Aug
25
2010

The Halifax Harbour Hopper

The Halifax Harbour Hopper is tour bus/boat hybrid vehicle that ventures out into historic downtown Halifax, and then drives directly into the harbour to continue the tour by ocean. It's exactly as cool as it sounds.

It's a bus! It's a boat! It's... the Halifax Harbour Hopper!

History of the Harbour Hopper

The fleet of bright green Harbour Hoppers are actually refitted Lark V vehicles that are capable of travelling on land and water. They were originally built for the U.S military to use in the Vietnam War, to transport soldiers and supplies from ships onto shore and through the jungle. After that, driving around Halifax is nothing for these machines to handle.

The transition from land to sea is exciting but smooth, so the tour is great for children of all ages.



The Beginning of the Tour

The tour bus departs from Lower Water Street and drives through downtown Halifax, passing by landmarks like the Public Gardens, Citadel Hill, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Old Burying Ground, City Hall, and St. Paul's Cathedral.

The tour also shows off many popular local restaurants, shops, and venues. Once in the harbour, the tour boat gives you an up close and personal look at the two Harbour bridges, George's Island, McNabs Island, Canada's largest naval fleet, and the scenic shorelines of both Halifax and Dartmouth.

The Amphibious Tour

The one hour amphibious tour is narrated by a guide, who not only points out these historical landmarks but also covers such topics as the Halifax Explosion, the city's connection to the Titanic, and Halifax's role as a major port city. The tour guides are trained to be both informative and humorous, making the tour not only educational but also entertaining.

Endless (Ghost) Stories

During your excursion, you might hear an anecdote about the supposedly haunted Five Fisherman's Restaurant, one of the city's most upscale fine dining seafood restaurants that was once used as a morgue for victims from the Titanic sinking. You also might see the infamous face in the window at St. Paul's Cathedral that appeared after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. The glass has been replaced numerous times, yet a darkened silhouette is still visible.

Maybe you’ll hear about Griffin Pond, named after the very last person ever to be executed by hanging in Halifax—he turned out to be innocent, so the city named the pond in his memory.

In the harbour, the narrative ranges from the historical importance of Halifax's navy in Canadian history, to the rumored tunnels that run underground from Citadel Hill to George's Island, where a military prison once stood. Here in Halifax, the stories are endless.

Runs Seven Days a Week: May to October

The Harbour Hopper runs seven days a week, in rain or sunshine (the vehicles have covered sections of the deck to protect passengers from the weather conditions). The season opens in May and runs until October, with tours starting at 10:15 and running until 8:15.

The Harbour Hopper also offers Combination Tours, with packages that include a tour to the Alexander Keith's Brewery, a trip to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, or a journey inside Pier 21, Halifax's historic immigration museum. The Harbour Hopper even offers specialty tours done completely in French.


Get Acquainted Quickly

Halifax locals are accustomed to seeing the giant green machines cruising down the main streets of the city, so get ready to wave. Taking the tour is a great way to get acquainted with the city, and pick out some destinations for the rest of your trip.


Tickets for the Harbour Hopper are $25.99 per adult, $23.99 for seniors, $14.99 for children between six and 15, and children under five are $8.99. There's also a family rate for two adults, two children for $70.99.

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Tara McClair

Tara McClair is a Halifax-based writer and freelance journalist who has been published in a variety of print and online publications. She loves road trips and travelling, although her heart will always belong to Nova Scotia. She recently spent time in Australia, where she shared a room with a seven-legged Huntsman spider named Henry.

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