Getting There

By Plane -- Regular service between Vancouver and Nanaimo Airport, 24km (15 miles) south of the city, is offered by Air Canada Jazz (tel. 888/247-2262;

Harbour Air Seaplanes (tel. 800/665-0212 or 604/688-1277; and West Coast Air (tel. 800/347-2222 or 604/606-6800; offer floatplane flights from downtown Vancouver to Nanaimo Harbour; West Coast Air also has flights to Nanaimo from Vancouver International Airport's floatplane base.

By Car -- Nanaimo is 113km (70 miles) from Victoria via Hwy. 1, the Trans-Canada Highway. At Nanaimo, Hwy. 1 crosses the Georgia Strait via the Horseshoe Bay ferry. North of Nanaimo, the main trunk road becomes Hwy. 19. It's 161km (100 miles) from Nanaimo to Campbell River, 206km (128 miles) to Tofino.

By Ferry -- BC Ferries (tel. 888/223-3779 or 250/386-3431; operates two major runs to Nanaimo. The crossing from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Nanaimo's Departure Bay terminal is one of the busiest in the system; expect delays, especially at rush hour and summer weekends. New PacifiCat Ferries cut the normal 1 1/2-hour crossing down to just over an hour. The Tsawwassen ferry arrives and departs at Nanaimo's Duke Point terminal, just south of town off Hwy. 1. Tickets for both ferries are C$14 per passenger and C$60 per car, with slightly lower midweek and low-season prices.

By Train -- The E&N Railiner operates daily service between Victoria and Courtenay. For information, contact VIA Rail (tel. 888/VIA-RAIL [842-7245] or 250/383-4324;

By Bus -- Greyhound Canada (tel. 800/661-8747 or 604/482-8747; provides seven daily trips between Vancouver and Nanaimo. Non-Greyhound buses continue both north and south from Nanaimo, though you can use Greyhound to book seats.

Visitor Information

Contact Tourism Nanaimo, Beban House, 2290 Bowen Rd., Nanaimo, BC V9T 3K7 (tel. 800/663-7337 or 250/756-0106; In summer, an info center operates out of the Bastion, at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza.

Getting Around

Nanaimo Regional Transit System (tel. 250/390-4531; provides public transport in the Nanaimo area. Fares are C$2.25 for adults and C$2 for seniors and youths. For a cab, call AC Taxi (tel. 800/753-1231 or 250/753-1231) or Swiftsure Taxi (tel. 250/753-8911).

The BC Ferries route to Gabriola Island leaves from behind the Harbour Park Shopping Centre on Front Street (note that this is not the same dock as either the Tsawwassen- or Horseshoe Bay-bound ferries), roughly every hour between 7am and 11pm. In summer, the round-trip fare is C$9 per person, plus C$24 for a car. You can bring your bike free of charge.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.