate.” I think this was the situation in which all travellers with ferry reservations were cut loose. They couldn’t bump reserved pax on the next ferry, they had to wait as FCFS pax.

Several years earlier, Coastal Inspiration rammed the dock at Duke Point ferry terminal, which damaged the vessel and a vehicle ramp onshore.

Last December, the Coastal Inspiration leaked oil into Nanaimo Harbour which resulted in the closure of the Duke Point terminal.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s important to have a contingency plan in front of an important reservation (flight, cruise, train, tour.)

Here is a sad story for today in Churchill Manitoba. I hope this fella has all his flights on one ticket, not separate tickets.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g15333…

Edited: 20 October 2018, 02:56
Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
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14,108 posts
152 reviews
5. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

I would reverse the trip.

Pick up the rental car and head for the Twsassen ferry and cross to Swartz Bay then spend your first night in Sidney. Charming town, lots of restaurants, great waterfront walkway, wonderful bookstores.

Alternative is pick up rental car and drive to Tswassen. There's a Coast Hotel that's under 15 minutes from the ferry terminal. Get a good nights sleep then catch the 7 am ferry. ( you'll probably be waking up early due to jet lag LOL) if that's too early then the 8 am. Don't forget to have a reservation and you do have to be at the terminal 60-30 minutes ahead.

Have breakfast on the ferry first thing ( eggs cooked to order..not gourmet but fine) then go out on deck as you sail through the Gulf Islands.

Do the rest of your trip as planned but in reverse.. When you come back to the Mainland take the Departure Bay ferry to Horseshoe Bay and head to your north shore accommodation. No worries about trying to drive across the Lions Gate into town.

I'm assuming you're keeping the car for the duration for Whistler and ease of access to Lynn Valley etc.??

If you're coming in June, July, August there will be daylight until at least 9pm so you'll still get the Gulf Islands views even if you can get the 8 pm ferry.

Liverpool, United...
Level Contributor
420 posts
42 reviews
6. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

Yeah, keeping the car for the duration of the trip so we can explore the surrounding areas of Vancouver that you can't reach by public transport. I might look at switching the plan around the opposite way then to avoid any stress of getting back to Vancouver on the day of the flight. Better to have a busy first day than a stressful last day I suppose 👍

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
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14,108 posts
152 reviews
7. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

Absolutely! You can always sleep on the plane coming over.

What are your possible dates???

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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68,542 posts
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8. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

You sounded quite opposed to doing any more travel than to Vancouver so I went with that. But I have to say, keeping to your Vancouver > Island plan means only getting to the mainland on the last evening of your trip. No earlier than some time on the last evening. Sooke to somewhere near Tsawwassen. Catch the 8 pm ferry, latest, for an 9h35 arrival at Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Sleep. You don't have to spend all your departure day waiting around. There are some lovely attractions on the way to the airport.

Getting to North Van on arrival day would be straightforward. Getting from Sooke to Tsawwassen the night before your flight would not take any great amount of energy at that stage of your trip, 4 hours max. Your contingency plan would be to overnight in a Sidney Hotel. So in reality you could do your itinerary in either direction. Your call and you've got some time to make it. :-)

Five attractions for your last day, plus the Coast Tsawwassen Hotel: https://goo.gl/maps/wtcMBJmF7Km

Liverpool, United...
Level Contributor
420 posts
42 reviews
9. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

Traveller47 my husband works in a school so we can only do summer holidays. So any time from the last week of July to the 1st September.

I'll have a look at them sites near the ferry terminal and consider a night there before our flight

Vancouver Island...
Level Contributor
1,896 posts
4 reviews
10. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island 2020 rough plan

Oooooooo, gee I don’t know about staying in North Vancouver before your flight. Lions Gate Bridge has seen horrific delays caused by crashes, jumpers, fallen trees, fires, filming and naked cyclists. Same with the Ironworkers Bridge, except no trees, but it did collapsed once.

Maybe better to spend your last three days at the River Rock or Fairmont at the airport.

T47’s plan at post 5 is a good one but I still see low risk for early same day travel from the island for a 6pm flight and Steveston is a great place to kill a few hours.

As for ferry reservations, if BCF is unable to honor it, they refund and you become standby ahead of all other standbys on the day until you get boarded.

Bottom line, you’ve been here before, have a good sense of the drill, so just go with your own good judgement and you’ll be fine.

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