British Columbia's beautiful Vancouver Island is home to numerous coastal gems, including the historic colonial-era city of Victoria, and Tofino, ripe with majestic wilderness. Explore both of these cities on your very own discovery of Vancouver Island. Get a first-hand look at the multiple heritage buildings in Victoria's city-center, including the renowned British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel, not to mention the incredible Victorian architecture of Craigdarroch Castle, built in the 1890. The "City of Gardens" will unfold as you embark on a discovery of Butchart Gardens, strolling along winding paths through 50acres of fragrant blossoms, and enchanting themed gardens, streams and lily ponds. Hot Springs Cove in Tofino beckons you for a relaxing soak in a natural setting as you unwind, and enjoy a return to nature.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
Enjoy your tour of beautiful Victoria. It is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. Named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and, at the time, British North America, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1843. The city has retained a large number of its historic buildings, in particular its two most famous landmarks, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Empress hotel . Known as the "City of Gardens", Victoria is an attractive city and a popular tourism destination with a thriving technology sector that has risen to be its largest revenue-generating private industry. Travel back in time to the 1800's when Robert Dunsmuir built the historic Craigdarroch Castle. Craigdarroch Castle has 39 rooms and over 20,000 square feet. A fine example of superb Victorian architecture. The four-story Craigdarroch Castle still has lavish furnishings from the 1890s and is known for its stained-glass and intricate woodwork. The Castle is currently owned by the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society, which is a private non-profit society, and is open to the public. The castle is a tourist attraction, and receives 150,000 visitors a year. Enhance your Grand City Drive with a stop at this significant Canadian heritage treasure with outstanding examples of Victorian furniture and artifacts.
Enjoy an exhilarating shared three hour whale watching tour on board a fast speed zodiac. Zodiacs or "Rigid Hull Inflatable" are world known for their excellent design and safety. Before boarding, you will be fitted with a Coast Guard approved neck to ankle "cruiser suit". These suits provide comfort, safety and protection from the elements and are worn over your street clothing. The 12 passenger Zodiacs are powered with twin engines and are equipped with high tech safety equipment, as well as Hydrophones (our onboard acoustic system to hear beneath the vessel). After having been assisted onboard your 28 foot vessel, you will be offered gloves, goggles and sunscreen should weather conditions require. After a safety briefing and questions/ comments with your Shipper, off you go! Orcas (or Killer Whales) are commonly seen in the local waters off Victoria in April, May, June, July, August and September, and there is over 97% probability of seeing Orcas in the summer months. Other marine life you may encounter are Humpback Whales, Grey Whales, Minke Whales, Dall’s Porpoise and Harbour Porpoise! Bald Eagles soar above the seas and Sea Birds fly close to the water looking for food. You may have an opportunity, if the conditions are right, to listen to the Orcas in the area with the onboard hydrophones which pick up the actual sounds (such as clicks and whistles) that the Orcas make when they are socializing. This is sure to be an exciting and fun excursion!
Experience the Butchart Gardens, one of the most famous attraction in Victoria on this self-guided tour. Stroll along winding paths through 50acres of fragrant blossoms, and enchanting themed gardens, streams and lily ponds. . The gardens receive more than a million visitors each year. The gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada due to their international renown. In December, 2009 the Children's Pavilion and the Rose Carousel were opened. The menagerie includes thirty animals ranging from bears, to horses, to ostriches, to zebras and mirrors the world from which The Gardens draws its visitors. The designs were hand picked by the owner, in consultation with an artist from North Carolina. The carvings were done by some of the few remaining carvers of carousel art. Each animal is carved from basswood and took many months to complete. The tour includes return shared transfer to Victoria City center.
Meet your driver-guide for a transfer to Tofino inclusing a private tour of the area. on Your way to Tofino stop to the Grove Cathedral for a stop in MacMillan Provincial Park.Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old. The park protects and preserves an internationally significant representative example of Douglas fir old-growth forest within the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone. Experience this area with your private driver-guide.
The adventure begins aboard a 35ft (9-metre) covered cabin cruiser, with an open back viewing deck and washroom. You will travel through the heart of Clayoquot Sound, to Hot Springs Cover. You will then have 3 hours to walk the boardwalk and relax in the natural, thermal springs. The scenic walk to/from the springs is through ancient rainforest, approximately 30 min. each way, and includes stairs to climb amidst longer, flat sections. Bring along good, comfortable walking shoes (also water shoes for teh hot springs if possible, but not required), rain gear, towel, a bathing suit and a packed lunch, including water.
Experience an optional private surfing lesson, a deep see fishing activity, a kayaking or a bear watching activity while you are in Tofino. Contact your sales advisor if you'd like any of this option in your itinerary.
Take a flight from Tofino to Vancouver.
The Fairmont Empress rises regally on the banks of Victoria's Inner Harbour and represents the center of British Columbia's Capital City. The Resort has been completely restored to her turn-of-the-century beauty and displays the grandeur of a bygone era, her facilities and services meet the needs of today's traveler. The Fairmont Empress features 477 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites, with magnificent views of the city, courtyard or spectacular Inner Harbor. No stay at The Empress would be complete without a visit to one of the magnificent Victoria restaurants in this historic hotel. Whether you partake in the coveted English ritual of Afternoon Tea, savor the famous curry buffet in The Bengal Lounge or sample award-winning food and wine in The Empress Room. For a full-body massage or a full-body workout, their luxury hotel in Victoria has a fully-equipped gym and indoor heated pool and whirlpool area.
Come experience the natural beauty, exceptional amenities and handcrafted cuisine at Long Beach Lodge Resort, a luxurious Tofino resort located on a beautiful beach front acreage on Vancouver Island's rugged West Coast. The Resort is set amongst the native coastal vegetation and takes full advantage of the expansive sandy beach and the open ocean with wild west coast surf. In fact it is one of the few Tofino hotels that can claim such a spectacular locale. Come view Tofino's biggest waves from the comfort of the iconic Great Room and partake in some of award-winning cuisine.
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