Your 2.5-hour tour starts at the cruise ship terminal. There are two piers for ships to dock at and your guide is licensed and permitted to be at both. As you exit the terminal building, you'll see your pedicab and your tour guide. Your guide will be holding a sign with the last name of the lead traveler.
Your guide will make introductions with your group, offer blankets for your comfort (please bring extra sweaters of jackets—Victoria can be cool even in the summer) and, of course, teach you the royal wave as you pass envious onlookers on the way out of the terminal.
Begin with a short trek along the gorgeous coastline, and see some of the natural features and what lies underneath the ocean surface. Enter one of Victoria’s oldest and friendliest neighborhoods—James Bay. You will see some of loveliest homes and gardens in town. Many of the homes were hand built and conform to the city’s heritage status bylaws by keeping the original character and colors of the 19th century. As you roll through the community, a stop can be made at the oldest local grocer in town and supplier of arguably the best coffee and tea in town.
Travel on bicycle paths and quiet lanes as you meander through Beacon Hill Park—the city’s green jewel. It features many gardens and flowering shrubs and trees including the Sun Dial Garden where more wedding photos are shot in town than anywhere else. The peacocks will respond to the Pavlovian ring of the bicycle bell and will greet you in exchange for some organic barley seeds. Ask your guide to point out the Bald Eagle’s nest and take advantage of a photo op when you cross the medieval stone bridge.
Leave the bliss of the park and enter into the spectacular inner harbour which includes the Legislative Buildings and the famous Empress Hotel. Then, head to the historic downtown core. The city comes alive when ships are in town and very often there will be street performers at every block. Pass by many shops that are preserved in their original Victorian character and very wide sidewalks allow opportunities to stop, take pictures or even venture in for a closer look. In a few blocks, the crowds will thin and you will experience the heart of Old Town and China Town. This is some of downtown Victoria’s best locations and yet most visitors do not venture this far to experience it.
The tour eventually returns to the inner harbour. Return to the ship, or, if you choose to stay in town for awhile your guide can easily explain how to find a taxi to return or make the 30-35 minute walk to the pier with an included map and drawn directions. For those who opt to return to the ship with, you will pass through the harbour. You also have the opportunity to extend your tour and enjoy the city’s hospitality a while longer.