We're heading up to Victoria, B.C. at the end of the month. Does anybody have any recommendations for attractions, restaurants, etc.? We've been to Butchart Gardens and plan to go back on this trip. We'll also probably go to afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I have been remiss in not getting my info together and answering your post. I have been busy retiring this past Friday (hubby did too). I have lots of suggestions. I will try to get them posted by tomorrow afternoon.
OK - I know this is a long list, but hopefully there is something on it that is of interest. I am sure others will have additional things they have done in Victoria. No matter how many times we visit, we always find more to do. Enjoy your trip!
(ok - I just tried posting all of this and I got an error saying it was way too long. I'll split it up into more than one posting to get it all in.)
ANSWER #1: Getting to Victoria: Part of the fun of going to Victoria is just getting there. Here are a couple of enjoyable options –
Go by boat…… http://www.ferrytravel.com/map.htm This map will show you the various water routes to get to Victoria. You can take a passenger only boat up. The Clipper out of Seattle is the fastest overall time if you are going to use local transportation or rent a car once there. The Victoria Express is another quick way if you drive first to Port Angeles. Otherwise, you will need to take one of the car ferries.
Or take a ferry….. It depends on how you want to get to Victoria as to which ferry to take. Take advantage of their reservation systems. It will save having to go to the dock early to wait in line and guarantees a spot on the boat.
If you drive north to Vancouver to take the ferry over, don’t miss the beautiful scenic Chuckanut Drive – 21 miles along the beautiful coastline. Take a look at the picture on this site and you will get an idea why it is listed among the most scenic drives in the country. http://chuckanutdrive.com
Shopping is always high on my travel list. Victoria has lots of quaint shops to explore, easily found by just wandering around on foot. Antiquing is another fun activity. Here is a list of the antique shops in the area: http://www.islandnet.com/~victourism/mall/antique.htm
High Tea: You already know about “high tea’ at the Empress Hotel. Lovely setting and presentation. If you want to try high tea at another place, remember that several locations in the area offer this experience in a more casual atmosphere. One that is recommended by the locals is…..
Some of these suggestions are right in Victoria, and others are within driving distance, in case you have been to Victoria and gone to all the major tourist sites.
To get an overview of Victoria, there are a few different ways to take a look around. The Harbor Ferry is a fun way to tour around on a little boat, hopping on and off at different locations. http://www.victoriaharbourferry.com , Another is to take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around the downtown area. There are a couple of different companies offering the experience. You will see them in the area. Just hop aboard! There are also the big bus hop on / hop off tours - http://www.bigbusvictoria.ca/#myGallery1-picture(6).
Butchart Gardens http://www.butchartgardens.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1 I know you are aware of this one, but I thought I would include it for others who may be reading this post. We have been to the gardens several times. Last visit I wanted to try something different. We purchased the dinner / evening lights package ticket there. What a treat. Wonderful dinner, followed by a concert in the park. Then the night time lights come on and you can view the gardens lit up. It is a very different visit compared to a daytime viewing of the gardens. Highly recommend it.
Last edited by shygirl724; 09-29-2010 at 10:25 AM.
Adrena Line Zipline Tours 5128 Sooke Road, Sooke BC 2 hrs $75 each http://www.adrenalinezip.com/ We took this tour and had a GREAT time. It is very well done
Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse Historic Sites Open year round. 1 – 2 hours suggested time $3.90 adults, $1.95 children Hatley Castle to Fort Rodd 1.99 miles 5 minutes http://www.fortroddhill.com/ http://www.parkscanada.ca/fortroddhill http://www.vancouverisland.travel/art/attractions/119 Fort Rodd Hill’s extensive century-old fortifications include three gun batteries, barracks and searchlight emplacements. Fisgard Lighthouse, built in 1860, is Canada’s oldest west coast lighthouse. Video programs, modern exhibits and displays of original artifacts tell the sites’ long and colourful history.
BC Forest Discovery Center 2892 Drinkwater Road, Duncan BC Open 10am – 5pm $14 http://www.bcforestmuseum.com/ We spent several hours at this site. They have a little antique train that runs through the property that is fun to take. It was an interesting place to visit.
Alpaca Farms Cobble Hills, BC http://www.alpacafarmbc.com/ If you drive to Cobble Hills, you might also want to visit their Sunday farmers market (9am – 2pm)
Quw’utsun’ Cultural Center http://www.quwutsun.ca/index.htm The Centre offers all guests an authentic First Nations Experience - Interpretive Tours, Traditional Art Work in our gallery and Native cuisine in the Riverwalk Cafe.
Wineries: There are several wineries you can tour / visit their tasting room in the Victoria area. We went up a couple of years ago and took a self-guided tour of the local wineries. I picked up a tour map of the 17 wineries and we just followed it along. It was very easy, as the wineries were all identified by name and corresponding map number by signs along the roadway. I can’t find my copy of this map to upload, but just look for it as you get off the ferry in the brochure racks. That is where I found mine. Don’t be too concerned about paying duty on your wine when you return. We have brought back several cases and have never been charged by US Customs. Even if we were to be charged, the amount you pay is not that high. Below are a couple of local wineries -
There are a several companies in the Victoria area offering these tours and it is a popular activity. Each differs by levels of adventure and types of boats (covered vs. open, etc.). Here are a few of them.
Orca Spirit Adventures They offer this type of tour in either a covered boat or, for the more adventurous, on a Zodiac boat. This company also offers dinner cruises of the Victoria Inner Harbor, as well as fishing trips .http://www.orcaspirit.com/whale-watching-tours
Oh wow, I missed this question. I posted somewhere else on the boards some recommendations about Victoria. I really enjoyed Brentwood Bay Lodge, which used to be an auction item on LL. It's a beautiful modern hotel with all the amenities and amazing food. Their bar was laid back and fun, with a great burger. I also really liked Butchart Gardens.
Wow, that's quite an extensive list, Shygirl! We took the Victoria Clipper up from Seattle and in Vancouver did the harbor ferry tour, kayaked in the harbor, and did a scenic walking tour. One day we took the city bus to University of Victoria and strolled through their gardens and to the beach. The weather was perfect, so we spent most of our time outside. We visited Butchart Gardens and the Royal Museum last time we were here, so decided to skip them this time. We're at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville now and I have lots of activities planned. I'll post more about both locations in my blog after I return.
I finally found an online copy of the Vancouver Island, BC (most within driving distance of Victoria) winery tour map. Each site has a numbered locator sign on the roadway, making it easy to follow. The wineries and tasting rooms vary in size, from the large, formal to the small homey type. It is a great way to spend the day. http://www.grandwinetours.com/wineries_map.pdf