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Top Tips for Eastern Canada

When you look at the Canadian WHS map, there is what looks like a convenient cluster of 10 WHS in the East. These were the goal of my June 2022 road trip. It took me 24 days and 8,679 km of driving across three time zones to cover them all. 11 community members did this before me, however probably not all within one trip. You can find my day-to-day itinerary here on the Forum. I had been to Western Canada before and found the East more varied and more liveable. Please find below my Top Tips for Travelling to Eastern Canada as a WH Traveller.

1. You cannot wing it

At least not when you want to be sure to see all WHS within a fixed amount of time. Especially now, when travel is just restarting after Covid, some resources are scarce. Newfoundland has a notorious shortage of rental cars, for example; I circumvented that issue by driving up from Montreal and booking the car 8 months beforehand. For the WHS locations that require a tour, I also reserved weeks before - although not all were fully booked when I got there. The ferries also need to be pre-booked to guarantee at least your date of departure. I also booked and often pre-paid all my hotels, which helped keep the costs down (I managed to keep the daily average of accommodations at 84 EUR).

2. Expect all kinds of weather

I had brought clothes for different types of weather and I used them all – layering up with a T-shirt, long-sleeved sweater and raincoat. Daily temperatures ranged between 4 and 27 degrees Celsius. It rained heavily and mostly all day for about 6 of the 24 days. But I also wore shorts for 10 days or so. Gloves would have been nice too for Mistaken Point, the Western Brook Pond Tour, and L’Anse Aux Meadows.

3. Newfoundland is worth a trip of its own

The large island of Newfoundland (the world's 16th biggest) was the undoubted highlight of the trip. It is sparsely populated with a variety of dramatic landscapes, Gros Morne NP standing out especially. On my way back from the Labrador Ferry towards Port aux Basques, I passed that park once again, this time in the late afternoon, and was so stunned by the view of the fjord in the distance I was tempted to add another half a star to my rating of the site. But other areas of the island are also excellent, such as the coast near Mistaken Point (including Witless Bay) and the Terra Nova National Park that you will drive through when crossing the island.

4. Get used to the Ferries

I made 4 separate ferry crossings with my rental car during this trip, doing both the Labrador Ferry (St. Barbe – Blanc Sablon, 1.5h) and North Sydney – Port aux Basques Ferry (7h) twice. As it was my first time taking a car on a ferry, I was a bit nervous about it but it turned out well. It’s all very organized and my “small” car always went in among the first ones in the deep caverns of the ships. The crossings do add significant cost to the journey however, the Labrador one cost 35.25 CAD (27 EUR) one-way, the one to Nova Scotia 179.53 CAD (136 EUR). For further reference, I wrote up the details on my Dutch website.

5. Landscapes before animals

The East has stunning landscapes. Gros Morne is outstanding, but also the Gaspé peninsula and the coastal areas of Joggins and Prince Edward Island (3rd photo) are exceptionally pretty. I was disappointed though by my mammal score: I encountered no Caribou on Newfoundland and only 5 Moose (near the roads in the early evening). I saw some red foxes and squirrels too, but that’s about it.

Els - 10 July 2022

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Jay T 11 July 2022

Great tips, and I agree, Newfoundland is well worth a trip on its own. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see much wildlife on this trip.