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Big Bus Groupon and car question??

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toronto
posts: 961
reviews: 15
Big Bus Groupon and car question??

We'll be in Victoria for just 3 days...trying to squeeze lots in. We will have been touring the Island for a week before hand and flying out from Victoria. Wondering if we should turn our rental car in early and "do" Victoria by foot..would mean a taxi to the airport later in the week. Or we can keep the car and return it to the airport when we leave?? Is it worth the extra expense of keeping it?

And I see this Groupon - $29 for a one-day hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour of Victoria for two people (up to a $58 value) - is that a good deal and does it make the car question easier to answer? thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 31,845
reviews: 51
1. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

Hi canchick ~

Victoria is easily walkable. It's about 1.5 sq km in the downtown core. But having a car does depend on what you want to do. If you want to do the Dallas Road scenic drive (2 hours or so), for example, you will need a car. If you want to do the Pacific Marine Circle Route, even just to Port Renfrew and back to Vic (5 hours return, stops extra), you will need a car. You also might want to drive the 40 minutes to Butchart, but you could include Butchart as part of the Dallas Road scenic drive for a 5 hour period of time. So you might want a car for one of your 3 days.

http://www.pacificmarinecircleroute.com/

There is a shuttle service to Butchart from in front of the Empress Hotel: www.cvscruisevictoria.com/butcharts.html

Victoria is lovely to walk around. Craigdarroch Castle is 2 km from the Inner Harbour. Beacon Hill Park is 1.5 km from the Inner Harbour. It's just a breeze to get around on foot.

I'm not a big fan at all of the HOHO buses in Vancouver in high season. I would read the reviews for the service in Vic to watch for mention of long waits for the buses and long line ups waiting to get on at the various stops with not enough available seats for everyone to get on. I repeat - this is for Vancouver. Victoria will be busy in high season but I have no idea of the HOHO schedule there is good enough for the number of people Vic might get. Just do a bit of research, the Vic system will be smaller scale than Van and maybe fine.

You don't need a car to get to the airport. You can take AKAL shuttle for $21 pp or $19 each if a party of 2.

http://www.victoriaairportshuttle.com/

toronto
posts: 961
reviews: 15
2. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

We don't arrive into Victoria from Tofino until mid afternoon on Saturday (2nd week August) so we have to check into our B and B in Oak Bay. We're hoping it's doable to then drive to Butchart Gardens for the evening fireworks display. Then we will have the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in Victoria, leaving late Tuesday night.

Would love a 3 day relaxing itinerary for Victoria and environs. Hopefully we will have done some whale watching in Tofino so no need in Victoria...Is a good day trip a drive to Salt Spring Island? Looks to take about 2 hours and wondering if it's a scenic route as I understand there's not much to do in Salt Spring? But it has always intrigued us. Any suggestions or routes would be wonderful. We're (young at heart) retirees, and this is our first time to the area. Love exploring little towns, wineries, scenic routes,

Thanks!!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 31,845
reviews: 51
3. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

Saltspring Island will need a ferry from Swartz Bay. 40 min to Swartz Bay, 45 min(?) in advance to wait for the ferry, the ride over, time on the Island and the return trip. It's one of the largest islands in the group of Gulf Islands, country roads, quiet, pastoral. There are galleries and studio tours. You can kayak, and explore parks, trails and beaches.

www.bcferries.com

Cowichan Valley around the Cobble Hill area has wineries: http://www.islandnet.com/~victourism/mall/aavanisle/cowichan-valley-vineyards.htm

Edited: 6:00 pm, June 08, 2013
Victoria, BC
posts: 243
reviews: 54
4. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

I would definitely keep your car while you are in our area - there are so many things in our area that are a bit too far to walk and esp if you are staying in Oak Bay.

It is very easy and there are many very well done tourist maps to do your own "tours" of the area rather than using the Big Bus.

Salt Spring is a great day trip - lots of funky little farm stands, artists homes/shops and wineries, not mention the neat shops to browse in Ganges. Great places to eat as well. Would be a very fun and relaxing day!

- http://saltspringtourism.com, bcferries.com/schedules/…sssb-current.php

Downtown Victoria any evening of the week at that time of the year is fun along the waterfront - there are great walking paths all over and the inner harbour walkway is full of vendors and entertainment.

- www.attractionsvictoria.com, www.victoria.ca, http://britishcolumbia.com/Maps/?id=28

We have many parks including Beacon Hill Park - which is beautiful at that time of year which are all free to visit and walk though at your own pace. Greater Victoria really is the "cities of gardens".

Spend a day or afternoon on the Saanich Peninsula - Sidney, Brentwood Bay and surrounding communities are all a 30-40 min drive from Oak Bay. Sidney is a walking town with lots of great little shops and great restaurants - and I can vouch for that as I live there:) - explorevancouverisland.com/… greatervictoria.com/things-to-do/recreation

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 31,845
reviews: 51
5. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

Oak Bay? missed that. Yes keep your car.

toronto
posts: 961
reviews: 15
6. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

thanks...great info. We are leaving late in the day from Victoria airport which I believe is in Sidney so will use that last day to explore Sidney, Brentwood Bay. It looks like arriving on Saturday afternoon - hoping to do Butchart for fireworks...then Sunday going to Saltspring, and Tuesday (leaving late in the day from Victoria airport) exploring Saanich Peninsula. So that leaves Monday for exploring the town of Victoria! Now would appreciate some restaurant suggestions - not too expensive, on the water would be great, in Saltspring, and Saanich Peninsula area. thanks again for great suggestions - my itinerary is starting to take shape!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 31,845
reviews: 51
7. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

For breakfast, you might consider Spinnakers which is on the waterfront across the harbour. You can have a good sturdy breakfast there. You could actually take the Victoria Harbour Ferry across the harbour to a dock very nearby.

Victoria BC
posts: 163
reviews: 1
8. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

Inexpensive: The Ogden Point Cafe- watch the cruise ships come in at the outer harbour. Cafeteria style breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sam's Deli- great for lunch, right beside the Empress Hotel in the Old Town. Oak Bay Marina Coffee Shop- nice coffee and cheap lunches beside the myriad sails of the marina, with views of Mt Baker if weather is cooperating. In Sidney, there is the Roost- bakery/deli style meals, with large portions and fresh ingredients. Corner of East Saanich and Mctavish Rds. Lunn's Deli- on the main street in Sidney, a bakery/ deli style restaurant. Try the Pizza.

toronto
posts: 961
reviews: 15
9. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

Thanks! Actually we get our breakfast at the B and B so was looking for lunch/dinner places...appreciate the responses.

Victoria B.C.
posts: 71
reviews: 25
10. Re: Big Bus Groupon and car question??

In Sidney I would reccomend Seaglass Waterfront Grill for either lunch or dinner. Good food and not too expensive...great location on the water.