Newfoundland and Labrador - A destination you forever remember

Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province of Canada… and a very photogenic location I have been running sold out tours to for the last four years. Today I wanted to share some information on the area Northof49Photography now calls home.

Overview of Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is the kind of easygoing place where unique and memorable experiences very often crop up to surprise us on every trip, despite our best-laid plans.

This place is a vast and diverse province covering 400,000 square kilometres of land, and if even when we have a game plan in mind, we can still switch it up on a whim if the mood takes us. And with so much inspiration around every corner, we often will… the nature and wildlife here never fails to surprise us… an iceberg runs aground in a bay, a pod of whales feeds and breaches off the coast, a local invites us into their house to show us their personal museum of the local fisheries and feed us with coffee and freshly made scones, heck, we’ve even had the pleasure of witnessing the aurora in the skies above the lighthouse on Quirpon Island.

Paraphrasing the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “Newfoundland is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get”

Funny how getting away from it all can lead to everything you've been missing. - Newfoundland Tourism discussing the 29,000 km of untouched shoreline

Some History of Newfoundland

In 2013, the province's population was estimated at 526,702 with about 90% of the province's population that lives on the island of Newfoundland (and its neighboring smaller islands), of whom more than half live on the Avalon Peninsula, the balance in Labrador to the north.

A former colony then dominion of the United Kingdom, Newfoundland and Labrador became the tenth province to enter the Canadian Confederation on March 31, 1949, as "Newfoundland". On December 6, 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to Newfoundland and Labrador.

My Personal Favorite Locations

Gros Morne National Park

There are times when you realize, the English language can be woefully inadequate. - Newfoundland Tourism on Gros Morne National Park

Gros Morne is an area of great natural beauty with a rich variety of scenery, wildlife, and recreational activities. Visitors can hike through wild, uninhabited mountains and camp by the sea. Boat tours bring visitors under the towering cliffs of a freshwater fjord carved out by glaciers. Waterfalls, marine inlets, sea stacks, sandy beaches, and colourful nearby fishing villages complete the phenomenal natural and cultural surroundings of Gros Morne National Park of Canada.

It took Mother Nature 485,000,000 years to mold Gros Morne National Park into the geological and visual wonder we know today. The second largest National Park in eastern Canada, Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching across 1,805 square kilometers of western Newfoundland as part of the towering Long Range Mountains.

Encircled by tiny seaside communities, and encompassing forests, freshwater fjords, bogs, barren lowlands, moose, and striking cliffs and shorelines, this area is also world-renowned for its complex geology. It was here that geologists proved the theory of plate tectonics. The Tablelands, a mountain of flat-topped rock of a kind usually found only deep in the earth’s mantle, is a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Quirpon Island

In addition to Humpbacks and Minke, which are virtually inevitable, you may spot as many as 22 more species including Orca, becoming more common around the island but found rarely elsewhere else in Newfoundland.

Quirpon is a small harbour on the historic French Shore named in the 16th century by Breton sailors after a harbour near St. Malo, France. Its name has been spelled several ways throughout its history -  Karpon, Carpont, Kirpon are a few of the variations. Quirpon’s location as the northeastern most harbour on the island of Newfoundland suggests that it was familiar to many early European explorers and fishermen. Cape Degrat, on nearby Quirpon Island, is noted on the earliest maps of the region. It is thought that John Cabot, the first known European explorer to the region since Viking times, landed nearby in 1497.

Quirpon (pronounced Karpoon) presents the unique island experience of a 1922 lightkeeper’s home on the shores of “Iceberg Alley”. Fully restored, the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn features 10 beautiful rooms in two houses at the base of an operating lighthouse. It is now a Registered Heritage Building.

With its northernmost location, Quirpon Island is Newfoundland’s best location for viewing icebergs as the Labrador Current carries them south. Quirpon Island offers the longest iceberg viewing season in Newfoundland, with the last melting in the fall on a good year. The unmatched food supply combined with the underwater topography are the explanations whale experts give us as to why so many whales are constant companions and why they come close enough to the rocks to be touched.

Iceberg Alley

Let the powerful North Atlantic surf remind you of the hardiness of generations of lightkeepers who have lived in this isolated corner of the globe

When it comes to viewing icebergs, this is one of the best places in the world. On a sunny day, view these 10,000-year-old glacial giants from many points along the northern and eastern coasts – in every shape and size. With colours ranging from snow-white to the deepest aquamarine.

But its our boat tours, or my guests’ opportunity to paddle along in a sea kayak or even on one of our many easy hikes along the 29,000 km of coastline to see a iceberg that has run ashore in one of the thousands of bays that makes this a special place.

Despite their arrival from the Arctic every spring, our awe of them remains new, year after year. Their sheer size sends the mind racing, and that's not even counting the ninety-percent still unseen below the surface. And to think, it was It was icebergs that originated from the same locations that sank the infamous Titanic, a mere 400 miles from our coast.

Codroy Valley

The Atlantic Ocean provides a temperamental backdrop to the peaceful landscape dotted with horses and sheep wandering the meadows and hills.

Home of breathtaking scenery, rugged shores, rolling meadows, slow flowing rivers, warm smiles, and a meteorological wonder known simply as the Wreckhouse.

Just minutes from Port aux Basques and the Marine Atlantic Ferry, the Codroy Valley is waiting for you. Explore our scenic drive by taking either route 406 or 407 off the Trans Canada Highway. There's plenty to do and see here.

The Codroy Valley is a region steeped in history. From the early days of Acadian & Scottish settlement, this area has provided a fertile land, not only for agriculture, but for music, heritage, culture and community. The valley has the earliest recorded evidence of settlement on the West Coast of Newfoundland and soon became a blend of cultures, from French & Miqmaq to Gaelic and English. These influences are still alive today, evident in the names of the people who call the valley home.

With a combined population of 2,200 inhabitants, there’s plenty of room to move around. The entire valley is framed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Range and Anguille Mountains (natural extensions of the Appalachian Mountain Range). Land and sea is a way of life here, and it’s always ours to explore every year.

Bonavista Penninsula

When you visit the town of Bonavista, you might be hard-pressed to decide what impresses you most: the community's tangible history, its traditional personality, or the stunning beauty of this place.

This route is dotted with small communities built along rugged coastlines.  During May and June visitors may have the chance to see icebergs floating in the waters and during the months of July and August whales can often be spotted feeding on Capelin.

Here we take in the scenery, visit the many municipal and provincial parks along the route and get in touch with Newfoundland's past.

Elliston is one of the best places in Newfoundland to observe a natural puffin habitat.  Park the car and take a short walk out towards a small island Observers can often get close enough to the puffins to not need binoculars.

Trinity is the perfect home base for exploring the Discovery Trail on the Bonavista Peninsula.  Trips along Routes 230 and 235 towards Bonavista or along Route 238 to Elliston make excellent day trips for those who wish to see rugged coastlines with icebergs, whales and puffins as well as historic lighthouses and museums. 

There are so many more places to visit, so many to list… these are just my favorites, and i would love to guide you to my favorite locations at just the right time so you can capture the perfect image.

If this doesn't wet your appetite to join me... maybe these Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism videos will... :-)

The 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador TV commercial.

A video taken where we photograph the Puffins in Newfoundland and Labrador.

My trips sell fast, my last four years have sold out. So its never too late to reserve your spot on my 2017 trip.

You can see all the information here, http://northof49photography.com/2017-tour-of-newfoundland

If you plan far in advance, the details on my 2018 trip are here, http://northof49photography.com/2018-tour-of-newfoundland-week-one