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Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Birmingham,Alabama
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Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Thanks for all of the local knowledge you provide! After several hours reading on the Forum, and planning our trip to Vancouver Island for August, I would appreciate your thoughts

.

Our family of 5 (parents and 19-24 year old kids) will fly into Vancouver Sat. Aug 10th arriving late afternoon, getting a rental car and staying in Uptown area (Best Western Plus).

Basic plan:

Sunday- driving to Whistler and back

Monday- 9am ferry from Tswassen to Swartz Bay (I understand traffic will be a big issue here. We will leave the hotel by 6am and get reservations for our ferry trips.)

Drive to Fisherman's wharf (arriving by noon)

Orca-watching tour from the Wharf 2:30

(Is this schedule realistic- other than the 6am departure?)

Night in Victoria (BW Plus Carlton Plaza)

Tuesday- Enjoy the drive to Tofino

Only other agenda here might be a stop in Nanaimo to do the WildPlay "ropes course"

Wed & Thurs- Tofino

Hiking, surfing, another whale-watching trip (for the gray whales)

(Since this is prime tourist season, I feel we should get advance reservations for the formal activies. Is that true? Any thoughts on the surf lessons for 4 of us?)

Friday- Drive to Nanaimo (Does anyone have experience with Adventure Tours/West Coast Wild Zipline; www.wcwild.com/index.php ?)

Ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay

Night at BW Plus Uptown

Sat- flying out of YVR at 7am (too early, I know, but it gets us in Atlanta at a decent time to drive 3 hrs back to Birmingham, AL.

Nanaimo, Canada
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for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
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1. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Sounds like a reasonable schedule to me. Yes get reservations for whale watching. Get a reservation for the Friday night sailing from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay.

A friend went down the zipline West Coast Wild (the one near Kennedy Lake on Hwy 4) and said it was exhilarating.

You can also do the zipline at WildPlay if you go and do the Monkido ropes course. The ropes are fun and are challenging for all levels.

Enjoy your holiday on Vancouver Island!

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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2. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

The only thing I don't like about your schedule is the hotel. Assume you're doing Best Western because of points..I'd look at one of the 2 best westerns that are downtown. What Best Western calls "uptown" is their own designation..you're not really in easy walking distance of the downtown core, seawall, Granville Island ,Stanley Park , and all the myriad number of restaurants, shops etc. that are in the downtown core.

The "uptown" is in an area that's fine but boring and out of the way IMO.

For your return on your Friday night absolutely make a ferry reservation...

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

You have one day in Vancouver and you are spending it driving to Whistler? If you are arriving late afternoon, then what about driving to Whistler that evening? Spend the night and the next morning in Whistler, then drive through Vancouver (spend a couple of hours in the city) and then finish with a hotel close to the ferry terminal so you don't have to get up quite so early the next morning, and you will be south of the tunnel, which is the cause of the traffic issues that time of the morning.

Birmingham,Alabama
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4. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

I appreciate the insights. For hotels, I just want a clean bed to rest for the night, so we can do more activities which include a price tag. I do like the ideas of staying downtown or closer to the ferry and doing the first night in Whistler. Will do some fine-tuning on the itinerary. Thanks.

Port Moody, Canada
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5. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Look at the Y hotel. Better location. I didn't catch that you're not even doing a day in Vancouver. Agree with Vancouverites idea of heading to Whistler on arrival day. You could then take ferry to Nanaimo,do Tofino then Victoria then back to mainland day before you leave.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Another possible itinerary:

2 nights Victoria. Arrive Vancouver, drive to Victoria for 2 nights. 45 min Cdn Customs, 45 min car rental, 3 hours to Victoria (1.5 hours on the ferry, not driving)

3 nights Tofino

2 nights Vancouver during which you do the day trip to Whistler.

**

I don't know what "late afternoon" means, but arriving at say, 5 pm would have you easily catching the 9 pm departure out of Tsawwassen and into Victoria at about 11h15 pm. 7 pm is the ferry before that. And doing the whole arrival thing on Saturday night would not have the same busy-ness as Sunday or Friday.

If you stick to your plan, then driving from Whistler to Tsawwassen for the Sunday night will be hands down less busy than trying to take on the bridges, highway and Massey Tunnel to the ferry on Monday morning. Have a look at the Coast Hotel in Tsawwassen.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g181787-d182065…

http://www.tsawwasseninn.com/

Nanaimo, Canada
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7. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Mufti's plan would work well. How many time zones are there? You might be arriving in Victoria after 11 at night, but it will feel earlier to you. Granted, you may still be tired from a day of traveling.

That ferry ride to Swartz Bay is beautiful too. It would be nice if you could catch the earlier ferry so you could get out on the deck and enjoy the scenery. You may even see a few whales and other "wildlife" along the way.

And the drive from Nanaimo to Tofino has a lot more stops for you as well, either on the way to Tofino, or the way back. There's Little Qualicum Falls, Cathedral Grove for BIG trees, and Coombs Country Market to check out the goats on the roof.

Also, make sure you fill up the gas tank in Port Alberni before continuing west. And filling up your stomach at Bare Bones is always a great idea too. FANTASTIC fish and chips! It's located right on Johnston Road at the bottom of the hill in Port Alberni, in an old church!

Surf lessons....

http://www.pacificsurfschool.com/

http://surfsister.com/

You don't have to be female to use the surfsister company!

Are you a costco member? The Costco in Nanaimo has started to carry coupons. There was one for Tofino. I am heading up there soon for groceries and I shall try to remember a pen and paper and write down what companies are represented.

ABSOLUTELY book the ferry back to Vancouver! You only pay for the reservation when you book it. The rest is paid for when you get to the ticket booth. You must be at the ferry terminal at least a half hour ahead of departure time or you lose your reservation. It's best to be an hour ahead of time. It's a busy place all summer long!

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Traveler47s plan to reverse the itinerary and head from Whistler to Tofino is sound. Finish up with a night in Vancouver at the end of your trip.

Nanaimo, Canada
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9. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Costco Gift Certificates....

Riptide Lagoon, Parksville 5 x $10.00 for $39.99

Crown Isle golf, Courtenay 2 x $50.00 for $79.99

Eaglequest Golf, six locations across Canada 3 x $20.00 for $44.99

Wildplay, Kelowna, Maple ridge, Nanaimo, and Victoria 4 x $25.00 $79.99

Kingfisher Resort and Spa, South Courtenay 2 x $50.00 for $79.99

Prince of Whales Whale Watching, Victoria and Vancouver, $100.00 value for $79.99

Nothing for Tofino... I probably saw whale watching and assumed that was where it was.

These are in the Costco in Nanaimo, at the north end of our city, just across the highway from the Woodgrove Mall.

Hope you can make use of a couple of them.

Birmingham,Alabama
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10. Re: Trip plan reality check (Vancouver-Tofino)

Thanks for the options. Will sort through them and see what works best for us. (I would never have thought of the Costco gift certificates.)