Many people on Hornby have summer visitors and it’s complicated getting here. This might help a few people to navigate the transportation system to get here. My recommendation is the float plane from Vancouver float plane terminal at Coal Harbour to Hornby for about $200 one way. See details below.
Getting to and from Hornby Island is a lengthy process. Here is a typical schedule for a trip as a foot passenger from Vancouver to Hornby Island. If you are coming as a foot passenger there is an express bus from Downtown Vancouver at Granville and West Georgia to Horseshoe Bay. Check Google Maps for times. The Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay at Nanaimo is about 1 hr 40 min. Then you can pick up the Island link shuttle from Departure Bay to Buckley Bay. Advance booking for the Island Link is necessary and can be done online. From Buckley Bay you get the ferry to Denman Island. Then you have a 20 min drive to the ferry on the other side of Denman Island to pick up the ferry to Hornby Island. Each crossing is about 10 min. People travelling as foot passengers on the Denman ferry often approach travelers with cars to hitch a ride across Denman Island. Seniors with a BC ID are free on Mon-Thurs but you still have to pay for your car. The ferry fare on Hornby/Denman includes the return fare.
One should check the BC Ferries website up to an hour before leaving as ferries have been known to break down and not be replaced due to lack of availability of replacement ferries. The Denman and Hornby Island operate on a schedule but will increase sailings if line-ups occur.
Here is a typical schedule for a walk on passenger from Vancouver. Times can vary so check the schedules of Translink, BC Ferries and Island Link. Taking your car requires advance booking on BC Ferries to ensure a spot on the ferry at your desired departure time. The ferry schedule for Denman/Hornby is different on some days of the week so close scrutiny of the schedule is warranted.
Return from Hornby to Vancouver
|depart||Depart time||arrive||Arrival time|
|Ferry Hornby -Denman||10:00||Denman Island||10:10|
|Ferry Denman-Vancouver Island||10:40||Buckley Bay||10:50|
|Buckley Bay Island link||11:20||Departure Bay||12:30|
|Departure Bay BC Ferries||1:15||Horseshoe Bay||2:55|
|Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 257||3:15||Georgia and Granville downtown Vancouver||3:45|
*free for seniors Mon-Thur. Total travel time one way 6 hours
|Depart time||Arrival location||Arrival time||fares one way 2019||Return fare||comments|
|Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 250||9:56||Horseshoe Bay||10:30||$1.85|
|Horseshoe Bay BC Ferries||11:00||Nanaimo Departure Bay||$ 17.20 person*
|Departure Bay -Island Link Shuttle Bus||1:05||Buckley Bay||2:10||$28.99|
|Ferry Buckley bay-Denman Island||3:00||Denman||3:10||$8.90 person*
$ 20.65 car
|discount with Experience Card|
|Ferry Denman-Hornby Island||3:40||Hornby||3:50||0|
|Total without car||$56.94*||$104.98*|
|Total with car||$135.09||$240.63|
|BC Senior||Free Mon-Thurs.||Free Mon-Thurs.|
Flying from Coal Harbour in Vancouver into Comox Airport with Harbour Air is an option. Prices range from $ 132-$ 199 depending on the day. This would require ground transport or water taxi from Comox to Hornby. A site called Rome2rio.com gives a number of ground and water options to get to Hornby from Comox with the shortest being a 2 hour trip using a car from Comox Airport. Public transit via the Courtenay Bus system is available to Buckley Bay.
There is a seaplane that goes from the seaplane terminal at Coal Harbour in Vancouver directly to Hornby and is the quickest way to get to Hornby for about @ $ 200 one way. The plane lands on a beach by the ferry terminal. https://www.vancityseaplanes.com/routcosts
The Island Link shuttle will stop on the highway next to the Nanaimo Airport. It is a 5 -10 min walk from the bus stop to the departure terminal.
Water taxi service is available to/from Hornby, Buckley Bay and Comox Harbour as well as other destinations. Comox Water Taxi advertises Hornby to Comox in 35 min. Hornby Island Adventures also offers water taxi for $ 220 for one person from Comox to Hornby.