"Finally we visit our last province!" Top 5 Page for this destination Province of Newfoundland and Labrador by Redlats
Province of Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Guide: 1,100 reviews and 3,217 photos
It took 50 years of living in Canada but we have seen Newfoundland (NL) now. In September 2004 we spent a week there.
Our NL pages are set up to try and assist other VT members plan their own NL vacations. There are a number of issues that you must take into consideration when planning a trip to NL.
One of the primary considerations is that NL is on an island. You can only get there by flying or by ferry. Making this decision depends of course on where you are traveling from and how you will get around. See our Newfoundland transportation tips (below) for a discussion on the travel options. In our case (after much deliberation), we flew to St. John’s and rented a car from there.
Another consideration is the time of year to visit and the length of visit. As we are now traveling without kids, we prefer the shoulder seasons – either June or September. We landed up traveling in Sept. for a week, but we probably would go back in June for two weeks. See our General tip (below) for a discussion of travel seasons.
We stayed primarily at bed and breakfasts - they are more available and quite a bit friendlier than motels. Our accommodations tip (below) discusses NL Bed and Breakfasts.
Our primary goal was to see the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows at the northwest tip of NL Since we started at St. John's (i.e. the southeast tip of NL), we had quite few miles to travel. We did not make the trip in one long drive - preferring to drive during daylight hours due to all the moose and all the signs saying "There have been only 97 moose-car collisions this year on this stretch of highway". We broke up our trip into days of 4 or 5 hours driving, stopping at various attractions along the way.
Day 1 of our vacation was a travel day. We did not arrive in Newfoundland until 1am, so Day 2 started pretty late as well. When we calculated the number of miles between St. John’s and L'Anse aux Meadows, we decided to start right away on the road instead of starting by touring St. John’s, especially since we had the late start to Day 2. We shopped for supplies and started off on the TransCanada Highway heading for Terra Nova National Park.
Terra Nova NP is somewhat boring as far as National Parks go. We landed up spending our second evening in Glovertown, just outside Terra Nova NL. Visit our Glovertown page for details of that area.
On day 3, we left the TransCanada Highway and turned north on Highway 430. It brought us to Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne NP, where we saw a breathtaking sunset. The next morning we left Rocky Harbour, and drove north. We passed a couple of provincial sites along the way – the wreck of the S.S. Ethie and The Arches. By 3pm, we had made it to L'Anse aux Meadows, which is the World Heritage site of the Vikings settlement from 1000AD. Part of that settlement has been recreated by Parks Canada so we can get a feel for Viking life in North America a thousand years ago. Unfortunately, the site closed at 5pm, so our visit was a rush.
After 5pm, we had to decide whether to stay in the area to visit Norstead and St. Anthony and the Grenfell museum. We decided to forgo the rest of activities in that part of NL, and drove south so we could spend more time at Gros Morne. We landed up breaking our night-time traveling rule and getting as far as Port au Choix – passing ten moose on the way (it was only a rental car anyway).
On day 5 it rained most of the day – the tail end of one of the Florida hurricanes. We spent most of the day in Port au Choix where we delved into their 5000 year history of prehistoric cultures -- both Eskimo and Archaic Indian.
Gros Morne NP consists of two separate park sections on opposite sides of a large fjord. On our way south, we spent day 6 in the southern section of the park – the Tablelands – where we hiked and took a boat tour on Brook Trout Pond. The Tablelands is a formation of the earth’s crust pushed up above sea level by the earth’s plates crashing into each other and this formation sliding on top of another plate.
We spent most of day 7 driving back across the middle of Newfoundland and found a B&B outside St. John’s where we got ready for our flight off the island the next morning.
Our trip was most enjoyable, even though we would have done it a little differently had we known more. We now need to go back to finish our visit - to spend a few days near St. John's, to visit the Cape St. Mary's bird santuary, and to visit a few villages off the main trails -- also, I never found a perfect lobster trap picture.
If you need any help in planning your Newfoundland visit, I would be happy to answer emails.
- Pros:Friendly people
- Cons:Trees, trees and more trees ... And moose ...
- In a nutshell:Newfoundland is picturesque, friendly and interesting.
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L'Anse Aux Meadows is the first European settlement in North America. In 1000 AD, Norwegian Vikings from Greenland built... more travel advice
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