Top reasons why Western Newfoundland is on your bucket list


Rich in unique rock formations, towering fjords and picture-perfect fishing villages, Newfoundland’s west coast is a wealth of attractions that will delight any traveler. Here’s just a taste of the best things to do in Western Newfoundland.

What to see

There is no end to things to see in Western Newfoundland. From Channel-Port aux Basques to the top of the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland’s west coast is a wealth of cultural, historical and natural wonders. It is also home to not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – L’Anse aux Meadows (the only verified Viking site in North America) and Gros Morne National Park.

Gros Morne . National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site ranks among Canada’s top national parks and amazes with its breathtaking vistas, verdant boreal forests, and glacier-carved fjords. Particularly unique are the Tablelands, whose barren, rust-colored landscape looks like it would be more at home on Mars and offers one of the few places on Earth where you can walk on Earth’s mantle. Try the Tablelands Trail with a guide from Parks Canada (if you’re lucky, you’ll get Marcella who will share fascinating insights into the mountain’s unique rocks and plants). Be sure to visit the Gros Morne Discovery Center to see the Miawpukek-Middle River Exhibition, which explores the stories and traditions of a Mi’kmaw community on Newfoundland’s southern coast.

L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

Located near the picturesque town of St Anthony, discover the fascinating archaeological remains of a Viking encampment in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the story of the Vikings is truly brought to life as costumed characters tell tales of the trials and tribulations of everyday life as visitors try the ancient arts of forging and weaving.

Tours and Activities

Activities for all interests, energy levels, and ages abound in western Newfoundland.

Picnic and paddling with Wild Gros Morne: Kayaking in Bonne Bay is a unique way to discover the beauty of Gros Morne and maybe spot an otter or whale or two as you paddle to a private beach to enjoy a delicious homemade picnic.

Anchors Aweigh: Head to Ocean View Hotel for Anchors Aweigh, a truly unique musical performance by a local group of incredibly captivating entertainers who share beloved Newfoundland folk songs, humor and dance.

Gros Morne Theater Festival: In the town of Cow Head, at the new Nurse Myra Bennett Center for the Performing Arts, guests will have an evening to remember as they enjoy dinner and drama at this captivating dinner theater. The talented ensemble performs plays from national and international repertoire. Afterwards, take a relaxing stroll in the St. Mary’s Botanical Garden next to St. Mary’s Anglican Church. This easy-to-miss gem is a little horticultural paradise.

Gros Morne Adventures Discover Mekapisk: Discover the Aboriginal history of the region with the help of guide and outdoorsman Keith Payne. Among other things, Payne even teaches the participants – with unparalleled patience – how to build a fire (you can do it, believe me!) and cook bannock.

Boat trip along the western creek pond: Offering one of the best possible views of Gros Morne, this boat tour takes you through a towering fjord, where you’ll see wildlife, waterfalls, and glacier-carved mountains.

Dark Tickle Expeditions: Not sure how to choose between viewing whales or icebergs? Choose both with this zodiac tour that gives you the chance to see the world’s largest population of humpback whales and 10,000-year-old glacial giants.

Grenfell Heritage Properties: Learn about the remarkable life and adventures of Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a physician who devoted his life to helping the people of Western Newfoundland. The incredibly well-stocked gift shop is worth a visit in its own right for its tempting selection of local goods and crafts.

Where to eat

Foodies can feast on everything from traditional Newfoundland brewis (cod stew), to a delectable array of fresh seafood, to sophisticated dishes that will satisfy even the pickiest of palates.

Elegant Chanterelles serves decadent seafood pasta (the best I’ve had in years) with lobster in a creamy saffron and chive sauce. It also has decadent homemade desserts and the best wine list in the region.

Above in the singular Dark Tickle Company shop you’ll find Café Nymphe, a charming bistro with a tempting menu of home-cooked treats. The meals are delectable, but don’t leave without trying the homemade ice cream, made from local wild berries such as bakeapple and partridgeberry, served in a uniquely shaped sculpin cone. The shop below has a unique selection of local jams and gifts.

The Black Spruce restaurant highlights locally and sustainably harvested food and is one of the most popular spots in the region for a special night out. The seafood soup with roasted garlic oil is a delight for epicureans.

Located in the picture-perfect town of Trout River, Seaside restaurant is a popular family-owned spot where you’ll feast on a seemingly endless selection of fresh seafood such as lobster, mussels, snow crab, halibut, salmon, and cod. The view of the sunset is truly incredible.

How to move?

Ride in style

Given the shortage of rental cars, hiring a private driver from a local company like Ride in Style can be a smart option. This is especially true as the drivers are locals and have a wealth of information and tips that you won’t find in guidebooks. Try to get the inimitable Bruce LeDrew as your driver. Charming, caring and quick on his feet, he goes the extra mile to ensure his passengers have a memorable time in western Newfoundland (thanks to him we saw our first iceberg!).



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