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Trip Report 17 days in Newfoundland - a good start!

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I'm going to try to keep this trip report to the highlights and basic traveler information, and insert links to our blog for the more general commentary. We'll see how I do on that!

We have wanted to visit Newfoundland for a long time - it's been on our bucket list and is our 10th province.

I started searching Aeroplan in March and discovered quite good availability for seats from Toronto to St. John's in June, which worked well for us. It started out as an extended weekend in St. John's and turned into 17 nights and almost 4,000 kilometres.

And it was a fabulous trip!

Went back and forth on the itinerary - here is the final - comments follow

- 4 nights in Witless Bay as a base to visit the Avalon Peninsula and St. John's
- 3 nights in Rocky Harbour to experience Gros Morne National Park
- 2 nights near L'Anse Aux Meadows to see the Viking Settlement
- one night on the road (Grand Falls-Windsor)
- 3 nights in Joe Batt's Arm/Fogo Island (stayed in a cottage/visited the new Inn)
- 4 nights in Port Rexton/Trinity area

I wouldn't change one aspect of the itinerary now that we're back - it was perfect for us. A few comments:

• we chose to stay outside of St. John's (but not very far - Witless Bay to St. John's is about 25 minutes and easy driving.....about the same as us driving to the Skydome from where we live in Toronto). We went back and forth to St. John's as easily (easier!) as we drive around Toronto
• we don't mind long driving sprints. We had two - Witless Bay to Rocky Harbour (700 km) and L'Anse Aux Meadows to Grand Falls-Windsor (similar) and then several 3 to 4 hour drives. Driving was easy in Newfoundland so long as you watched for potholes and moose - more info about that later
• We prefer to stay in one place and do day trips rather than stay single nights and keep moving. We will do day trips up to 90 minutes in one direction


Travel Basics:

Air:

We flew Air Canada from Toronto on Aeroplan points --- it was a great use of our points in terms of value. 25,000 points each plus total fees of $130. I've come to realize that Aeroplan might be a better deal for short haul versus long haul.

Flights were fine - a funny thing happened when we were waiting for the flight to depart for Toronto....but I'll save that until the end.

Car:

I had read that the first thing you should do when you decide to go to Newfoundland is nail down your car rental. I looked at all the obvious sites and landed on Thrifty. 17 nights for a Corolla was about $900, then when we got there the additional driver charge was $11/day (yes a rip off but still cheaper than I had seen elsewhere). So all in it was about $1,100. We were very happy with the Corolla - didn't need a 4WD.

Accommodation:

We prefer self catering accommodation whenever possible for the convenience of having a frig/coffee maker and more space....and we're not B&B people (don't like dragging suitcases upstairs, etc). Newfoundland has a fantastic array of accommodation called "Efficiency Units" -- one bedroom suites with well equipped kitchens, easy access, great value and spotlessly clean. I set a nightly budget of under $100 CAD and was able to keep to that for all locations except Fogo (for which we chose to spend more).

Clothing/other prep:

We knew that the last two weeks of June could be dodgy weather - and we were right. We had some brilliant sunny days and some bloody cold, rainy ones! Before we left we said to ourselves - "it's going to rain for 17 days" and then any day it didn't was a bonus. We had lots of bonuses! I think the key is having the right clothing (which we did) and the right attitude about the weather (ditto).

We had good waterproof coats (not water resistant) and shoes and many layers of clothing. The other advantage to the Efficiency Units we stayed in was the general availability of laundry facilities, so we didn't have to carry too much (although we did carry too much because we had a rental car.....it's that last minute "oh throw it in.....we've got a car" syndrome!)

The Newfoundland Tourist Board has a fabulous site and app - made the planning really easy.

Wireless coverage - for Canadians if you're on the Rogers Network forget it. Their coverage is limited to St. John's and Cornerbrook. (If you're American check who your carrier roams to). We are on Rogers so I bought a Bell SIM card for my unlocked iPhone - Bell's coverage is good (LTE and 3G) - there were a few NO SERVICE spots but it's a big province with few people.

We dedicate this trip report to Kodi - a Fodorite who passed this year. She loved Newfoundland and was with us the entire time.....everytime we saw a butterfly.

More to follow - with links to the blog

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