We have come to Gros Morne to do some hiking and they have a lot of trails. They have a listing of over 20 hikes from beginner to difficult. The trails here are very well marked and we have no trouble finding any of the hikes we want to take. One of the best hikes we took was the Coastal Trail that was 6 km return. It takes you through forest, along the ocean and through some great wild strawberry fields. Like most days it rains but it is nice to walk when it is a bit cooler. This hike is a little more flat and would be good for anyone. So we spend our days hiking or visiting some of the other areas around Rocky Harbour. We go into a few very quaint towns, Norris Point, Woody Point and to the Tablelands. I would recommend that you stay in Rocky Harbour as it is central for everything you would want to do. There are some great restaurants in Rocky Harbour and we do our best to try them all. The great thing about these restaurants is that the food is all home made. When we were at one restaurant we asked how they did their pork chops and were told “Like my Mom used to make them” and that just about sums it up. The food may take a little longer to get but it is great.
We head out today for St. Anthony which is on the northern most tip of Newfoundland. We are going to see L’Anse aux Meadows which is a UNESCO heritage site and it the home of the first inhabitants of NFLD, the Vikings. It takes us about 4.5 hours to get there from Rocky Harbour and we head right to the site. We walk around the exhibits and take in the short film before we head down to the site. It is about a 10 minute walk to the site. It is in two parts. They have actually rebuilt three halls and five smaller buildings where the Vikings lived and worked. The also have Viking re-enactors at the site. Visit with merchant-adventurer Bjorn and his wife Thora, the blacksmith Ragnar and other members of the crew. It is great fun as they tell you about life in their village and answer any of your questions. They also have reproduction artifacts that you can try. There was also the opportunity to dress up as a Viking. We didn’t do this but many other did. There are also still the traces of homes that would have been there. Once we have been through the site we decide to do the Birchy Nuddick Trail that takes you along the coast and then back to the main building. It has been a great experience and we are so glad that we made the trip.
We head back to St. Anthony’s to check in to our hotel the Grenfell Heritage Hotel. This is an older hotel but in great shape. We get a room with one bed and full kitchen. This hotel sits on the ocean so depending what room you get, you would have an ocean view. When we check in at the counter we are told that the last iceberg of the season is here so we decide to take a tour to see it. We are directed to across the street to the Northland Discovery Boat Tour. This is probably the best boat tour we have taken to date. The young guy who works on the boat starts talking the minute we leave the dock and talks about NFLD and what we can expect to see. We are out on the water probably 5 minutes when the captain puts the boat in reverse so we don’t run over a whale that is right out front to the boat. We see humpback whales and a group of about 16 dolphins following the whales. Not sure what to look at so decide to watch the dolphins are they look so graceful when they travel together. It takes about 20 mins to get to the iceberg and it is massive. About 4 stories high and we are told that it is melting quickly. We stay there about 20 minutes as they drive around the iceberg and talk about where it came from and how long it is expected to last. They usually don’t get icebergs this late in the season so we are lucky to see one. There are pieces of iceberg floating around and our guide put in his net and brings a bergie bit on the boat for us all to try. It’s hard to believe that this ice is thousands of years old and that we have the opportunity to try it. We head back in and are surprised by more whales. It has been a great tour and I will probably not see another iceberg in my life time. Quite the experience.
We are headed home today but I can say that this is one of the Top 10 trips that we have taken and we will definitely return to Newfoundland. We have gone from coast to coast and to the top of Newfoundland. I would just like to leave you with a few tips.
- Make a reservation. We saw so many people who couldn’t find a hotel room.
- Make your car rental reservations early. It is a small island and not many cars.
- Take a rain jacket. We used our jackets a lot. The weather does not get very warm so it’s nice to have a jacket. Use the layer method.
- Get Screeched In and become an honorary Newfoundlander!
- Stay for the music. Music is everywhere in Newfoundland.
If you are thinking that Europe may not be for you this year then consider Newfoundland. All prices are in Canadian dollars and you can use your debit card. It is a beautiful island and the people are its strongest selling feature. We will be back.