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.
  • Local guides, who know the region intimately.
  • 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

Day 1+2

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Day 3+4

Galiano Island

Galiano Island, Southern Gulf Islands, BC, Canada

Day 5+6+7

Mayne Island

Mayne Island, BC, Canada

Option on Day 6

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

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

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2022

Jun 15-21
Jun 22-28
Jul 6-12
Jul 20-26
Aug 3-9
Aug 17-23
Sep 7-13
Sep 21-27

2023

Jun 14-20
Jun 21-27
Jul 5-11
Jul 19-25
Aug 2-8
Aug 16-22
Sep 6-12
Sep 20-26

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

TRIP SIZE

4-16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

7 days / 6 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Victoria / Galiano Island

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Moderate
30-50+ km (20-30+ miles) daily
Van supported

TERRAIN

Gently rolling with some short steep hills

COST

Land Cost:
CAD $2,950*
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
CAD $750*

Bike Rental:
CAD $280*

*Prices are subject to GST of 5% in British Columbia.

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.

Our tour begins in Victoria. You can take a ferry from Vancouver Tsawwassen Terminal to Swartz Bay (Vancouver Island) or arrive by float plane from downtown Vancouver.


1

Day 1

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. After a welcome wine reception, we’ll dine out at a favourite restaurant.

Ride Distance: 23 km, elevation gain 145 m.*

2

Day 2

Victoria

The second day we’ll ride loop out to Ten Mile Point and back through Rockland, passing Craigdarroch Castle, Government House & Gardens and stately homes. Two longer options explore more of Vancouver Island on lovely quiet roads.

Ride Distance: 38 km, elevation gain 300m; or 64 km, gain 600 m; or 100 km, gain 1,100 m.*

3

Day 3

Salt Spring Island

Today we cycle north along a cycle path to Swartz Bay before crossing by ferry to Salt Spring Island. We will stop to visit a local cheesemaker and enjoy lunch in a sublime setting. There is lots to see and do in Ganges, full of artisan shops and galleries. Tonight we’ll dine at an eclectic restaurant with live music.

Ride Distance: 49 km, elevation gain 325 m.*

4

Day 4

Salt Spring Island

The second day on Salt Spring we’ll ride a route that gives us outstanding views of Trincomali Channel with the snow-capped Coast Range mountains as a back-drop with an additional option to the south end of the island, followed by a wine tasting at an island winery. There is also an option to sea-kayak while on Salt Spring. Ganges is filled with excellent restaurants including several with live folk singers and we’ll provide recommendations for an (on your own) night out.

Ride Distance: 26 km, elevation gain 300 m & 43 km, gain 600 m.*

5

Day 5

Galiano Island

After riding out to Long Harbour, we cruise to Galiano Island, which has a unique culture of its own. On our first day here, we’ll ride over to Mt Galiano and hike up to the top for a glorious view. A local naturalist may join on this walk so that you can learn about the flora here. For those wanting more cycling, riding out to Lover’s Leap viewpoint will provide a great additional ride. Dinner tonight will be at the Galiano Inn dining room with views over Sturdies Bay.

Ride Distance: up to 40 km, elevation gain 850 m.
Hiking option: up to 5 km, gain 250 m.*

6

Day 6

Mayne Island option

Lots of options today: Sea-kayak from Montague Harbour on a half-day guided paddle followed by lunch at one of our favourite sea-side restaurants – Crane & Robin.  Or if you want additional cycling options, cruise to Mayne Island where a delightful ride to Georgina Point Heritage park and lighthouse and Dinner Bay, where a delightful Japanese garden awaits. After a final night wine reception, we will enjoy a memorable dinner at Pilgrimme, rated by Enroute Magazine as one of the top restaurants in Canada. Bon appetite.

Ride Distance: 40 km, elevation gain 520 m.*
Sea-kayaking option on this day at Montague Harbour.

7

Day 7

Departure Day

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 (Wednesdays). There is an outdoor swimming pool.


Harbour House, Salt Spring Island

This upmarket hotel has recently undergone a major renovation inside and out and has a great location close to town and overlooking Ganges harbour.


Galiano Inn, Galiano Island (Luxe)

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

“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.”

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.”

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