Newfoundland, Canada provided our EH Tourism Team many memories this following year. Some memories are embedded so deep into our souls they have changed us forever. There were some amazing adventures that way exceeded our expectations. There were some adventures which were downplayed by local tourism which surpassed our wildest dreams. And there were sights and sounds which can only be enjoyed when in Newfoundland.
Like all tourism destinations it is the people and places which make for a great experience. In Newfoundland the people were friendly, humble and accommodating. We fell in love with their accents – no matter if we understood them or not. The places were rugged, cultured, remote and historic. Some destinations were over rated and misleading while some were under rated and almost an after thought – but that marketing responsibility falls directly in the lap of the local tourism organizations.
Below we have compiled a list of the Top 10 “Must See” things to do and see when visiting the island of Newfoundland, Canada according to our experiences, travels and research.
Gros Morne National Park – a wilderness park located on the North Peninsula of Newfoundland. It is a special place filled with staggering cliffs, deep gorges, sea caves, sea stacks, remote beaches, monolithic mountains, hide and seek moose sightings and a constant barrage of crashing waves eroding coastlines. The park is rich with hiking trails – both easy and challenging. There are day hiking trails and there are overnight backpacking trails leading deep into the wilderness connecting with backcountry campsites.
Rose Blanche Lighthouse – built in 1873 the attraction is one of the last granite lighthouses of the Atlantic provinces. It was our first destination when we first arrived on the island of Newfoundland. On our visit the lighthouse, built of ancient stone and rock, was engulfed in a ghostly mist adding to its historic aura. Trails explored the surrounding coastline leading to remote viewpoints. The light house is one of the most impressive light beacons of all the lighthouses we have visited while traveling across Canada.
East Coast Trail- a 540 kilometre long hiking, backpacking, cross country and snowshoe trail exploring the eastern coastline of the Avalon Peninsula. The trail explores some of the most amazing sights and sounds of the region including cliffs, bays, sea stacks, sea caves, lighthouses and gorges in the region. Some sections are well developed while some are left in a rugged state. There are numerous access points located along the trail located in many of the communities.
Cape Spear Lighthouse – the lighthouse is a National Historic Site located near St. Johns on the Avalon Peninsula. It is the oldest lighthouse in Newfoundland located on the most eastern point of Newfoundland – therefore Canada. The beacon is situated at the top of a long series of stairs. The lighthouses rests on top of a ragged and tattered cliff fully exposed to the elements and surrounded by a series of exploratory trails. There are two lighthouses onsite – one of which is the original beacon while the other is the newer replacement lighthouse.
Bay Roberts Heritage Trail – one of the most under rated trails on the Avalon Peninsula. The 8 kilometre loop trail explores a point before connecting with obscure picnic sites, a cemetery and a wide variety of jaw dropping scenery overlooking massive gorges, sea stacks and the Atlantic Ocean. Every structure on the trail is painted in a fire truck red. The trail was an after thought for us as it does not receive much press. We are glad we made the effort as the trail was one of the most memorable day trails on Newfoundland.
Bonavista, Newfoundland – On the tip of the Bona Vista Peninsula is the small village of Bonavista. The village is the site of the Chabot Monument and a lighthouse. The lighthouse is painted in a barber shop pole fashion on the edge of cliffs. The cliffs are the sight of Puffin Birds and sea stacks. Just down the hill is a small park and the John Chabot Monument. It is here that Canada was first discovered by European explorers. Continue down the road and there is the Dungeon Park. The park leads to amazing views and a viewpoint overlooking sea caves, sea stacks and towering cliffs.
Twillingate, Newfoundland – better known for iceberg sightings, Twillingate was even more impressive because of the amazing trail network in the region. The region includes an eye popping assortment of sightseeing trails connecting to deep gorges, remote beaches, hidden coves, families of sea stacks and sea caves. Best of all – there are very few people on the trails as they are overshadowed by the popularity of the icebergs. This is a disservice to the region.
Baie Verte Peninsula – in central Newfoundland is a small peninsula called the Baie Verte Peninsula. It is on this peninsula where we found a series of easy to challenging sightseeing trails great for photography. One trail included over 2000 stairs! Trails led to high mountain peaks, sea caves, rocky cliffs, rocky beaches and deep hidden gorges. The trails are very well marked with viewpoints and many include large sections of boardwalk.
St. Anthony, Newfoundland – a very picturesque section of the province located on the tip of the Northern Peninsula. Not only is the community a wonderful sight but the drive to the village following the coastline is spectacular. There are long sandy beaches, distorted trees, fishing villages and rocky shoreline cliffs. St. Anthony is also the location we enjoyed an unlimited supply of iceberg sightings!
Cape St. Mary Ecological Reserve – one of the best birding sights we have visited in Canada. It is considered one of the most easy to access birding sights in North America. Thousands of birds take refuge on the sea stacks and cliffs of the cape including the third largest population of gannets in North America. A short 1.5 kilometre trail leads to a natural viewpoint looking out onto a gorge and a sea stack. There are tours, a lighthouses and an interpretive centre. Timing is everything at this attraction as fog, at times, is as thick a pea soup on many days.