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Newfoundland self-drive- not sure about my choices?

Level Contributor
22 posts
28 reviews
Newfoundland self-drive- not sure about my choices?

Hello! I'm hoping for some expert input as to how to best maximize our 10 day trip to Newfoundland at the end of August. We arrive on the morning of the 28th, and will immediately pick up a car and drive to Fortune, staying overnight at the Thorndyke B&B. The only day I could get ferry reservations for SPEM was the 29th, with a return to NL on the 30th. Here is where I come up against my first challenge. The ferry should have us back in Fortune by 4:00 pm, and we weren't sure if we should 1. stay somewhere on the Burin peninsula for that night, maybe Marystown? or 2. Drive to Bonavista as soon s we are off the ferry and stay there 2 nights or 3. stop in between the two places, perhaps in Clarenville?

I planned 1 or 2 nights in Bonavista, then 1 night in Gander (just to break it up and to see the aviation museum) on our way to Rocky Harbour. We can only get 1 night there, and I was hoping to stop overnight in Twillingate on the way back, then finish up with a couple of days in St. Johns. I'm not sure about the 1 night in Rocky Harbour. Would we be better served with 2 nights in Twillingate and not go any further west, then reurn to St. Johns? We would like to see icebergs and whales and Fogo Island. I picked these places for our overnights to try and limit our driving to 4 hours a day but am open to other places. My concern is that we have a lot of 1 night stops and it's not enough time to see things properly.

All input and advice is greatly appreciated!

4 replies to this topic
Guelph, Canada
Level Contributor
221 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Newfoundland self-drive- not sure about my choices?

I strongly recommend hacking away and reducing some driving time and 1 night stops.

I personally would delete SPM and Rocky Harbour, and stick with St. John's, the Bonavista Peninsula, and Fogo/Twillingate. That is a full 10 day trip in my books. If you have your heart set on SPM, then go with St. John's, SPM, and the Bonavista Peninsula. And since you've driven down the Burin Peninsula, perhaps stay for another night and check out some of the sights.

Your current intention is to go from Rocky Harbour to Twillingate (4h40m) and stay for a night, including a stop in Fogo, then driving back to St. John's (4h 45m) the next day? That is perhaps theoretically possible, depending on your luck with the Fogo ferry, but it's certainly not practical in any sort of way. It might be a fun idea for contestants on the Amazing Race. Definitely cut Rocky Harbour.

There is almost no chance of you seeing icebergs in Fogo (or elsewhere you're going in NFLD) in late August this year. Last year was freaky and there were a number of smaller ones around well into August, but that was an unusual year. There haven't been nearly as many this year, and late August is very late in the summer for bergs.

Newfoundland is an incredible place, and there is a lot to see in each one of your proposed locations. Sometimes people who try to see it all end up missing it all.

Gros Morne National...
Level Contributor
716 posts
74 reviews
2. Re: Newfoundland self-drive- not sure about my choices?

As much as I love Gros Morne NP, I suggest you cross it off your list. It is best you save it for another time as one night will not even scratch the surface. Given what you seem most interested in, I suggest you consider St. John's, Burin Peninsula, St. Pierre Miq. (overnight there), and Bonavista Peninsula - or - St. John's, Bonavista Peninsula, and Fogo. If you cannot get reservations on Fogo, then maybe substitute Twillingate although you will not see icebergs this time of year. Finding accommodations at this late date is pretty much hit or miss. Try phoning places in the tourism guide and if you strike out there, look for airbnbs or vrbo.

Level Contributor
22 posts
28 reviews
3. Re: Newfoundland self-drive- not sure about my choices?

Thanks! What about whales, or is it too late in the season as well? If we were to stay an extra night in the Burin peninsula which town do you recommend?

St. John's, Canada
Destination Expert
for Newfoundland and Labrador
Level Contributor
4,518 posts
100 reviews
4. Re: Newfoundland self-drive- not sure about my choices?

You may still see some whales, it’s sort of shoulder season for them in late August.

Fortune to Bonavista is roughly 4 hours. I would be inclined to drive the whole way and spend two nights in Bonavista, and 2 nights would be a minimal number IMO.The only concern is that by the end of August, sunset is around 8pm and driving at dusk makes it difficult to spot moose on the road. So an overnight in Marystown is another possibility.The Burin Peninsula is a great area often overlooked by tourists.

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