12 Days of Adventure, Coast to Coast
There's so much to experience in Newfoundland and Labrador that one trip isn't enough to see it all. We've packed some of the best bits into 12 days of whales and birds, music, history, hiking, icebergs, and all the best food. From the west coast, north to Labrador, and back east all the way to St. John's.
Day 1 - Explore Humber Valley
Not too far from Deer Lake Airport you can try ziplining and high-rope walking at Steady Brook with Marble Zip. Connect with a tour operator and explore the fascinating caves near Corner Brook. Finish the day with a delicious seafood dinner.
Day 2 - A Day in Gros Morne National Park
The top attraction in Gros Morne National Park is the boat tour on Western Brook Pond, a glacier-carved fjord with sides 2,000 feet high. It's reached by a 45-minute boardwalk trail just past Sally's Cove.
Check out the sand dunes north of here at Cow Head. Stay the night and catch live theatre.
Day 3 - Underwater Life at Torrent River
At Hawke's Bay visit Torrent River Nature Park, watch salmon struggling upstream to spawn through underwater observation windows. Take a drive to Port au Choix National Historic Site where four ancient aboriginal cultures fished for thousands of years. End the day with a fresh seafood dinner and a glass of chardonnay.
Day 4 - Voyage to Southern Labrador
Head north on Route 430 to St. Barbe and catch the ferry to Labrador. Watch for seabirds, icebergs, and whales on the way. Climb Atlantic Canada's tallest lighthouse at Point Amour, then visit Red Bay - named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 - and learn the history of Basque whaling in the area.
Overnight along the Labrador Coastal Drive and head back to the island of Newfoundland in the morning.
Day 5 - Back in Time at the Viking Trail
From the ferry, leave St. Barbe and travel north 140 kilometres on Route 430 and 436 to L'Anse aux Meadows.
About 1,000 years ago, Vikings from Greenland and Iceland established the first European settlement at what is now L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the area and meet the costumed interpreters. Then head out to Norstead, a recreation of an 11th-century Viking port.
Day 6 - Along the Old French Shore and Back South
Today's trip south along the Northern Peninsula is almost 400 kilometres, but there are plenty of options of things to see and do to break up your day.
Stretch your legs and maybe have a picnic at The Arches, a scenic attraction just south of Portland Creek. The arches were once underwater but were thrust above the shore when the glaciers melted.
Or try your hand at making bread or washing clothes in a washtub at the Broom Point Fishing Premises.
You could even drop by the Newfoundland Insectarium at Nicholsville, on the outskirts of Deer Lake, to see preserved and live insects, including the fabulous butterfly pavilion.
Day 7 - Rafting the Exploits & Beothuk History
After breakfast, hit the highway for Aspen Brook west of Grand Falls-Windsor for a morning of river rafting with Rafting Newfoundland. Shoot the Badger Chute and then have lunch on the riverbank. Drive on to Boyd's Cove and visit the Beothuk Interpretation Centre Provincial Historic Site. Walk the trail to a former Beothuk village. Head to Twillingate for the night.
Day 8 - The Icebergs of Twillingate
Start the day at Prime Berth, where Captain Dave will show you the correct way to prepare cod for cooking, and regale you with stories from the past.
Take a boat tour and discover that icebergs are not only white, but green, blue, and grey. Cool your drinks with a chunk of iceberg ice, and keep an eye out for frolicking whales. There's entertainment in town almost every night, from theatre to folk music.
Day 9 - Explore Terra Nova National Park
Canada's most easterly National Park has much to offer; start at the Visitor's Centre to get some ideas. Catch a glimpse of the fascinating underwater world through the marine exhibits, aquariums and touch tank. Walk along the coast, or hike one of the many trails.
Several hundred bald eagles nest in eastern Newfoundland, so there's a decent chance of seeing one swoop down to snatch dinner from the sea.
Day 10 - Walk the Discovery Trail
The Skerwink Trail is one of the most famous hiking trails in the province. From Trinity East on the Bonavista Peninsula, it curls around a headland where you can spy sea stacks, and look for whales, icebergs, and seabirds.
The pretty and historic town of Trinity is home to Rising Tide Theatre, and lots of great places to stay.
Day 11 - Discover the Baccalieu Trail
Conception Bay was among the earliest European-settled areas of Newfoundland and depended on the fishery for centuries. Among those early settlements was the first English colony in Canada - Cupids. Explore the archaeological dig and try to find the faeries.
Nearby Brigus was the birthplace of Captain Bob Bartlett, a famous Arctic explorer whose home is a National Historic Site.
Turn around and go northeast "up the shore" to Salmon Cove and its gorgeous sandy beach. At the tip of the peninsula are Grates Cove and an unusual National Historic Site: a series of rock walls built to keep animals out of kitchen gardens.
On the Trinity Bay side of the peninsula, stop by the Boat Building Museum to see how this ancient craft is kept alive. Continue on to Heart's Content, where the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable was received.
Day 12 - Whales, Birds & Nightlife
Travel the Irish Loop and take a whale-watching cruise to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Spend the night in St. John's and enjoy the nightlife in one of the oldest cities in North America. When the sun goes down, this place goes up.