Once you are on Vancouver Island, the Buckley Bay ferry terminal where you connect to Denman Island is only a one-hour drive north of Nanaimo or a 2.5-hour drive north from Victoria. From Nanaimo, travel on Highway 19 (the Inland Highway) or take the scenic Oceanside route of Highway 19A that goes through the seaside communities of Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Bowser, Deep Bay and Fanny Bay before reaching Buckley Bay.
From northern Vancouver Island, Buckley Bay is a 3.5-hour drive south of Port Hardy on Highway 19.
Ferries to Denman and Hornby Islands
BC Ferries provides service to Denman and Hornby Islands. Denman Island is a 10-minute ferry ride from Buckley Bay. Hornby Island is reached via a 10-minute ferry ride from Gravelly Bay on Denman Island (once on Denman Island, drive across the island on the main road to Gravelly Bay).
Did you know that your ferry fare to Hornby Island allows you to visit Denman Island as long as you wish – at no additional cost? Consider adding Denman to create a two-island vacation!
Denman Island is now served by the Baynes Sound Connector, the first cable ferry to be introduced to the BC Ferries’ fleet and the longest cable ferry in the world.
Check BC Ferries for the Denman Island ferry schedule. The schedule changes twice a year, after Labour Day and in April. Note that ferry traffic can be busy in the summer, sometimes prompting the ferry to shuttle rather than adhere to the schedule.
Ferries to Vancouver Island
Regular ferry service links the British Columbia Mainland and Washington State to Vancouver Island. Riding a ferry is a relaxing way to travel, allowing you to stretch your legs and observe marine traffic and wildlife.
BC Ferry terminals on Vancouver Island are located in Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Nanaimo (Departure Bay or Duke Point) with ferry service to/from the Vancouver area; Comox with ferry service to/from Powell River on the Sunshine Coast; and Port Hardy with service from Prince Rupert via the Inside Passage.
Contact BC Ferries at www.bcferries.ca or 1-888-223-3779 for route information and reservations.
Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria)
Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Duke Point (Nanaimo)
Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) to Departure Bay (Nanaimo)
Westview (Powell River) to Little River (Comox)
Prince Rupert to Port Hardy Bella Coola to Port Hardy
From Washington State, you can travel to Vancouver Island via several routes. Follow the links for schedules and information.
Victoria & San Juan Cruises: Bellingham to Victoria (package tour)
Victoria Clipper: Seattle to Victoria (passenger only)
M.V. Coho: Port Angeles to Victoria
Washington Ferries: Anacortes to Sidney (Victoria)
The Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) is the closest airport to Denman Island. The airport offers daily flights with Air Canada, Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines and WestJet. It also offers car rental services. The Comox Valley Airport is a half-hour drive to Buckley Bay.
Private boats may moor at the Denman Island Community Dock for two nights at a time. The dock is located on the west side of Denman Island, just south of the Denman West ferry terminal. Moorage is free for the first six hours, then charged at $1 a foot per day. A payment box is located at the top of the dock ramp, along with details about rates and regulations, or check the Community Dock information at http://denmanresidents.com/community-dock/
It is a short walk from the Community Dock to Denman Village, and the community bus leaves from the ferry terminal 8 times a day on most days of the week – see https://visitdenmanisland.ca/
Island Link Bus provides express bus service between Buckley Bay and other Vancouver Island destinations, including the BC Ferries terminal at Departure Bay in Nanaimo. The company recommends that passengers make a reservation to guarantee seating.
The Comox Valley Transit System offers public transit services from Buckley Bay throughout the Comox Valley.
There is no public transit on Denman Island but islanders are quick to offer rides (ask drivers on the ferry or stick out your thumb!). The island is also easy to circumnavigate on bicycle (once you climb the hill near the Denman West ferry terminal!) To avoid going up the second, steep hill on Denman Road, turn south onto Lacon Road and circle the island via McFarlane, East and then Denman Roads.