If you've been following along on my blog these past few months, you'll know I was fortunate enough to to spend a couple of days exploring the beautiful island of Newfoundland earlier this year. Now to tie it all together, I thought I would share my itinerary for the 8 days that I spent there. In those 8 days, I managed to visit St. John's, the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, Twillingate, Gros Morne National Park, L'Anse Aux Meadows, Bonavista, and the Elliston puffin viewing site.
I planned my trip so that I travelled sort of in a loop around the island, since I had to return my rental car back in St. John's which is also where I started my adventures in Newfoundland. Interested in hearing how I did it? Keep reading! And if you don't want to read and prefer to watch a video about it, scroll all the way to the bottom of this post!
Day 1: St. John's
When we landed in St. John's, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador, the first thing we did was pick up our rental car. You'll definitely need to drive if you're exploring the island. Check out this post on some tips on renting a car as well as driving in Newfoundland. From there we visited Signal Hill, where you can get some beautiful 360 degree views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.
We ended that night with the most amazing meal at Mallard Cottage in the former fishing village of Quidi Vidi. Their menu changes often so check out their website/Instagram for their current menu, and make sure you reserve a table ahead of time!
Day 2: Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, Cape Spear, St. John's
The next morning, after a quick walk around downtown St. John's to look for the Jellybean Row, we headed out on a boat tour to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve which was where I saw my first (of many!) iceberg and puffins on the trip! After the tour, we headed out to a very foggy Cape Spear and from there, back to St. John's where we were lucky enough to catch the free entry evening at The Rooms. You can visit this wonderful museum for free on the first Wednesday of every month, between 6PM and 9PM!
Day 3: Driving out to Twillingate
We headed out early on day 3 towards Twillingate, which is where we stayed the night, before heading to Gros Morne the next day. Before heading to Twillingate, I had to make a quick detour at the now internet famous town of Dildo! When we got to Twillingate, we visited the eclectic Prime Berth museum where we learned more about fishing, and then had a delicious lobster dinner at Doyle Sansome & Sons, enjoying this out of this world view from their dock while we ate.
Day 4: Gros Morne National Park - Green Gardens Trail
We made it to Gros Morne National Park the next day, and the first thing we did was hike the Green Gardens Trail. This trail takes you through a number of diverse landscapes, ending at the coast where at low tides, you can explore a sea cave!
Day 5: More of Gros Morne National Park - Western Brook Pond Tour
On day 5, we explored more of Gros Morne National Park including visiting the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, Berry Hill Pond Trail, the SS Ethie Shipwreck, and also took a boat tour of the Western Brook Pond fjord. The Western Brook Pond was definitely a highlight of the trip. The towering cliffs and waterfalls were stunning!
After visiting the Western Brook Pond fjord, we drove the long drive up to the northern tip of the island, spending the night near L'Anse Aux Meadows, where we caught a beautiful and peaceful sunset over ice floes.
Day 6: L'Anse Aux Meadows
The morning of day 6 was spent exploring the viking settlement at L'Anse Aux Meadows, where it's generally accepted Norse explorer Leif Erikson first landed in North America circa the year 1000... 5 centuries before Christopher Columbus did in 1492!
After a few hours spent at L'Anse Aux Meadows, we started the long drive back to Gros Morne National Park where we stayed the night.
Day 7: Gros Morne National Park - The Tablelands, then en route to Bonavista
The morning of day 7 was spent walking on Earth's mantle at the Tablelands, which was formed when two of Earth's tectonic plates collided many years ago, exposing its mantle.
After that, we headed out on the road again, this time towards Bonavista. At Bonavista we watched the sunset at the Cape Bonavista lighthouse, where we also stumbled upon a puffin colony!
Day 8: Bonavista and the Elliston puffin viewing site
We spent our last full day in Newfoundland firstly in Bonavista, visiting Dungeon Provincial Park and then the Ryan Premises National Historic site where we learned mainly about the fishery industry in Newfoundland.
Then we headed to my favourite spot of my whole trip, the Elliston puffin viewing site where I spent a good amount of time admiring these adorable birds, before we had to reluctantly drive back to St. John's to leave Newfoundland.
In summary, in 8 days in Newfoundland, we encountered:
Total moose sightings: 13 (including one moose calf!)
Total kilometres driven: over 3000 kilometres
Number of icebergs and puffins spotted: oh so many!
If I could change anything about my trip, I would have loved to have been able to stay for longer so I could spend more time at spots like Twillingate. I also really wanted to do the Lighthouse Picnic at Ferryland and visit Fogo Island, but I didn't have time in my itinerary. I would also have liked to see some whales. While some people that I spoke to while I was there did mention spotting some, I didn't see any! Before buying your tickets to Newfoundland, be sure to do a little bit of research on what time of year you should visit. The best time to see puffins in Newfoundland is between June and August, icebergs in mid-May to mid-June, and July is the best month for whale watching there!
All in all, it was a great trip full of beautiful sights and the kindest people! I'm Canadian and I can say that in general, the Newfoundlanders I bumped into were the nicest Canadians I've ever met!
Check out the video below for some footage that I filmed while I was in Newfoundland, and if you have any questions at all about the itinerary, please leave a comment and I'll try my best to answer!