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Car Hire from Nanaimo Airport

Car Hire from Nanaimo Airport

Nanaimo Airport is located in the centre of Vancouver Island. It’s a great starting point for an exploration of this corner of Canada’s British Columbia. Dramatic scenery, vibrant towns and beautiful beaches await and are all easily reached when you hire a car from the airport.

Where to hire a car at Nanaimo Airport

There’s a good selection of car hire companies operating at Nanaimo Airport. Drivers can choose from Budget, Hertz and National, all of which have car hire desks located inside the airport terminal. They can be found in the far right corner of the terminal building, close to the baggage reclaim area.

Petrol Stations near Nanaimo Airport

For drivers who need to return their hire car with a full tank of petrol, there’s a service station close by. It’s a TEMPO garage located on route 1 (the Trans-Canada Highway), five minutes’ drive from the airport and just north of the airport intersection.

Driving around Nanaimo Airport

Nanaimo Airport is located just off route 1, a main highway travelling north to Nanaimo and south to Duncan and Victoria. This road travels more or less along the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and it offers connections to many smaller roads heading inland. Small islands just off the coast of Vancouver Island and the Canadian mainland can both be reached by car ferry.
Driving around Nanaimo Airport and the province of British Columbia, provides some incredible scenery. Roads are well-maintained and signposted but you have to take special care during winter months, which last from late October to April. Fog, ice and snow are common on the roads during this time so you’ll need to check with your car hire company that your vehicle is fully equipped for winter weather and be sure to check travel updates before setting out on a journey.

Getting to your destination

With a hire car from Nanaimo Airport, you’ll find many great Vancouver Island destinations just a short drive away. Here are a few of them:


Nanaimo is the second largest city on Vancouver Island and, due to its central positioning, a hub for shopping, culture and nightlife. Visitors can a picnic and some great coastal views at Swy-a-lana Lagoon Park, learn about the city’s history at The Bastion Museum or follow the markers on a self-guided tour of the city. Bungee jumping, zip line and scuba diving adventures are also available in the local area.
It takes around 15 minutes to drive from Nanaimo Airport to Nanaimo city centre, taking route 1 northbound. Some roads in the city are laid out over a grid system but not in a uniform fashion so a good map or satellite navigation system would be useful.
There are many parking options around the city, including both metered and unmetered street spaces. Some central spots have a two hour time restriction and metered spaces will cost around $1.25 per hour, but are free of charge during evenings and at weekends. Off street, municipal car parks generally offer parking 24 hours a day and slightly cheaper rates.


Dating back to Edwardian times, the small seaside town of Ladysmith is proud of its history. The main street is filled with quaint boutiques and antique shops located in heritage buildings. Other local attractions include an oceanside beach park, hiking trails, golf courses and nearby wineries.
It takes just ten minutes to drive from Nanaimo Airport to Ladysmith, taking route 1 south along the coast. The small town is laid out over a grid system with north south streets numbered and east west streets named.

Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach is located north of Nanaimo. It boasts four kilometres of beautiful sandy beach and a pretty promenade. Visitors can enjoy the laid back pace of life here with a picnic on the beach or a sunset stroll. Kayaks are available to hire and there are various wildlife centres and local parks to explore too.
Qualicum Beach is around 45 minutes’ drive from Nanaimo Airport. Drivers should take route 1 through Nanaimo and then pick up route 19 heading further north. The small town has a sleepy feel and offers plenty of easy parking, particularly along the promenade.

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