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Old 11-09-2014, 12:41 PM   #1
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Trip planning to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, NB

We are planning our Atlantic Provinces trip for 2015 and are now looking for input from the community. Our travel opportunity is May - October, and we will start out from our home base in North Carolina. We have been reading many posts on this forum as well as many others. If you have been there and can share your experiences and recommendations, both good and bad, please post them.

We will be traveling with our dog. We are especially interested in the ferry(s), diesel availability, and road conditions. We plan on
using the provincial parks and boondock where permitted, so dump site locations are important. We just completed a trip to Alaska and found one book especially useful --- Camping in Alaska, and of couse Milepost.....is there anything like that for this adventure?

Would also be interested in time you allotted for the four area we plan to visit, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick.

Looking forward to hearing from fellow travelers.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:25 AM   #2
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We're planning for Alaska Spring/Summer 2015 and Nova Scotia Summer/Fall so will be following the thread closely!

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Old 11-10-2014, 08:02 AM   #3
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We did a similar trip this past summer and I also posted a similar request. Here is the thread with a lot of good information:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ei-120193.html

Have fun!
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:04 AM   #4
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One thing we found on our trip to Newfoundland several years ago is not to get there too early in the season. We arrived in early June and some campgrounds were not open yet. There are 2 ferries, one to the SW corner of the island which has sail time of 4-6 hrs and is the cheapest. The other takes you to the east side of the island and has a travel time of about 12 hrs, as I recall. Allow plenty of time on the island because there is a lot to see and you will drive quite a few miles to visit scenic and historic areas all over the island. We saw icebergs in the NW corner and the bird nesting areas in the SE and S areas are incredible as well. The food was great and the people are some of the nicest you will meet anywhere. We were on Newfoundland most of a month.
Make reservations in advance for the ferry boats. We didn't and waited a week for our spot on the ferryboat.
The other provinces are also very interesting to see as well. I especially liked Nova Scotia and all its coastline. Cape Breton is a nice area and Halifax has many sights to visit as well. Just don't rush yourself. It sounds like you will be taking your time. That's the secret. Campgrounds were easy to find, maybe because we were early in the season. It was a great trip!!

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Old 11-10-2014, 09:09 AM   #5
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We had planned a trip to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. When we got to Sidney NS. The campground advised us not to go to Newfoundland that year because it would take a min. of 3 weeks to do it justice. WE went back the next year and shot straight to Sidney and across to Port aux Basques.

Yes we did 3 weeks and only did the west side except for a one day side trip the the Gander airport. Gander is a must. That is where they dropped all the planes coming west on 9/11 and the letters from those that stayed there are something to read.

Unless you have 4 weeks or more I would plan on 2 trips. Make your ferry in both directions reservation as soon as possible.

This monument is known as "The Meeting of Two Worlds" and it represents the place where human cultures met again since it's departure from Africa in the dawn of times. It is at the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows.
Gros Morne Provincial Park you can spend a week there.

My wife says the only reason to go to Labrador is to say you were there, mosquitoes. A short ferry ride and take the trailer. A day trip out to Battle Harbor, a restored cod fishing village was great.
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Old 11-10-2014, 09:58 AM   #6
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Hi,
I moved here to the island about forty five years ago. Most who visit have had good experiences. Roads are good and ample places to park. If you want to cheap out the odd night Walmart don't seem to mind. When we go to St.John's we stay in Pippy Park a nice trailer park in the middle of the city. That is a must. Anyway any questions maybe I can help

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Old 11-10-2014, 10:56 AM   #7
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We did Newfoundland last year on the WBBCI caravan. A month there would be good. We went up and back on the same ferry, the short one from Sidney. The leaders had caught rough water on the year before on the long ferry and there were a lot of people traveling with dogs. On the short ferry there is a kennel to put a dog box in or they stay in the RV alone. No people on the car decks at all. I think it cost us $600 for our truck and trailer round trip. The Golden Arm campground is a very nice place to stage for the ferry and a nice place to sit for a while. Can do Cape Brenton, the fort, and the Bell museum in Baddick from there. Pippy park in St. Johns for sure. Some time at Gros Morne and take the boat ride on the lake. Lots and lots of pretty seaside areas. Twillingate. North up to the Viking landing area, Boswick flying boat museum.
Roads are good with some rough areas. Mostly 2 lane and low speed limits. When you see black marks on the road ahead slow down. The marks often are from airborne wheels that skid when they land back on the road. Plenty of services and diesel fuel. In the seaside villages there are often no public places to eat. Carry a lunch. We stayed at a lot of alternate camping sites with no or varying services. Lots of towns have a place of some sort. We did see a number of people just boon docking at landing areas, etc.
St Anthony by the sea Kiwanis park in New Brunswick was a good stop to start. You could do the Airstream caravan to NFL and work the other areas around it.
If you are a dedicated reader check out Wayne Johnston's novels on Amazon.com. Colony of UnRequited Dreams was interesting for me. He has one set at the Biltmore House too since you are in NC. Maybe watch or read the Shipping News. Neither is a light, breezy read
We are headed north on a caravan from RI to PEI this summer.
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Old 11-10-2014, 12:27 PM   #8
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A couple things, There is a "season" now on Lobster fishing so plan accordingly if you expect to dine on Lobster.

Also, In mid-July, there is a great open house at the former Ernest Harmon AFB, now Stephenville International Airport in the little town of Stephenville south of Corner Brook. Its called Harmon Field Day and its like Armed Forces day here in the states, with Military aircraft on display and a lot of the history of the field being showcased... See: STEPHENVILLE, NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA The site says its every two years, but its still a nice place to visit if its an off year.

I lived on the base in the late 50's. Had a visit from the Queen, AND the King (Elvis' return trip from Germany) while I was there. The base was turned over to the Newfies in the 60's.

Yes, mid June is still a bit chilly. July is nice. Have Fun!
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Old 11-10-2014, 12:55 PM   #9
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Should we tour Nova Scotia first, then PEI then Newfoundland? Is late May (20th or so) too early to start in one of those areas? Was thinking four to five weeks in PEI, four weeks in NS and a week plus in PEI. We are ok with cold, or rain, snow and ice are my concerns.
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Old 11-10-2014, 01:21 PM   #10
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Did you really mean the sequence you just posted?

Timeing I would suggest going up through NB and seeing Fundy PP, then the Confederation Bridge to PEI, then the ferry off PEI to Nova S. The southern half of Nova S doesn't have that much to see. Go down as far as Peggy's Cove. Put Ft. Louisbourg, Alexander Gram Bells Museum, and The Citadel in Halifax on you list. A road trip the Meat Cove on Cape Britain.

An interesting side trip going or coming would be the ferry from L Etete in southern NB to Deer Island, camping on the southern end and the car ferry over to Campobello.
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Old 11-10-2014, 01:27 PM   #11
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With that travel sequence, what would be a ok arrival date to start at Fundy PP?
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:12 PM   #12
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We spent two months in Newfoundland this past summer and visited most of the island (but not Labrador). I would suggest spending as much time as possible on "the Rock" (as Newfoundland is known) to justify the ferry cost. BTW - loved it and would like to return in the future.

Ferry cost:

Our length (truck + trailer) was measured at 49 ft.; the cost from Argentia to North Sydney was $1,050 rounded within a few dollars and including a stateroom. North Sydney to Port aux Basque was as I recall about $565 including a stateroom for an overnight passage. I wouldn't do that again and would take the day ferry instead (that room cost $145). The Port aux Basque route takes about 6 hours; the Argentia route about 16-17 hours (leaves at 5:00 pm arriving between 9:00 and 10:00 am).

I don't think it matters which direction you travel (assuming you are taking each ferry to avoid the drive back to Port aux Basques). If we go again, we would likely travel to Argentia first. A must see in my opinion is Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve about an hour south of Argentia. We were there on Labour Day weekend; the bird colony had about 10-11,000 breeding pairs of northern gannets on "Bird Rock". Earlier in the season you would find equal numbers each of kittiwakes and mures. The sight of 20,000 gannets was astonishing, more than 60,000 birds (over 30,000 breeding pairs) would be an incredible site.

Roads: Vary from pretty good to very bad. The road from Argentia/Placentia to Cape St. Mary's is the latter and I would not tow our Airstream down it. There is a decent campground at Argentia about 5 minutes from the ferry dock ($30 per night cash with electricity, water and sewer). The Trans Canada Highway and other main roads are generally pretty good. A road hazard you will be warned about are moose on the highway. The island is alive with them (several pairs were introduced over a hundred years ago and with no natural predators - well)

Supplies: Good stores in larger centres (Dominion, Walmart, Sobeys, Colemans) but fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to find (or not good quality) in smaller towns. Basics like milk, eggs, etc. are easy to find. Note that Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne (the main town in the park) only has several convenience stores and no grocery store to speak of so stock up in Corner Brook as it's a 120 kilometre drive

Water: Keep your water tank topped up as many campgrounds and provincial parks had a boil water advisory. As far as we can tell, the water is OK but the small towns don't have up to date testing facilities so the advisory is more to cover their butts. We didn't encounter any problems.

Campgrounds: We stayed in both national parks (Gros Morne and Terra Nova) but not in any provincial parks. It just worked out that way and wasn't due to any preference. The provincial parks we did check appear to be basic in amenities. Newman Sound campground in Terra Nova was excellent although the serviced sites were booked up. The unserviced section (we had site 372) had large level sites open to the sky (for our solar panel). I believe none of the campgrounds in Gros Morne have electricity; the centrally located and largest campground at Berry Hill should accommodate a trailer but most sites there are heavily shaded by dense forest so you would require a generator. The Shallow Bay campground is more open and has nice sites but is located near the northern border of the park.

Private campgrounds are numerous and reasonably priced (usually $25 to $30 per night including electricity and water). Pippy Park in St. John's I believe was around $45 per night and the most expensive.

Recommended places to visit (roughly going clockwise around the island);
Port au Port peninsula near Stephenville, Corner Brook area, Gros Morne and the drive up the Great Northern Peninsula to St. Anthony, Twillingate and area, Fogo Island (highly recommended), Gander Int'l airport (especially the international arrival/departure lounge which is a masterpiece of design), Bonavista peninsula (Bonavista, Elliston puffins and Trinity), St. John's and area.

My wife has a blog with photos if this helps: sueandjohnairstreaming.blogspot.ca

We were in PEI four years ago but rented a cottage for 10 days. Lovely place with magnificent beaches but I can't offer any camping advice. Cape Breton is spectacular and we camped there in a tent about 17 years ago. We stopped in Lunenburg on our way home this year and highly recommend it. Lunenburg is ideal after Labour day after the crowds have left. We stayed at the campground operated by the local chamber of commerce the week after Labour Day. It's centrally located (no more than a 10 minute walk to downtown) and was discounted (4 nights for the price of 3 combined with 10% off for CAA/AAA)

I hope this helps.

John
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:40 PM   #13
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Thanks for the great info, it will be very helpful. Because of our dog, we likely will take the 6 hr ferry both ways, unless this is too much of a backtrack...thoughts?

Is ultra low sulphur diesel easy to find.

Looking for recommendations of best date to start the Newfoundland leg of the journey.

Thanks again.

John
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Old 11-10-2014, 05:14 PM   #14
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We were just up in these areas in august & sept.. Here's some ideas and comments.

Newfoundland:

Since you're with your dog, you will want to do the shorter ferry to Port aux Basque, NFL. Dog must stay in the vehicle, and you can not visit them. This pretty much rules out doing the long ferry. I think, 'cause we were there towards the end of the season, we had no problems with the ferry reservations. The ferries weren't even half full.

In Gros Morne NP, be sure to do the boat ride into the fjord...absolutely beautiful.

Up in the northwest part of NFL, we went to Port au Choix. I do NOT recommend going there. In my opinion, it was a waste of time, not sure what the whole big deal about it is. OK, some old graves are there, but otherwise, not worth it. Others may disagree.

On way to St Johns, just a couple hours from St Johns, we stayed at Terra Nova NP. Wonderful campground.

In St Johns, we also stayed at Pippy Park. It is super close to downtown. When in St Johns, get screeched in. We did it at Trapper Johns (bar). We had awesome food in St Johns. Ate at Tavola, Yellowbelly, and The Club. Some of the absolutely best meals of our entire trip.

There's a stunning hike that you can do near Signal Hill. We started at bottom by the Geo Center, hiked through little village on the water, and up and around, and you end up at top of signal hill, then walked back down. Was the most beautiful hike with views out over the harbor, and up the coastline.

Another campground we liked was Kona Beach Campground, in South Brook. Stopped there while heading back west. Had a site right on the beach.

East of Port aux Basque, is some more gorgeous scenery. Worth taking a day to drive that route and stop at the beautiful little villages.

Labrador:

Decided it'd be a shame to get so close to Labrador, and not go take a look. It's less than 1.5 hours on the ferry and was only about $30 (we're 27' long, head to toe).

Glad we went. It's beautiful as well, and hardly anyone is there! We drove to Red Bay (the end of the paved road), a Unesco site. Super interesting place. If you do go, be sure to hike/walk up Tracy Hill for magnificent views.

We stayed at an RV hook up on the side of a gas station. Weird, but fine.

The downside....nasty, nasty, biting black flies. We were fine and didn't see any at all, until just before sunset and then it was like they came out in a big freakin' swarm. They bite you, and you end up with huge welts from them. Ouch!! We wanted to stay an extra day, but couldn't take it, and in the morning, we drove back to the ferry to get the heck out of there.

MISC

We didn't have any problems, except for trying to find a tire shop to help us out when we had a slow leak in one of our back inside duallys. No problems finding diesel, or water or anything. The main roads are great. The non-main roads can be tough...lots of potholes, or many are just gravel. It was a challenge to find decent food stores (the exception being Corner Brook & St Johns). The people are great. In fact, some of the nicest people we met, we met on the ferries!
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