Destination: Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula

One of the highlights of my recent visit to Newfoundland was traveling to the northern peninsula, aka Land of the Vikings or Vinland. It is a long drive from the ferry docks in Port aux Basques but well worth pounding over rough roads and hydroplaning for 3 hours to get there…I promise. My husband, David, is still having flashbacks of the drive but he’ll recover.

The road follows the coastline and there is a lot to see along the way. We stopped at Arches Provincial Park before the weather turned bad and enjoyed playing on the beach and climbing on rocks – it doesn’t take much to make me a happy girl. Then we drove on…and on…and on…

 

 

We stayed at the Valhalla Lodge B&B in Gunner’s Cove, which was delightful. The rooms were comfortable, the breakfast was lovely and the views of the harbor were incredible. One afternoon an iceberg drifted by and the next morning you could see whales blowing water into the air – both in the far distance so binoculars were necessary.

 

View from Valhalla B&B

 

On the first day, we toured the Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows (World Heritage Site), ate the best codfish I’ve ever had and explored the trails that follow the shoreline. It was a beautiful day so we could see Labrador across the Strait of Belle Isle.

 

Replica Viking building at L’anse aux Meadows

Cool carvings + happy Vikings!

Viking sheep really like dandelions!

Low tide + Labrador (in the far distance)

 

After we had our fill of Viking history, we headed to the eastern part of the peninsula to visit the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve. The reserve is considered one of the most important botanical sites in Newfoundland, home to 300 different plant varieties – 30 of those deemed rare. It’s surrounded on three sides by the Strait of Belle Isle, is covered in limestone and is sometimes visited by polar bears (!) who float down on icebergs in the springtime. We had to go.

After two hours of hiking in this windy, arctic climate we saw a lot of limestone but not a ton of botanicals. We wondered if we had read the sign wrong…

 

As we were heading back we saw a bunch of other hikers disappear down a steep curve to place we hadn’t been yet. We followed them like creepers and it paid off. They kept walking through so we got to explore all of this by ourselves:

Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve – we found the botanicals and the giant cliff!

 

While I fully enjoyed touring L’anse aux Meadows and Burnt Cape, it was the boat tour we did that made the extra drive north worth it for me…All of that goodness will be up next! Stay tuned.

 

Selfies + Sea Caves :: Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve

 

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