Paddle and Stroll
Kayak with whales & icebergs, stroll with moose. Humpbacks, orca and dolphins often come to play as we kayak out to meet "vast cathedrals of ice" - the most staggering displays nature has to offer. Hike pristine ecosystems, from arctic landscapes to Gros Morne National Park's forests and fjords.
2016 Dates: July 9 - 16
- Start your adventure with two days in Gros Morne National Park, walking across the unearthly mountains that make this a UNESCO World Heritage Site and take a tour through a fjord, gazing up at cliffs over 2,000 feet hanging over your head.
- On to Quirpon Island to kayak with the bergs and whales as you explore ‘Iceberg Alley’ at the northernmost tip of Newfoundland.
- While kayaking around Quirpon Island is an obvious delight, hiking the large deserted island with ancient sod ruins, an abandoned village and cliffs overlooking the whales and icebergs, is equally spectacular.
- The Viking site lies just to the west of the island and we head over to visit the UNESCO Site and hike between outports.
- Days 7 and 8 are back in Gros Morne, visiting active fishing villages and tackling the highest mountain in the park to photograph the fjords from above. Magical!
This tour is for those seeking a little more activity in their exploration of the best walking and kayaking in Newfoundland. You start your adventure in Deer Lake and head for Gros Morne. This national park boasts scenery and walking trails that are known worldwide and we have selected the best for you. Our routes are designed to offer something for any level of walker, to ensure you are still keen the next day!
Your time on the water is in the area with the highest concentration of icebergs and whales in the world, so keep your camera ready. Luckily, the whales and bergs like to dawdle near the shore so, again, we needn’t overreach anyone’s comfort level.
When we travel the world, the only thing that vies for top priority over our adventures – food. The food and culture of Newfoundland are inextricably linked and this is your chance to experience the both.
Lastly, the third critical criterion for the perfect day – a comfy bed in a beautiful setting. Done!
Day 1: A Stroll on the Earth’s Mantle
Welcome! An exploration of the south side of Gros Morne National Park is today’s mission. Start at the Discovery Centre for an interpretation of the natural and cultural history of the park. From the centre you were able to see the Tablelands, the remarkable stretch of Mars like geology that makes this park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a flight it is always a great idea to take a hike to build an appetite. We can hike the Green Garden Trail that leads you through remarkable biological and geological wonders which are not equalled anywhere else on earth. This is approximately a one hour walk down a park trail to the coast. Wander along the coast as long as you like enjoying the sea stacks, pillow lava, wild meadows, sea cave and semi-wild sheep. Then – more strenuous walking as you head back up the valley.
After building an appetite enjoy a great meal in the traditional fishing village of Woody Point. I know the food is your focus but keep an eye out to the sea for whales looking for their own seafood supper!
Day 2: Gros Morne National Park
Time now to visit one of the icons of the park. You will enjoy a 45 minute boardwalk hike across a bog (known locally as a “mish”) to the dock of the Western Brook Pond Boat Tour. This journey will take you into a deceptively innocuous notch in the granite cliffs that open into a landlocked fjord surrounded by 2000 foot cliffs. Penetrate miles into the mountains in this ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ with Hanging Valleys and waterfalls dropping from a height that makes you dizzy just to see them. You have likely already seen moose but, if not, the walk into Western Brook Pond gives you the chance to see caribou, moose and interesting bog plants including our provincial flower that eats insects!
Day 3: Icebergs & Quirpon Island
Time to get wet! We launch from the harbour in Quirpon and head towards the island. Landing at a tiny cove we strike out along the cliffs toward the northernmost point in Newfoundland. The cliffs offer balcony seats to the whales and dolphins that play in the waters below. For those with an appreciation of the ancient, we visit sod huts remains from an unidentified culture. These untouched artifacts are powerful in evoking the life of those that preceded us to this cove by millennia. If the weather is agreeable and the paddlers keen we will paddle the full distance (7 kms) under these cliffs. Either way, your goal for the day is Quirpon Lighthouse Inn perched on the tip of the island. Sip a drink and relax on the cliffs, helipad or in the indoor whale watching station as you watch the bergs and whales continue their eternal parade.
Day 4: Whales & Abandoned Villages
The abandoned island community of L’Anse aux Pigeon was the site of a mass murder and suicide which was the climax of a tragic tale told in the book ‘Curse of the Red Cross Ring‘. It is only one of the stories of hardship that have made this island famous. We know more. To reach “Pigeon” we head back out our cove, turn right at the humpbacks, through a tickle, past the sea otter trails and through what is often a nice patch of confused seas.We stop in Pigeon for a lunch we pick from the bottom at low tide and then head on to the kittiwake colonies.
Day 5: An Island by Land, not Sea
Take a day to hike the hills or just sit in the whale watching station and enjoy this remarkable island. No hiking visit to Newfoundland would be complete without a struggle with Tuckamore. If you are wandering the island and come across a ravine filled with tight growing spruce, birch and fir trees, I challenge you to try and beat your way through it. The trees win. They are likely centuries old and grow so tightly together that you can often walk across ravines on their tops. From the top of the hills the view is spectacular – you can see through the clear water allowing unequalled views of the whales and underwater sections of the icebergs.
Day 6: Vikings
Visit the only Viking site on this side of the Atlantic. Ten centuries ago, long before Columbus set sail, the Vikings landed in North America at this spot. The factors that led this astounding culture to inhabit and then desert L’Anse aux Meadows will set your imagination afire. No wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After our coastal drive back to Gros Morne you can enjoy a little local culture this evening, as the Gros Morne Theatre Festival is underway.
Day 7: Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to Gros Morne Mountain. Your trail today takes you to the summit where the views are breathtaking. No restaurant can match the ambience of picnicking at the top of 2,700 foot cliffs as you look for the moose, caribou and black bears wandering below. Sound daunting? Not to worry, there are options that offer great views without hiking all the way to the top.
Day 8: Gros Morne National Park
Visit some of the sites on the north side of the park including Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, Norris Point Look-off, the Ethie shipwreck and Rocky Harbour. The Marine Interpretation Centre in Norris Point is also a lot of fun. By now you will have a feel for the park so there may be a short walk you would like to do. Then – back to reality, sadly.
Accommodations: Quirpon Lighthouse Inn (3 nights), Gros Morne National Park (4 nights)
Meals: 7 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 3 suppers
Transportation: all transportation, including airport shuttles
Site & Park Passes: Gros Morne National Park, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Western Brook Pond Boat Tour
Guides & Gear: kayaking and hiking
Per Person Price:
- $2,700 + tax, based on double occupancy
- $3,200 + tax, based on single occupancy
All prices are in Canadian dollars. Applicable taxes include 13% HST.