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Explore VI from 2 bases?

Kiama, Australia
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Explore VI from 2 bases?

Hi there,

We are a couple with a 12mth old, travelling to VI from Vancouver. We will bring our car over on the ferry, and are planning on spending 4 nights on the island.

We love to appreciate beautiful beaches and the dramatic scenery, but would also like to see a bit of what the city (ie. Victoria) has to offer. As we have our daughter with us, we can't really easily join tours or get on any boats. Also, she does OK in the car but not really much more than 2hrs (during the day - night is much better).

Upon arriving in Nanaimo, we were thinking of driving straight down to Victoria and spending 2 nights there. Then, driving up to Tofino and spending another 2 nights. Then head back to Nanaimo for the ferry back to the mainland.

Does basing ourselves in Tofino and Victoria sound like a good way to see a few highlights of the island... well, as many of the highlights as are possible in 4 days.

Thanks so much in advance!

Ange

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1. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

Hi Ange......One thing that stands out in your plan. I think you should drive to Tofino from Nanaimo, spend your two days. Then drive to Victoria for the final two and take the ferry back to the mainland from Swartz Bay. Save you time and lots less driving.... Enjoy!

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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2. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

While I agree with speedo about travelling through Nanaimo but it's a 3 hour trip from Nanaimo to Tofino maybe a bit more-that puts the child in 'red line' mode-the return trip to Victoria is that much more driving-5 hours easy.

That's half a day gone and if the kid doesn't get her nap........

My suggestion is to spend a few nights in/around Parksville/Qualicum for beaches & all kinds of nature walks and a few around Victoria for everything else (including some great beaches).

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

Just the trip from Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo will take 3.5 hours, including the ferry.

Some of the appealing things near Parksville/Qualicum would be Coombs, Butterfly World, World Parrot Refuge and Tiger Lily Farm with its petting zoo. The beach at Parksville is wide and flat, great for walking and playing in the sand.

The distance between Nanaimo and Victoria is a 2 hour drive.

Here is a general list with suggestions for kids' (all ages) activities.

http://victoriabcguide.com/kids.htm

So -- a couple of nights in Pville or Qualicum and a couple of nights in Victoria.

Port Moody, Canada
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4. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

Another thought might be to do part of the Pacific Marine Circle.. which is the southern part of Vancouver Island.. Take the Tswassen ferry to Swartz Bay then drive out past Sooke....stay somewhere like Point No Point or Soule Creek Lodge...this would give you some great beaches/scenery without a long drive..then head into Victoria for 2 nights. if you really wanted to drive up island you could drive from Victoria to Nanaimo, stopping along the way and take the Nanaimo ferry back

Canada
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5. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

I'd have to agree with Sam and Mufti. Your daughter is only 1 so the trip has to be centered around her only for travel purposes. The Parksville /Qualicum area is really nice and relaxing. You can hike around Qualicum fish hatchery and falls. And the beach. You don't want to be stressing yourself out with a baby.

Tofino is well worth it, but maybe save that for another time when the baby is a bit older and travel is a bit better.

Do return from Victoria via Tsawwassen though. It's a bit more "scenic" and saves you having to retrace your steps on the Island.

Kiama, Australia
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6. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I really appreciate it!

So just to get this straight...

- Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo

- Nanaimo to Parksville for 2 nights

- Parksville to Victora for 2 nights

- Ferry from Victoria (Swartz Bay) to Tsawwassen

Port Moody, Canada
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7. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

that works .. no long drives..

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

Sounds good. And if you organize a ferry from Swartz to Tsawwassen early enough, you can be through the Massey Tunnel before, say 2:00/2:30, which will give you 2 northbound lanes through the tunnel before they shut down one of those lanes for the afternoon rush southbound and force all northbound traffic into one lane. Or alternatively, aim for the Massey Tunnel after 7 p.m. or so.

Sechelt, BC
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9. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

Your ferry itinerary to Nanaimo from Horseshoe Bay then return Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen has you travelling a circle Tour. Purchase circle tour tickets from BC Ferries and you will receive 15% off your fare.

www.bcferries.com/travel_planning/circlepac/

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: Explore VI from 2 bases?

Sadly, the circle pac is a 4 route package: HB-Langdale, Sunshine Coast, PR-Comox and then one of Dep Bay or Swartz ferries.