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3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

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Sydney, Australia
posts: 64
reviews: 3
3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

My husband and I will be in the USA late May next year and plan to fly up to Vancouver for a few days.

I believe it is a lovely city however Victoria and the Butchart Gardens are a must? Could we have a suggested guide to get a brief overview of the city of Vancouver and then onto see the Butchart Gardens.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 16,306
reviews: 53
1. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

Here's a map of the journey between Vancouver and Butchart Gardens:

http://goo.gl/maps/uKjKz

The shown travel time of 3 hours one way is quite conservative and doesn't allow for the better part of an hour needed to get on and off the ferries on either side of Georgia Straight.

If Butchart Gardens is the destination of choice, then I would recommend you look at Victoria as your destination. Its a lovely city and the surrounding areas like Sooke and around the Pacific Marine Circle Route is more than enough to keep you engaged and entertained for the duration of your stay.

http://www.pacificmarinecircleroute.com/

While I know lots and lots of people visit Victoria and surrounds as a day trip from Vancouver, its a long and exhausting day and, IMO, it will rush you through the things you want to see. Making it your destination affords you the time you want to spend the places you really want to see.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 290
reviews: 7
2. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

Since you say you are hear for a few days, I would simply do an over night trip to Victoria. Plenty of time to see the Royal B.C museum and the gardens. If your a first time visitor to Vancouver you will find there are many things to see and do here.

Edited: 1:52 pm, September 01, 2013
Penticton, Canada
posts: 5,806
reviews: 5
3. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

hi

an option - fly early to Vancouver then from the airport take a flight to Victoria on a one way ticket. The airport is near the gardens so take a taxi to the gardens. then you have the option of getting a taxi to the ferry; when on the ferry get a ticket for the bus to downtown Vancouver; there is a counter where they sell tickets PCL (Pacific Coach Line)

or take PCL which does a stop at the gardens; then it gets on the ferry with a stop downtown.

Downtown Vancouver book a hotel close to the rail system (Skytrain) which goes to the airport.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 3,056
reviews: 41
4. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

+1 to what everyone else said about Victoria/Butchart Gardens ideally being an overnight trip. However, you did also ask about tours. Landsea is very well thought of on this forum -

http://www.vancouvertours.com/

Nanaimo, Canada
posts: 13,279
reviews: 28
5. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

I'm curious as to where in the USA you would be flying to Vancouver from! Is Seattle on the agenda at all? There would be more options to see Victoria and the Gardens from there. You could just walk on the Clipper ferry, and arrive in Victoria that way. Then continue to Vancouver when you have seen all you want to see in Victoria.

May will be a wonderful time to see the Gardens.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 64
reviews: 3
6. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

Thank you for all your replies. We will be flying in from LA. I am keen to get a brief overview of Vancouver however it sounds like Victoria is a delightful place. As we are interested in seeing the Gardens it sounds like might be best to stay overnight in Victoria? I have not done a lot of reading on the place yet however still a little confused as there seems to be so many forms of transport to and from. Don't mind the thought of a ferry or coach ride I think we would see more (although I realise a plane would be quicker) Hope these details may help you understand our thoughts - although we only have 4 days don't want it to be too rushed.

Reasonable 3-4 star accommodation would be helpful too.

Nanaimo, Canada
posts: 13,279
reviews: 28
7. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

The ferry from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria) is beautiful. It goes through the Gulf Islands and Active Pass, and your chances of seeing some wildlife are pretty good if you get out on the deck.

Flying to Victoria, especially if you fly harbour to harbour, is another great way to fly, as you are flying so low, the views are amazing. Different luggage restrictions there though, so it may not be an option for you. It depends on how much shopping you do in LA!!

If you "hop" over to the Victoria forum, you will be able to get more information about Victoria on the right hand side of the page, always in blue letters.

It might also be worth a trip to your public library to get a Fodor's, Frommer's, or Lonely Planet travel book about Vancouver and Victoria.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 64
reviews: 3
8. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

Like the sound of the boat trip. How long does it take, can it be rough? We will have one bag each we try to travel light!

Nanaimo, Canada
posts: 13,279
reviews: 28
9. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

The actual time on the ferry is only one hour, forty minutes. But you need to be there early enough to buy your ticket, and make the LOOOONG walk to the departure lounge. Not as bad as the airport, but long enough! And then of course, there is the walk at the other end as well. This is assuming you use public transit to get out there. Pacific Coach Lines is another option. You board the bus in Vancouver with your luggage LOCKED underneath, and the bus drives on the ferry first, and off the ferry first. It will take you right downtown Victoria. Much more convenient.

For the flight, it isn't that you have just one suitcase, it is the weight of the suitcase that counts as well.

Ideally, you could take the ferry one direction, and fly the other! That way you get to experience them both.

In May it should not be rough. And the ride through Active Pass and the Gulf Islands is well protected.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 64
reviews: 3
10. Re: 3-4 days Vancouver must include Butchart Gardens visit

Thank you for your prompt assistance I will dicuss same with my husband.