Coming to Hornby should be an experience in revellery. You can get here by a variety of means, as per below. Welcome to Hornby, and don’t forget to reset your clock to island time;)
Hornby Island is a one hour drive from Nanaimo, and 30 minutes south of Courtenay/Comox. The ferry you catch to get to Hornby Island departs from Buckley Bay, located on central Vancouver Island. It is recommended that you purchase a BC Ferries experience card to get a substantial discount on fares – ask the ticket collector for details.
*IMPORTANT: The last ferry connecting to Hornby Island departs Buckley Bay at 6 pm each day, except for Fridays when the last ferry departs at 9:30pm, as summarized in the ferry schedule to the right.
**IMPORTANT: Summer travel is very popular, so visitors should expect overloads and travel delays, especially on weekends. For accurate sailing waits, please call the Buckley Bay and/or Gravely Bay terminals toll free at 1-888-223-3779.
Once at the Buckley Bay ferry terminal, you take the ferry to Denman Island, drive across Denman (staying on the main road the whole way to get to the Hornby ferry terminal), and then take another ferry to Hornby Island. Please don’t speed or jump the cue on Denman. That is just not cool and also illegal. With no overloads, it takes about one hour for the total journey.
If you come from Vancouver or Victoria, you can catch an express bus to Buckley Bay, where you can hop on the ferry and hitch a ride to Hornby (just ask someone to give you a ride to Hornby on the first ferry; we almost never see someone stranded) or pre-arrange your pick-up. The Island Link bus and Tofino bus take reservations year round. Also, if you live or land in the Comox Valley, for a couple of dollars you can get to Buckley Bay via Comox Valley Transit’s Route 10, also year round.
Lastly and importantly, once on island during the summer you can ride the Hornby Bus for free! Please consult the daily schedule for details 🙂
The fastest way to get to Hornby Island from far away is to fly into the international airport at Comox (YQQ), which is 30 minutes drive north of Buckley Bay. Airlines with direct flights to the Comox Valley Airport include:
From the airport, you can get to Buckley Bay by renting a vehicle, taking Comox Transit or grabbing a quick taxi or Shuttle to the Anco Inn or Driftwook Mall in Courtenay – this would get a passenger to the pick up points for Island Link – with 3 daily options to get to Buckley Bay.
Alternatively, a 5-minute taxi ride from YQQ airport takes you to Comox Harbour, where a water taxi can take you to Hornby in about 30 minutes.
Another flight option is to hop on a float plane and charter a flight to the shores of Hornby. There are no regular direct-to-Hornby runs, but a number of companies can provide you with quotes suited to your needs.
A more affordable option is Harbour Air, which has 3 scheduled floatplane flights/day into the Comox Harbour during the summer. A water taxi can be arranged to pick you up at their float plane dock and take you to Hornby in about 30 minutes.
On water, Hornby can be accessed year-round by private boat or charter with sheltered overnight stays at Ford Cove Harbour. “Hornby’s marina” is located at the island’s south-western tip in the Lambert Channel. Do contact them to check on availability and review marine conditions at http://www.fordcoveharbour.com/ .
Last but not least, you’ll get extra points for your effort by biking! From Nanaimo, it is about 110 km to Hornby – doable in one streneous day (speaking from experience). It’s more manageable from Comox with only 50 km to cover. Once you get on the ferry at Buckley Bay, it is 11 km to get across Denman to get to the Hornby ferry (plan to miss one ferry in between, unless you are Ryder Hesjedal).
During the summer, businesses maintain regular hours, welcoming people to eat, drink, explore, shop, browse, and enjoy the local vibe. But in the shoulder and winter seasons, be forewarned, not all businesses will be available for your entertainment and some services may be lacking or harder to access:
Notably OPEN year-round:
a. Accommodation: Check http://hornbyisland.com/accommodations/
b. Hornby Island Coop General Store & Liquor Store – closed on Sundays, except in summer.
Post Office, year-round: 9-4 weekdays, 10-2 Saturdays, closed Sundays.
Gas Bar, year-round: Open 7 days/week
c. In the Ringside: Lix Coffee Shop, Fibers Boutique, Hornby Creative, Royal LePage Real Estate open year-round with limited hours.
d. Ford Cove Store, Pizza and Cabins – store open 8 to 8 daily, pizza at 4
e. Thatch Pub & Restaurant: hours posted: www.thatchpub.ca
f. Lerena Vineyard and Hornby Island Bakery & Pizzeria: Open year round for tastings, and pizza/goodies over lunch & dinner http://www.hornbyislandbakerypizzeria.com/index.html
g. Ford Cove Harbour Authority: accessible for mooring year round www.fordcoveharbour.com
h. Hornby Island Diving: open year-round
i. Inter Island Charters: open year-round
j. Hornby Ocean Adventures: Please contact.
k. Real Estate: Pemberton Holmes & Royal LePage Hornby Island are both open year-round
l. Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre – Please contact.
m. Health & Healing: Massage, Yoga, Pilates, Rolfing, Dental, Medical: by appt.
n. Artists’ Studios – Cannon Road Pottery, Bent Tree Studio, Mette Wullum Pottery, and check for others.
o. Group tastings – Phrog Distillery (Sat. 12-3); by appointment: Middle Mountain Mead, Hornby Island Estate Winery, Lerena Winery.
For businesses open particular days, or times of the year, check for their listing on: www.hornbyisland.com/events or contact those particularly of interest directly.