While visiting family in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, on the east coast of Canada, we had the great pleasure and delight to visit one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. This site is Gros Morne National Park. The park can be found on the fantastic Great Northern Peninsula about a two hour drive north of Corner Brook. Being adventurous people, we experienced an incredible journey as we left beautiful Corner Brook and made our way up Route 430 on the Viking Trail! What a surprise! The Viking Trail is really the 415 km long highway which takes you through many communities in Gros Morne and continues along the coastline up to the town of St. Anthony at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.
The Gros Morne area of Newfoundland offered us adventures of pure delight. There was something to do for all members of our family, young and old alike! The breathtaking scenery we experienced as we travelled Route 430 was second to none. After visiting Australia and New Zealand, as well as other parts of Canada, Gros Morne adventures were just as exciting and often more exciting than those we experienced far away from Newfoundland. The people we met were among the friendliest found anywhere. If you get lost in Gros Morne, don’t hesitate rolling down your car window or stopping a local who might be walking along the road or the trails. You will get lots of directions as well as very colourful conversation which you can delight in when you settle away for the night in one of the many B&Bs, cottages and inns found along the way.
One of the first Gros Morne adventures facing us on our travels was the majestic wildlife, especially the moose and the caribou. As we drove past the Gros Morne National Park Interpretation Centre in Rocky Harbour on our way to Cow Head, we passed open spaces and meadows with herds of caribou feeding on the grasses. There must have been thirty-five to forty caribou minding their own business, ignoring us, and concentrating on getting their food. Even more impressive than the caribou were the huge moose. While walking the trail which took us into Western Brook Pond, we had a close encounter of the moose kind! Two moose stood just off the trail which startled us at first as we stopped short and watched while they strutted off into the trees.
Hiking is one of the best Gros Morne adventures you will enjoy. And in many cases, many of the hikes are free! There are some guided day hikes which cater to the physically fit hikers. Two of those day hikes take you to the beautiful Tablelands and The Big Lookout. While we didn’t take either one of those hikes, we did take a free hike. At the end of Western Brook trail is the Western Brook Pond. The hike into Western Brook Pond took us about forty-five minutes and was easy enough for the whole family. When we reached the pond, we took the boat tour and experienced spectacular and breathtaking scenery as we travelled around the fiord. If you plan to do the boat tour, make sure you book your reservations for the trip before you make the hike.
Sea kayaking is another great Gros Morne adventure suitable for the whole family. There are several guided sea kayaking trips and they allowed us to experience the beautiful Bonne Bay and the many communities in the area. As novice sea kayakers, we took in the shortest sea kayaking trip which was about two hours long. Our two boys thoroughly enjoyed the well-informed guides who discussed the natural environment around us including the mountains and the sea life.
If you and your family are true adventurers, you can take in some backpacking trips one of which will take you up Gros Morne Mountain. After reading the itinerary for this backpacking adventure, we decided that it would be too demanding of a trip for our family.
Near the end of our trip we decided to take it easy for a day or two and took in some of the Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Cow Head, as well as a visit to the Gros Morne Wildlife Museum in Rocky Harbour where the children thoroughly enjoyed some of Newfoundland’s amazing animals up close and personal in a very safe environment. We intend to go back to Gros Morne to enjoy those more difficult adventures and environments when the children get older.