Frequently Asked Questions
Curious about Hornby Island? Here are answers to commonly asked questions.
- How do I book my vacation rental?
To make a reservation, please contact the property owners directly. On our Accommodations page, you will find contact information and can use the filters to assist with your search.
- Can we get around Hornby without a car?
Hornby has no taxis and limited options in terms of public transport. We have a small community bus that runs in July and August, but it isn’t in service September to June. That being said, Hornby is very bike-friendly, with plenty of road-side trails. Bike rentals are available at the Bike Shop. The closest car rental is in Courtenay or at the Comox airport.
- How do we get to Hornby? How long does it take?
The small community of Buckley Bay is about one hour north of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. At the Buckley Bay Ferry Terminal, you take a 10-minute ferry ride to Denman Island. From there, you drive 20 minutes across Denman to Gravelly Bay and hop on another 10-minute ferry ride to Hornby. With no traffic, the trip from Buckley Bay should take about an hour. If you are travelling in the high season, expect heavy-traffic and delays (sometimes up to four to five hours), especially on weekends. In any season, travelling midday and mid-week tends to have less traffic. Find more detailed instructions here.
- How often do the ferries run?
The ferries typically run once an hour on the hour but may vary depending on the day/season. Visit BC Ferries for an up-to-date schedule. Be aware that the ferry will shuttle with heavy traffic (running every half an hour rather than every hour). Schedules change seasonally, and note the last daily scheduled ferry to Hornby leaves Buckley Bay at 6 pm, except for Fridays when it also provides evening service.
- What do we need to bring with us?
Hornby has two grocery stores, one liquor/hardware store, and a gas station, so you can purchase most items on the island. However, if you are coming over on a late ferry, keep in mind that most of our businesses aren’t open late, so you may need to come prepared—check out the business and food and drink listings for details. Alcoholic beverages are also available at various tasting rooms.
Finally, be sure to check with your host about what is needed in-house (i.e. potable water, bedding, etc.).
- How big is Hornby?
Hornby is a very small island, only 29.97 km2. You can drive from one side of the island to the other in less than 20 minutes!
- What is open in the off-season?
The Hornby Island Co-op, Gas Bar, and Ford’s Cove Store are open year-round; however, many of our local businesses shut down or have limited hours in the off-season (September to June). Check out the individual businesses for up-to-date information and be prepared to do some of your own cooking!
- Can we rent a boat?
You can rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, or canoes, with which to explore the shores. Or you can kick it up a notch and charter a boat with a local, knowledgeable guide, who can take you sightseeing, fishing, or scuba diving. Learn more here.
- Is there boat moorage on Hornby Island?
Yes, Ford Cove Harbour is open all year, with moorage, 20 and 30 amp power, toilets, and garbage drop. There is no access to potable water or any showers, however.
- What are the top outdoor activities on Hornby Island?
With no bears, cougars, or poisonous snakes on the island, exploring the outdoors is a safe bet. Hiking in Helliwell Provincial Park, hanging out at the beach in Tribune Bay Provincial Park, and mountain biking or hiking in Mount Geoffrey Regional Park are a few of the top outdoor activities on the island.
Also, if you are looking for something a little more low-key, immerse yourself in Hornby’s culture on the Hornby Arts Studio Tour or unwind with one of our many wellness professionals.
Still Have Questions?
Get in touch, and we’ll be happy to answer them.