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How to Get to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver: 5 Ways (Local Guide)

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Butchart Gardens is home to some of the most breathtaking gardens on the west coast of Canada. Many people travel from off the island wondering how to get to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver? 

You can get to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver by either a day tour,  bus, (public transit or coach), or car and then take the 90 minute BC Ferries ride. Or you can take a seaplane to downtown Victoria, and then bus, taxi or rent a car to drive to Butchart Gardens. 

We’ve put together our local’s guide to the best ways to get from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens. 

A favorite way is to take this Vancouver to Victoria & Butchart Gardens Bus Tour.

Growing up in Victoria, BC  and spending a lot of time either living in or visiting with family in Vancouver, we’ve pretty much taken all the transport options from Vancouver to Victoria over the years. Plus we’ve visited the delightful Butchart Gardens many, many times. 

Hopping a seaplane from downtown Vancouver to Victoria with a shuttle bus & Butchart Gardens admission included is fun and the quickest option. If you want the most of your day trip to Victoria.

Open year round, visitors come here to experience the countless blooms of tulips & daffodils in Spring. The Rose Garden, fireworks and musical entertainment in Summer. Perennials and brilliant colors in fall. And the not to miss Magic of Christmas with Santa & an ice skating rink in winter. 

Renting a car in Vancouver and driving is the most flexible option, especially with kids.

We’ve given you all the tips you need to make planning your trip a breeze.

Ready to watch the flowers bloom and take a ride on the carousel? Let’s go!

VANCOUVER TO BUTCHART GARDENS

Butchart Garden's sign, fountain, dragon fountain and young girl happy to be eating gelato in the sunshine.
Butchart Gardens is fun place to visit with family too! | Photo: Packed for Life

As Butchart Gardens is on Vancouver Island, you can’t drive directly there. To reach the island you must take a ferry or fly in. 

  • If flying – You’ll either need to land in the main Victoria International Airport (YYJ) and make your way to the Gardens. Or hop a seaplane from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria, then make your way to the Gardens.

No matter which way you choose to travel from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens, it’s money and time well spent.

This is often on visitors bucket list for Vancouver Island.

Read on for the best ways to get to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver, BC Canada. Tips from a local who’s spent over 25 years living and traveling between Victoria and Vancouver, BC Canada. 

HOW TO GET TO BUTCHART GARDENS FROM DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER

1. Vancouver to Butchart Gardens Day Trip (By Tour)

Seaplane in Inner Harbor Victoria, BC Canada. Parliament buildings in background
Harbour Air Seaplane at Victoria, Canada Inner Harbour Dock
Photo by Donna / Packed for Life

If you are short on time, or don’t want to drive, taking a day trip tour from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens is the best & easiest option. 

As, you’ll  be sure not to miss the ferry, and have someone else take care of all the details. So you can just look out the window and relax.

The BC Ferries ride along the Gulf Islands is one not to be missed in my opinion. You get beautiful ocean views from the deck, and sometimes even get to see Orcas (Killer Whales) and other marine mammals up close and in the distance. 

Be sure to grab some clam chowder and a nanaimo bar at the cafeteria….My childhood favorite.

The following are a couple of fun tour options from Vancouver, that include Butchart Gardens. 

Victoria and Butchart Gardens Day Trip from Vancouver (By Coach & Ferry)

This Victoria and Butchart Gardens full day tour from Vancouver is the best way for visitors to travel the west coast of Canada when looking for a more affordable option. Getting to Butchart Gardens is easy on this bus tour.

You will get to take a scenic cruise on BC Ferries, after being picked up at your hotel. Keep an eye out for orcas, bald eagles and other marine life from the outer deck.

Then have a guided sightseeing coach tour of downtown Victoria, followed by free time. Explore downtown Victoria. Visit Chinatown and Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest alleyway in Canada. See buskers and wander the Inner Harbor

End your day visiting the world-famous Butchart Gardens which has 55 acres of twisting paths, and fun activities.

It’s an amazing way to experience all that this part of Canada has to offer!

🚌 Check availability of Butchart Gardens Day Trip

Seaplane Flight to Victoria with Shuttle & Butchart Gardens Admission

Take a once in a lifetime journey over the Georgia Straight and Gulf Islands, on this 35 minute Seaplane flight to Victoria.

It’s best for travellers who want as much time as possible on their day trip to Victoria.

As you arrive in the Inner Harbour, board the shuttle bus for Butchart Gardens (admission included in tour).

Spend as much time at Butchart Gardens as you like, wandering through its meticulously-crafted pathways of vibrant flora. The Sunken Garden & Japanese Garden are favorites.

Enjoy free time exploring Victoria before your flight back in the evening.

With only 11 individuals per flight, it’s an intimate experience unlike any other!

🌷 Check rates & availability of Seaplane to Victoria & Butchart Gardens

2. Vancouver to Butchart Gardens By Plane 

Float Plane taking off Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC with snow capped mountains in the distance.
Float Plane Taking off from Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC | Photo: Eppic / Deposit Photos

There are a couple of different options for flying into Victoria from Vancouver, BC. They include:

Once in Victoria you would need to make your way to Butchart Gardens either by bus, taxi, or renting a car. We’ll go over those options below, as it depends on where you’re flying into. 

Butchart Gardens is just one of the many amazing day trips you can take once you’re in Victoria, BC Canada.

Seaplane from Vancouver

Seaplanes are the quickest option from Vancouver, as they reach downtown Victoria in only 35 minutes. Plus you get the scenic route aboard the Canadian made De Havilland seaplanes. 

A quintessential west coast experience.

Harbor Air Seaplanes leave downtown Vancouver on a regular daily schedule, and seasonally from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Whistler.

They leave from downtown Vancouver at Canada Place from  Burrard Landing in Coal Harbour & land in the Inner Harbour in downtown in Victoria.

To get to Butchart Gardens from downtown Victoria you can:

  • Take the transit bus – Buy $5 / DayPass or $2.50 single boarding. (Here’s the BC Transit website for Victoria)
    • Take #75 Bus – pick up along Douglas St. from Belleville to Hillside. 
    • Or #30 or #31 bus – pick up along Douglas St. from Belleville St.( behind the Fairmont Empress Hotel). Then transfer to #75 at Royal Oak Exchange. Sometimes the bus just changes number, and you don’t have to transfer. 
  • Take a Taxi (30 min) – Will cost around $60 

There are a few fun options if you want to explore Victoria & Butchart Gardens on your own, combined with a seaplane ride with either a ferry ride back, or a helicopter ride thrown in the mix. 

Vancouver to Victoria Helicopter & Seaplane

Discovering the majestic sights of Georgia Strait is easily done with a scenic journey on this Vancouver to Victoria Helicopter & Seaplane tour.

As you soar in a helicopter over stunning vistas of coastlines and islands, be transported by what nature has created. Skipping long ferry lineups & waits.

Once you’ve arrived in Victoria, take your time and explore Butchart Gardens and downtown at your own pace.

Giving you plenty of time to experience BC’s capital and sights. Before returning to Vancouver by seaplane.

🚁 Check schedule for Vancouver to Victoria by Helicopter & Seaplane.

Vancouver to Victoria by Seaplane and Ferry

Experience Canada like never before on this Vancouver to Victoria Seaplane and Ferry tour! Soar above the ocean for 35 minutes, admiring spectacular sights below.

Upon arrival in downtown Victoria, explore its vibrant streets and then venture to Butchart Gardens.

Families can explore these gardens together while admiring the colorful flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants that make up this beautiful landscape. Don’t miss riding the carousel.

End the day in comfort, on a scenic ferry ride back to Vancouver on BC Ferries. Enjoy breathtaking views of the islands and water that make up this beautiful part of British Columbia.

⛴️ Check schedule for Vancouver to Victoria by Seaplane & Ferry

Flights from Vancouver International Airport to YYJ

Victoria is serviced by over 400  direct flights a week from Vancouver, so you’ll be able to find something that  suits your schedule.

Set off on your own sightseeing excursion of BC’s capital.

The Gardens are about 13kms (8 miles) from YYJ International Airport, and transport options are limited:  

  • You can either rent a car at the airport & drive, or take a taxi to the Butchart Gardens from the airport. 
  • The taxi is about a 30 minute ride, and will cost around $45 one way. 

Victoria is great place for a family vacation, and there is lots to do besides just Butchart Gardens. Like whale watching, hiking, high tea at the Empress and much more.

3. Vancouver to Butchart Gardens By Car

Driving your own car & then taking the ferry is one of the most flexible options. Especially if you have younger kids, and need to work around their schedules. 

If you’re driving, make your way to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, about 50-60 minutes from downtown Vancouver, or 45 minutes from the airport. Then plan for a 90 minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island.

It’s only about a 30-40 minute drive to either the Butchart Gardens or downtown Victoria from there.  

The whole trip will take about 3-4 hours, as you’ll need to factor in traffic, and getting to the ferry terminal early.

LOCAL TIP: Make a reservation for the ferry for busy peak season (summer & holidays), as there can be many sailing waits. Check out the Current Conditions to see how full the ferry is, and if there are any waits.

How to rent a car in Vancouver

Renting a car in Vancouver is easy if you book ahead. And there are many options for both car rentals at the airport and downtown Vancouver. You’ll need:

  • To be a minimum of 21 years old. There may be extra fees for drivers under 25 
  • Present a valid driver’s license and have a credit card
  • To provide a deposit

Rent a car at Vancouver International Airport

Renting a car at the Vancouver International Airport is easy. 

There are many recognizable rental car companies located near the YVR terminal on the ground floor of the parkade.

You’ll head out on Grant McConachie Way E to  BC-99 S, then follow BC-17A and BC-17 to 52 St in Delta, and the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.

LOCAL TIP: We recommend you book your Vancouver car rental in advance as it can be a very busy airport, with high demand for cars. 

Renting a car downtown Vancouver

We use this tool to find the cheapest car rentals in downtown Vancouver.

There are many places to rent a car in the downtown core, including at some hotels. 

4. Vancouver to Butchart Gardens By Bus

The cheapest option for traveling from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island is to take public transit.

To get from Vancouver to Butchart gardens by transit you’ll first need to take the skytrain to Bridgeport Station. Then transfer to bus #620 to the Tsawwassen terminal for a 90 minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island. 

On the other side, take BC Transit bus #81 from Swartz Bay to the Butchart Gardens. The bus terminal is just outside the foot passenger terminal. 

Coach Bus services are also available from downtown Vancouver (and 11 select hotels), Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the Vancouver Cruise Ship Terminal to downtown Victoria with the BC Ferry Connector.

I have taken the BC Ferry Connect buses hundreds of times. I prefer them over public transit, as it’s quicker, more comfortable, and you’re guaranteed your own seat, and a place to store your luggage safely. 

LOCAL TIP: Bring exact change for the public bus in Victoria, they don’t provide change.

5. Vancouver to Butchart Gardens by Ferry

BC Ferries leaving Swartz Bay.

Unless you are flying into Victoria by plane, you will have to take the BC Ferries, from the Tsawwassen Terminal in Delta to Victoria’s Schwartz Bay Terminal. 

I love the ferry ride, and think of it as a mini cruise. There are epic west coast views from the decks, and often marine life sightings along the way.

Listen to the captain’s announcments as they’ll let you know if there are any orca or other sightings.

The ferry leaves from Vancouver on the even hours.

Check out their up to date schedules and rates.

LOCAL TIP: Reserve your ferry crossing time well in advance, during the peak season (summer months & holidays). Waits can be long as the ferry only leaves about every 1-2 hours.

FAQs

How far is Butchart Gardens from the ferry terminal?

The Butchart Gardens is about 20 kms (12 miles) from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, and is located in beautiful Brentwood Bay, BC, on Benvenuto Ave.

How long is the ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria?

The ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria is 1 hour and 35 minutes aboard the BC Ferries.The ferry runs between the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta, BC and the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, 30 km north of downtown Victoria.

What is the cheapest way to get from Vancouver to Victoria? 

The cheapest way to get from Vancouver to Victoria is to use public transit and take the skytrain, bus and ferry. It will cost about $30 per adult one way (ferry ticket included), less for kids.

How to Get to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver Without A Car? 

The best way to get from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens without a car is to either take a guided day tour, or public transportation (4-5 hours). Take the Skytrain to Bridgeport Station, transfer to bus #620, then take the 90 min ferry ride from Tsawwassen Terminal. At Swartz Bay, hop bus #81 and get off at Butchart Gardens. It will cost about $30 per adult one way (ferry ticket included).

How much is a taxi from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens?

A taxi from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens will cost around $55-$65 CAD one way, and takes about 40 minutes. Victoria taxis can accommodate up to 4 passengers typically, however some companies have larger cars or minivans that can fit more passengers. 

Final Thoughts Getting from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens

I hope this helps you plan your vacation to the west coast of Canada.

There are many ways to get from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens.

As a local, we recommend this highly rated day tour by coach and ferry, as it makes everything so easy, and you can really take in the views.

Or renting a car in Vancouver as that gives you the most flexibility to explore on your own timeline. Especially of you have little kids.

BC is a beautiful and inspiring place to visit. I hope you love it as much as I do.

VICTORIA & CANADA RESOURCES

Here are our favourite resources we use to research and book our trips. They offer competitive deals, and good customer service. Plus itineraries and more travel ideas for Acadia area:
Top 10 Whale Watching Tours in Victoria
3 days in Victoria with Kids Ideas
Free & Cheap Things to do in Victoria, BC
Top 11+ Victoria Parks & Playgrounds not to miss!
Epic Day trips from Victoria you’ll love
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Vancouver Island Bucket List Ideas
Fun things to do in Parksville, BC
Top places to stay in Parksville, BC Canada
Easy Road trip Snack Ideas

Booking.com – Book your accomodations here. Excellent all round booking site for lowest lodging rates.
VRBO Book family friendly accommodations here, that have the comforts of home, but without the cleaning!
Viator – Find & book even more experiences, tours & fun lessons world wide.
Discover Cars – Make finding the cheapest or best car for your trip easy (worldwide)
Summer Travel Tips – save money & still have fun!

Anything else? Check out our Family Travel Resources & Tips page

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