Oh, we’re all tired of this silly virus, and can’t wait to travel again.
At least I certainly am!
I’m missing travel to my home province of Newfoundland. And I’m ready to start thinking about travel again – how about you?
And believe me, I’m ready to believe the authors of this report: Why making plans helps manage pandemic stress . As the authors note:
Covid-19 has turned all of our plans for 2020 upside down. But scheduling things is more important than ever in these strange times.
And we all know (or at least we should) that Travel And Exploration Spark Happiness, Study Suggests.
So, reduce your pandemic stress, and make travel plans. And since domestic travel is going to be on everyone’s minds in 2021, Newfoundland is primed to become a hotter destination than ever.
Yes, that’s a photo of my girls at Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park. Do you know about the Tablelands? Half a billion years in the making – the result of a brilliant coming together of two ancient continents — the Earth’s inner soul: the mantle – exposed to you the way few have seen it. See more: tablelands
Did you know that Newfoundland has 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? There’s Red Bay Whaling Museum in Labrador, L’Anse Aux Meadows Viking site in St. Anthony, Gros Morne National Park in central, and Mistaken Point on the east coast.
I was scouring the offerings of my travel partners that have already put together trips to Newfoundland, and I found none of them covered all 4 UNESCO sites in Newfoundland. And even the ones that hit 2 or 3 sites, none of them did the hiking up right – or combined sites like Witless Bay Ecological site to see puffins with a zip lining experience in Corner Brook and the option to see Fogo Island Inn.
Did you know that it would take you about 14 hours (or more) to travel from the Red Bay Whaling Museum in Labrador to Mistaken Point on the east coast of the island? Newfoundland is huge! (I believe to drive from Calgary to Vancouver is about 11.5 hours, to give you some driving perspective.)
So – I designed my own self-drive tour. I figured most people would like a self-drive when they start to travel again – stay away from the buses and big crowds as much as possible. My ultimate self-drive, though, was 3 weeks long. Not many can take that kind of time – so I divided it into two itineraries. One a western Newfoundland focus, and one an eastern Newfoundland focus.
Here’s a sketch of the ideas – but – let me know if you’d like full details for the two self drives I put together for end of July and beginning of August 2021. Dates can be changed, but obviously, rates and availability will change. I’m building a flyer and pdf this week. Let me know if you’d like to learn more.
• As I’d mentioned, Newfoundland (my home province) is huge – and it has 4 Unesco heritage sites https://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/trip-ideas/travel-stories/four-unesco-sites# , plus birdwatching sanctuaries https://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/plan-and-book/attractions/213657 , etc etc. Iceburg watching is a set time, as is whale watching (at least peak) so it’s unlikely you will hit peak spots, do everything, and still get best weather. Plus, there are not large hotels in areas where the Unesco sites are (b&b or small hotels/ inns).
• None of my travel partners has already built itineraries doing all 4 UNESCO sites with all the good bits in between – it kind of requires a land tour/ driving, but because 4 sites cover the province – 3 are on island, and 1 is on Labrador, it’s hard to see them all on one trip. I think it’s really unique to be able to see 4 UNESCO sites on one domestic trip with all the options for hiking and wildlife and nature and history, but it’s not easy. To drive from one northern UNESCO to one southern UNESCO is about 14 hour drive (w Labrador ferry) .
- Of course, it’s also possible to add on a visit to St. Pierre and Miquelon at the end – to have a taste of France too!
• I’d started organizing one big trip, but when it was getting to 20+ days, I decided to break into two – one with western Newfoundland focus (that hits 3 UNESCO sites, plus opportunity for hiking, golfing, boat tours, etc.), and one with eastern Newfoundland focus (that hits 1 UNESCO, plus hiking, bird sanctuary, puffin boat tours and Fogo); each about 10 days long. The eastern one is considerably more expensive because it includes 3 n at Fogo Island Inn. The western itinerary runs Deer Lake to Gander (with northern peninsula and Labrador tucked in). The eastern one runs St. John’s to Gander. It’s possible to do both the western and eastern tours back to back – but it would probably involve a flight St. John’s after first trip, so as to end in Fogo/ Gander (keeping the Inn as a highlight for end.)
• Kindly note: Newfoundland doesn’t have a lot of rental cars (they don’t carry a huge inventory like Florida does for year ’round demand) – so, their summer stock goes quickly (when the island is open, that is, pre-pandemic). If you might consider a self-drive, let me know, because once the island re-opens to clients, the existing inventory will disappear fast. The big three airports are Deer Lake (west coast), Gander (central), and St. John’s (east coast). From Deer Lake to St. John’s is easily a 7 hour drive – so, if someone is doing a full island self-drive, it’s not uncommon to fly into Deer Lake, pick up car, and drive to St. John’s to drop off (visiting spots in between) – or go in other direction. You would not see very much if you fly into and out of St John’s (unless going for 3 weeks).
• My self-drive itineraries are built recognizing that mid-July to mid-August best weather, and allowing you to catch festivals like Stephenville and Gros Morne Theatre festivals on then, St. John’s Regatta, that’s the time period I’d priced out … however, ice burg season tends to be April-June, and not warmest time for a visit for tourists. (but if iceburgs interest you, we build a round that)
Pricing and availability will change with dates, but check out the following.
Western Newfoundland – visit 3 UNESCO Heritage sites ( Gros Morne, L’anse aux Meadows, Red Bay), hike Tablelands, do boat tour of Western Brook Gorge.
The Western NL Itinerary Includes:
• 10 nights’ accommodation at the properties listed below
• 10 day SUV rental with unlimited kilometres in Deer Lake
• Parks Canada pass which includes admission to Gros Morne National Park, L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site, Red Bay National Historic Site, and much more
• Admission to a boat tour in St. Anthony
• Admission to a boat tour in Gros Morne on Western Brook Pond
• Half day guided hike in Gros Morne on the Tablelands
• Roundtrip ferry transfers to Labrador
Vacation Package Price per person, based on double occupancy:
$2,429.00 plus $364.35 HST (harmonized sales tax) = $2,793.35 total per person, Canadian Dollars plus tour booking fee.
Add ons possible:
Corner Brook – golfing Humber Resorts or Corner Brook, tubing Humber River, zip lining, maybe salmon or cod fishing tours, Corner Brook theatre festival
Corner Brook area – tour of Bay of Islands – hiking Lark Harbour area and/or Bottle Cove
Stephenville – theatre festival
Cow Head area – Shallow Bay beach, Cow Head/ Rising Tide Theatre festival
Eastern Newfoundland – do a pub crawl in St. John’s, hike East Coast Trail, do a boat tour of Witless Bay Ecological Reserve/ Bird Sanctuary (puffins), visit Mistaken Point Unesco Site, finish up with Fogo Island Inn (expensive add on at end)
The Eastern itinerary includes 9 nights accommodations and car rental. – flying into St. John’s and out of Gander. Idea is to start in St. John’s, with highlight of trip at Fogo Island Inn at end. Eastern NL Itinerary Includes:
9 nights’ accommodation at the properties listed below
9 day SUV rental with unlimited kilometres (pick up in St. John’s, drop off in Gander)
Admission to a city tour of Historic St. John’s
Boat tour of Witless Bay Ecological Reserve in Bay Bulls
Gourmet Lighthouse Picnic Lunch in Ferryland
Admission to a guided tour of Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Community host guided tour of Fogo Island
Not included but can add on:
St. John’s – city orientation tour, National Historic site – tour Signal Hill , pub crawl tour (St. John’s has most pubs per capita in all North America )
St. John’s area – visit most easternly point of North America/ National Historic Site at Cape Spear Lighthouse , hike parts of East Coast Trail
Trinity/ Bonavista area – hike Skerwink trail
Vacation Package Price per person, based on double occupancy:
$5,169.00 plus $775.35 HST (harmonized sales tax) = $5,944.35 total per person, Canadian Dollars
*Full-board accommodations at Fogo Island includes all meals and gratuities, daybreak tray, breakfast, dinner (lunch), afternoon tea, snacks, supper and non-alcoholic beverages.
Let me know if you’d like me to learn more.