Get ready to drive right in! Victoria Hippo Tours is fun and engaging for the whole family and guaranteed to open your eyes to the beauty that is Victoria!
We’ve lived here for years and never taken a tour of Victoria, that is, until we hopped on a bus named Henrietta.
She’s one of three bus/boat tours with Victoria Hippo Tours.
For 90 minutes we sat in the comfort of this bus and enjoyed learning about the city from our very friendly and informative tour guide Carly. She was incredibly engaging and made learning about Victoria and it’s history fun for everyone aboard. Her love for life and the city was evident throughout the tour.
I’ve never been to England. Don’t worry, it’s on my list of places to visit someday. I’ve been told, though, that Victoria, BC is fairly similar in feel to an English City. So it’s no wonder why people come from all over the world to visit and tour Victoria.
We drove past the parliament building, The Empress Hotel, and down Government Street where we learned where to buy all things touristy. The best chocolate in the city can be found here. (note to self: Must. Stop. At. Roger’s Chocolates.) Victoria’s Chinatown made the tour list too and we had a quick peek at Canada’s narrowest alley…apparently only 3 ft. wide in some spots.
With a alley that narrow, you’ll understand that our peek was indeed quick…sounds like something we need to experience for ourselves.
Part of me felt a bit better about the parking ticket I got a few years ago when I learned that the money goes to pay for the beautiful hanging baskets all over the city. So please, if you get a parking ticket, be sure to pay it and feel good about yourself.
The tour continued around the city and excitedly took a turn into the water. You heard me, INTO the water.
Victoria’s Hippo Tours takes what would appear to be a normal bus and they add a hull, a propeller, and airtight compartments to turn it into a boat. We even stopped to switch out our bus driver for a boat captain.
As the bus/boat entered the water, my daughter held her breath for a moment. wondering if it would really work. And as soon as the bus started feeling more like an actual boat, she let out a sigh of relief. From then on she relaxed. We floated by the Coast Guard, Fisherman’s Wharf, and into Victoria’s inner harbour, all the while learning more about this great harbour city.
The boat portion of our journey was the kids’ hands-down favourite.
And rightly so.
It was just plain cool to be on the water.
Victoria’s harbour always has something to watch.
Float planes coming and going, water taxis and kayakers floating from place to place and of course there’s always wildlife of some kind eager to give a friendly “hello”. In our case, we had a Canada goose family and a friendly seal.
There’s never a dull moment in the harbour.
Once back on land, we made our way around Vancouver Island’s famous Beacon Hill Park. When the land was donated to the city years ago, it was given with the understanding that it would always be free for everyone to enjoy.
It’s quite remarkable how it has remained a beautiful park without fences or fees for well over 100 years.
Though you won’t find food vendors or tourist shops here, you will find plenty of green grass perfect for a picnic, a huge children’s playground and watering can spray park for kids, the mile “0” marker of the 8,000 km Trans-Canada highway, the world’s largest free standing totem pole, plentiful gardens for relaxing, and a by-donation-only petting farm complete with free ranging peacocks.
As our Victoria Hippo Tour rounded back in front of The Parliament Building, I was reminded how great this city is and just how wonderful it is to live on Vancouver Island.
Victoria Hippo Tours was a fun and engaging 90 minute experience that opened our eyes in a new way to the beauty of Victoria. It was something our whole family enjoyed together and I’m sure yours will too.
Phone: toll free 1-844-477-6877
Schedule: Tours depart hourly from 470 Belleville Street every day between 11:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., from May 27 to Sept 30, 2016. The 4:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M.
Prices: The prices of Victoria Hippo Tours changes slightly per season so be sure to check out the most current info online.