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Our trip to Butchart Gardens was absolutely the most beautiful place in the world, Our driver was not at all knowledgeable about the "Gardens" or the Victoria area.He did point out a cornfield and some lamas, In Victoria he let us out of the bus and made NO suggestions of what to see or where to go. Our driver, Kevin , apparently, didn't know the area and disappointed many of the travelers on the.bus, ALL of our other bus trips were interesting and we were happy to "tip" accordingly.
Great day out exploring Vancouver Island. Well worth it
Picked up on time at 8am from our city centre hotel. Some initial confusion as our names were not on the list, but quickly resolved !!
Our driver and guide was Dave and he proved to be very helpful, friendly and full of useful insights.
A drive through the Vancouver suburbs and Richmond took us to the ferry port. After a short wait we caught the 10 am ferry to Vancouver Island, a 90 minute cruise through the Gulf Islands, very pretty.
From here a short drive to Butchart Gardens, where we had two hours to explore this world famous experience. Beautiful and stunning could describe the displays and setting. You have to see it to appreciate it. Also plenty of opportunity to eat, drink and shop, in what is a very well laid out attraction.
Another short drive to Victoria, state capital, and a three hour opportunity to explore. Plenty of walks, cafes, restaurants and historic buildings and parks.
Our return journey to the port gave a further insight into life on the island. The ferry departed at 7pm and the return journey was spectacular as the sun set against the mountains and forests. Opportunity as well on the ship to grab a meal or a snack/drink.
We eventually were dropped off at the hotel at 9.30pm, its a long day but well worth it.
Thank you to Dave our driver and guide.
I meant to book with another more popular company on TripAdvisor, unfortunately 2 days advance booking is not good enough during summer season as they filled up fast, we wind up booking with Westcoast sightseeing.
This trip turned out to be what I expected based on the reviews, its great if you need a driver who will take care of all the details, but if youd like to have good stories, history or background info, you might be disappointed.
We were picked up 30 min late at the hotel in Richmond pick up time was 8:15am, the lady explained it was due to someone calling in sick. We were then transferred to Vancouver to meet the bus with the rest of the tour. The transfer bus was more luxurious with leather seats than the green bus we toured in.
Our guide was Lauren ?, I think there were 30 ppl in the tour. We got on the BC ferry around 9:45am to head to Vancouver island. It was a 1.5 hr ride, smooth with different levels and sections to hang out. The full hot all aboard breakfast CAD 12.69 was surprisingly enjoyable. Once we were off the boat, its another bus ride till we finally got to our first stop Butchart garden around 12:15pm.
I was hoping the tour guide would give some history/stories along the way. He gave some info sporratically, but mostly offered good tips on how to best use our time at the garden etc which I appreciate, but not too much on cutlure or history. I got the Butchart garden history from reading the brochure.
The garden was beautiful and pretty big. You have to spend the time wisely and vigoriously walking through most places if you want to cover all the sections. We had about 2 hours there.
We got back on the bus and headed to Victoria. A beautiful town full of historical structures. We drove through different neighborhoods to downtown. The guide/driver was nice enough to offer 2 drop off places. One was downtown by the museum. The other was fishermans wharf. We picked the latter.
The Victoria fishermans wharf was one of the highlights of our trip! Such a cute and charming place. I actually liked it better than SF fishermans wharf! Enjoyed some fish and chips there by the water recommend Barbs, and took the cutest water taxi back to inner harbor downtown to walk around a bit before meeting up at the museum drop off place. We had about 2 hours in Victoria.
From there its the long journey back to Vancouver. The dinner options on the ferry were not as enticing as breakfast, the buffet didnt look very good. The tour arranged different bus to drop off the people from Richmond.
Overall a great day, logistics was smooth and it was a comfortable trip. Not much background narrative, some people might prefer that. I am sure its a bit of a random thing you cant control depends on the driver/guide you got.
If you only have 1 day to spend, Id recommend this tour over driving and figuring out everything on your own, as you wont be able to be as efficient, carefree, and see as much in 14 hours.
This tour was way too long for us. We were picked up at the hotel, Four Seasons, at 8:30 AM and didn't get back until 10:00PM. There was so much time doing very little. The bus ride to the ferry, sit in line for the ferry, ferry ride bus is on the ferry,bus ride to Butchart Gardens took until 11:30AM. We had around 2 hours in the gardens on our own. Another short bus ride to Victoria and then we were dropped off to be on your own get something to eat for another two hours. Short tour around Victoria and then off to the 7:00PM ferry. Oh no the ferry is late and we sit in line until 7:45PM. Back to the hotel at 10:00PM after a very long day and an expensive tour! Look into flying to Victoria or taking the local ferry not the car ferry is my recommendation. Pick up a tour to the gardens in Victoria. Loved the gardens.
Dave picked us up on time. The drive to the ferry was narrated. The ferry ride was comfortable. Butchart Gardens was wonderful. We had more than 2 hours to take in the many many gardens and we photographed to our delight! We enjoyed Chinatown as well as downtown Victoria. Having 3 hours on our own allowed us to explore the pier, eat a nice meal, take pictures of the government buildings. This tour offered much for the money we spent and we believe it helped us see alot in one day. Dave was a great tour guide. We recommend this tour!!!
This tour provided an enjoyable Ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria and back at the end of the day. We had plenty of time to experience Butchart Gardens and all of its beauty. We then had a short tour of the city of Victoria and plenty of time to explore the city on our own to see the sights and/or eat. The ferry also provided food both going and coming back. Very enjoyable - would definitely recommend. Good dollar value as well.