Hornby Island from Vancouver: How to get to BC’s remote “Little Hawaii”


From the golden cliffs of Helliwell to the turquoise waters of Tribune Bay, it is easy to slide underneath Hornby’s spell. But getting to Hornby Island from Vancouver is an experience in and of alone.

Hornby Island is part of the Northern Gulf Islands. To get there from Vancouver, you will have to either drive and just take the ferries (yes, that is ferries – plural) or fly.

A vacation to see “Little Hawaii,” as it is occasionally referred to as for the reason that of its white sand beach locations with tropical-hued waters, demands far more vacation time than a weekend getaway can give.

I a short while ago went from Vancouver to Hornby Island, leaving my residence at 5 am to get there at Hornby Island at 1 pm. Receiving there and back again almost eats up a total working day, but for individuals fully commited to producing the journey, here’s what you want to know about going from Vancouver to Hornby Island.

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Flying to Hornby Island

To keep away from the ferries, opting for a brief flight to Hornby Island in its place is a fantastic alternative if you have good friends or loved ones on the Island with a automobile.

Indigenous-owned Gulf Island Seaplanes offers one-way fares from $250.

Despite the fact that it is probable to get by Hornby with out a automobile, you are more than probably to want your have set of wheels to examine. Don’t anticipate to discover an Avis or Spending budget automobile rental on Hornby Island, either. Even though a Hornby Island bus solutions the area and it’s also achievable to cycle your way close to Hornby, the huge bulk of travellers choose to consider the ferries with a car.

Using the ferry to Hornby Island

Going from Vancouver to Hornby Island? It is just five easy ways:

  1. Take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Departure Bay in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
  2. Push approximately an hour north on Vancouver Island.
  3. Acquire yet another ferry from Buckley Bay to Denman Island West.
  4. Drive 10 minutes across Denman Island.
  5. Take just one more ferry from Denman East (Gravelly Bay) to Hornby Island (Shingle Spit).

But pack your patience for the reason that although it’s feasible to do the entire voyage in 5 hours, which is not the reality on the ground.

This is mainly because the more compact ferries that join Vancouver Island to Denman Island are notoriously packed – especially in the summer time when there can be many sailing waits at peak occasions.

BC ferries instructed Day-to-day Hive that these routes are “traditionally occupied in the summertime” and in 2022, traffic on insignificant routes is consistent with pre-pandemic many years. They have no rapid designs to adjust company on these two routes.

“Overloads do manifest on all of our routes. These routes are no unique,” BC Ferries explained.

“Wait situations range depending on time of working day and working day of the 7 days. Fridays and Sundays, for example, are hectic with weekenders travelling to and from the islands.”

hornby island

Google Maps

These smaller ferries acquire only about 10 minutes and run on a timetable you will want to retain helpful as you voyage.

The ferries will enter shuttling mode at peak instances – forgoing the plan and going as rapid as they can among the islands. But the ferry arrives only about every single 40 minutes, even at best pace. So if there is a two-sailing wait around, that will add at minimum an hour and a half to your itinerary.

These scaled-down ferry routes are not bookable on the net, both. You spend once you get there – your ticket you purchase at Buckley Bay involves return fare – and it’s initially arrive, very first served.

That’s why an early begin is important – in particular leaving Hornby Island for the reason that if you really don’t make the remaining sailing of the working day, then you’re spending another evening there!

hornby island

Waiting around for the ferry and onboard the ferry

A vacation to Hornby Island isn’t affordable, both. I paid about $375 roundtrip in ferry fares on my latest vacation. Fares range depending on your number of travellers and automobile kind. But for $375, I could have gotten a flight to Los Angeles and most likely arrived speedier, too.

Still, after you’re there and probably right after you’ve experienced a nap to get well from your early begin, there is nothing at all else like it in BC!

Is Hornby Island on your BC summer months will have to-see checklist?


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