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change to detailed itinerary - please help!

York, United Kingdom
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change to detailed itinerary - please help!

Hi all, I am considering moving a few things about in our itinerary and wanted your opinion. We expect to be busy, the aim is to see the sights and get a flavour for as much as we can - It is currently:

Sunday - leave Jasper, visit Mt Edith Cavell, (no walks, just the view point unless the walk happens to be really easy), sleep in Clearwater.

Monday - Visit Helmcken falls (this day feels very empty and a bit of a waste) sleep in Clearwater

Tuesday - drive via Kamloops and Lillooet to Whistler, think this will take most of the day, stay in Whistler overnight.

Wednesday - Explore Whistler, sleep over

Thursday - drive to Vancouver, sleep in Vancouver

Friday - Vancouver, sleep in Vancouver.

My 'revised' thinking is busy but I think do-able:

Sunday - up early, leave Jasper, visit Mt Edith Cavell (no walks, just the view point unless the walk happens to be really easy), drive on down to Wells Gray and see Helmcken Falls, stay overnight in Clearwater.

Monday - up early, drive via Kamloops and Lillooet to Whistler, think this will take most of the day, stay in Whistler overnight.

Tuesday - explore Whistler, get a late checkout on our room, leave Whistler approx 5pm, drive to Tsawwassen to pick up the 8pm ferry to Nanaimo. Arrive in our hotel at Parksville approx. midnight.

Wednesday - Visit Tofino, sleep over in Parksville

Thursday - Visit Nanaimo and drive down to Victoria, spend a few hours there, ferry back to Vancouver, stay over in Vancouver

Friday - Vancouver, sleep in Vancouver

Any thoughts on this? How long does it take to embark/disembark the ferry with a car? what time would we have to arrive for an 8pm sailing? I'm wondering whether to just do a day trip to Victoria or Nanaimo as a foot passenger from Vancouver, but I REALLY want to see Tofino!

Anyway, any thoughts or advice would be appreciated, thank you!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

I'm afraid you won't get much joy with plan 2. You'll just be able to breeze through those places, except for Whistler, and a year from now, you won't remember much. Give Whistler a miss. You will just have been in the breathtaking Rockies. You need to focus on Tofino. You will have an impossible day if you try to drive from Tofino, visit Nanaimo, visit Victoria and then drive/ferry to Vancouver. Here is a suggestion:

Sunday: Jasper to Hope, overnight Hope

Monday: Hope to P'ville, overnight P'ville

Tuesday: P'ville to Tofino, overnight Tofino 3 nights

Friday: Tofino to Vancouver, overnight Vancouver.

When to arrive for the ferry? It depends on the day, time of day and even the season. I think one of your threads talks about June/July. Is that this year? Getting accommodations in Tofino at this point will be challenging. If you are taking a ferry anywhere near July 1-4, you will definitely need a reservation if they are still available. With a reservation you will need to arrive at the ferry terminal 30-60 min in advance of departure. Not 29 minutes or your ressie will be gone. The ferries are quite efficient.

Plan 1 would work quite well for timing and sightseeing. Plan 2 will do you in on Wed and Thurs. If you don't have accommodation or ferry reservations yet, see what you can get organized and go with that.

York, United Kingdom
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2. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

We would visit Tofino and back in one day, sleep over in Parksville and then the next day we would go to Nanaimo and Victoria and ferry it back to Vancouver from Victoria. So we have 2 days to do this part and would not stay in Tofino as I said, we would be staying in Parksville. We would do Tofino and back to Parksville in a day. Does this sound do-able?

We have accommodation booked in Clearwater so we have to go there.

Thanks for the tip about the ferry arrival times There are spaces on the ferry for us and the car at the times I outlined above. I think I would drive from Whistler to Horseshoe Bay and get the ferry from there as it is a shorter drive and better ferry times.

Thanks for your reply. We are going at the end of the month but not 1-4 July we will be in Vancouver on Canada Day!

PS - Where is P'Ville?

Edited: 08 June 2011, 09:33
York, United Kingdom
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3. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

Edit - P'ville = Parksville - sorry!

Parksville, Canada
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4. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

Parksville/Tofino/Parksville in a day isn't really do-able. It is at least 7 hours of travel time with no breaks. There are worthwhile stops en route, particularly Cathederal Grove, and you wouldn't give yourself much of a chance for a decent walk on Long Beach, time to explore the town, galleries or interpretive centre at the National Park. I'd either rearrange my itinerary so you can stay over night in Ucluelet or Tofino, or give it a pass. Long Beach is a special place; I think you'd be frustrated by having so little time there.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

Here's my trip report from our day in Wells Grey. Not as good as Jasper, but I thought it was a full and interesting day.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g154922-i80-k388059…

Mount Edith Cavel is definitely doing the walk through the moraine to the small lake that takes the run off from the glacier. This location is only just south of town and can easily be done after dinner if you are not too late. We went up in the evening and just wandered around the parking lot and then were convinced to return in the morning. The biggest difference I noticed was the light - it is much, much better in the evening and the place is much more majestic and impressive in the light of the setting sun, rather than in the morning when the glacier is still in the shadow of the peak. It was also much more crowded (MUCH more crowded) in the am than the pm. I would also say that Mt EC was a major highlight from our trip last summer. I would allow 2 hrs all together to drive up, park, walk to the little lake and back and drive back to town again. If you can be on your way by 6:30, then you should have plenty of good evening light to enjoy the place in the peace and lovely light of the evening.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

Ok, sorry, got caught up in the first part of your thread and responded to that and have now read through the rest.

Dolly - you need to have a hard think about your priorities. I realize that you want to do everything, but you are actually doing nothing because when you drive by and say "Oh look, there's the place that we didn't have time to go and see because we have to rush to the next thing that we don't have time to look at either" really, what's the point?

As mentioned, I would encourage you to try and do Mt. EC in the evening as you finish the Icefields PW. If you take the side road from Athabasca Falls rather than the main highway, you drive right past it on your way into town.

You can easily get from Jasper down to Clearwater in a day with time to drive up to Helmken Falls that evening if you wanted. I like Wells Grey, but with your schedule and intensions, I'd give it a miss. You might be better off to press on and get to Kamloops. Not sure if you are up to doing a full 8 - 10 hrs of driving to get down to Hope, but if you are, that's another good option.

If you decide to skip Whistler (could go either way on that one) make sure you go to Hope via Highway 1 rather than Highway 5. Lovely scenery.

If you DO go to Whistler, then you are crossing to Nanaimo via the Horseshoe Bay ferry, not Tswwassen.

I would absolutely, given your priorities, cut it down to one night in Clearwater and one night in Whistler and then give yourself two nights in Tofino. You absolutely cannot do Tofino as a day trip. You can, however, get from Tofino to Victoria in a day. However, I think there is merit to looking at some of the other suggestions here and doing a major re-jig of the whole itinerary.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

dollydaydream ~ I really don't think your plan 2 is a good one for enjoying anything. Especially the Wednesday and Thursday. It is rushed and you will only be able to blow by the places and the attractions. What a shame that would be. I would not at all recommend doing Tofino in a day. First of all, for a visitor and first time driver of the road, it's about a 4 hour drive each way. Then, there's not really any point to going to Tofino to visit for a few hours. It's got way more going for it than that. I completely missed your mention of going to the Island via Tsawwassen, yes, Horseshoe Bay is the way to go. My suggested redesign of your itinerary is meant to get the most out of Tofino.

*****

And I would not at all endorse doing Parksville - Nanaimo - Victoria - Vancouver in one day. This would entail:

Parksville - Nanaimo, half an hour travel.

Nanaimo visit, 2 hours? visit

Nanaimo - Victoria, 2 hours travel, stops extra

Victoria, 4 hours? visit

Victoria - Vancouver, 4 hours travel, including the wait for the ferry and ferry ride

This is a minimum 12 hours for one day. In Plan 2, you could skip Victoria and save yourself about 10 hours. On the Wednesday, you could overnight in Nanaimo rather than P'ville. This would allow you to explore Nanaimo a bit more.

*****

You will have had mountains in the Rockies, you don't need more (Whistler) mountains. Tofinio is quite unique. I think you would be very sorry to miss it. Your Plan 1 is more doable. It's going to be a trade off for you, with your 2 plans, between enjoying what you have listed, or driving like a madman to get from place to place.

York, United Kingdom
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8. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

How dare you live in such a lovely country with too many options for me to decide on!!!! :)

Thanks for your responses, we are just so aware we might never get back here. I kind of wish I hadn't booked nights in Vancouver and Clearwater now :(

Thanks for the tips about Mt EC - we have a few days in Jasper so we could probably do that on one of those evenings and definitely do the short walk too.

Right, lets have a think:

Sunday - up early, leave Jasper, drive on down to Wells Gray and see Helmcken Falls, stay overnight in Clearwater.

Monday - up early, drive via Kamloops and Lillooet to Whistler to see the village for possibly something to eat (husband is desperate to see Whistler for some reason!), think this will take most of the day, Get the 8pm ferry to Nanaimo , sleep there overnight.

Tuesday - Drive to Tofino, sleep in Tofino (assuming we can find somewhere)

Wednesday - Enjoy Tofino morning, drive back to Nanaimo , sleep in Nanaimo

Thursday - Day split between Nanaimo and Victoria before a late ferry back, sleep in Vancouver (booked)

Friday - Vancouver, sleep in Vancouver (booked)

Does that sound more reasonable? Thanks for your patience, I do appreciate it :)

Port Moody, Canada
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9. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

Dolly recent version sounds much more doable..still a rush for Tofino I'd stay 2 nights skip the sleepover in Nanaimo..much better to spend time in Cathedral grove and other parks..so drive Tofino to Victoria.

Where do you go after Vancouver?

also suggest you skip Kamloops and do different routing to Whistler.. go south on hwy 5 Clearwater to Little Fort..turn west at hwy 24in Little Fort..drive to 93 Mile House turn south on hwy 97 to junction with hwy 99 then drive to Lillooet and on to Whistler..above drive will be about 6 hours drive time and is quite spectacular..skipping Kamloops will have a bit less traffic..stop in Clinton for ice cream..above route takes you through rolling hills lake country then ranch land then parts of the Fraser Canyon (outside Lilooet).

York, United Kingdom
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10. Re: change to detailed itinerary - please help!

I go on a big long rest to Alaska on a cruise after Vancouver where we are at sea for most of it (thank god!)!!!

Just had a chat with someone who has visited there and they suggested skipping Whistler in favour of the Fraser Canyon! After his conversation and all your help I'm going to have another good sit down and work this out (again!).

Thanks for your patience! :)