Looking for an island getaway? Vancouver Island is definitely a retreat from life on the mainland! On this pass, you spend at least 2 nights in the quaint little fishing village of Tofino, where you can go whale watching, soak in the natural hot springs, take a paddle in a sea kayak, catch some waves surfing, or just relax on the beach! Then it's off to Victoria, the provincial capital with its beautiful inner harbour. In between you'll stop in several provincial parks with idyllic lakes, giant trees, and picturesque waterfalls.
The bus stops for sightseeing, activities and other adventures en-route and at overnight stop destinations. The service is door-to-door (we pick you up and drop you off at the hostel or hotel of your choice), and pass holders receive discounts on activities, attractions and accommodation. Accommodation in hostels can be pre-booked for those who want it.
We leave Vancouver at 8:30 am, heading for the ferry at Horseshoe Bay. The scenic 1.5 hour crossing of Georgia Strait lands us in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, where we stop for supplies before heading west across the island. We stop in a provincial park with old-growth forest and picturesque waterfalls for lunch, and at Sproat Lake for a swim and to check out the rock petroglyphs and giant water bombing planes. We head across to the west coast of the island and Pacific Rim National Park for our first glimpse of the beaches, battered coastline, and hundreds of islands. Finally, we arrive in the quaint, fishing town of Tofino. Group dinner tonight, followed by a night at the local pub or campfire on the beach.
Day 2: Free Day in Tofino
Today is your chance to enjoy all the activities that Tofino has to offer like whale watching, hot springs, bear watching, sea kayaking, or surfing (optional extra cot). Alternatively, you can just chill on one of the many beaches, relax at the guest house, or check out the quaint shops in the village. Enjoy!
Day 3: Tofino to Victoria
We'll start the morning off with a walk along the Schooner Trail, leading to Long Beach. Then we'll head back across the island, stopping in Port Alberni, the "Salmon Capital of the World" for lunch. And it's on to Cathedral Grove and a walk through the majestic old-growth forest, before stopping in the town of Coombs. Look for the Goats on the Roof (Snakes on a Plane?) Back on the east coast, we'll drive through Ladysmith, birthplace of Pamela "Pammie" Anderson, and we'll check out the giant murals and sculptures (plus ice-cream!) in Chemainus. Then we'll cruise into Victoria, our destination for the evening. Enjoy a night out on the town.
Day 4: Victoria to Vancouver
Sleep in if you want, because we're not leaving town until 3:00 pm, but we highly recommend that you join us for a walking tour of the inner harbour and city sights. You'll get to check out the Empress Hotel (cup o' tea?), Provincial Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum and the scene along the waterfront. Plus there's Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown, shopping, and lots of restaurants to enjoy, all within walking distance of the hostel. When it's time to roll, we'll head to the southern ferry terminal and enjoy another scenic cruise, this time through the Gulf Islands, back to the mainland. Look for whales and other sea life en route. It's then back to Vancouver to end your trip.
Moose trips are all about the adventure, and Canada is one of the best countries in the world for adventure activities! There are both free and included activities as well as activities that require an extra payment. The Moose guides will help you book optional activities for you as well as make sure you get there and back. The approximate prices are in CAD and paid directly either to your Moose guide or the activity operator.
Optional activities for the Island Explorer pass:
Wildlife spotting (free) - Kayaking ($50) - Scenic boat cruise (included) - Hiking (free) - Swimming (free) - Whale watching (from $65) - Surf equipment rental (from $15) - Surfing lesson ($75) - Historical sites (free to $15)
On our jump on, jump off passes accommodation is pre-reserved for you while en-route. You can simply pay for the cost of your overnights directly to the hostel upon checking in (unless you have purchased an optional accommodation package). This means that you are guaranteed a dormitory-style bed every night when arriving in a new destination. If there is a mandatory 2-night stop in any destination, you will have a bed reserved for 2 nights.
You can, of course, arrange your own accommodation if you wish. In any case we offer door-to-door transportation, as in picking you up and dropping you off at the hostel or hotel of your choice.
PLEASE NOTE: You must book your own accommodation under the following circumstances:
- All nights prior to your trip
- All nights in Vancouver after your trip (tours ending in Banff will have 1 night reserved)
- Any extra nights that the you spend in a destination, that is, if you jump off the bus
- If you want a private room or non-dormitory room
- If you wish to stay in a hotel or any other facility except where Moose has reserved beds.
Moose vehicles include modern 24-seat coaches and 11-seat passenger vans that provide safe and comfortable transportation through cities and wilderness alike.
Many of our trips include some meals which you can find listed in the introduction under "What's included". We also make regular stops at local grocery stores for you to purchase your own supplies (most hostels have cooking facilities), and our trip leaders often organise group meals, both of which save you money.
Seat reservations are subject to availability and are confirmed on a first come first served basis. Contact the Moose office at least 7 days prior to your preferred departure date to start your pass. To jump off the bus, you must contact Moose by 6pm at the latest the night before you are scheduled to depart on any sector to change your itinerary. Failure to do so may result in a CAD$50 reinstatement fee.
WHY TRAVEL WITH MOOSE?
Moose, with extensive experience since 1997, is your expert on Canada, the second largest country in the world.
- We offer great value compared to hiring a car or other transportation options. Our trips start at CAD $50/day.
- Our tours and the scenic and adventure stops are designed to show you all of Canada - from the bustling cities to quiet lakes and waterfalls in the wilderness. We get "off the beaten path" where other companies don’t venture.
- Loads of optional adventure activities, such as jet boating, bungee jumping, kayaking and whale watching to name just a few
- Pre-reserved accommodation en-route
- Jump on, jump off flexibility
- We have negotiated discounts on activities, attractions, accommodation and even meals en-route for you to save money.
- Small groups where clients will be travelling with like-minded people from around the globe
- Door-to-door service from many hostels and hostels for convenience
- Canadian drivers and guides who are passionate about this country and can offer you a local perspective.
- Will I have to reconfirm my departure date?
Seat reservations are subject to availability and are confirmed on a first come first served basis. Contact our office at least 7 days prior to your preferred departure date to start your pass. To jump off the bus, you must contact us by 6pm at the latest the night before you are scheduled to depart on any sector to change your itinerary. Failure to do so may result in a CAD $50 reinstatement fee.
- Can I hop on and off the bus for longer stopovers at the destinations?
On the jump on, jump off tours Moose offers you the flexibility to create your own itinerary based on what you want to see and do. You can even take up to six months to complete the route.
- Is there an age limit?
No. Most of our travellers are between 18-35, but anyone is welcome. Travellers should be adventurous, independent and accustomed to staying at hostels and/or campgrounds.
- What should I bring?
Bring clothes for a variety of weather. Summer temperatures can range from a high of 35'C to a cool 0'C in the mountains in the evening. Good trainers or light hiking boots are also recommended. Sleeping bags are not essential. Bring your camera and an attitude ready for fun and adventure!
- How much money should I budget for my trip?
Most of your budget will be spent on the following three areas: accommodation (approximately CAD $18-$35 per night), food (approximately CAD $15-$34 per day), activities (anywhere from CAD $50-$215).
- Is it ok if I travel alone?
Yes! Most of our passengers travel alone, but you’ll find couples and small groups on the trip as well. There is no single supplement on any Moose tour.
- If I jump off the bus at some point, when can I get back on?
We guarantee a minimum of two departures a week, and often daily in peak season. Please check the timetable for departures.