Sunshine Coast-Vancouver Island Circle Tour
- This article is an itinerary.
This Circle tour was initially created by BC Ferries to increase ridership on the Powell River - Comox ferry route. It became a popular way to see visit some areas of southwestern British Columbia that one might otherwise not visit.
In order to receive the discount for the ferry travel, you must buy all of your tickets at the first ferry terminal you use. Make sure you ask for a "Circle Pac". This will save you approximately $15 for the vehicle and $12 for each person. It should be noted that the tickets are non-refundable and only good for 30 days. They also do not provide any reserved loading or reservations, so it is best to travel on less busy days.
As this trip involves 4 ferry voyages you will have to plan some aspects of the journey around the ferry schedules. It is possible to do this trip in about a day and a half, but much of the idea is to linger so you should plan on spending 3 to 5 days on the trip.
The most common location to start this trip is in Vancouver. However, it is possible to start at any point along the trip.
From Vancouver you travel across the scenic Lions' Gate Bridge to the West Vancouver and continue along the highway to Horseshoe Bay where you will catch the 40 minute ferry to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. It is about a 90 minute drive to the Earls Cove ferry terminal, but it is worth visiting Gibsons and Sechelt as well as some of the many parks in the area. From Earls Cove you will take the ferry to Saltery Bay in the Powell River area.
From Powell River the ferry leaves at the Westview dock and goes to Comox which is near Courtenay where you can take either the more scenic Old Island Highway or the faster Inland Island Highway south.
The next major town you will come to is Nanaimo you can return to Vancouver at either the Departure Bay ferry terminal (to Horseshoe Bay) or from Duke Point to Tsawwassen. However, most travellers will be interested in continuing on to Victoria and then taking the ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen.