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Day trip to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver


Tmshrqn
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After a cruise we are spending 2 nights in Vancouver on our own. We would like to do a day trip to Victoria & Butchart Gardens. There will be at least 3 of us, maybe more. We are staying at the Residence Inn downtown. Any recommendations? Thanks.

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You have many options for travel between Vancouver & Victoria, but in selecting a mode of transport you should know that Butchart Gardens are about 15 miles from downtown Victoria.

 

The quickest options are float plane or helicopter, which depart from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria. Float planes arrive at the downtown harbour, while helicopters land at Ogden Point by the cruise terminal.

 

You can also take a BC Ferry from Tsawwassen (south of Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (North of Victoria). Two options - taking a bus from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria, or hiring a car and self-driving.

 

Your best option might be hiring a car. Suggest making a reservation on the ferry. Enroute to Victoria you can visit Butchart Gardens and then drive down to Victoria. BTW - an excellent winery is located close to Butchart Gardens, which is worth a visit.

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My granddaughter (university student) and I were in Vancouver in April 2015.  We went on a bus tour and the bus picked us up at our hotel.  Trip included the ferry; several hours at Butchart Gardens (including entry fee) and back to Victoria where we had several hours on our own.  Our original tour bus dropped us off near the Empress hotel, close to the legislative buildings, museum and the waterfront (we took the hop on - hop off bus).  You could also do a walking tour on your own, whale tours, carriage rides etc.  The tour bus then picked up all guests for the return ferry ride and again, dropped us off at our hotel.  It was a long day but you do not have to worry about booking the ferry and they pick you up at your hotel.

 

Food was not included.  Free time in Victoria was at your expense also.

 

I do not remember the name of the tour company but there were several listed on the internet.  We were very happy with the experience.

 

Martincath usually has some very good recommendations, so perhaps he will answer your post with the name of some recommended tours.

 

Enjor your time in Vancouver and visit to Butchart Gardens and Victoria.

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Personally I'm not a fan of day-trips to Victoria - much more efficient to look into a one-way (i.e. fly out of YYJ instead of YVR at the end of your vacation - if you were already going via SEA, or even flying from there after bus/train/car across the border, Victoria offers an extra mode of transport in the Clipper which goes to downtown Seattle). Failing that, the only way to get even close to enough time on the Island even to do Victoria & Butchart justice is to fly both legs - less than 2 hours total for both including check-in time, versus easily 4+ hours each way by bus & ferry.

 

But if it's a bucket list thing, you never intend to return to the area, changing flights is too expensive, and a very long travel day is tolerable for you, the bus trip package mentioned by SS above is the simplest thing to do (pay about $200pp, get on bus outside hotel, make no more decisions except what to eat for the rest of the day before being brought back to your hotel). I believe that WestCoast and LandSea offer this tour.

 

Renting a car isn't MUCH more hassle though, will be cheaper, and gives you flexibility to do different things on the Island - e.g. coming back via Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay ferry route instead of repeating the Tsawwassen route gives you a little taste of the Sea to Sky highway. I really would strongly recommend at least an overnight on the Island though, unless it's literally just Butchart that entices you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Don’t do it!

It is much better to spend the extra time in Vancouver. You can visit VanDusen botanical  gardens in Vancouver if you enjoy that kind of thing. You can also visit Queen Elizabeth park and the Bloedel floral conservatory. If you want more flowers, you can also go to the University of British Columbia botanical garden. Google all the sites to see if they can be a consolation to Butchart Gardens. Going to Victoria would be an all day thing with lots of wasted time on transportation.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/26/2018 at 6:36 PM, lamchops said:

Don’t do it!

It is much better to spend the extra time in Vancouver. You can visit VanDusen botanical  gardens in Vancouver if you enjoy that kind of thing. You can also visit Queen Elizabeth park and the Bloedel floral conservatory. If you want more flowers, you can also go to the University of British Columbia botanical garden. Google all the sites to see if they can be a consolation to Butchart Gardens. Going to Victoria would be an all day thing with lots of wasted time on transportation.

I actually prefer Victoria to Vancouver. Personal preferences.

 

They are both worth visiting - can you extend your stay to stay at both. I actually like Whistler also.

Edited by Coral
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  • 3 weeks later...

If money for experience is not a big issue then may I suggest this Whale watching, Downtown Victoria, Butchart Gardens tour.  All out of downtown Vancouver btw.  And the price is in Cdn dollars so about 30 percent less in US$.  Hell of a deal actually.

 

https://princeofwhales.com/vancouver-tours/ultimate-day-tour-to-victoria/

 

I used to work at Butchart driving the tour boats out of Butchart Cove and each evening I'd watch all the passengers filing onto the vessel for their sunset cruise back to Vancouver.  Never saw a sad one.

 

Edited by Aesop081
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  • 1 month later...

We looked at tours offered by Viator and they have a Victoria/Butchart Garden tour that is an all day affair but has hotel pick-up and drop-off also.  It gives you quite a bit of time at both places.  It is approx. $210 for adults.

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Viator do not do tours Mike - they are simply reselling one of the already-mentioned Landsea or WestCoast products. I can also assure that if you check the details on the timing, 'quite a bit' of time is better read as 'not really enough to see much even if all the connections and travel time go perfectly.'  West Coast explicitly mentions that their garden schedule is variable, and at best 2-2.5 hours but averages 1.5 to 2 hours - and since LandSea offer basically tour the same places over the same length of time, same for them.

 

Friends who came over just last summer took this tour - I'd have driven them myself, but they'd already booked the trip and couldn't get a refund. Despite all being young enough and fit enough to be hustling around all the sites they had the chance to see, they came back with the same report I keep hearing: "Not enough time at the gardens, too much time in Victoria if you don't want to spend money at other sites but not enough time to do a whale-watch or other big thing."

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