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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When we exited the Trans-Canada Highway #1, we headed back towards the shore. We got great views of the rocky shore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After dinner we wandered down the hill and got a closer look at the dam and waterfall from several different vantage points.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Even though we sometimes struggled to find the perfect dinner, it was never hard to find great ice cream treats.
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
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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