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Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

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Bedford, United...
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Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

Any advice please including weather at this time of year. Touring by car starting from Vancouver in September travelling via Banff, Jasper and ending up at Prince Rupert. Decided to travel this way round as ferry prices much cheaper, with car, in October to come back to Vancouver for flight home on 10th October.

Many thanks

Vancouver BC
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1. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

http://www.wunderground.com/

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

Welcome to the forums Maddy ~

I'm not sure you have asked a question but with regard to your title regarding the ferry between PR and PH, here is the website with that information:

www.bcferries.com

First some introductory information that might help you. British Columbia is big enough to hold 4 UKs quite nicely. The route you are outlining is about 2800 km of driving, stops extra. For the extensive amount of travel you are considering I would allow close to 4 weeks to complete it.

Because your travel covers all of BC, and the Rockies which are in Alberta, I would suggest you post next time on the British Columbia Forum. This will give you the best exposure to the posters here.

The comments you have made involve a huge trip, far beyond any of the volunteers here to "work on" for you. The best option is for you to do some research, develop a tentative itinerary and time line. Once you have done that, the local posters would have something to work with.

Some resources that you might be interested in are:

www.hellobc.com

frommers.com/destinations/britishcolumbia/

TA is also full of information. Each and every forum has Top Questions to the upper right. There are also Things to Do, with tabs for Attractions and Tours in the left sidebar. On the British Columbia Forum, in first position with a push pin against it, you will find a Collection of Trip Reports, which contain real experiences of travellers who have visited and makes good reading when planning a trip.

The TA forums to check out are the Vancouver, Okanagan Valley, Canadian Rockies, Prince George, Smithers, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Tofino, and Victoria Forums.

You will also need a good road map. The online tool maps.google.com is a great one for the "get directions" feature that will give you driving routes, distances and times.

Port McNeill
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3. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

The reason the ferry prices may be cheaper in October is that the ferry between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert has switched to their fall/winter schedule which is a much longer (22 hours) than the summer run and is mostly done at night. The summer schedule which ends late-September is a daytime sailing that takes about 13 hours.

The fall/winter run will see very little scenery, (it will be dark, compared to the summer runs.

Edited: 18 April 2012, 18:18
Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

Just to add to what Mufti has said, Vancouver Island is larger than many visitors think. It takes about 7 hours to drive from one end to the other. Port Hardy, where the ferry from Prince Rupert docks, is at the far northern end of the island. It will take you about 5 hours to drive to Nanaimo, where you will take the ferry over to the BC mainland. Depending upon what you want to do, you would take the ferry from Departure Bay (Nanaimo) to Horseshoe Bay (mainland) and drive about 30 minutes into downtown Vancouver, or from Duke Point (just south of Nanaimo) to Tsawwassen and drive about 45 minutes into downtown Vancouver. Tsawwassen is, however, closer to the airport - about 30 minutes - if you were thinking of spending your last night near the airport to catch your flight home the next day.

Be sure you look at the ferry website that has been provided to you. At some point during the fall, the ferry ceases to run day trips between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy and only runs overnight, with fewer sailings each week.

As for the weather, it is always difficult to predict, I'm afraid. As well, BC is so large that different weather systems affect different parts of the province. In early October, you may get lovely sunny weather, albeit rather cool, or you may get a day of rain and wind.

It is true that flights cost more in Canada than you are used to in the UK. However, have a look at the website for both Air Canada and Hawkair (for flights from Prince Rupert to Vancouver). There are seat sales from time to time. (That's how we travel in Canada. We make our plans and then wait for a seat sale.) Having flown both airlines, I am a big fan of Hawkair. They are a small airline, specializing in northern BC travel and are very service oriented.

Edit - I was typing while Kingfisher was posting - hence some duplication of information.

Edited: 18 April 2012, 18:28
Hull
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5. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

Well, Maddy, it definitely won't be high summer!

coming as it will after the drive to the Rockies, the Jasper/ P Rupert leg i'm certain you will find quite wearing- it's c750 miles and there are some things you may not realise. This is very remote terrain and the last leg to P Rupert has a 'trap' in that you will in all probabilty stay over in P George and at that time of year you will have to drive the last section in darkness. This is to be avoided, especially as I'm assuming you do not realise elk wander on the road and impact with one is a very serious situation- probably fatal (for all lifeforms involved).

I'd suggest you rethink your means of travel for this section. I did this a while ago, but the other way round; P Rupert to Jasper on the Via Rail 'Skeena' which itself takes 2 days. See my TRwow on post #39 on the header thread on the B Columbia forum for a taste of what it is like (I flew from Vancouver to P Rupert).

If you could say which parts of your proposed route are 'must dos', then the DEs (and maybe me!) could help more. There are logistical issues either way round if you include Vancouver Island.

Broadly, this is a very ambitious trek and 2 weeks won't be anywhere near enough (to do it justice).

Bedford, United...
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6. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

Very many thanks for all that information, will do as you suggest, plenty to consider. We do have 30 days for the trip so hopefully this length of time will enable us to travel as we hoped.

Bedford, United...
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7. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

Hi, thanks for your comments, we do have 30 days to do the trip so hopefully long enough.

Having looked at the ferries, appreciated it is a much longer trip than the Summer schedule, timings seem to be to leave about 5.00 pm. on Saturday and arrive Port Hardy approx.4.00p.m on the Sunday. So not all the trip in darkness.

Not sure I understand why we would have to do the drive from Prince George to Prince Rupert in the dark, certainly wouldn't want to do that, appreciate your warnings re. road conditions and elk!

Will be spending some time looking at options, thanks again for your thoughts on our trip.

Jasper, Canada
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8. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

Actually, in the Prince George region, it's moose you'll have to watch out for (alces alces - but perhaps you call them elk in Europe?) - the stretch from McBride, BC to PG is rife with them. There are elk (wapiti, or cervus canadensis) here in Jasper National Park, as well as moose.

We did the PR to PH ferry trip in early March a few years back; it was grey, drizzly weather but even so, we really enjoyed it and loved the scenery (so different from what we are used to here in the Rockies!) I think you'll have a better chance of clearer, drier weather in the fall though.

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9. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

ATSF has a very good point about driving "the last section in darkness." It will take 9.5 - 10 hours to drive from PG to PR and sunrise/sunset in October shifts over the month from about 7h30 am - 6h30 pm to 8h00 - 6h00 pm.

http://g.co/maps/rtw3n <<< Here is a map outlining the distance from Jasper to PR. The two better stops along the way are PG and Smithers.

maps.google.com ... is a very good tool to plan your driving distances for your itinerary.

10. Re: Ferry Trip Prince Rupert to Port Hardy- Early October 2012

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