Tucked between the mainland of southwestern British Columbia and Vancouver Island is an archipelago of islands known as the Canadian Gulf Islands. Each has its own charm, with natural history and coastal scenery unique in North America.

Starting from Victoria on Vancouver Island, we visit the smaller islands of Salt Spring, Galiano and Mayne as we explore the pastoral island life. Whether by bike, on foot, or by kayak, you will be seduced by this unique island charm. We’ll stay in inns and hotels that are welcoming and dine on inspired Pacific Northwest cuisine.

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
  • Dinner at Pilgrimme, ranked one of the best restaurants in Canada.
  • A picnic at Lighthouse Park on Mayne Island, where whales may be spotted offshore.
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won’t find in guidebooks.
  • Distinctive, charming hotels too small for larger groups.
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises.

Location

Victoria

662 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 1R7, Canada

Starting Location

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Day 3 - 4

Galiano Island

Galiano Island, Southern Gulf Islands, BC, Canada

Day 5 - 6

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle.
6 nights lodging.
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1.
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums.
Detailed map and route instructions.
All baggage transportation.
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities).

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2019

Jun 9-25
Jul 4-10
Jul 11-17
Jul 18-24
Jul 27-Aug 2
Aug 8-14
Aug 15-21
Aug 22-28
Sep 4-10

2020

Jun 8-24
July 3-9
July 10-16
July 17-23
July 24-30
Sept 31 - Aug 6
Aug 7-13
Aug 14-20
Aug 21-27
Sep 3-9

Self-guided and custom trips also available and can start any day. Call or email for details.

TRIP SIZE

8-16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

7 days / 6 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Victoria/Vancouver

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Moderate
30-50+ km

(20-30+ miles) daily
Van supported

TERRAIN

Gently rolling with some short steep hills

COST

Land Cost (current year):
CAD $2250
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
CAD $560

Bike Rental:
CAD $220

Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5% must be charged on trips in Canada.

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at info@great-explorations.com or by telephone at 604.730.1247

Victoria, the beautiful capital city of British Columbia, is easily accessible by ferry from Vancouver, BC and Seattle, Washington or by international flight.


1

Day 1+2

Victoria

Your hotel is included on arrival day and we will meet at 2:00 pm for bike fit and a short warm-up ride. Victoria and Vancouver Island are a cyclist’s paradise with lots of options for moderate and more challenging rides. The second day we’ll ride loop out to Ten Mile Point, visiting historical sites along the way. We will dine in one of Victoria’s best restaurants, a short walk from the harbour.
Distance: 22 up to 43 km, elevation gain up to 134 m.*

2

Day 3+4

Salt Spring Island

Today we cycle north along a cycle path to Swartz Bay before crossing by ferry to Salt Spring Island. There is lots to see and do in Ganges, full of artisan shops and galleries. The second day we’ll ride a route that gives us outstanding views of Trincomali Channel with the snow-capped Coast Range mountains as a back-drop. There may be an option to cross to Mayne Island to explore it’s treasures. Ganges is filled with excellent restaurants including several with live folk singers. It’s that kind of island!
Distance D3: 49 km, elevation gain 314 m.*
Distance D4: 42 km, elevation gain 420 m or 54 km, gain 314 m.*

3

Day 5+6

Galiano Island

We begin the day with a water taxi to Galiano Island, and a visit to Montague Park. For hikers, we’ll lead a walk up to the top of Mt. Galiano, where views are outstanding (see photo in slideshow above). On the second day, start your day with a yoga session or swim followed by a ride out to the west end of the island where a pristine beach awaits. Finish the day with spa and massage. Dinners at the Galiano Inn will be memorable and we’ll finish the trip as we always do, with a celebratory dinner with festivities.
Distance D5: 40 km, elevation gain 133 m.*
Distance D6: 43 km, elevation gain 322 m.*

4

Day 7

Depart for Victoria or Vancouver by ferry or by sea-plane flight (additional cost).

Note: Kayaking enthusiasts will have the opportunity to kayak on each of the islands (1/2 day each). Kayak rentals are additional cost.

*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.

Oswego Hotel, Victoria

Located 1 block from the waterfront and close to cafes and restaurants, this boutique hotel boasts a chic bistro serving locally inspired cuisine with patio seating and a cocktail lounge with weekly live jazz. There is an outdoor swimming pool.


Harbour House Inn, Salt Spring Island

This 3-star hotel is comfortable, recently renovated, and has a great location close to town. The property sports an organic garden and restaurant, in order to provide farm to table fare.


Galiano Inn & Spa, Galiano Island

This luxurious oceanfront resort and spa features large guest rooms, each with a breath-taking view, wood burning fireplaces, and a casually elegant décor. The restaurant has been receiving rave reviews for its inspired West Coast cuisine.



			

Trip Reviews

September 27, 2019

“We wanted to experience the Gulf Islands by bicycle. This tour allowed us to experience both the natural wonders of the islands, as well as the towns on the islands, the city of Victoria and its suburbs. Since this was our first trip to North America, we had little idea what to expect. Our guide suggested options and took note of our responses. She then tailored the whole experience around our preferences. We did appreciate and make use of, the hot-tub and spa-bath on Galliano Island. We enjoyed all the meals as they were in a varity of venues, in particular the resturant after the walk through the Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park, as well as the bus trip back to our hotel. Being a small group of five, plus a guide, we were offered many choices of events. Since we were mainly after the cycling experience, we opted for no Museums and wine tastings, but we did enjoy the visit to Salt Spring Cheese, the walk through the Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park, and Kayaking from Salt Spring Island. The rental bikes performed adequately.”

September 27, 2019

“I enjoyed the good weather, daily exercise, not having to do any planning, lovely accomodations and great food that I didn’t have to cook myself! Very nice choices of restaurants. Favs were 10 Acres in Victoria and the place with the tree in it in Ganges. Very nice choices of hotels. Amount of time riding most days was a bit shorter than expected. Wasn’t expecting that hilliness so distances were easier than expected and elevation harder than expected. I had been on a previous trip with Great Explorations and was happy with the experience- that’s the reason I chose GE again.”

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