What to Do in Central Newfoundland

Central Newfoundland is a diverse and exciting part of the province, known by some as ‘Adventure Central’. The region is vast, offering plenty of opportunities for exploration, with coastlines, rivers, lakes and islands drawing visitors from far and wide. Here are a few places you cannot miss when you’re wondering what do in central Newfoundland.

Fogo Island & Change Islands

 

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With just 300 inhabitants in this outport community, arriving at Change Islands is like taking a step back in time. The homes and fishing sheds dotted across the three islands have remained largely unchanged for decades. Change Islands are nestled between Notre Dame Bay and the Labrador Sea. They comprise a North, Middle, and South island separated by a ‘tickle’ (a strait, or narrow passage of water, in Newfoundland English). Of these, only the Middle and South islands are populated.

Admired for its unflinching preservation of the past, Change Islands attracts tourists, photographers and artists.  The islands offer a unique atmosphere with a range of sights and attractions. Immerse yourself in history at the Olde Shoppe Museum, come face to face with the province’s heritage animal at the Newfoundland Pony Sanctuary, or simply relax and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Slightly further to the east, you’ll find Fogo Island. Fogo is the largest offshore island of Newfoundland and Labrador and boasts a long maritime history and a thriving artist community. With its rocky landscape and scattering of colourful wooden huts, Fogo Island has a Nordic feel. With a unique culture and beautiful natural environment, there’s lots to enjoy on the island. There are numerous hiking trails for the keen outdoorsmen, and a whole host of independent art galleries for those who are more creatively inclined.

Despite its remote location, Fogo Island comes complete with an ultra-modern luxury hotel: Fogo Island Inn. Its unique architecture is a wonder in itself. Perched on stilts at the water’s edge, its sharp angles presenting a stark contrast to the nature that surrounds it. Inside you’ll find gourmet cuisine served in the inn’s gorgeous restaurant, reported as one of the best in Canada.

 

Twillingate

 

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Located on the Twillingate Islands, this picturesque town is an ideal place to experience Newfoundland’s nature first-hand. One of the stops on the aptly named ‘Iceberg Alley’, every year adventurers flock to Twillingate to catch a glimpse of the mighty whale, or to see a 10,000 year old iceberg floating through the sea.

Twillingate has one of the best views of them in the province. This is largely thanks to the wide range of excursions available from town. You can choose from several boat tours to get up close and personal with Newfoundland’s glacial giants. Enjoy a personalized boat trip with Captain Dave or a two-hour trip with Twillingate native Cecil Stockley, otherwise known as the ‘Iceberg Man’.

You can round off your ocean adventure with a tour or tasting at the Auk Island Winery. Here, they’ve been producing wine for more than twenty years. This historic property houses a wide selection of hand-picked Newfoundland berry wines (with one line made from real iceberg water), and you can even get a scoop of wine-infused ice cream at Auk Island’s on-site restaurant.

Twillingate is particularly lively in summer, when chances of seeing icebergs and whales are at their highest. During this time you’ll find live performances almost every night, with arts festivals, dinner theatre, and traditional music sessions on the calendar. If you happen to be visiting at the end of July, the annual Fish, Fun and Folk Festival is always popular when locals recommended what to do in central Newfoundland.

 

Gander

 

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A town with a rich aviation history, Gander gained national significance following the terror attacks of 9/11. The town is home to Gander National Airport, where 8 planes carrying thousands of passengers were forced to land when the Federal Aviation Administration shut down its airspace. Usually home to just 10,000 residents, for the next 5 days this close-knit community welcomed the travelers with open arms. While the horrors of 9/11 unfolded, residents provided food, shelter, and most of all, comfort. In 2012, the events were immortalized in the smash hit musical Come From Away, which has now been performed across the globe and won 4 prestigious Olivier Awards.

If you’re visiting Gander, you might come into contact with the show’s real-life counterparts. One of the town’s two police constables, Oz Fudge, to the community TV volunteer Brian Mosher still reside in Gander. It’s the sense of community that makes the town so special, although there’s plenty more it has to offer.

Plane enthusiasts won’t want to miss the North Atlantic Aviation Museum. It has a collection of aircraft from the 1930’s to the present day and engaging multimedia displays. You can even venture into the fully accessible cockpit of a Douglas DC-3. Gander boasts a wealth of beautiful green spaces, including Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park and the Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest. A stroll around Gander Heritage Memorial Park offers a place for quiet thought and reflection. The park displays numerous monuments reflecting the town’s military history including a life-size statue of the heroic Newfoundland dog Sgt Gander and his World War II handler.

 

Terra Nova National Park

 

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If you’re looking to be at one with nature when planning what to do in central Newfoundland, your trip won’t be complete without visiting Terra Nova National Park. It is one of several Parks Canada Sites in the province. Covering four hundred square kilometres, this incredible park has both quiet coastlines and dense forest to explore. Furthermore, there a whole host of activities for all the family to enjoy.

There are eleven scenic hiking trails throughout the park, offering the chance to lay eyes on some of central Newfoundland’s native wildlife. Moose, lynx, beavers and eagles are just some of the animals that call Terra Nova their home. Offering breathtaking views, there are trails suitable for all skill levels with the Coastal Trail being the most popular.

The park’s rivers, lakes and ponds beckon water enthusiasts to take a dip. You can experience a kayak tour, paddling along sheltered inlets, or even head off on multi-day adventures. There are a number of camping experiences to be had at Terra Nova, including backcountry camping, rustic cabins, or even a night in a yome (that’s a cross between a yurt and a dome).

You can even head off on an overnight canoe trip deep into the wilderness of the park. The trip starts at Sandy Pond with a portage to Beachy and Dunphy Ponds. Gently paddle under a blanket of stars, waking up to the sound of birds before drinking coffee around the campfire. Best of all, the park can rent you all the gear and equipment you’ll need. Therefore, there’s no need to be bogged down with luggage to get a real taste of central Newfoundland’s great outdoors.

 

There you have it! Now you know what to do in Central Newfoundland to have a breathtaking vacation.

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