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The adventure begins by heading to North Sydney to begin your Newfoundland and Labrador adventure.
Depart St. John's for Cape Spear National Historic Site of Canada if you didn’t do it yesterday. Afterwards, visit nearby Petty Harbour, a traditional Irish Newfoundland fishing community.
The adventure begins by heading to North Sydney to begin your Newfoundland and Labrador adventure. If you’re travelling between mid-June and mid-September, plan to take the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia on the Avalon Peninsula. This ferry will put you in easy reach of St John’s, only 131km away.
The ferry does a night crossing three times a week so plan your itinerary to coincide with one of these crossings. If you’re travelling outside the summer months, you will need to take the ferry from North Sydney to Port aux Basques – nearly 1000km from St John’s. Ferry crossing time from North Sydney to Port aux Basques ranges from 4.5 to 8 hours, while the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia takes around 15 hours. Getting there is just part of the adventure! Advance reservations are required.
In either case, plan to spend your first night either close to Halifax then drive to North Sydney to catch the ferry on Day 2 or drive to North Sydney after picking up your RV on Day 1 and spend most of Day 2 exploring the area around this section of Cape Breton Island before boarding your ferry. The North Sydney-Argentia ferry will have you arriving in St John's on the afternoon of Day 3. Overnight in St John's.
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Tour St. John's, one of the oldest cities in North America and the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. Some highlights include the Signal Hill National Historic Site of Canada, Quidi Vidi Village, Commissariat House Provincial Historic Site, The Rooms and the Johnson Geo Centre.
If you enjoy hiking and the outdoors, explore the East Coast Trail, a breathtaking coastal hike on the easternmost edge of Canada. Join a tour to view icebergs, puffins and whales. Visit Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site, the most easterly point of Canada.
Continue down the Irish Loop Drive to the Bay Bulls/Witless Bay area where you can join Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch and take a boat trip out to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve - home to 2.5 million seabirds and the largest Atlantic puffin colony in North America.
If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the Southern Shore by kayak. Experienced sea-kayak guides will introduce you to paddling or customize a more challenging trip, depending on your comfort level.
After lunch, depart for Ferryland, which was founded by Lord Baltimore in the early 1600's. Visit the Colony of Avalon and discover the many artifacts found on the site of the original colony.
Near Trepassey and St. Shott's, keep an eye out for the most southerly woodland caribou herd in the world. Trepassey was a stopover point for Amelia Earhart when she became the first woman to fly the Atlantic. Stop in Saint Vincent’s for the night or continue a little longer to Saint Bride’s.
If you spent last night in St Vincent's you may want to start out a little earlier as it will take you approx. 1.5-2 hours to reach Cape Mary’s Ecological Reserve this morning. For those who travelled the distance last night, it’s only a few kilometers to get to your next stop.
Located near St Bride's, the Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve is one of the great natural wonders in Newfoundland and Labrador. The waters here are also a great place to see whales. The sanctuary at Cape St. Mary's may be visited year round and no permit is necessary.
Next, visit Trinity. Most of the old town is a national heritage community, and there are several provincial historic sites including the Trinity Arts Centre and Trinity Museum and Archives, as well as the Trinity Interpretation Centre. The main attraction here is not the architecture however, it's the theatre festival "Season’s in the Bight", run by Rising Tide Theatre. Rising Tide also performs the popular Trinity Pageant, a comedic walking tour of the town, which runs several times a week. In addition to its history, Trinity is also a great place for whale watching and several boat tours cruise the coastal waters in search of humpbacks and other species.
Depart for the ‘Road to the Shore’ at Gambo and visit the Smallwood Interpretation Centre here. Along Route 320/330, watch for icebergs as well as whales.
Don't miss historic Greenspond Courthouse, the architectural gem of the region, and The Barbour Living Heritage Village in Newtown.
This afternoon you reach the "Road to the Isles" at Gander Bay. Visit the Beothuk Interpretative Centre at Boyd's Cove. At Twillingate you can visit the Twillingate Museum, craft shops, and the Long Point Lighthouse. Twillingate is at the centre of Iceberg Alley. Check out the CanaDream app for partner discounts on tours here.
The nearby Long Point Lighthouse, built in 1876, is one of the best places in Newfoundland to see icebergs. Built on a bluff, it overlooks the outer reaches of Notre Dame Bay. You may also catch a glimpse of the huge whales that spend their summers feeding along the coast.
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Next, your journey takes you north along the"Viking Trail" and Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the spectacular ocean scenery and mountains. Hike the hills and trails. Choose from quiet paths to shifting elevations that overlook spectacular inland fjords, or hike over rocks that were once on the ocean bed.
Stop off at the Gros Morne National Park Visitor Centre in Rocky Harbour. Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, only 10 minutes away, is a great spot for a picnic lunch, and don't forget to see the museum inside the lighthouse.
If sailing on a freshwater fjord sounds romantic, be sure to take a boat tour here.
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As you travel north you will notice the landscape changing as you pass through the communities along the Viking Trail.
Sail Iceberg Alley aboard the Apollo. Stroll the ship's deck and enjoy the refreshing sea air. You will likely have an opportunity to marvel at the sight of majestic icebergs and breaching whales. Crossing time is approximately one hour and 45 minutes.
Aim to catch the afternoon sailing where available to give you enough time for the crossing and to reach your overnight destination once you arrive in Labrador. Arrival in Blanc Sablon marks the beginning of your Taste of Labrador experience. While in Labrador, enjoy pastries made with berries, such as partridge berries, bakeapples, and blueberries which grow wild on the Labrador barrens.
Drive north to Red Bay National Historic Site of Canada. At the Visitor Centre, experienced guides will interpret the Basque whaling activity in the area during the 16th century, highlighted by over 15 years of archaeological research. The whale oil refinery at Red Bay is considered to be the first industrial site in the New World.
Travel back south and arrive at the Labrador Straits Museum located on the main highway near Point Amour. The exhibit covers the last 150 years.
Why not try a traditional Labrador Breakfast of ‘flummies,’ fish cakes and more? If you’re up to the challenge at Point Amour Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site, climb the 122 steps to the top of the castle-like structure, which is the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada. On a clear day, the island of Newfoundland may be seen across the Strait of Belle Isle.
Your destination today is Blanc-Sablon in Quebec.
On your journey to Corner Brook today stop into the community of St. Pauls and take a boat tour to see seals or any scenery missed during your stay in Gros Morne National Park.
For adventurers, kayak or canoe the Humber River, which winds its way into Corner Brook or sea kayak the Bay of Islands. Paddle among towering cliffs and sea caves etched in 500 million year old pillow lava. Explore one of the spectacular caves just outside Corner Brook.
There are a number of private campgrounds in the Corner Brook area and you should have no problems finding a place to stay tonight. Break your journey here for an extra day and explore the area before continuing south to Port aux Basques on Day 17.
If shorebirds are your interest, travel down Route 1 towards Port aux Basques and stop in the Codroy Valley where the Grand Codroy Wetlands Ramsar Site is recognized by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
There is an interpretation centre directly on the estuary and an interpretation trail running along the banks of the Grand Codroy River, an easy restful walk from the interpretation centre to Grand Codroy Park.
Just a 10-minute drive from Port aux Basques takes you to J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park, where the shoreline offers a stretch of sheltered beach with soft, powdery sand. Overnight at Port aux-Basques. There’s a couple of private campgrounds to choose from or you can stay at the J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park campground, 10km east of the ferry.
Enjoy a spectacular view of the southwest coast of Newfoundland and the houses of Port aux Basques on a treeless landscape as you leave the port. Whales are a possibility. Get out on the deck of the ferry and keep your camera handy.
Sailing times for the Port aux Basques to North Sydney ferry vary depending on the day you are planning to travel. On most days during the peak summer months there are three sailings and we recommend you aim for the mid-morning sailing if it is offered. Crossing time is 5-7 hours which will put you in North Sydney for an overnight stay.
Your most direct route from North Sydney to Halifax takes you through Baddeck, New Glasgow and Truro before heading east into Halifax. If you have a day or more to spare before dropping off your RV, we recommend you spend some time around the Bay of Fundy area, perhaps doing a full or half day tidal rafting trip on the Shubenacadie River with Shubenacadie River Runners.
The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world and a rafting trip here is truly an exhilarating adventure. There are a number of private campgrounds in the area. If you prefer to just head back to Halifax, look for a campground in the Halifax area before dropping off your RV in Elmsdale the next day.