Last Frontier of the East – 22 Nights

Highlights

A comprehensive self drive circle tour starting and finishing in Halifax. This self drive tour takes in some remote areas of northern New Brunswick, Quebec and Labrador.  With spectacular scenery, nature, wildlife and sense of adventure along the way though will make this a truly memorable trip! 

Included

Document Kit Includes: Travel Wallet, Full Itinerary, Vouchers, Driving Directions, Maps & Supporting Literature
22 Nights Accommodation
Intermediate Car Rental for Duration (Unlimited kms, CDW Insurance, Airport Fees, Additional Driver Fee & Taxes)
Digby to Saint John Ferry incl. Vehicle Charge
Matane to Baie Comeau Ferry incl. Vehicle Charge
Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe Ferry incl. Vehicle Charge
Western Brook Pond Boat Cruise
Bay Bulls Nature Cruise
Ferryland Lighthouse Picnic
Argentia to North Sydney Ferry incl. Vehicle Charge & Cabin

Not Included

All Meals (unless stated)
Flights
Travel Insurance
National Park Entrance Fees
Car Rental Extras (Gas, PAC Top up Insurance, GPS and taxes on extras)
Car Parking Fees
Gratuities
Harmonized Sales Tax at 15%
Any additional items not stated

Day 1 – Halifax

Arrive Halifax. Welcome to Nova Scotia’s Provincial Capital. This attractive city is a bustling hub of art galleries, shops, museums, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and vibrant nightlife centered around the picturesque waterfront.  Officially founded in 1749 the history dates back even further, to times of the Mi’kmaq natives, European fishermen and the early Acadians, who came long before the British. Overnight Halifax.

Day 2 – Halifax/Annapolis Royal

Depart Halifax and drive the south shore along the Lighthouse Route. En route visit Peggy’s Cove, a picturesque fishing village and home to Nova Scotia’s most visited lighthouse and Lunenburg – a unique town in terms of architecture and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Drive north along the Kejimkujik Scenic Drive via the Kejimkujik National Park – a spectacular inland national park with walking trails to suit all levels and some of the best canoeing in Atlantic Canada. If time permits, visit the excellent visitor centre which houses replicas of the native tools found here by archeologists dating back 4500 years. Continue on and drive north on to the Annapolis Valley Region, “The Gateway to New Brunswick” – highlights in the area include Fort Anne National Historic Site, Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, the O’Dell House Museum,  Sinclair Inn National Historic Site a delightful waterfront boardwalk and much more. Overnight Annapolis Royal. 

Day 3 – Annapolis Royal/Ferry to Saint John/Fundy National Park

Board the morning ferry from Digby – a crossing of approximately 3 hours over to Saint John, New Brunswick. Saint John is New Brunswick’s largest city and is steeped in history with lots to see and do. Places to visit include Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site, the Old City Market, Loyalist House, the New Brunswick Museum and probably the most famous – the Reversing Falls. Then drive along the scenic Fundy Coastal Drive to Fundy National Park. If time permits take a short side trip and visit Sussex – a quaint town nestled in the beautiful countryside of New Brunswick, and perhaps visit the excellent Agricultural Museum. Continue eastbound to the Fundy National Park – 206km.sq of steep coastal cliffs, forest clad hills, deep rich valleys and clear, rolling meadows. Overnight Fundy National Park. 

Day 4 – Fundy National Park/Caraquet

Today you will depart Fundy National Park early. Be sure to visit Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park – home of Hopewell Rocks. Visit the excellent interpretive centre on site before exploring this natural phenomenon. Twice each day the highest tides in the world — up to 46ft/14m — flood the beach, and twice each day you can explore the floor of the Bay of Fundy at low tide! Created over thousands of years by the Bay of Fundy’s awesome tidal forces, the Flowerpot Rocks are a natural wonder not to be missed! Continue heading north along the Acadian Coastal drive through Kouchibouguac National Park and on to Caraquet. Arrive Caraquet – This vibrant and patriotic small town, with a thriving Acadian culture is sure to delight visitors of all ages. Don’t miss the Village Historique Acadien as you will be transported back in time to the 1800’s. Other attractions include the Theatre populaire d’Acadie and Acadian Museum of Caraquet. Overnight Caraquet. 

Day 5 – Caraquet/Baie Comeau

Depart Caraquet and head west continuing along the Acadian Coastal drive to the New Brunswick/Quebec border. Once over the border drive north to Matane. The Province of Quebec has a rich history and is a delightful blend of the New World and the Old, set against a vast yet intimate landscape. The Québécois are warm and easygoing people, full of energy and creativity, who are proud of the language and culture that make them unique in so many ways. On arrival in Matane you will board the ferry, which will take you across the Saint-Laurente River to Baie-Comeau. Overnight Baie Comeau. 

Day 6 – Baie Comeau/Manic 5 Dam

Depart Baie Comeau and drive to Manic 5 Dam where you will reach the visually striking Daniel Johnson Dam and the Manic 5 Generating Station. It is the largest dam of its type in the world. You can take a tour of the dam & see its splendour at work. Overnight Manic 5 Dam.

Day 7 – Manic 5 Dam/Labrador City

Depart Manic 5 Dam for the long, scenic journey to Labrador City, Labrador. Labrador City and Wabush are twin iron-ore mining towns, commonly known as Labrador West and are the province’s most westerly communities laying just 24kms from the Quebec-Labrador boundary. The towns are separated by just 3kms and are surrounded by endless roaming hills and sparkling lakes. On arrival sightseeing suggestions include visiting the world’s largest underground hydro plants and taking a tour of the facility. You can also tour the Iron Company & Mines and see firsthand how an operation of this magnitude operates. Overnight Labrador City. 

Day 8 – Labrador City/Happy Valley-Goose Bay

Depart Labrador City early and continue east to the town of Churchill Falls, famous for its spectacular waterfalls of the upper Churchill River, 245ft/75m high and previously known as Grand Falls until renamed in 1965, in honor of Sir Winston Churchill. John McLean, a trader of the Hudson Bay Company, first explored the falls in 1839. Because of their isolated location and harsh surroundings, the falls never became a main tourist attraction, but Churchill Falls has one of the largest hydroelectricity-generating capacities – 5,225,000kw, in the world! Continue on to the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the hub of Labrador. Located on the western edge of Lake Melville, Happy Valley-Goose Bay has a rich Inuit and Indian heritage stretching back 6000 years. In 1941 the town became the ideal location for the allies’ Atlantic Ferry Command, with its three 7,000ft runways, as a take-off point to Europe during World War II. Today the base is used by Canadian, British, German and Dutch air forces as a tactical flight training facility. Overnight Happy Valley-Goose Bay. 

Day 9 – Happy Valley-Goose Bay/Cartwright

Depart Happy Valley-Goose Bay and continue your drive to Cartwright. Established in 1775, and named after Captain George Cartwright, this community provided him with an excellent sheltered harbour and Flag Staff Hill gave him a lookout point from which he could look for privateers. Two cannons were erected here and are still here today, a must see while you are here. Other suggestions in the area are to visit the first business established by Cartwright that still operates today. The Mealy Mountains, site of a proposed future national park, can be seen from the community. Near the community is a stretch of golden sand that Vikings called “Wonderstrands”. Visit the Gannet Island Seabird Ecological Reserve – the largest razorbill colony in North America. Overnight Cartwright. 

Day 10 – Cartwright/L’Anse au Clair

Depart Cartwright and continue to Mary’s Harbour where you may be able to arrange visit to Battle Harbour Historic site for the day.  Battle Harbour Historic Properties was established by English merchants in the mid-1700s.  Step back in time and learn the story   of the community, its people and a 200 year old way of life. Continue to L’Anse au Clair. Overnight L’Anse au Clair.

Day 11 – L’Anse au Clair

Explore the Labrador Coastal area. Be sure to visit the Point Amour Lighthouse – one of the two oldest working lighthouses in Canada today and the tallest lighthouse tower in Atlantic Canada. Be sure to visit Red Bay National Historic Site of Canada – Hear the story and view artifacts from a Basque Whaling Station that provided oil for the lamps of Europe four and half centuries ago. Other suggestions include visiting L’Anse Amour Burial Site, HMS Raleigh Shipwreck, Point Amour Lighthouse and the Labrador Straits Museum to name a few! Overnight L’Anse-au-Clair. 

Day 12 – L’Anse au Clair/Ferry to St. Barbe/Quirpon

Depart L’Anse au Clair and drive to the Blanc Sablon ferry terminal ready for your ferry over to St. Barbe. On arrival take time to visit both L’Anse aux Meadows – the only authenticated Viking settlement site in North America and Norstead Viking Village – a fascinating re-enactment of how Vikings lived over 1000 years ago. In the afternoon continue onto Quirpon Dock by 4pm where you will be met on arrival and transferred by small powerboat over to Quirpon Island. A unique remote island experience awaits you! You will stay in a refurbished original Light Keeper’s residence, which is located on Quirpon Island in Cape Bauld on the northernmost tip of the Northern Peninsula. This is a truly once in a lifetime experience not to be missed! Overnight Quirpon. 

Day 13 – Quirpon/Gros Morne National Park

Depart Quirpon mid morning and be transferred back over to Quirpon dock. Depart Quirpon driving south, down the Great Northern Peninsula (Route 430) to Gros Morne National Park. Highlights enroute, include visiting “The Arches”, Shallow Bay Beach and the shipwreck remains of the “SS Ethie”. Arrive Gros Morne National Park – designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 for its impressive geological features, the 1805km.sq park offers beauty and adventure that are unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. Take time to fully explore the south side of this beautiful area of Newfoundland. Visit the impressive Discovery Centre and the scenic communities of Woody Point and Trout River. Take time to view the magnificent ‘Tablelands’ – the reason Gros Morne was given its UNESCO status. Gros Morne is a hiker’s paradise catering to all abilities, with over 19 hiking trails to choose from covering over 100kms of the park. Overnight Gros Morne National Park. 

Day 14 – Gros Morne National Park

Today explore the north side of the park. Highlights include the scenic community of Norris Point and Rocky Harbour – the service hub of the Gros Morne area. Take time to visit Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse and Bonne Bay Marine Station. In the afternoon, enjoy a spectacular Western Brook Pond Fjord Boat Tour – the only way, other than by helicopter, to see the spectacular Western Brook Gorge. Enjoy a 45min boardwalk stroll to the dock before enjoying a leisurely cruise into the gorge – be at one with nature as you see the dramatic ravine-like sides of this inland fjord tower over 600 metres above you. Overnight Gros Morne National Park. 

Day 15 – Gros Morne National Park/Twillingate

Depart Gros Morne National Park heading east to the central region of Newfoundland through a vast expanse of lush forest and onto Notre Dame Bay. Continue along the “Road to the Isles” route to Twillingate. There is a lot to see and do in Twillingate! Sightseeing suggestions include visiting the 1876 still-active Long Point Lighthouse, Twillingate Museum, Durrell Museum (The Polar Bear Exhibit), Auk Island Winery (famous for berry flavored wines), Iceberg Interpretation Centre, Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre to name a few. Overnight Twillingate. 

Day 16 – Twillingate/Trinity

Depart Twillingate driving east through Terra Nova National Park – a beautiful example of typical Newfoundland landscape. Terra Nova National Park is known as the ‘Fingers of the Sea’ as it protects remnants of the ancient Appalachian Mountains. Rocky headlands provide shelter from the awesome power of the open ocean. Continue on to the Bonavista Peninsula and into Trinity – the cultural architectural capital of Newfoundland. Places to visit in Trinity include the Ryan Store, Hiscock House and the Blacksmith Museum to name a few! Overnight Trinity. 

Day 17 – Trinity

Today explore this beautiful region further. This area has been used for the filming of the movie “Shipping News” starring Dame Judi Dench & Kevin Spacey and also for the TV miniseries drama “Random Passage”.  Visit the nearby Cape Random film set constructed in 2000, the site offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time and imagine the life of our fore bearers in a typical fishing community in the early 1800’s. Continue on and drive the remainder of the Bonavista Peninsula. Take time to visit Cape Bonavista Lighthouse, Historic Ryan Premises, Mockbeggar Plantation and the Matthew Interpretation Centre to name a few! Return back to Trinity. Overnight Trinity.

Day 18 – Trinity/St. John’s

Depart Trinity for St. John’s, visiting the charming village of Brigus enroute. Brigus is the residence of the world famous northern explorer Captain Bob Bartlett. Be sure to visit Hawthorne Cottage, Ye Olde Stone Barn Museum and The Tunnel. Continue along the scenic Conception Coastal route back to St. Johns. On arrival explore the oldest city in North America. This historical, vibrant city has many attractions with the added bonus of a wide selection of restaurants from fine dining to traditional Newfoundland fayre. St. John’s also has the highest concentration of pubs per capita on the continent and a visit to the infamous George Street is a must! Overnight St. John’s. 

Day 19 – St. John’s

Today depart St. John’s along the Irish Loop to the scenic Avalon Peninsula, home to over 5500 woodland caribou. En route visit Cape Spear – the most easterly point in North America.  Continue on to Bay Bulls where you will take a cruise around the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, a protective sanctuary for kittiwakes, murres, puffins and other seabirds. The waters off Bay Bulls are home to the world’s largest population of humpback   whales.  Later drive along the south shore to Ferryland where you will enjoy a gourmet lighthouse picnic at Ferryland Lighthouse and later, visit the fascinating Colony of Avalon Archaeological site before returning back to St. John’s. Overnight St. John’s. 

Day 20 – St. John’s/Argentia

Depart St. John’s and drive along the western shore of the Avalon Peninsula via Cape St. Mary’s. Take time to visit the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve Seabird Sanctuary – the Interpretive Centre overlooks Bird Rock – one of the largest nesting sites for gannets in North America. Continue along the Cape Shore Route to Castle Hill National Historic Park – a fort erected in the 17th century to protect the once French capital of Newfoundland. Continue on to Placentia and drive to Argentia ferry terminal where you will board the Marine Atlantic ferry over to North Sydney, Nova Scotia. (Approx. 15 hour crossing). Overnight Marine Atlantic Ferry. 

Day 21 – Marine Atlantic Ferry/Baddeck

Disembark the ferry this morning and drive to Baddeck. Baddeck village overlooks the beautiful Bras d’Or Lake and the most notable resident historically was Alexander Graham Bell – you can visit the National Historic Site  named  after him. Follow the famous Cabot Trail, one of the most spectacular drives in all of Canada. The trail winds around the rocky splendor of Cape Breton’s northern shore, ascending to the incredible plateaus of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The park has 26 hiking trails ranging from short 20-minute walks to challenging hikes through stunning mountain and coastal landscapes. Return back to Baddeck. Overnight Baddeck. 

Day 22 – Baddeck

Depart Baddeck visiting Glace Bay – home of the fascinating Miners Museum and Marconi National Historic Site and the beginning of the Marconi Trail. Continue along the trail to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, the largest historical reconstruction in North America and the town of Louisbourg. Hear the cannons and muskets fire, watch the changing of the guard and meet the villagers at this meticulously preserved and recreated French fortification of over 250 years ago. Depart Louisbourg and drive back to Baddeck. Overnight Baddeck. 

Day 23 – Baddeck/Halifax

Take a leisurely drive back to Halifax Stanfield International Airport where you will drop off your rental car and get ready for your onward journey.

Important information:

It is worth bearing in mind that the Last Frontier of The East Self Drive takes you through some of the most remote areas of Canada. The driving may be long and the presence of other cars and people, few & far between! The scenery, nature, wildlife and sense of adventure along the way though will make this a truly memorable trip! Please ensure that you are fully prepared for your trip and take plenty of water and food with you. You will also find that mosquito’s and black flies are abundant in the northern Québec and Labrador area’s – so ample repellant, a hat and often long sleeved tops and trousers are preferred! Also ensure that you take time to refill your car tank at each overnight location, as there can be as much as 300 kms between gas stations.

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