Newfoundland Itinerary help needed!

Old May 6th, 2017, 09:27 AM
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Newfoundland Itinerary help needed!

Hello everyone! Thanks in advance for taking the time to read. I'm brand new to this and I could really use some help with my Newfoundland travel plans.

THE TRIP: I am arriving with my family, by ferry in Port-aux-Basques on the morning of May 25. We leave, by ferry, on June 6. That gives us 12 nights. In the spring. We realize it will be chilly but we cannot change the dates.

OUR HOPES AND DREAMS: My children most want to see L'Anse aux Meadows, viking stuff and puffins, above all else. Ice burgs would be awesome too. My 12-yr-old is a budding ornithologist and wants to see the birds. I would love to see St. John's and hike the East Coast trail. Our family also really loves hiking. We are also interested in Aboriginal culture and history, and in geology. More than enough interests to fill our time!

THE PLAN: We had planned a coast-to-coast trip beginning in the west and ending at Argentia until I realized (silly me) that the Argentia ferry doesn't start up until later in June (sigh). I also learned that the Norstead Viking Village does not open until June 4. SOOO I am learning as I go! In that case, we decided to begin our trip with a long day of driving to St. John's and then work our way back west, ending with L'Anse-aux-Meadows and then a long drive back to Port-aux-Basques. Not ideal, but trying to work with what I have. Here is my tentative itinerary, but would love your insights! Any suggestions on itinerary changes, as well as stops, food, etc are much appreciated!

May 25 - Long drive to St. John's (3 nights there in a place near downtown)
26 - Explore the city, take in Signal hill.
27 - Witless Bay and East Coast Trail
28 - Head to Elliston for 2 nights (have a salt box house booked there). Stop to visit Trinity, hike Skerwink Trail and head to Elliston for the night.
29 - Check out Bonavista, enjoy the area.
30 - Drive to Terra Nova National Park for a stop and hike, then to Beothuk Interpretive Centre and then onto Farewell to catch Ferry to Change Islands for 3 nights (have this presently booked, but thinking this may be too many nights here)
31 - Explore Change Island
June 1 - Recharging at Change Island (think this day could be better spent elsewhere but need help deciding how to fix the itinerary)
2 - Drive toward Gros Morne for 2 nights (we have rustic cabin booked for 2 nights at Rocky Harbour), stopping at the Deer Lake Insectarium along the way.
3 - Western Brook Pond? Or Green Garden Trail? Or Tablelands? How to choose?!
4 - Drive to L'Anse-aux-Meadows, stopping by Cowhead Sand dunes, The Arches at Portland Creek, and Port-aux-Choix National Historic Site on the way. Stay near L'Anse-aux-Meadows for 2 nights at Snorri Cabins.
5 - Day of All Things Viking! Norstead Viking Village, L'Anse-aux-Meadows, and stop at The Norseman at L'Anse-aux-Meadows for dinner. I believe that the Ice Burg Festival is also taking place at this time.
6 - Long drive back to Port-aux-Basques, likely having to take the midnight ferry. Any tipss on taking the midnight ferry would be much-appreciated

THE CHALLENGE: I've heard wonderful things about Cape St. Mary's Eco Reserve and have to wonder if I should be inserting a drive (and day) there in between my nights at St. John's and those at Elliston.
Also wonder if we should be spending more time at Gros Morne as there is so much to do there.
Have considered removing a day or 2 from our time at Change Islands in order to add more time elsewhere, but could really use advice.

Thanks so much to any and all who take the time to read this and respond. Very much appreciated.
Carlieflower21 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2017, 10:01 AM
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HI - I'll try to help in a few places but suggest you also post on the Trip Advisor Newfoundland forum -- lots of very helpful people there! Here's a link

In Witless Bay we took a boat cruise and saw thousands of puffins and terns (and whales but I think you're too early)

Re CApe ST Mary's - I looked at it but it was too difficult to get to and early in the year wasn't the best time (we were in NL about 2 weeks later than your dates a couple of years ago). There is a significant fossil sight on the Avalon peninsula (Mistaken Point) that is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. It's a bit complicated to see and you might be too early for the walking tours but the visitors centre is very well done and worth a visit.

Skerwink Trail is lovely - I could add a night to that area from your itinerary

3 nights on Change Island? Not sure about that - we spent 3 nights on Fogo and loved it but the ferry "ballet" takes up a lot of time......possibly add a night back to Elliston and one more to Rocky Harbour?

Western Brook Pond - have they started yet? It's very weather dependent (you know you walk in right?) --- it was cancelled when we were there. Alternative boat cruise out of Norris Point. Tablelands hike very interesting too

We loved Snorri Cabins!!!! A couple of good restaurants in the area. Also great berg boat cruises from St Anthonys - tons of bergs this year

Hope this helps..........
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Old May 7th, 2017, 10:04 AM
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There are some really good trip reports here - links below

Our unfinished one
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Old May 9th, 2017, 05:46 AM
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Thank you so much, Elizabeth_S! Very helpful. I will for sure check out the Newfoundland forum on Tripadvisor. So many things I'm learning

Can you tell me anything about the cost of the ferry to Change Islands/Fogo? Can't seem to find it anywhere.

What did you love about Fogo? And what did you do with your days there?

Thanks so much!
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:50 AM
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As I recall there is no charge for the Farewell-Change Islands-Fogo Ferry, as it is considered part of the provincial highway system. There are also no reservations, so unless you want a long wait at Farewell having missed a sailing, you should be there in good time. Unfortunately, there is little in Farewell in the way of attractions or facilities.

I'm of two minds about your 3 mights in Change Islands. You have such a busy itinerary that you might try to reduce your time there. On the other hand, it would mean a nice break to relax in the middle of your trip. If I were planning the trip, I would have stayed on Fogo, with a day trip to Change Islands, but as you have found accommodation there, you could easily do the reverse and visit Fogo for a day.

On Fogo Island, I would visit the village of Fogo and if you have time and the weather is nice, hike to the top of Brimstone Head. The spectacular Fogo Island Inn usually runs tours, but if you can't get one, at least stop in for a drink. The Marine Interpretation Centre in Seldom/Little Seldom is certainly worth a visit. Best of all is the village of Tilting at the far southeast corner of the island. We spend a day there wandering around and an evening shed party at Phil's Shed. More on Fogo Island here:

Two nights (and really just one day) is not very much for Gros Morne Park, and as you are heading up the peninsula, you should probably confine yourself to the northern side of Bonne Bay. I would therefore put the Western Brook Pond cruise at the top of my list.

I know you realize that there is a lot of driving in your tour, but perhaps you are not aware of how much time this will take from your visit. And frankly, there is little to see along the way as the TCH was cut through the wilderness. I have two suggestions you might consider. First, if you want to see both the east and west coasts, you might consider flying and renting a car one way from St. John's to Deer Lake, although that might be somewhat more expensive. Second, think about visiting only one part of the island. As Vikings seem to be at the top of your list, perhaps you might want to leave the Avalon and the Bonavista for another visit and confine yourself to Gros Morne, the Northern Peninsula, Twillingate and Fogo Island, and perhaps Terra Nova Park. Once you have visited Newfoundland, you will certainly want to come back.
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Old May 11th, 2017, 03:34 AM
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I recall paying for the ferry to Fogo?

We loved Fogo - one day we took a fabulous boat tour out to Little Fogo (a deserted outpost) and saw icebergs and a couple of minkes.

We took a tour with a local guide (he's from Tilting) and learned of Fogo's history. Also there are excellent hiking trails particularly in Fogo town.

We stayed in a cute house across the arm from the Inn - it was a lot cheaper! They have two houses - the other one might be better for a larger family
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