From Victoria, Nanaimo is a quick hour-and-a-half drive north on the Trans Canada Highway. From Port Hardy, take the Island Highway south to Mud Bay where you connect to the new Inland Island Highway. The trip is between five and six hours. Check driving conditions at DriveBC.ca
BC Ferries provide fast frequent service between the BC Mainland, and Vancouver Island. Travel time on the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria is approximately 90 minutes. During the summer season these large vehicle carrying ferries operate every hour on the hour from early morning to well into the night. During the winter, they operate every two hours, with some exceptions.
If you're coming from Vancouver, take either the Tsawwassen ferry to Duke Point (just south of Nanaimo), or the Horseshoe Bay ferry to Departure Bay, near the downtown Nanaimo. Check schedules and make reservations at BCFerries.com
Washington State Ferries provides scheduled ferry service for both passengers and vehicles between Anacortes, Washington and Sidney, BC. They operate all year. Schedules and pricing information are available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.
M.V. Coho is a scheduled year round vehicle and passenger ferry operating between Port Angeles, Washington, and downtown Victoria. Sailing time is approximately 95 minutes. Complete information on their services is available at cohoferry.com
Scheduled airline connections are out of Vancouver direct to Nanaimo Airport. Floatplane service to Nanaimo Harbour is also available.