Western Newfoundland is anything but small!
Stretching from the Gateway ferry port of Channel-Port aux Basques on the Southwest corner of the island of Newfoundland to the Viking site at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.
This vibrant region offers travelers a wide range of natural and cultural experiences. Don’t miss the only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the province, L’Anse Aux Meadows and Gros Morne National Park, as well as glacier-carved fjords, hiking trails, ancient aboriginal sites, National and Provincial parks, beaches, sand dunes, theatre festivals, museums, and cultural events.
With ancient mountains, fjords, and thousands of miles of coastline, the region is more like a small country.
This wild and rugged land boasts abundant breathing room and a unique geological history going back 1.25 billion years, as well as a relatively young human history – a mere 4,500 years old – that is still being uncovered today.
Head to the Southwest Coast and stop by the Wetlands – a birder’s paradise which was designated as a Wetland in 1987. Visit the fascinating lighthouses in the region such as Cape Anguille, Cape Ray, Channel Head and Rose Blanche. Drive through the Codroy Valley, home to the “Wreckhouse,” an unusual wind phenomenon which is unique to this area.
Take a trip to the sandy shores of Burgeo’s Sandbanks Provincial Park to enjoy a day at the beach and sea kayak around the unspoiled coastline in complete serenity.
Find your “joie de vivre” on the Port au Port Peninsula, where the descendants of French fishermen who pursued their livelihoods for centuries retain their distinct language and culture.
Corner Brook is the major service centre of the western region, a picturesque city nestled along the Long Range Mountains in the sheltered Bay of Islands.
Anglers will delight in the city’s most celebrated landmark – or perhaps watermark – the mighty Humber River, for its unparalleled salmon fishing. The Humber Valley area is also a haven for adventure enthusiasts during summer and winter.
Just five minutes east of the city, experience the best skiing east of the Rockies. Stand at the base of Marble Mountain and look up – way up – 1,700 feet vertically to the top of the mountain. Oh what a gem! Western Newfoundland.
The jewel in the crown is the spectacular Gros Morne National Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. This 1805 square kilometre park offers beauty and adventure that are unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. The park offers more than 100 kilometres of hiking trails from leisurely strolls to challenging treks through rock formations pushed up from the earth’s core in a spell of tectonic upheaval. Climb to the top of Gros Morne Mountain for unforgettable with panoramic views of the majestic mountainous landscape and stunning glacier-carved fjords.
Stop at the National Historical Site at Port au Choix and view artefacts of the Maritime Archaic people who occupied the region over 3700 years ago. You’ll see how Maritime Archaic and Dorset peoples depended on the very same natural resources thousands of years ago that sustain life today.
History buffs are overwhelmed with countless sites and museums and the stories they have to tell across this region. Tales about dynamic people like Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a medical missionary who brought health care to remote villages. Explore the interpretation centre dedicated to his life in St. Anthony.
While you’ll be tempted to spend many an hour in the belly of a museum soaking up the history in Northern Newfoundland, you may want to consider taking a breather outside. This is exactly where you’ll find ecological reserves and Provincial natural parks as well as the longest iceberg season on the island of Newfoundland and Labrador. Most years, giant bergs grace these shores during June & July, long after they’ve melted elsewhere.
Stumble across the very first European settlement of the new world at L’Anse aux Meadows. This Viking village, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, features a reconstructed complex of sod huts provides a true glimpse of the life of Nordic visitors a thousand years ago – half a millennium before the arrival of Columbus.