Here is a great alternative to taking the ferry both ways to Victoria: do whale watching on the way over.
You will board Prince of Whales' "Salish Sea Dream" 2 deck whale watching boat right in Downtown Vancouver and set out on a for a 4-hour transfer and whale watching experience with a Marine Naturalist, viewing the resident Orca (Killer) Whales. The whale watching portion of your tour ends in Downtown Victoria, where the rest of your tour awaits.
Once a small fort, the city grew from the Gold Rush and then as the seat of provincial governmental power. The Inner Harbour is a legacy to one of Canada's most notable architects Francis Rattenbury as the skyline is dominated by two of his most famous works the Parliament Buildings and The Empress Hotel. You will be given a map and instructions on where to meet your guide in Victoria before departing. Upon arrival, your boat will let you off right in the inner harbor adjacent to downtown Victoria where you enjoy 2 hours 30 minutes of free time on your own to explore this quaint city by the sea, have some lunch on your own, and take-in one of the varied local attractions.
After meeting your guide at a designated time and place in downtown Victoria, you will enjoy a 30 minute pastoral drive through the countryside, arriving at a garden which leaves even the most avid horticulturalist in awe. Spread across 55 acres, the Butchart Gardens are truly a sight to be seen. You will find spectacular views as you stroll along meandering paths and expansive lawns. From the exquisite Sunken Garden to the charming Rose Garden, this show garden still maintains the gracious traditions of earlier times and boasts all the modern amenities to make your time there comfortable and enjoyable. Don't forget your camera. If you would like less time in Victoria, and more time at the gardens, ask your guide before boarding in Vancouver and they can give you a different meeting time in Victoria.
From the gardens, it is a short twenty-minute ride to the BC Ferries terminal and a one hour 30 minutes ferry ride back to the mainland. On the return crossing you can enjoy the restaurant facilities on board the ferry or grab a nap in the lounge before being driven from the ferry terminal back to Vancouver and your hotel.
Please Note: Luggage (One 50 pound bag and one carry on) can be accommodated on this tour if prior notice is provided. Please indicate if you will have luggage with you by checking the appropriate box above.