Post by FerryDude2012 on Aug 26, 2010 0:12:50 GMT -8
My family and I are planning on doing a trip to Gabriola Island and Port Renfrew on Monday, August 30 or Tuesday, August 31. The plan is to take the 7:45am Coastal Inspiration sailing to Duke Point, and take the 10:40am Quinsam sailing to Gabriola Island. We'll return on the 12:35pm sailing to Nanaimo, then drive to Duncan, and take this highway all the way to Port Renfrew. Then drive back to Langford, and up to Swartz Bay and take Route 1 home. Some questions for anyone who can help:
A) From the 9:45am arrival in Duke Point, and the 10:40am departure, should we drive directly to the terminal, or do we have some spare time? B) Is it usually busy travelling to/from Gabriola on Mondays? C) How long is the drive from Duncan to Port Renfrew? D) How long is the drive from Port Renfrew to Swartz Bay? E) What realistic Route 1 sailing would we take? 6, 7 or 9pm? F) Are there any other recommendations or suggestions?
Sounds like a lot to do in a day trip. Why don't you do this in reverse routing and do the Gabriola round trip if time permits? Personally, I wouldn't go out to Port Renfrew (even from Victoria) if I wasn't going to spend the day seeing the coastal sights which are well worth the free admission. Your day trip itinerary sounds like you'll have minimal time to get out of your car. Having said that, if that's how you and your family like to do things, go for it and have fun!
Post by Northern Exploration on Aug 26, 2010 11:34:23 GMT -8
The time from Port Renfrew to Duncan really depends on the road and what you are driving. And as much who you get behind. It has its windy sections,so I would allow a bit more time, more like 2 1/2 hours to allow for potential slowups. Once you hit Lake Cowichan the road improves a lot. It has been quite a while since I drove it and the first section was full of bad potholes. If you need to stretch your legs a bit after the trip and you have time, Skutz Falls in the Cowichan River Provincial Park is a good place to walk about. The River is at its best following a lot of rain or in the Spring runoff.
Queen of Prince Rupert at Bear Cove - Thankyou for your years of service
I've done the day trip circle (Sidney-Port Renfrew-Cowichan-Sidney) from Sidney a few times, and it usually takes a good 6 hours or so of driving, and that is in a large truck with good ground clearance. If you are in a small car I would allow more time since you won't be going as fast over the rougher portions of the road. I would allow 2.5 hours for the trip from Renfrew to SWB, since highway 14 is in VERY bad shape right now west of Sooke. In fact, the ambulance from Port Renfrew now takes the logging roads to the Duncan hospital rather than take highway 14.
I would have to agree with Nickfro... this is a very ambitious trip to be planning for one day. If you were to forgo the Gabriola portion, it would be much more manageable. Especially if you want to get out of your car at any point. BTW, I'd highly recommend wandering around Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew... the tide pools are amazing.
Nickfro and Nick, are you suggesting an overnight stay somewhere on the Island if we do go to Gabriola Island on the same day? Or an earlier start? Or to just forget about the Gabriola Island part?
It depends on how you want to do the trip. If you are content to sit in the car and drive for the whole time and not get out and explore, it can be done in a (long) day. If you want to get out and explore, say take 8 or 9 hours to do the 6 hour drive, I'd suggest either find a place to stay overnight, or save the Gabriola trip for another time.
When paying the money to take a car over to the Island, better get the most out of your trip.
Your original itinerary would put you in Duncan around 2pm, Port Renfrew around 430pm, Swartz Bay around 7pm, and that's nonstop driving.
Take the 8am Route 1 sailing to get you out to PR around 1pm. Stop at Sombrio and Botanical Beaches. Allow at least 2 hours combined for these breaks. You'll enjoy them.
I have never been to Lake Cowichan, but I'd surely want to take some time and see the area instead of driving straight through.
When scenic trips are involved, I really want to enjoy it and not be forced to shoehorn it all into a small window of time. There's too much to see and do. This reminds me of when we did a circuit of the Big Island of Hawaii in a day. Neat to see, but it was mostly from the vehicle. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but spend 2 nights at accommodations along the way so we can see and enjoy the countless amazing sights the island has to offer. Our trip was only 1 week long and there was a wedding in the middle, so unfortunately we didn't have those 2 extra days to make the circle tour happen the way we wanted it to. Same should apply to Vancouver Island scenic trips if you can make it happen that way.
Post by Northern Exploration on Aug 26, 2010 17:15:05 GMT -8
Sounds like the roads are in the same shape or even worse as when I last drove them. I would second or is it third, the idea of stopping at Botanical Beach. I love searching the tidal pools anywhere and they are amazing there depending on what stage the tide is of course.
Stopping and looking at Sooke Harbour House is also a possibility. If you hit it at meal time and your wallet is thick, you can have a unique and amazing meal there. Everything is locally sourced and most grown in their own garden. They are especially known for edible flowers in their salads and as garnish on the plates.
No point in going to Gabriola for that short of a time. If you want to just ride the ferry, do a round trip without the car and save yourself an hour. There are some nice things to see on Gabriola, but you won't enjoy them in less than an hour.
Like others have said, packing this much into one day will make for a long boring car ride... for the best sights, you'll have to spend time out of the car. There's no point going to Port Renfrew if you're not going to spend at least a few hours there. Botanical Beach is awesome (pay parking, believe it or not).
Post by FerryDude2012 on Aug 26, 2010 23:53:25 GMT -8
After some thought, we have decided to just go to Port Renfrew. We'll take the 8am sailing to Swartz Bay, and hopefully get to Port Renfrew by 11am, spend a few hours there, and come back on the 7pm sailing to Tsawwassen.