Over the weekend I realised that I had a few more days in Vancouver, and wanted to do something a little different. So a little research turned up the option of a full day tour to visit Victoria on Vancouver Island. I had no doubt that it would be a great day out and booked without hesitation.
The tour time is just over 12 hours. Leaving Vancouver around 9 am and returning about 9.30pm. Part of the time here is getting to Vancouver Island. It starts with a 40minute drive south of Vancouver to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. The drive gives you a chance to see a different aspect of Vancouver. Following is a 90-minute ferry ride from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island.
Victoria was not our first destination, with a stop and some free time to explore Butchart Gardens first. The gardens were created over 100 years ago and currently cover an area of around 55 acres. In this area, there are some different types of gardens displayed.
The first garden which I explored was the Sunken Garden. There is a range of flowers, trees, lawns and waterways on display. The garden is primarily green. However, there are a few of the autumn colours pushing through at the moment. You can imagine in full bloom just how spectacular it might look.
There are some other attractions at the gardens as well. With numerous water features, two totem poles, a concert lawn and stage, and an area for fireworks. There is also a beautiful carousel, “The Rose Carousel.”
The second main garden is the Rose Garden, which would look amazing in full bloom. However, the timing is far from right, and there are just a few bushes with an occasional bloom.
Another garden and possibly one of my favourites is the Japanese Garden. The Japanese Garden is a maze of walkways, with water running and some small waterfalls. There are also a lot of sculptured plants and small bonsai-like trees. Although they do seem on a slightly bigger scale, then Bonsai would normally be.
I hope that my words and images have done the gardens justice. However, if not it may just have to be on your list of places to visit in British Columbia. I must say the gardens and the general area around Vancouver and Victoria are well worth the visit.
The next stop was in Victoria, with most of the time here to spend as we liked. After a brief introductory drive through the city, we were dropped at the Chinatown end of the city. I choose to wander down through the public market, and soon arrived near to the Empress Hotel. From here there is a beautiful view out to the harbour and across to the Government Building.
As I was walking through the Empress Hotel, I noticed a promotion for a place named Miniature World. Although I have not had the time or inclination to build many models, they do capture my imagination. It seems Miniature world did not disappoint with dozens of miniature dioramas, buildings and doll houses. Many were very intricate, and some were rather large and detailed considering their scale.
I have mentioned it a couple of times now, so suppose I should share an image of the Empress Hotel. The building is a very beautiful building and looks even more interesting with the plants growing on the outside.
The time in Victoria just was not enough. I did get to enjoy a couple of great places in Butchart Gardens and Miniature World. But to be honest, I think it would be possible to spend a few days here exploring and find a lot more.
Returning To Vancouver
The ferry that runs between Vancouver and Victoria is no small ferry. The tour bus can drive straight on along with some 400 over vehicles and up to 2100 passengers and crew. These are almost like little cruise ships. There is just about everything you could need, a cafeteria, plenty of seating, workstations and free wifi.
I could not imagine commuting between Vancouver and Victoria on a regular basis myself. Especially considering that it is 90 minutes each way just for the ferry journey. Which excludes getting to and from the ferry terminals. However, with the facilities on the ferry, I can see that it would not be the worst option. With the potential to work or combine meals with the journey.
It was most definitely a long day, with a lot fo sitting. But the destination was most definitely worth the wait. Tomorrow is my last day in Vancouver and not entirely sure what I have left to do around the city.