See it all when
you embark upon a coastal circle tour of Vancouver Island and the
Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. The Sunshine Coast lives up to
its name. With a total average of between 1,400 and 2,400 hours of
sunshine per annum - that's an average of 4 to 6 hours per day, depending
on where the measurements are taken.
Ferry Terminal, Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is split into two portions on either side of Jervis
Inlet. The coastline is deeply indented by the Pacific Ocean at Howe
Sound, Jervis Inlet and Desolation Sound.
Jervis and Desolation are of such fjordic proportions that they attract
a steady stream of marine traffic throughout the summer months, when
brilliant sun shines on the countless cataracts that cascade down
the sheer-sided slopes.
The Sunshine Coast
is accessible from the Lower mainland only by boat or plane. Travellers
board a BC Ferry at Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver, for
the 45-minute ride to Langdale on the Sechelt Peninsula.
Dozens of parks with biking, hiking and ski trails; canoe and kayak
routes; beaches; and coastal viewpoints are easily accessed from Highway
101 as you follow it northwards.
Another ferry from Earls Cove crosses Jervis Inlet to Saltery
Bay for the second leg of the journey up Highway 101 to Powell
River, where you can board a ferry at Powell River that
will take you across the waters of the Strait of Georgia to Comox,
on Vancouver Island. A scenic highway flanks the east coast of the
island, taking you through charming beachside communities, farmlands
and mountainous ranges.
Island communities of Parksville, Nanoose Bay and
Qualicum Beach are charming seaside playgrounds offering
every kind of recreation option at a very relaxed pace. Fancy a
game of golf on an award-winning fairway? Sea kayaking, salmon or
flyfishing? Or just a quiet walk through some of the most spectacular
scenery in the world. There is nothing like staring up at the snow-capped
peaks of Mt. Arrowsmith, while ankle deep in the warm water of Rathtrevor
Beach Provincial Park at Parksville.
Bay Ferry Terminal, Sunshine Coast
to Nanaimo you may board another ferry and cross Howe Sound
back to Horseshoe Bay on the mainland, having completed one 'circle
tour'. If you still want more of Vancouver Island, you can continue
south to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia at the
southern tip of the Island.
Organized tours of the city, conducted in conveyances of all kinds,
from double-decker buses to bicycles, mopeds and horse-drawn carriages.
you can drive out to the scenic Saanich Peninsula, past lakes
and cottages and the picturesque town of Sidney, to the Swartz
Bay Ferry Terminal. From here you can return to the mainland at
Tsawwassen, or board a smaller vessel for an Island
Hopping adventure to one of the Southern Gulf Islands. This
scenery surpasses any in the world for its raw beauty and unspoiled
vistas. Keep a look out for Orca whale pods and happy groups of
Dall's porpoises that look much like miniature Killer Whales.
Start your CirclePac trip on Vancouver Island or the Sunshine Coast,
or in Vancouver. You can circle in either direction, as long as
you travel on all four routes: Horseshoe Bay - Langdale, Earls Cove
- Saltery Bay, Powell River - Comox, and Vancouver Island - Mainland
(your choice of Nanaimo - Horseshoe Bay, Nanaimo - Tsawwassen, or
Swartz Bay - Tsawwassen).
Circle Tours are a specialty of the Island, offering 15% savings
on selected travel with BC Ferries' Sunshine Coast CirclePac. The
CirclePac gives you a chance to discover large stretches of sheltered
BC coastline, from its forested inlets to its many peaks. CirclePac
is valid on all sailings, so you can travel when you like, enjoying
the midday sun on one crossing and a dusky horizon on another.
Purchase your Sunshine Coast CirclePac at the ticket booth when
you begin your trip. CirclePac is sold at the Horseshoe Bay, Saltery
Bay, Powell River, Comox, Nanaimo, Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen terminals.
Simply pay the total package price at the ticket booth at your first
departure point. You will receive a receipt and tickets for each
leg of the trip.
Towns on or near this Route - Click on a town name to learn
more about that town.