When I lived in Calgary and desired(mmm yes, desired) to visit the Nanaimo area, the most cost-effective and quickest thing to do would be to fly. Unfortunately, flights from Kamloops to Nanaimo are limited, expensive, and time-consuming as they usually require a transfer in Vancouver, or even Calgary. Driving is a better option now although it is not without its challenges. One of those challenges being the 56 km (35 miles) of water separating Vancouver Island from the mainland. As a result, I became a passenger on the Queen of Oak Bay, on the BC Ferries Route Vancouver-Nanaimo.
Steps to taking BC Ferries Route Vancouver-Nanaimo
- Determine your Exact Routing – Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo’s Departure Bay was the best route in my particular case. Alternatively, if one was approaching Vancouver from the south, Tsawwassen terminal to Nanaimo’s Duke Point, would be a more efficient route.
- Arrive early – BC Ferries recommends that travellers arrive 30-60 minutes before departure time. If you have not booked a reservation you may want to arrive even earlier. Beware, ferries often fill up especially during rush hour or holiday times. Reserving a spot is easy by visiting here, but you will have to pay an extra $15 CDN.
- Enjoy the Ride – On routes such as Vancouver to Nanaimo or Vancouver to Victoria, BC Ferries uses large vessels, like the Queen of Oak Bay which has the following fun facts:
Built in 1981, this Canadian built 11,840 horsepower behemoth can transport up to 1,494 people, 360 cars and 12 semis at a top speed of 38 km/hr. For more info visit here.
4. Enjoy the Views
In conclusion, the ferry ride was just under 2 hours and the total cost for two adults, passenger car, and a reservation came to $104 CDN. Finally, it was a really cold and windy day but I enjoyed going out on the deck and taking in the magnificent views.