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Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Massachusetts
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Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Hi,

We are traveling to BC in late August and in the process of planning our trip. As it stands now, we are flying into Victoria, spending a few days there, then head up to Tofino for a few more. We have 3 days at the end of our vacation in Vancouver and then fly out from there.

According to Google, it will take us about 6 hours to get from Tofino to Vancouver and we were thinking we'd like to break that drive up into 2 days. Looking for suggestions for where to spend the night and what we can see/do along the drive.

We (2 adults) enjoy light hiking, nature and wildlife, interesting towns, history, local crafts. Anything that will give us a feel for the communities we are traveling through. Not huge fans of museums, more interested in wandering around town, or nature reserves.

Thanks!

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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1. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Here come the goats.....

Massachusetts
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2. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Don't get it, but I love goats. :)

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Hi,

I would spend more time in Tofino rather than stop for the night on your way back to Vancouver. It's actually a 2.5 hour drive from Tofino to Nanaimo and then a 2 hour ferry ride - so shorter than you anticipated and many people do that in one shot.

Happy travels.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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4. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

The goats as mentioned are found @ the crassest dumbest tourist trap on Vancouver Island-one that is recommended over & over & over here by people who really should know better.

There's lots to see/do around Qualicum Beach-very different from WCVI and the nearby Cowichan Valley is a gem many people pass by.

Port Moody, Canada
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5. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Sam really dislikes Coombs which is where you will find goats on the roof of the market. It used to be a small mom and pop place but has grown significantly. We were there last fall for first time in about 10 years ..and had a ton of fun....shopped at. the market which has a great bakery. Dropped into some of the art/ craft shops and had a lovely outdoor lunch at the very nice restaurant...under the trees..felt very European...you can decide or yourself...Do spend more tim in Tofino. As noted a good chunk pf the 6 hour " travel time" is sitting waiting for the ferry and then being on the ferry. Not sure how long you have or Tofino but 3 nights is a good start. I would also consider making a ferry reservation as end of Aug. beginning Sept can be very busy.

Sam can however give you excellent advice about fishing and offbeat places to eat with good food : )

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

It's actually about 3.20 hours drive from Nanaimo to Tofino. That is if you don't stop off at

…gov.bc.ca/bcparks/…

along the way.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Hi loblollybythesea ~

OMG, we've got two "by the sea" people on this thread!

If you are travelling on the ferries from VI to Vancouver on the Labour Day long weekend of Aug 30-Sept 2, you will want to consider a ferry reservation for the 30th and the 2nd for sure, not so much the Saturday and Sunday between. It's going to take you about 6.5 hours plus an hour wait for the ferry. If you have time to stop a night on the way, why not!!

If you drove up as far as Courtenay/Cumberland, it would position you to access a couple of places. Firstly, the estuary around Courtenay river mouth. Cumberland has a very small coal mining museum attraction that depicts the very significant coal mining history on VI. Names like Robert Dunsmuir (père) and James Dunmsuir (fils), Hatley Castle (fils) and Craigdarroch Castle (père). Secondly, you could access Mt Washington in Strathcona Prov Park, and Denman (50 car ferry) and Hornby Islands (30 car ferry.)

BC Wildlife Watch: http://www3.telus.net/driftwood/bcwwhome.htm

Courtenay Estuary: (scroll down) keepingitliving.ca/about/courtenay-river-est…

Denman, accessed from Buckley Bay: britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

Hornby: part of the page is not available: britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

Strathcona PP trails: http://www.britishcolumbia.com/trails/?id=29

**

I like visiting Coombs Country Market. It is what it is, you don't have to buy property there. The Coombs Country Market is a "precious" grocery store. They have a lot of high end goods with prices to match but you can also get an apple or banana or baked goods and a cup of coffee there if you wish. They don't have just crackers there, they have quinoa jungle tempered sun dried organic crackers. But it's fun. On the grass roof of this market there are goats living. The last time I was there, they were intelligently off in the shade and couldn't be seen. Also on the property is the best gelato with similar prices to downtown Vancouver. The scoops just seem to be bigger at Coombs, maybe its the illusion that is contained in the novelty of the place, but I do know I wasn't hungry for a good long time. There is Cuckoos on site, an Italian resto which serves more menu items than pasta. It's a trattoria - so you will know the mood and ambiance. It has a spacious airy feeling and an outdoor patio. They get busy so the service can get slow. Maybe aim for 11h30 am or 1h30 pm. The portion sizes are very large.

There are a couple of dozen shops, somewhat eclectic, from a beads store to a surf shop (good for the Tofino bound water babies I guess) to a Chinese antiques shop (for the tour coaches). But I was pretty chuffed when I found a fantastic raku mask in the pottery shop out back by a Lantzville (Nanaimo) potter. Here is the store:

http://pyromaniapottery.ca/GalleryTour.html

Also in that area you will find Cathedral Grove: http://www.cathedralgrove.eu/

and North Island Wildlife Recovery (Association) Centre: http://www.niwra.org/

Can't forget Nanaimo: www.youtube.com/watch…

One website that will allow you to explore towns and regions is: www.britishcolumbia.com/regions/ti.asp…

**

I'm sure others have posted to your thread by now...... YES they have, so a bit of duplication of information.

Massachusetts
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8. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

Thank you everyone for all the info! I have my reading for this evening. :) Much as I do love goats, we have a place that sounds very similar around here (minus the roof stuff) so will likely give that a pass as we want to do what we can't do in Massachusetts.

We are planning on booking the ferry once we have the lodging in place. We will be renting a car at the Victoria airport but won't need it in Vancouver and was wondering if anyone knew whether we might be able to return it near the ferry....

Would LOVE recommendations for good food. Not too fancy, or filled with tourists. We like to go to the places that only locals know about. Not into fishing, but happy to eat the local catch.

Yes, we are planning on at least 3 nights in Tofino, maybe 5. 2 in Victoria, and 3 in Vancouver and then home. :(

Any further insights, suggestions, input, much appreciated.

Loblolly By the Sea is the name of the town in one of our favorite movies. But it was filmed near where we live.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

You could return the car to the airport and then take a taxi to Swartz Bay (for the ferry to Vancouver) for 20 minutes and about $30. No one way drop fee in that case.

Restaurants - Victoria - late August - places that only locals know about? ha ha! :-) Well, what I mean to say is Victoria is about 1.5 sq km big and it will be teeming with tourists.

However, you might go over to Cook Street Village. There you will find Rosie's Diner (and more) which is not formal, not fancy, but not filled with tourists.

Another place that is a little more high end, good fresh cuisine, with outdoor patio seating but is in the middle of hotel row is Harbour House at Oswego and Quebec Streets in James Bay.

You might also travel the 40 minutes up to Sidney and see what you can find for quiet dinners there.

Brentwood Bay is the village right outside the entrance to Butchart Gardens.

I would suggest you go up to the green navigation bar on the Victoria Forum where it says restaurants and have a look through there for the ones that appeal to you. You will know your budget, your cuisine type and your dining style. Then post a short list here for comment.

Victoria restaurants: tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g154945-Victoria…

Sidney restaurants: tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g181772-Sidney_G…

Brentwood Bay restaurants: tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g184850-Brentwoo…

Cool user name. I'll have to look up that movie.

Massachusetts
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10. Re: Want to break up drive between Tofino and Vancouver

The movie is called The Love Letter. Filmed in Rockport, MA. Light, a little quirky.

Thanks for the thinking outside the box suggestion about the car. Will check out the Swartz Bay ferry. I like that idea!

And all the restaurant suggestions. I know August will be teeming with tourists. LOL They want to come visit when the weather is nice too!