It feels a tad late now to be writing about The Rock. We set sail home a month ago now. This chapter was unlike any other. It feels like from the time we left Cape Breton, time just became a wash. We sped up, filled our days to the brim, saw an extraordinary amount of people and places, kissed the cod, and somehow we are back home in Ontario now. It’s like we visited another planet and woke up home in our beds. Did it even happen?
And that’s what Newfoundland feels like. It’s a world away. Totally wild and gnarled with age and weather. We touched rock that had been forced up from the Earth’s crust, spent sleepless nights at the mercy of howling wind, climbed a mountain of scree, spied remarkable creatures, and felt just a touch of the power of the North Atlantic. Never has a place demanded such reverence. Even the light is different somehow.
And all of this is juxtaposed by the inexhaustible warmth and hospitality of the people who call it home.
Of the many places we visited this summer, we both agree, Newfoundland needs a repeat visit. If you should find yourself planning you’re own inspired voyage to this astonishing, eastern-most Goliath, here are a few not-to-miss spots and key tips from us to you, with love.
June is iceberg time. You don’t have to go to Twillingate to see them. icebergfinder.com is where you can hunt them down.
The Northern Peninsula is WINDY.
There’s a FREE campground in far-flung Cape St. George and it’s SO worth the drive.
Puffins and whales do not require a tour. There is a FREE ACCESS puffin colony in Elliston and you’re likely to have a visit from the local minke whale population while looking out over the bay from your seat at the Bona Vista Social Club.
Give yourself a week to explore the Avalon Peninsula. It’s big and is home to 80% of Newfoundland’s tourist hotspots (personal opinion).
Hike Gros Morne Mountain and camp at the Berry Hill campground. One might choose to take a kayak tour in Bonne Bay over the fjord boat tour. Maybe.
Best fish n chips ever: The Duke of Duckworth in St. John’s. Hands down.
If you have the opportunity to go cod fishing via handline and jig, GO.
Hike the Skerwink and Starlite Trails.
Don’t drive after dark, dummy. There are more moose per square kilometre than people.
If you go early enough in the season, the wind won’t blow you off the road up the northern peninsula and you can see some viking stuff. We didn’t make it, but make sure you do.
Don’t do the night crossing on the ferry.
This is an ISLAND in the NORTH. Food and gas are expensive.
This is one of the coolest places to visit. If you’re doing the tourist thing and paying for accommodations and transportation, book WAY ahead. Resources and space are limited.
The main roads are decent. Anything outside of the Trans-Canada Highway, expect things to be rough. Like really rough. Plan on doing the scenic route on the Avalon Peninsula? Great! You should! Hold on tight though, bud.
Castle Hill is not a castle.
There’s nothing in Heart’s Desire or Heart’s Delight but Heart’s Content has a neat spot at their lighthouse.
The entire island is basically an unspoiled northern wilderness. Make it a priority to do outdoor things or you’re missing the point. Kayak, hike, climb, camp, and explore your heart out, b’y.
Take some time to learn the history of our youngest province. It’s fascinating.
And finally, by the end of your trip, you’ll probably wish you were a native anyway, so pull up to any bar on George Street and be sure to get yourself screeched in. Good, now you’re an honorary Islander. Be on your way and start planning your inevitable return.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tour of Newfoundland. We’ve just barely scratched the surface! If you have your own fond memories or questions, be sure to share them in the comments below. Stay tuned for more stories from the road as we begin to make our way west to the snowy peaks of the Canadian Rockies where we plan to frolic until spring.
Love, Sandi & Ryan