Vancouver to Victoria (Vancouver Island)

If you’re visiting Vancouver and have the time, a trip to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is well worth the journey.  Though as the crow flies, Victoria is only a short distance away, it requires a bit of planning to get there by land and water.   The connecting ferry terminals are the Tsawwassen terminal on the mainland side, and the Swartz Bay terminal on the island side.   On both sides, the ferry terminals are some distance outside their respective cities.   The ferry ride takes approximately 90 minutes, and the trip from the cities to the ferry terminals can take anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes each, depending on the mode of transportation chosen.   It can be a long day of travel if you’re just planning a daytrip (though many do so), but is definitely worthwhile for an overnighter.

 

Getting from Downtown Vancouver to Downtown Victoria

 

By Scheduled Bus:    Pacific Coach Lines makes frequent trips from downtown Vancouver's Pacific Central Station to the downtown Victoria bus depot, located near the Inner Harbour.  Travel time all in is about 4 hours. 

By City Bus:   Getting to Victoria on public transit, using the Translink website, is an affordable option.  Take Canada Line to Bridgeport Station and transfer to the #620 Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal bus.  A single ticket cost is $5.50 on weekdays before 6h30 pm and $2.75 at all other times.  A ferry walk on passenger will pay $16.25.  The ferry ride is 1.5 hours.  At Swartz Bay, catch the BC Transit bus #70 Downtown/Airport bus.  Cost is $2.50 and the ride is 1 hour.

To get to Butchart Gardens, take bus #81 from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to the Gardens.  Then from the Gardens, you can take bus #75 to downtown Victoria.  CVS Shuttle is another option, takes about 40 minutes and costs about $15.

By Sightseeing Tour:  Landsea Tours and WESTCOAST Sightseeing offer a day tour, leaving Vancouver in the morning, visiting downtown Victoria, then Butchart Gardens before returning to Vancouver in the evening.  Fares include the ferry costs and admission to the Gardens.

By Car:  From downtown, cross the Granville St Bridge (this is Hwy 99) and continue south on Granville to Park Drive (just south of 57th Avenue) and angle off left on the traffic light to Oak St. Turn south on Oak Street and cross the Oak Street Bridge. Stay on Hwy 99 through the Massey Tunnel.  Once through the tunnel, take Exit 28 to travel southwest on Hwy 17A. Continue on Hwy 17A which soon blends into Hwy 17 until you reach the fare booths at the ferry terminal.  From Granville and 6th Avenue = 34 km, 35 minutes.  Any congestion will be found between 7th Avenue and 16th Avenue and possibly at Park Drive where airport traffic can start to build up, depending on the day and time of day.    

Ferry reservations are highly recommended for sailings in the summer for all vehicles including those towing a boat or camper, as well as an RV.  The option is to miss a ferry and have to wait for the next one or perhaps the one after that.  Reservations for a standard car are $15 if made 7 or more days in advance, $18.50 for less than 7 days in advance, and $22 for same day travel.  You must arrive 60-30 minutes in advance to claim your reservation and pay your ferry fare.  A reservation will be forfeited if not claimed by 30 minutes to sailing.

By Seaplane or Helicopter:  Harbour Air and Helijet offer 35 minute scheduled flights from downtown Vancouver to Victoria harbour.  It is possible to add a car reservation at the time of booking.  Luggage restriction from Vancouver harbour is 11.5 kg. Harbour Air may send extra luggage on a later flight.  Check with them.

It is possible to combine a flight to Victoria with a bus and ferry return.


Getting from Vancouver Airport to Downtown Victoria


By Scheduled  Bus:  Pacific Coach Lines operates a scheduled service from Vancouver Airport to downtown Victoria.   

By City Bus:  Take Canada Line from YVR to Bridgeport Station.  At Bridgeport Station, transfer to the #620 Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal bus.  This leg of the trip will cost $4.00 + $5.00 airport leaving surcharge on weekdays before 6h30 pm and $2.75 + $5.00 airport leaving surcharge at all other times.  A ferry walk on passenger will pay $16.25. At Swartz Bay, catch the BC Transit bus #70 Downtown/Airport bus.  Cost is $2.50 and the ride is about an 1 hour.

By Car:  With a rental car, travel from the airport along Grant McConachie Way.  Go through the intersection for Templeton St then follow the signs for Hwy 99 and Seattle to take the exit (before the Arthur Laing Bridge) angling right to Sea Island Way.  Shortly east of Garden City Way, take the exit off Sea Island Way, following the signs for Hwy 99 and Seattle, to Hwy 99. Stay on Hwy 99 through the Massey Tunnel.  Once through the tunnel, take Exit 28 to travel southwest on Hwy 17A.  Continue on Hwy 17A which soon blends into Hwy 17 until you reach the fare booths at the ferry terminal.

Ferry reservations are highly recommended for sailings in the summer for all vehicles including those towing a boat or camper, as well as an RV.  The option is to miss a ferry and have to wait for the next one or perhaps the one after that.  Reservations for a standard car are $15 if made 7 or more days in advance, $18.50 for less than 7 days in advance, and $22 for same day travel.  You must arrive 60-30 minutes in advance to claim your reservation and pay your ferry fare.  A reservation will be forfeited if not claimed by 30 minutes to sailing.  

By Plane:  Air Canada and WestJet fly between Vancouver Airport (YVR) and Victoria Airport (YYJ).   Pacific Coastal Airlines offer scheduled service between YVR South Terminal to YYJ Victoria Airport.  At Victoria Airport, car rentals, YYJ Shuttle and city busses are available to take you to downtown Victoria.

Links:

Tourism Vancouver Transportation Page