We Explored Newfoundland For a Week

Stop In Port Aux Basque, Cornerbrook, Grand Falls Windsor and St. John’s

Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

So Much To See When We Explored Newfoundland For a Week

On our road trip to Eastern Canada, we found so much to see and do when we explored Newfoundland for a week. The ferry to Newfoundland was a great way to start on the top corner of the island. For two days we travelled with stops at Port Aux Basque, Cornerbrook and Grand Falls Windsor.

St. John’s had much to offer as we wandered and explored the city. Day trips out of the city provided interesting experiences. We saw the furthest east point in Canada at Cape Spear. One day we took an excursion and got a great show from the puffins and whales in Newfoundland. And on another day we enjoyed a day trip to Trinity and Bonavista.

We loved our week in Newfoundland and found so many great sights in this beautiful province. But we learned that one trip was not enough!

Taking The Ferry To Newfoundland

We considered flying to and from Newfoundland. But after some juggling of our schedule we booked a ferry between Newfoundland and Sydney in Nova Scotia. It was a day trip to Newfoundland. But on the way back, we booked a cabin for an overnight stay on the ferry.

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Our ferry to Newfoundland landed at Port Aux Basque. We got our first view of this port city as we cruised into port and docked. It was a great place to start our visit to Newfoundland for a week.

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Ferry Arrive Port Aux Basque.jpg

Arrive Port Aux Basque.jpg

A Short Stop In Port Aux Basque

It was after 7pm when we landed. We knew it would be a late arrival so we booked the Hotel Port aux Basque right in town. There were a couple of choices but this spot was a little distance from the ferry terminal. The hotel had basic accommodations. Although it almost seemed luxurious after our room on the ferry to Newfoundland.

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After we had a quick dinner, we went outside and walked off our meal. There were not many things to see in Port Aux Basque. In front of the hotel we wandered around the Royal Canadian Legion Memorial Park. There was a monument in memory of the 137 people who lost their lives during the sinking of the S.S. Caribou in 1942. The World War I and II monuments commemorate people from Port aux Basques who paid the supreme sacrifice in World War’s I and II.

Port Aux Basque War Memorial.jpg

Port Aux Basque War Memorial.jpg

Close by we found the Railway Heritage Museum. It was not open but we wandered around outside. We saw one of the Mushrow astrolabes. This was an early navigation device recovered from a nearby underwater wreck.

Port Aux Basque Railway Museum - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Port Aux Basque Railway Museum.jpg

Port Aux Basque Railway Museum Astrolabe.jpg

We made the most of a quick stop in Port Aux Basque when we started our visit to Newfoundland for a week.

A Stop At The Cape Ray Lighthouse

In the morning we had one stop planned that was on the list of things to do in Port Aux Basque. We were intrigued by the many lighthouses we saw as we travelled through Eastern Canada. So we wanted to stop at the Cape Ray Lighthouse before we left the area.

We left Port Aux Basque early while the fog still hung low over the ground. We got our first view of Newfoundland as we drove.

Cape Ray Lighthouse - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Cape Ray Lighthouse.jpg

When we exited the Trans-Canada Highway #1, we headed back towards the shore. We got great views of the rocky shore.

Cape Ray Lighthouse.jpg

Cape Ray Lighthouse - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

At the end of the point, we found the Cape Ray Lighthouse. We got out and explored the site of the museum and interpretation centre. The lighthouse guided ships that navigated the Cabot Strait, where the Atlantic Ocean intersected with the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This was the site where the first submarine telegraph cable was laid in 1856 that connected Newfoundland to the North American continent.

Cape Ray Lighthouse - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Cape Ray Lighthouse.jpg

Down the road we found a display about the Dorset site at Cape Ray. A Dorset Paleoeskimo archeological site was discovered on Cape Ray and excavated in the 1960s and 1990s. The museum had some of the Dorset artifacts that were found.

When we explored Newfoundland for a week, a stop at the Cape Ray Lighthouse was an interesting way to begin start our visit.

Cornerbrook For Lunch On A Visit To Newfoundland For a Week

As we drove along, we watched for places to stop for lunch. But restaurants on the highway were difficult to find in Newfoundland. We finally decided to detour into Cornerbrook for lunch. It was one of the larger cities in Newfoundland and we thought it would be a quick stop.

As we came into town we saw the smoke plumes that dominated the sky. We soon saw the large pulp and paper mill plant and knew that was the source of the smoke.

Cornerbrook.jpg

Cornerbrook - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

As we drove around town, we saw the local sightseeing trolley. In the park we found the Cornerbrook sign. And several colourful pieces of street art around town.

Cornerbrook - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Cornerbrook - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

But it took us awhile before we found an open restaurant. And even longer before we got our meal and were back on our way. We were sure there was lots to see in Cornerbrook. But not on this trip as we explored Newfoundland for a week.

An Overnight Stop In Grand Falls Windsor

From Port aux Basque to St. John’s was about 700km (435 miles). So we planned a one night stop in Grand Falls Windsor in a small family run hotel. The one thing we wanted to visit in Grand Falls Windsor was the Salmonid Interpretation Centre.

Grand Falls Windsor Salmonid Interpretation Centre - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

After dinner we wandered down the hill and got a closer look at the dam and waterfall from several different vantage points.

Grand Falls Windsor Salmonid Interpretation Centre - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

The Salmonid Interpretation Centre provided exhibits on the history, biology, ecology and habitat of the Atlantic Salmon. We were fascinated with the Atlantic salmon. And learned that these salmon did not die after spawning but went up and down the salmon ladder many times.

Grand Falls Windsor Salmonid Interpretation Centre - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Grand Falls Windsor Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Grand Falls Windsor Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Our stop in Grand Falls Windsor with a visit to the Salmon Interpretation Centre was a fascinating experience when we explored Newfoundland for a week.

The Drive To St Johns

It was a long driving day from Grand Falls Windsor to St. John’s. Our host at Hotel Robin Hood suggested that we detour and visit Fogo Island. Sadly we did not have time for that stop. One our our readers also suggested we visit Trinity and Bonavista along the route. But we left that for a day trip from St. John’s.

The scenery continued to fascinate us as we drove. The rocks often hugged the road. It was a grey transit day. This made the lakes we passed seem far less inviting.

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The highway took us straight through the middle of Terra Nova National Park. We saw trees for as far as the eye could see. We knew this was another spot that required more time to explore more.

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When we saw the signs for the small town of Come By Chance, David just had to take the detour. For some reason he thought this was the setting for a musical. And we wanted to see a traditional Newfoundland fishing village. The road quickly turned to dirt and we got some great water views.

Come By Chance.jpg

Come By Chance - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

But we never found a fishing village. All we found was a refinery and a large pile of sulphur. Certainly not the hour detour we expected. And we never found a coffee stop.

Come By Chance - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

The skies were quite variable on our transit day to St. John’s but the driving was easy. When we headed along the same stretch of road for a day trip to Trinity and Bonavista late in the trip, we encountered much worse conditions. In one direction we drove in blinding rain for about 30 minutes. And when we returned it was fog soup.

We were glad when we finally arrived and settled in for 4 days in St John’s.

Enjoying The Sights In St. John’s

We settled into our great suite at the Delta St. John’s for our stay in St. John’s. It was a great luxury upgrade in our accommodations and an easy walk to the waterfront.

St Johns Delta - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

St Johns Delta.jpg

A big draw in St. John’s were the colourful buildings we found. These were sometimes referred to as “Jelly Bean” houses. We found them everywhere we looked. The houses were colourful. But we also found beautiful and colourful street art.

St Johns Jelly Bean Houses - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

St Johns Street Art.jpg

St Johns Street Art - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

We saw many sights as we wandered around the downtown area for 4 days in St. John’s. One clear night, we headed up to the top of Signal Hill for a perfect panoramic view of the city and harbour.

St Johns Signal Hill Cabot Tower - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

St Johns Signal Hill Cabot Tower.jpg

When we explored Newfoundland for a week we found much to love about St. John’s.

Day Trips From St. John’s

There was much to do for 4 days in St. John’s. But we headed out of town for several day trips too. One trip took us to Point Spear and the lighthouse. This was the most easterly point in Canada.

St Johns Cape Spear Lighthouse - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

St Johns Cape Spear Lighthouse.jpg

We saw our first whales at a distance at Point Spear but that was not good enough for us. On a late day excursion we saw puffins and whales in Newfoundland. The weather was perfect and we got such great show.

Whales and Puffins - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Whales and Puffins.jpg

Whales and Puffins - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

For a really long day trip, we headed to Trinity and Bonavista, even if we did backtrack to visit. But we were so glad we planned this day trip. The towns of Trinity and Bonavista we delightful to see.

Trinity and Bonavista - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Trinity and Bonavista.jpg

Trinity and Bonavista - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

And the drive to Bonavista Point showed us another lighthouse and stunning rock cliffs. It was definintely worth a day trip to Trinity and Bonavista. Although on a return visit we planned to spend more time in that area.

Bonavista Point Cape Lighthouse - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

Day trips from St. John’s added such delightful sights when we explored Newfoundland for a week.

Leaving Newfoundland By By Ferry

We travelled to and from Newfoundland by ferry. The return overnight ferry to Nova Scotia left from Argentia about 90 minutes outside of St. John’s. We travelled over rough roads to Argentia and found the ferry terminal for our return ferry trip from Newfoundland.

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It was a beautiful day and we stayed on deck for the transit out. And got our last views of this beautiful province of Newfoundland often called “The Rock”.

Ferry Argentia.jpg

Ferry Argentia.jpg

When the ferry landed in North Sydney on Cape Breton Island, we headed off and explored more of Nova Scotia.

Food In Newfoundland

When we started our road trip to Atlantic Canada we expected to find seafood everywhere. On our travels through New Brunswick, we had several good seafood dinners. Sadly we found it harder than we expected to find seafood in Newfoundland!

We were very surprised however when we found moose to be in abundant supply. David got his first moose burger in Port Aux Basque. And was then delighted with the Moose Mess on our stop in Grand Falls Windsor.

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Moose Mess - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

When we settled into St John’s for a week, we finally enjoyed an amazing seafood feast. And David even tried some Halibut cheeks for dinner. But on our day trip to Trinity and Bonavista, the seafood shop we wanted for scallops was not open when we visited.

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Foggy Shoals Fish Co Scallops.jpg

Even though we sometimes struggled to find the perfect dinner, it was never hard to find great ice cream treats.

Sapphire Scoops Ice Cream Sundae - Roadtrip Newfoundland For a Week.jpg

When we explored Newfoundland for a week, we never went hungry and had some great meals. But we still chased seafood when we headed next to Nova Scotia.

We Explored Newfoundland For a Week And Saw So Much

We had a busy schedule when we explored Newfoundland for a week on our road trip to Atlantic Canada. We came by ferry at one end of the province and left by ferry at the other end.

Along the way to St. John’s we had interesting stops as we travelled. And the one night stops gave us a chance to explore first Port Aux Basque and then see the things to do in Grand Falls Windsor.

The capital city of St. John’s had much to offer as we wandered and explored. Day trips gave us interesting experiences that added to our delight at visiting Newfoundland.

But one week was really not enough to see all of this large, diverse and beautiful province. We knew we would return to Newfoundland one day for another visit.

Have you explored Newfoundland for a week? What other gems did you find?

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72 Comments

  1. What a fabulous tour of Newfoundland, I enjoyed seeing all the major attractions and can see why there’s so much to explore just in St. Johns with all those wonderful views and marine life to spot. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. The old railroad car reminded me of a day trip my husband and I took a few months ago in West Palm Beach, Florida. We visited the Henry Flagler estate which has an old railroad car that you can walk through. It was very fancy.

  3. You guys had quite a week in Newfoundland. The nature in this part of Canada is so pretty and I could feel the fresh air through your photos! St John’s is so charming and I like those murals. The ice cream treats look amazing, I’ll definitely try one of those.

  4. Great post. That mural on the building is amazing! I have to get to Newfoundland some day. My great-great?-grandfather was lighthouse keeper in Cape Soear

  5. Newfoundland looks like an incredible place to explore! The scenery is so beautiful! Cape Ray Lighthouse looks like such a picturesque place and I would love to visit St. John’s too – I love how colourful it is! Thanks for the great guide!

  6. We have yet to explore Newfoundland, so this is all new to us! The scenery looks breathtaking, and that seafood looks delicious. I’d love to explore more of Canada (hopefully soon!) and appreciate having another area full of fun, outdoor activities to add to my list! Xx Sara

  7. Newfoundland is still a province I need to go too! I just love the east coast. Good to read about your experience with the ferry crossing. It looks like you enjoyed all of the fresh seafood that this province has to offer. Love seeing the street art, and would want to check that out. It often supports local artists but tells a story of the history and culture.

    • It was great to finally get to Newfoundland. And if you have the time, we would definitely recommend the ferry. Although for us, we really needed a cabin for the very long overnight ferry. Hope you get to visit one day.

  8. I honestly had no idea there was so much to explore in Newfoundland to stay for an entire week – but this looks incredible! Love all your pictures and details!

  9. Newfoundland is high on my bucketlist but I would likely choose to fly in and stay 10 days. The whales are amazing and I’d love to see them!

  10. Newfoundland is a lovely province. The historic buildings and winding lanes set it apart from the rest of Canada. Signal Hill has the greatest views of St. John’s, allowing you to appreciate how colorful the city is. A trip to Cape Spear is a must-do on my future Newfoundland excursion.

  11. Awesome. A week in Newfoundland sounds absolutely awesome! The Railway Heritage museum sounds interesting. My daughter would totally love it. Cape Ray port lighthouse looks so charming. The early morning trip in the fog is totally worth it. The colorful buildings in St.John are absolutely charming and the frescoes are stunning! Love it!

  12. Newfoundland looks like an amazing place to explore and stay for a week! The scenery and location is too good to leave! Cape Ray Lighthouse looks amazing and there are so many spots to explore for sure. I’d love to explore Canada and stay there for a month or two to enjoy all these places.

  13. Have you ever been to northern Germany or to the German islands? The sceneries are quite similar. Although I love the tropics, I find the northern shores very alluring. We are lucky to live so close to the coast, aren’t we? Also the murals are really beautiful.

    • We have all of Germany yet to explore. Good to know that the northern part would be similar to Newfoundland. Hope to soon get this on our travel planning list.

  14. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles on Newfoundland. I never knew much about this area, and it looks like such a cool place. My son would not want to leave the Railway Heritage Museum. I would love to see the Cape Ray Lighthouse.

  15. Wow even with overcast Newfoundland looks stunning I love the ruggedness of the rocky coastline. I’d definitely spend time in Terra Nova National Park and the whale watching in St Johns would be high on my list. Theres so much to do here.

  16. I’m amazed at how many sites you were able to squeeze into a week. Your photos of the lanscapes are beautiful, and the food looks quite tempting. My kind of place to visit!

  17. Fantastic rugged beauty in Newfoundland! And how wonderful you could spend an entire week exploring it. I did wonder what accommodations might be like on a ferry, but it sounds like they must have been almost primitive. Loved your pic of the “jelly bean” houses. Reminded me a lot of colorful buildings we saw in small Irish towns.

    • We were happy we did the ferry but it was not the luxury cruising we were used to. But still better to have a cabin than sleep overnight in a chair. There were so many great stops and we too loved the colour.

  18. What a great read!! I actually grew up on Vancouver Island and always wanted to make my way over to Newfoundland. I never got the chance before I moved to England but I’d really love to visit one day. I can see how it would have been tricky to find dinner options. I think I would struggle with the local seafood as I’m not much of a seafood fan! How incredible you could whale watch and were so close! PS… Loved that ice cream spot you shared.

    • I am so glad you enjoyed the tale of our visit to Newfoundland. I hope you get to visit one day. We had so many great stops along the way. And were excited with our whale watching day.

  19. Newfoundland looks absolutely stunning! I couldn’t imagine there are so many gems to see and discover! thanks for sharing them!

  20. Plenty to see and do in Newfoundland, I would love to explore the area, and of course love to visit Canada, but at least I can see it through your eyes.

  21. You had such a great trip. I had no idea Port aux Basques had such rich history from World War I and II. I will add it to my list when I visit Newfoundland one day. Cape Ray Lighthouse is located in such charming scenery that I would love to take pictures there. But most of all, it’s incredible that it is the place where the first submarine telegraph cable was laid in 1856 that connected Newfoundland to the North American continent. Also, Grand Falls Windsor with Salmon Interpretation Centre seems perfect stop in Newfoundland. “Jelly Bean” houses are fabulous! Extremely attractive from historical perspective and wildlife travel.

  22. Newfoundland looks soooo fun to explore for a week! I LOVE that you got to see puffins, but the waterfalls, mini hikes and amaaaazing coastline all look worth a visit! Was the food as tasty as it looks? I fancy seafood and some of that ice-cream!

  23. This Newfoundland Road trip is such a lovely way to experience the region. Canada is still in our to-do countries and your post certainly adds fuel to our desire. Would love to experience this trip with so much to do and explore. The Railway Heritage museum and Cape Ray port lighthouse both look dreamy destinations. The food and ice cream treat seem to the the added bonuses.

  24. I’ve wanted to go here for a bit now but you really show off the beauty of Newfoundland! That looks like so much fun!!

  25. Newfoundland seems to be a great place to explore. I would like to have weeks in my hand to actually visit so many places you listed there. The Point Spear and Lighthouse gave me the vibes of Snaefellsnes Peninsula of Iceland with those puffins. Overall, I would love to add this wonderful place in my list when I head to that part of the continent.

  26. There’s a lot to do in Newfoundland. It has that soothing vibe to it. My first place to visit would be Railway Heritage Museum in Newfoundland since I just love Train travel. Such a shame that it was closed during your visit. And the lighthouse could be interesting too. Beautiful graffitis on the walls and the Food looks delicious!

  27. Not many people visit Newfoundland from this part of the world hence it is more of an offbeat place for us. I like the colorful buildings and also the Signa hill; the old fortification and tower looks incredible. Must be from colonial times. The whole area is so picturesque.

  28. What a great trip you have had! So many things to see and do. Nature looks incredible in Newfoundland. I am happy to learn that there are puffins in Newfoundland. I love them. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Newfoundland looks like quite the adventure! St. John’s looks so pretty, especially the Cabot Tower at Signal Hill and the amazing panoramic view there. Did you have any interest in visiting St Pierre and Miquelon? It’s such an unusual geopolitical entity and I’d love to see it if I was already nearby.

  30. What a great trip. I was surprised how large the ferries are and that you can actually get a room to sleep. I have not been here but have heard great things…I would love to see the Salmon Interpretive Center. In the Pacific Northwest this is a big deal to us and we have several such sights but it would be interesting to learn some of the differences between Atlantic and Pacific. And your food looked delicious too!

    • We were so glad we included Newfoundland on our last visit to Atlantic Canada. The ferry was a fun way to travel. And it was great to have our car to see so much.

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