Difference between revisions of "Vancouver Island"
Revision as of 04:02, 11 April 2010
Vancouver Island is part of British Columbia, Canada. As well as the island itself, it is also a region which includes the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia. It is often referred to by the locals as simply 'The Island'. Vancouver Island is the largest island off the west coast of North America at about 450km long and up to about 90km wide. It has a population of over 700,000 people, with a little less than half of those living in the Greater Victoria area.
* West Coast Trail - a world-class coastal hike along scenic beaches
* Broken Group Islands - over 100 small islands in Barkley Sound
* Long Beach - a sequence of long, white sand beaches near Tofino
The most common way to get to Vancouver Island is by BC Ferries . There is regular ferry service from Tsawwassen (near Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Near Victoria), Tsawwassen to Duke Point (near Nanaimo) and Horseshoe Bay (Near Vancouver) to Departure Bay (in Nanaimo). These ferries generally run about every two hours with more frequent service on some of the routes in the summer.
The Victoria airport has flights from various locations in Canada. There are also flights from Vancouver to many of the towns and cities on the island. Floatplane facilities located both in the Victoria and Maple Bay.
Floatplanes operated by Harbour Air,Salt Spring Air  fly frequently from-to downtown Vancouver, YVR and other destinations including the scenic Gulf Islands. Some of these float plane operators will also do tours of the city and nearby attractions starting at about $80-100 per person... a great way to see the island.
Direct flights to Comox on the east central coast of Vancouver Island are available from Calgary or Edmonton on Westjet.  . There is also a connection to Comox from Vancouver on Pacific Coastal airline.
The easiest way to travel around Vancouver Island is to drive.
There is coach bus service to most of the major cities on the island, but it is generally a patchwork, and travelling around by bus often involves inconvenient waits to catch connecting buses.
VIA also operates daily train service from Victoria to Courtenay on the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island, with stops at most of the towns in between. The service provides an alternative to the coach bus service. Unlike the coach buses, once you are on the train, there is no long layover or transfer required at Nanaimo. Monday-Saturday; the train leaves Victoria at 8:00 in the morning and gets to Courtenay 4 and a half hours later. It leaves Courtenay at 1:00 in the afternoon getting back to Victoria in the early evening. On Sunday the train leaves Victoria at noon and runs 4 hours later than the weekday schedule.
For high end traveling on Vancouver Island, Exposure  merges adventure and luxury to serve a niche group of travel connoisseurs who demand exquisite, authentic and meaningful experiences. Travelers can be wild in style choosing from gourmet kayaking leaving from Tofino, culinary cruising in the Southern Gulf Islands aboard an expedition yacht, or scuba diving with six gill sharks off Hornby Island, to name a few. All trips can be customized, are all-inclusive and fully escorted.
In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach region , see the giant old growth forest at Cathedral Grove, funky "goats on the roof" market at Coombs, and watch the tide go out for more than a kilometer at Parksville and Rathtrevor Beaches.
Go on a hiking or walking nature tour of ancient rainforests with their giant trees, visit alpine meadows and lakes or stroll along colourful sea side tide pools. Try bird watching or wildlife viewing in the area's diverse ecosystems. A mild climate means year round tour opportunities including winter surfing, storm watching, mountain skiing and fall salmon viewing into December. Journey on a whale watching or grizzly bear tour.
Out of Telegraph Cove on the North End of the island, kayak with the Orca. Half day to 7 day expeditions in Johnstone Strait & vicinity.