Experience Vancouver, a vibrant metropolitan city nestled between the mountains, the vast Pacific Ocean, rainforests and scenic parks. Vancouver is a walkable city, and locals take pride in welcoming visitors with clean, safe and vibrant streets.
Included today is a Hop-on-Hop-off Pass, which is a fun and flexible way to see the best of Vancouver! Take a bus, stop at a location, browse around for as long as you want and then hop back onto the next coming bus to move onto the next attraction! You will experience downtown Vancouver at leisure as the bus circles through a series of cultural districts, seaside points of interest, and Stanley Park. Clear top buses for stunning views, rain or shine, and full commentary in English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin. During your stop at Canada Place, we recommend the FlyOver Canada experience nearby. The show utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you the feeling of flight. You will hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-metre spherical screen while the film takes you away on an exhilarating 8-minute journey across Canada, from east to west. Special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combine with the ride's motion to create an unforgettable experience.
During the other stops, we suggest exploring Stanley Park and seeing the Lion's Gate Bridge spanning the entrance to Vancouver's port. The longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed it offers unparalleled views of the harbour and English Bay beyond. Travel to the Capilano Suspension
Bridge and walk among the towering trees of this temperate rain forest and learn the ways of the local Indigenous people. Walk across the world's longest foot suspension bridge to the other side of the river where you can climb to the tree canopy and stroll through the "Treetops Adventure" walkway high above the canyon floor and the river below.
Pick up your rental car and depart Vancouver for the drive to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen for a scenic sail through the Gulf Islands to Victoria located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. There are restaurants and cafes located onboard as well as ample opportunities to explore the ship as well as the viewing decks outside. Note that the ferry tickets are not included in your package as they cannot be booked in advance. The land and sea journey will provide a taste of the diverse scenery of British Columbia with the possibilities for seeing orca whales and sea otters from the ferry as you weave through the scenic Gulf Islands.
Once in Victoria, enjoy unique views of the buildings surrounding the harbour and the grand houses perched above the rugged coastline.
We suggest dinner at the Blue Crab Sea Food restaurant.
Overnight: Victoria, BC
We join a Victoria Foodie Walk with Andy of Victoria Food Tours. This 2-hour tour begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Victoria Public Market and includes stops at The Harmonious Gates of Interest, Fan Tan Alley, Market Square, Bastion Square, Trounce Alley, Government St., the Inner Harbour Causeway and Parliament Buildings. Depending on the day, there will be between 6-8 food tastings along the route, as we discuss the history and quirks of beautiful Victoria, B.C. Tastings can include bread, pierogis, meatballs, craft beer, macarons, chocolate, and much more!
With unlimited stops, the Hop-on Hop-off bus stops at the best attractions around the city and is the best way to explore Victoria. These open top double-decker buses allow you great flexibility to explore the many popular attractions that Victoria has to offer at your own pace. This afternoon we suggest a visit the Royal BC Museum to get an overview of British Columbia's colourful history and incredible diversity of landscapes, cultures and peoples.
Later, we suggest a quick taxi ride to the Abkhazi Garden where their guide will give you an overview of the history of the garden. In particular, the guide will explain how the events of the Princess' life affected her philosophy behind her design of the Garden and her respect for the unique character of the natural landscape. Discover the wide variety of rare plants that are cultivated by the horticultural experts who strive to preserve the Princess' legacy.
After your day of culinary experiences, the evening is free to discover more of the attractive city centre. Victoria's relaxed pace, urban layout, and a network of side streets and alleyways encourage strolling, so it can be easily explored.
Overnight: Victoria, BC
This morning head to the Merridale Farm that produces farm-crafted cider, spirits, and fortified ciders. Made from 100% undiluted apple juice that is grown and produced at this Cobble Hill Farm, in the heart of Cowichan on Vancouver Island. The farm is home to a cidery, distillery, eatery and a tasting bar. We suggest the farm tour followed by tastings and then lunch here.
Then drive a short distance to the Venturi - Schulze Vineyard where you will find purists at work with a commitment to producing wines uniquely expressive of the site and of their personalities. The original farmhouse, the family home, was built around 1893, and extensively expanded and renovated in 1993 to accommodate the large family and small tasting room. Their cozy new tasting room in a renovated outbuilding featuring the work of Cowichan Valley artisans using local woods opened in the summer of 2011. Discover the products that have been creating since 1987 in this pure, natural estate grown wines, ancient method balsamic vinegar & verjus.
Your next stop is at the Westholme Tea Company. The Westholme Valley is also located in the Cowichan region on Vancouver Island, nicknamed "the warm land" by the Coast Salish people. This fertile landscape creates a unique micro-climate that fosters the growth of Camellia Sinensis- tea plants, a first of its kind in Canada. The teas and hand-crafted ceramics unite taste and tactility in the
simple ceremony of drinking tea and the owners have added some unique Westholme influences to inspire delight in every brewed cup.
Start the day with a drive to the Morningstar Farm and Cheese Factory. A guided tour will feature the whole milk production process from meeting the calves to a close-up demonstration of the robotic milker in action. Learn about cheese making while watching the cheesemakers working before enjoying guided cheese and fruit and berry wine tasting session. In the late 1990s, Clarke and Nancy Gourlay returned from years of living overseas to French Creek, the scenic region between Parksville and Qualicum. The location was ideal to raise their 3 sons near family and to explore their dream of making Swiss-style artisan cheese on their own farm. That dream became a reality when, in 2001, founded Little Qualicum Cheeseworks on a leased dairy farm, milking a handful of cows, and making cheese in a renovated school portable. In 2004 the Gourlays were able to purchase their own 90-acre dairy farm in the same area - Morningstar Farm. Over the years of change and growth, the Gourlays have remained committed to their passion for quality local food, sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, and providing a fun and empowering experience to all visitors of the farm and to customers of their cheese across British Columbia.
From Morningstar, head north to Fanny Bay Oyster facility. Started by three local farmers, Fanny Bay Oysters got its name in the 1980s from the beautiful landscape in the Baynes Sound. 30 years later they are a part of the Taylor Shellfish Family of Farms and continue to grow incredible shellfish in the same waters. Visiting their original Seafood Shop in Fanny Bay is the best way to get the freshest shellfish in British Columbia. As the largest producer of shellfish in Canada, Fanny Bay pride themselves on providing the best, sustainable products grown in the cold, clear waters of the British Columbia coastline. Tour the facility before driving a short distance to the Fanny Bay Inn, built in 1938 and
serving great food, drinks and local oysters for the past 80 years. With a beautiful location overlooking Baynes Sound, on the scenic old coastal highway, this is a perfect stop for lunch.
Time permitting, you may aim for a stop at the village of Coombs and a visit to the Old Country Market which started as a roadside fruit stand in the 1950s providing fresh produce to travellers heading to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Over the years it has evolved into a Vancouver Island landmark with a mixture of shops and eateries for locals and visitors alike and it also has those famous goats on the roof! Do the scenic drive across the breadth of Vancouver Island to Ucluelet on the west coast.
After breakfast, drive 40kms through the Pacific Rim National Park up the west coast of Vancouver Island to Tofino and join an exciting whale watching tour. Tofino's waters, known as the Clayoquot Sound, is the best whale watching location in the world as the waters are rich with food. In fact, the whales gain over 30 percent of their body weight while feeding in these waters! During the 3 hours long tour on one of the whale watching safaris, the Captain and crew will take you to view various
other wildlife including Stellar Sea Lions, California Sea Lions, Harbour Porpoise, Seals, Sea Otters, Bald Eagles and Tufted Puffins.
Following the whale watching tour, join a 3 hours long local walking tour in Tofino combining food with local stories and fascinating history. Included will be several delicious tastings from some of Tofino's best restaurants and food vendors featuring ingredients from Tofino and Vancouver Island. You will learn all about Tofino from a knowledgeable local guide. An evening to relax in Tofino or Ucluelet in beautiful surroundings.
This morning drive 15 kms to Kwisitis, or the "other end of the beach" in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, a fitting name for this iconic west coast building perched at the south end of Wickaninnish Beach in beautiful Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The outside deck is the perfect year-round spot to view whales, storms and surfers alike. Inside the centre, new exhibits about the land, sea, sky and people of the area await you.
From this spectacular location, head back east stopping at the Starboard Grill in Port Alberni, the only on-the-water restaurant with a patio overlooking the harbour with views down the canal. There, you can enjoy a fresh, west coast style lunch with a water view from every table. Located in the heart of the Harbour Quay, The Starboard Grill is the place to relax with amazing food, service and views.
Later, continue to the Blue Grouse Estate Winery comprised of 65 acres tucked away on a sunny Vancouver Island slope in the Cowichan Valley, named from a Salish First Nations word meaning "the warm land". At Blue Grouse, their winemaker has been active in the farm-to-table movement for 20 years and they strongly support the efforts of local food producers. Sample some locally made cheese and charcuterie boards with some perfectly matched Blue Grouse wines before the evening drive back to Victoria.
You may choose to do last minute exploring before departing Victoria today and heading back to Vancouver for your onward journey.
OPTION : Extend your stay in Vancouver city and experience the diverse attractions that this beautiful city has to offer.