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BC Ferries Route

BC Ferries, Active Pass

(Adrian Dorst photo)

Transportation & Maps

BC Ferries Route

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3 to 7 days, 1049.60 km (652.19 mi)

Orca near Alert Bay (Picture BC photo)
Orca near Alert Bay (Picture BC photo)

Travel from Vancouver to Port Hardy by car and ferry. Explore seaside communities, world-renowned gardens, and underground caves. From Port Hardy, choose one of two BC Ferries routes: the Inside Passage or the Discovery Coast Passage, both of which glide along BC’s spectacular coast.

Note: Map shows Inside Passage ferry option.

Select one of the parts to view its details:

All Parts
BC Ferries in Howe Sound, Tom Ryan photo
Part 1
Ferry to Vancouver Island

51.95 km - about 2 hours 2 min

In Vancouver, visit the Vancouver Art Gallery to see works by renowned, BC-born artist Emily Carr. Then walk along the seawall in Stanley Park. Stop at historic Gastown to see the world’s first steam clock, based on an 1875 design; watch it whistle every 15 minutes! Head south on Highway 99 & 17 to Tsawwassen to board a ferry and sail Vancouver Island.

The Butchart Gardens
Part 2
Sidney and Victoria

26.36 km - about 0 hours 23 min

Sidney is Canada’s only “Booktown” – booklovers will find nine bookstores within a four block radius that carry modern, used, collector’s, and antiquarian books. Don’t miss the popular Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. Learn about this living eco-system and see marine life from the surrounding waters. Located in Brentwood Bay are the world-famous Butchart Gardens. Stroll through Italian, Sunken, Rose, and Japanese style gardens.

In Victoria, explore the Royal BC Museum, which showcases more than 10,000 years of BC’s natural and human history. Visit Canada’s oldest Chinatown for authentic Asian cuisine. Stroll through the famously narrow Fan Tan Alley, which at its narrowest is only 3ft/0.9m. Overnight in Victoria.

Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre in Duncan, Tom Ryan photo
Part 3
Cowichan Valley

110.70 km - about 1 hours 25 min

Follow Highway 1 through the Cowichan Valley, which is populated with wineries, farms, and artisan markets. Take a wine-tasting tour and stop by BC’s first estate cidery. In Duncan, visit carvers at work at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Center and see the world’s widest totem pole. Don’t miss the Nanaimo Marine Festival in July, which hosts the International World Championship Bathtub Races.

Qualicum Beach
Part 4
Coombs and Optional Side Trips

53.05 km - about 0 hours 46 min

From Nanaimo, head to Coombs, which is located west of Parksville and is famous for its market with the goats grazing on the roof. Stop by for lunch and snap some photos. Head north to Qualicum Beach. Garden lovers will appreciate the beauty of the seaside Milner Gardens & Woodland.

Optional: From Parksville, detour west on Highway 4 to Tofino and Ucluelet to experience the renowned surfing and beautiful beaches of BC’s Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Optional: Drive north via Highway 19 and take the Horne Lake exit to Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park and explore some of BC’s most spectacular caves.

Strathcona Provincial Park
Part 5
Comox Valley and Strathcona Provincial Park

0.00 km - about 0 hours 0 min

Continue north on Hwy 19 and overnight in Comox. Visit the Courtenay & District Museum to dig for fossils in an 80 million year sea bed along the Puntledge River. Hike the trails in Forbidden Plateau in Strathcona Provincial Park, which range from a moderate 3km/1.8mi to a more challenging 10km/6mi.

Campbell River Discovery Pier, Picture BC photo
Part 6
Campbell River

59.61 km - about 0 hours 43 min

Continue north via Highway 19 to Campbell River. For a unique BC experience, take a guided tour to “snorkel with the salmon” and witness the migration of five species of salmon. Charter a fishing boat and try a hand at catching dinner.

Port McNeill burl, Picture BC photo
Part 7
Port McNeill and Alert Bay

195.21 km - about 2 hours 50 min

Follow Highway 19 to Port McNeill. Visit the North Island Heritage Museum for a history of the town’s logging past and see the world’s largest burl. Take a 40 minute ferry ride on BC Ferries to Alert Bay and visit the U’mista Cultural Centre. Learn about Kwakwa_ka_'wakw culture through exhibits and live traditional ceremonies.

Cape Scott Provincial Park
Part 8
Port Hardy

43.64 km - about 0 hours 58 min

Port Hardy is the northern terminus of Highway 19. Hike through old-growth rainforest to a white-sand beach in Cape Scott Provincial Park. Up for a challenge? Try the North Coast Trail, a 7-8 day hike through tough terrain (experienced hikers only).

Orcas
Part 9
Ferry Options from Port Hardy

509.08 km - about 16 hours 32 min

From Port Hardy, take one of two options on BC Ferries (Note: Inside Passage option is shown on map):

Inside Passage Ferry: This 15-hour ferry ride takes visitors from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert through the scenic Inside Passage: a narrow, protected channel that runs between the mainland and a series of islands and calm inlets. The scenery is spectacular: pass rocky shorelines, lush rainforests, waterfalls, abandoned fishing villages and lighthouses, accompanied by some of the best wildlife viewing in BC. Watch for porpoises, whales, seals, and black bears.

Optional: From Prince Rupert: board the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system to continue travelling north to Alaska by ferry; take Highway 16 west and connect with the Stewart-Cassiar Highway Driving Route; or drive west to Prince George, then follow Highway 97 north to Dawson Creek, Mile ‘0’ of the world-famous Alaska Highway.

Discovery Coast Connector: This two-stage journey takes visitors from Port Hardy to Bella Bella, along the scenic Inside Passage, and then onwards to Bella Coola. From Bella Bella, a smaller ferry will voyage into the fjords and inlets of mid-coast BC, connecting the communities of Shearwater, Klemtu, Ocean Falls, and Bella Coola. (Note: during the summer, BC Ferries offers different schedules for the Discovery Coast Connector service, varying in duration and ports of call).

Optional: From Bella Coola drive inland on Highway 20 to Williams Lake, and connect to the Gold Rush Trail Driving Route.

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Driving Directions

Part 1 - Ferry to Vancouver Island - 51.95 km - about 2 hours 2 min
1.

Head northeast on Duke Point, BC - Tsawwassen, BC

0.04 km
2.

Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp/BC-17 S

0.07 km
3.

Turn right toward Ferry Ramp/BC-17 N

0.15 km
4.

Turn right onto Ferry Ramp/BC-17 N

0.06 km
5.

Take the Swartz Bay, BC - Tsawwassen, BC ferry

46.43 km
6.

Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp

0.21 km
7.

Continue onto Patricia Bay Hwy

5.00 km
Part 2 - Sidney and Victoria - 26.36 km - about 0 hours 23 min
1.

Head southeast on Patricia Bay Hwy toward Beacon Ave

26.12 km
2.

Turn right onto Pandora Ave

0.21 km
3.

Take the 1st right onto Douglas St/BC-1 N

0.03 km
Part 3 - Cowichan Valley - 110.70 km - about 1 hours 25 min
1.

Head north on Douglas St/BC-1 N toward Cormorant StContinue to follow BC-1 N

60.15 km
2.

Turn left onto Trunk Rd

0.57 km
3.

Turn right onto Canada AveDestination will be on the right

0.24 km
4.

Head north on Canada Ave toward Lois Ln

0.60 km
5.

Slight right to stay on Canada Ave

0.06 km
6.

Slight right onto Beverly St

0.28 km
7.

Turn left onto Island Hwy/BC-1 N

43.60 km
8.

Merge onto Nanaimo Pkwy/BC-19 N via the ramp to Parksville/Campbell RiverDestination will be on the left

5.2 km
Part 4 - Coombs and Optional Side Trips - 53.05 km - about 0 hours 46 min
1.

Head northwest on Nanaimo Pkwy/BC-19 N toward College Dr/Fifth StContinue to follow BC-19 N

30.61 km
2.

Take exit 46 toward Parksville

0.52 km
3.

Merge onto Island Hwy EDestination will be on the right

4.14 km
4.

Head west on Island Hwy E toward Mills St

1.00 km
5.

Turn left onto Alberni Hwy

8.73 km
6.

Head west on Alberni Hwy toward Ford Rd

2.80 km
7.

Turn right onto BC-4 E (signs for Qualicum Beach)Destination will be on the left

5.26 km
1.

Head south on Memorial Ave/BC-4 W toward Second Ave W

2.31 km
2.

Slight right to merge onto BC-19 N toward Campbell River

56.51 km
3.

Take exit 117 toward Courtenay/Comox

0.47 km
4.

Merge onto Comox Valley Pkwy N

4.96 km
5.

Continue onto 29 St

0.58 km
6.

Turn left onto Cliffe Ave/BC-19 Alt N (signs for Courtenay/Comox)Continue to follow Cliffe Ave

1.90 km
Part 6 - Campbell River - 59.61 km - about 0 hours 43 min
1.

Head southeast on Cliffe Ave toward 14 St

0.33 km
2.

Slight left to stay on Cliffe Ave

1.52 km
3.

Turn right onto 29 St (signs for BC-19/Inland Island Highway/Cumberland)

0.60 km
4.

Continue onto Comox Valley Pkwy

4.96 km
5.

Turn right to merge onto Inland Island Highway/BC-19 N toward Campbell River

52.19 km
Part 7 - Port McNeill and Alert Bay - 195.21 km - about 2 hours 50 min
1.

Head north on Inland Island Highway/Tamarac St N/BC-19 N toward 17 AveContinue to follow BC-19 N

192.49 km
2.

Turn right onto Campbell Way

1.61 km
3.

Take the 3rd right onto McNeill RdDestination will be on the left

1.11 km
Part 8 - Port Hardy - 43.64 km - about 0 hours 58 min
1.

Head southeast on McNeill Rd toward Broughton Blvd

1.11 km
2.

Turn left onto Campbell Way

1.61 km
3.

Turn right toward BC-19 N (signs for Port Hardy)

0.03 km
4.

Turn right onto BC-19 N

35.77 km
5.

Turn right onto Bear Cove Hwy/BC-19 (signs for Ferries)Continue to follow BC-19

5.11 km
6.

Take the Port Hardy, BC - Prince Rupert, BC ferryDestination will be on the left

0.01 km
Part 9 - Ferry Options from Port Hardy - 509.08 km - about 16 hours 32 min
1.

Head west on Ferry Ramp/BC-19

0.03 km
2.

Take the Port Hardy, BC - Prince Rupert, BC ferry to Prince Rupert

509.00 km
3.

Continue straight onto Yellowhead Hwy EDestination will be on the right

0.05 km