Ways to Get to Victoria: Plane, Chopper, Ferry
Victoria is a beautiful island off the tip of Canada’s Pacific coast. It is located on the southern end of Vancouver. A jewel that houses some of the most famous tourist attractions in the area, Victoria has a lot to offer to people of various tastes.
There are different ways to reach the area. You can take a seaplane, a chopper, or a ferry. This article will give you a rundown of each mode of transport.
Seaplane: Harbour Air
A veteran in the business, Harbour Air boasts being the largest all-seaplane airline in the world. It was founded in 1982, and has since provided services to other tourist destinations. Aside from Victoria City, the company also operates in Whistler, Saltspring, and other areas.
- Plane is always the fastest way to travel, and Harbour Air can send you to the city in about 25 minutes. Each plane can seat up to 17 people, so it’s not as crowded as a ferry. However, it’s still five more than what choppers bring for every ride.
- From Vancouver, there are flights almost every 20 minutes, from 7 in the morning to 6:40 in the evening. During weekends and public holidays, operations start from 8 in the morning to 6:40 in the evening.
- Being a seaplane, you can get the best locations for both takeoff and landing. The seaplanes land directly in the inner harbour, so you are quite close to many of the interesting sights like the Empress Hotel.
- The problem with planes is that they can be quite shaky in the case of strong winds. Those prone to motion sickness may want to keep this in mind. Harbour Air’s website provides relevant information about the conditions of the flight. This applies to each chosen destination, so you should always check there first. There is a section dedicated to Real Time Flight Status.
Like Harbour Air, Helijet is an established authority in its field. Founded in 1986, it is a top-notch North American helicopter airline. Aside from the route between Victoria and Vancouver, Helijet’s choppers also ply through Richmond, Nanaimo, and other places.
- For those who think Harbour Air’s 25 minutes is too fast to enjoy some good aerial scenery, Helijet makes it to the destination in 25 minutes. The pilots can sometimes veer you off the standard course to show you something interesting below. For example, whales are a common sight in the area, and are common reasons for detours.
- The choppers land in the inner harbour area, so you can still easily get to the top tourist destinations. However, it’s a little bit farther than where Harbour Air lands, so you still have to take a shuttle.
- The chopper is steady, and can fly through anything the weather can throw at it. Sure, it gets a little shaky during high winds. But it’s still a lot less motion sickness-inducing than planes.
- With a maximum of 12 passengers, you get a little more privacy. There’s plenty of room for baggage, too.
- Free cheese and wine in their Victoria lounge! It’s not too much of a wait time (there’s a flight every 50 minutes). But the complementary treat makes it all the better.
- For those looking to bring along a larger group of people, the 12-seater choppers may not be enough. It is recommended that bigger groups take either the seaplane or the ferry.
A ferry plying from Vancouver’s Tsawwassen to Victoria’s Swartz Bay is operated by BC Ferries. This is a 24 nautical-mile route that offers its own advantages. The same ferry plies the route to Nanaimo, Bowen Island, and several other routes.
- The route is the most scenic amount of the three, mostly because you have ample time to take in the views. This is perfect for those who want to see the whales up close, or for those who just want to have a relaxing time with the ocean winds.
- If you travel with a large group, this is the way to go.
- The travel time is the biggest con. The ferry leaves once every hour, and takes about an hour and 35 minutes to run the course.
- Aside from the travel time, passengers will also have to travel further from the port. The city will still be about a 30-40 minute bus ride away. The ferry option is best suited for those with a lot of time on their hands.
Each of these means of travel have their respective websites, which display up to date information on schedule and other things of note. A good travel experience hinges greatly on the way the trip is organized. So, take note of these factors when choosing your ride to The Garden City of The North.