The city of Victoria, located on Vancouver Island, is the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia. Victoria is a charming city where we stay a couple of days – primarily to visit the beautiful Butchart Gardens.
We travel to Vancouver Island from the city of Vancouver by taking the BC Connector bus from Pacific Central Station to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (a trip of about 45 minutes, collecting passengers from Vancouver Airport on the way). The bus drives onto the BC Ferry and we are able to walk to one of the two upper decks. The ferry crossing is a very scenic trip of 1.5 hours.
Just before arriving at the ferry terminal on Vancouver Island we board the same bus again and it is a 45-minute drive to the centre of Victoria where we check into our accommodation – Helm’s Inn – conveniently located close to the centre of town.
The waterfront in Victoria is very attractive and is close to the historic part of town. We spend the afternoon exploring the area, highlights of which include:
- Parliament buildings
- Empress Hotel – lovely dining rooms, gift store, clothing shops, conference area and high tea.
- Royal BC Museum – one of the finest museums in BC – showcasing the history of BC plus changing temporary exhibitions. During our visit, “Egypt: The Time of the Pharaohs” was on display.
- Streets of the Old Town including Chinatown
- Visitor Information Center on the waterfront
During our walk we happen to pass the National car rental office and see that one day’s car hire is just US$39 – so we book it for the next day.
We make an early start and drive out to Butchart Gardens where we spend a couple of hours strolling through the 22 hectares (55 acres) of gardens. It is amazing to think that such beautiful gardens were created from a former limestone quarry over 100 years ago. It is well worth a visit.
After leaving the gardens we drive towards the coast and take the scenic, coastal drive along Beach Drive from Cadboro-Gyro Park via Dallas Road to Fisherman’s Walk. Highlights include:
- Royal Victoria Yacht Club
- Uplands – beautiful residential homes and gardens
- Cattle Point Scenic Loop
- Willows Beach and Tea Room
- Oak Bay Marina
- Oak Bay Beach Hotel
- Victoria Golf Club
- Beacon Hill Park
- The Beagle Pub and village shops
This is a pretty spot with places to eat, boutiques and a few residential ‘floating’ homes. Although a bit touristy, it is a good place for a quick bite to eat and a stroll to look at the colourful buildings.
Ferry from Victoria to Seattle
We take the 5pm ferry from the inner harbour in Victoria to Seattle. We book our luggage onto the ferry, go through US Customs and board the Victoria Clipper. It is a comfortable 2 hour 45-minute crossing to Seattle. There is good food available however there is no WIFI.
We are told that gale force winds are predicted in the Straits of Juan de Fuca however we do not find it rough at all. It is a very comfortable and scenic trip.
28-29 May 2018