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Vancouver Island - how to divide time

Cambridge
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Vancouver Island - how to divide time

I'm planning to spend a week on VI at the end of September. What is the recommended allocation of time to spend in Victoria/Nanaimo/Tofino/Telegraph Cove etc? I will be travelling alone and will NOT have a car, so distances and public transport are important factors. For example, is it worth going all the way to Port McNeill and back or can I do most activities around the Nanaimo area? I want wildlife, birdwatching, hiking tours, whale watching trips etc. Any tips gratefully received :)

Port McNeill
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1. Re: Vancouver Island - how to divide time

If you primarily want "birdwatching, hiking tours, whale watching trips etc." Then you are better to spend your time in Tofino or northern Vancouver Island (though for whale watching Victoria is also a good possibility).

I would suggest heading to Port McNeill (I am biased, I live there!). I am sure others will give you good suggestions and recommendations for Tofino.

There is a once daily Greyhound bus http://greyhound.ca/en/ from Nanaimo to Port McNeill.

In Port McNiell there is a whale watching operator, www.whaletime.com right in town and a kayak tour operator www.kingfisher.ca that drives guests to Telegraph Cove for kayaking in Johnstone Strait and to visit the Whale Interpretive Centre (they also rent mountain bikes). Depending how late in September you are planning to visit it may be best to contact the operators to see what they still have running because most tours have ended by October 1. For other nearby whale watching operators check out tripadvisor.com/Travel-g499144-c112836/Port-…

September is a great time for sea birds and you will see lots whether on a whale watching trip, kayaking or walking along the waterfront.

Port McNeill is well situated to visit nearby Sointula on Malcolm Island and Alert Bay on Cormorant Island (the ferry leaves right from town) that you can easily visit on foot or by bike. There is a Port McNeill Insiders Page with suggestions for day trips. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g499144-c112905/Port-…

Grizzly bear watching is also a possibility www.tiderip.com but the tours leave from Telegraph Cove about 7:00am so you will need to take a taxi to get there - about $40 unless you are able to share.

For a nice B&B right on the water in Port McNeill check out www.atwatersedge.ca

Cambridge
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2. Re: Vancouver Island - how to divide time

Kingfisher Kayaking - thanks very much for all this info. Yes, I certainly plan to spend a few days in Tofino although not sure that I'll actually make it to Port McNeill. Nanaimo seems fairly central and apparently there are lots of day trips from there to the various islands etc. I hope to see Victoria too, if only for a day on the way home. Whatever I do, it all looks like wildlife heaven to me :))

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Vancouver Island - how to divide time

Transport may be a bit of a trick. You can do Greyhound bus, and there is also VIA rail as far as...Campbell River I think. There are some great lodges (I know of them from reputation rather than personal experience) in the Campbell River area where you can get some great tours. They can probably advise you about your transportation options (perhaps you can arrange for a pick up from the train station?)

I would go north of Nanaimo. It's has a small city feel, rather than a small town feel. Places like Courtenay and Campbell River are worth the effort.

Canada
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4. Re: Vancouver Island - how to divide time

VIA rail is from Victoria to Courtenay. Also known as the "Malahat".

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Vancouver Island - how to divide time

Thanks IslandWest, I wasn't sure about that one.

Cambridge
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6. Re: Vancouver Island - how to divide time

Thanks very much to Island West and Vancouverite for the train information. I hadn't come across that on any website (although I found lots of info about Tofino bus, Greyhound etc). I will certainly make the effort to get to Courtenay and am looking forward to it. We live in a totally flat, rural, inland part of the UK so that gorgeous coastal scenery is absolutely what I want on holiday!

Thanks again for all your tips on TA :)

7. Re: Vancouver Island - how to divide time

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