Victoria : Vancouver Island – Ferry Tips & Beacon Hill Park

Transit: From Vancouver -Bus 620 is the express bus and it comes about once every hour (bus schedule).  At the Swartz Bay terminal, take Bus 70 or 72 to downtown Victoria.  The bus comes about once every 30 minutes and the entire ride is almost 1 hour long.

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Despite being relatively close, I haven’t been to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria, in over 10 years.  This was in part due to the expensive ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria, but with a long weekend, I decided to go there again and see what has (or hasn’t) changed.

However, getting to Victoria took much longer than anticipated, especially on the first day of the Easter holiday.  It seemed people were either getting an early head start to their holidays or were going home to Victoria, because there was a huge line up for the 620 bus at Bridgeport Station.  Bus 620 is the fastest and most direct way to get to Swatz Bay, there are other options but that requires transfers and takes much longer. For simplicity, it’s just better to catch this express bus.  You can use the compass card or pay the $2.75.

Luckily, my friend and I were able to get on but we had to stand for more than 30 minutes before getting off right in front of the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal’s foot passenger entrance.  Some people weren’t able to get on, so it would be wise to go there 15 minutes or earlier.

At the entrance were two lines, one for the automated machines that only accepts credit or debit cards or the in-person line that accepts cash.  We went during rush hour so it was $16.90 but it will increase in the future to $17.20 for adults.

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Boarding Pass

It was quite easy to purchase the ticket, and we were at the passenger terminal waiting to get on the ferry in no time.  There was only a cafe shop ..

The view from the ferry was great! There are two things to do on the ferry the first thing you get on 1) go up to the deck to take photos because it will get cold and windy if you go up while the ferry is moving 2)line up for food because it would only get longer the later you go.  We choose the former and had to wait the long line up.

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Bunny at Sea

It was Easter, so I brought the bunny that I crocheted.  I missed a hole, so it has a mole.

While waiting in line for food, we missed out on the ‘passage’, an area that is quite tight at the captain had to cautiously navigate the large ferry in-between two land.  The ferry tipped side to side while we were going through.

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Breakfast Benny from WhiteSpot

We were lucky to get a seat next to the window, so we can enjoy the meal while staring out at the scenery.

Tips: Victoria’spublic transit has a day pass, which is only $5.00 and allows you to take how many times you want on their transit.  This can be sold at their gift shop.  We decided to stay at the downtown core for the first day so we elected to just pay the $2.50 per person per transit.

The bus station is just outside the arrival area, just one bay so you can’t really go wrong.  Another option is to take a taxi to downtown, but it will definitely cost more than $2.50 per person.  The bus is a Double Decker bus and people with large suitcases cannot go up to the second deck for safety reasons.

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For one full hour, we were packed in a cramped space and some had drifted to sleep while others stared out quietly at the towns passing by.  Finally, we got off at View Street and into the Bay Center, Victoria’s biggest shopping mall.  We had to find a washroom and a pair of sunglasses (didn’t expect the sun at all!)

Had we stayed on the bus, we would probably ended up somewhere near Beacon Hill Park but since we got off, we just walked south from the mall to the Park.

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At first, it looked like a dried zone, barely any plants and full of rocks … luckily, we decided to follow the path rather than go back.  Apparently, this hilltop was also a burial site for the First Nations Coast Salish people.

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We met a pond .. full of ducks!  The further we walk, the more ponds there were.

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They are so familiar with people that they don’t even fly away anymore; in fact, they come even closer, thinking you have food.  WP_20160325_034

The park also has an 1882 totem pole, a petting farm, some odd artwork and a Terry Fox statue.

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watering por

The vast array of birds that makes this place their playground includes swans,  ducks, Canada geese, and this odd peacock.

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It was already 3 P.M.  We had spent 4 hours on the bus and a little over 1 hour at the park.  The next event on our schedule was the Royal BC Museum, which closes at 5 P.M!

Day of Visit: March 25, 2016

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