by Suzanne Roberts
September 27 , 2016
Colorful businesses and houses in downtown St. Johns
Let me start off by saying that, as I write this I have a huge smile on my face! Newfoundland exceeded my expectations in so many ways. First of all, the landscape photography is phenomenal, second, the people are warm and inviting and make you feel like you are at your home away from home, third, 8 days wasn't nearly long enough, but I already can't wait to go back and explore more areas!
The iconic Newfoundland clothes line shot
We flew into St. Johns with a stop over in Ottawa, and with the help of Dr. Robert Berdan planned out a driving trip to explore the Avalon Peninsula, small fishing towns, historic towns, and head up towards Twilingate-famous for Icebergs!
With the time difference (coming from Calgary) and anxious to get some shots, we got up at 1am Calgary time to head to Signal Hill-a great high viewpoint for the town of St. Johns. I had heard about the colorful homes of St. Johns, but seeing them in person was very cool! Even though it was raining on and off, we explored a few streets in and around St. Johns, including Battery Road, Water Street, and had a delicious dinner at the Yellow Belly Brewery!
The next day we got on the road and drove to Petty Harbour, a very pretty little town, but due to the rain, we couldn't get many photo's. Trying to hold an umbrella in one hand with the wind gusting while trying not to get your camera wet can be a bit tricky! We decided to drive to Tors Cove to take photo's of a bright red house right by the ocean on a road called "The Cribbies." I could have spent a full day photographing in this beautiful location!
“The Cribbies” along the Irish Loop
After reluctantly leaving The Cribbies, we drove towards St. Brides and visited the Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve - It is home to one of Newfoundland's largest seabird colonies. I hope you're not afraid of heights, because this place is worth a visit!
Gannets in flight
The next day we drove to Placentia to get some breakfast (highly recommend visiting The Three Sisters Restaurant! I had a delicious breakfast wrap there) and drove on to visit Trinity and the nearby town of New Bonaventure.
Unexpected visitor at the Ecological Reserve
The old Bonaventure Bar
We stayed in Trinity that evening-a very picturesque historic town. Trinity was one of the places I was really looking forward to visiting and it didn't disappoint!
City view of Trinity
Trinity view through one of the old restaurants
It's a very pretty spot with warm people ready to share stories with you. This place has a special spot in my heart and I hope to return here again! We ended up staying in this adorable little place called Eco Tour Lodge with lots of character and low ceilings. There was a cemetery next door and my friend Kamal was convinced that there were ghosts, so he was a little uneasy staying here, but it made sense since we had not made other arrangements. It was quite comical that the next morning, while we were having breakfast (cooked by the amazing ladies that work there) the back door suddenly opened on its own, and one of the ladies said "Oh that's George" as in... the regular ghost that visits from the cemetery next door! Hehe...
Cemetery in Trinity where George lives
We had our first FRESH lobster dinner in Trinity - something Kamal was really looking forward to! I personally get a little creeped out by food that still looks like an animal, but he was kind enough to help me get the meat out of the lobster. It was fresh, hot and super tasty!
Fresh lobster being cooked in ocean water (cooking time approximately 18 minutes)
That evening we had the most spectacular sunset and after dinner I couldn't wait to get outside and take some photo's!
We decided to drive to the lighthouse but never made it there..... The roads in Newfoundland are quite rough, there are lots of pot holes and gaping holes everywhere. So naturally... in our haste and excitement to get to the lighthouse we got a flat tire with our rental vehicle, but, we were quickly rescued by the locals who were incredibly friendly and helpful. The warmth and kindness of locals there is like none-other! We then had to drive about 100km to Clarenville where we had a hotel booked. In the midst of getting the flat tire we had not noticed that we were quite low on gas also! But we did make it to Clarenville (barely). The excitement of the day wasn't quite over yet! As we got to the hotel and got our luggage on a cart and made our way to our room, Kamal accidently set off the fire alarm opening one of the doors for me. It was around 11:30 at night so we saw a lot of people coming out of their hotel rooms in their pajamas! Like a domino effect, the room doors kept opening as we walked down the long hallway as the loud fire alarm went off. Sleep was well deserved after all this excitement! The next morning, we exchanged our rental car for a Jeep! The Jeep was much more capable of handling the rough Newfoundland roads. You might want to keep this in mind if you haven't been to Newfoundland before and they offer you a "brand new Lincoln SUV" with huge rims and low profile tires! Yikes..
It was another rainy day and we decided to head to Bonavista and Elliston for the puffins. It was incredibly windy this day but we had a blast photographing the puffins (I highly recommend using a small tarp to sit on a dry spot while photographing. I found that laying on my stomach and using my bag as a tripod worked great with my Canon 5DIII and Canon 100-400 II!).
The Elliston Puffin Site
The puffins are adorable to watch as they more or less jump into the wind and flap their little wings as fast as they can to get airborne! Their colorful beaks and webbed feet are very bright and even though they are very small birds, a ton of fun to watch and photograph!
Three Puffins “gossiping”
After Elliston we went to "The Dungeon", a very rugged place, but very beautiful! The strong wind definitely keeps you awake! I recommend layering some comfortable clothes with fleece to stay warm.
Dungeons Provincial Park, Bonavista
Next on the agenda was a town called Newtown, famous for it's pretty yellow houses (featured in a lot of tourism books). We had lunch in a little shack and I decided to try the local delicacy "cod tongue". It was good to try it but I wouldn't order it again! We drove around the area and spent the night in Badgers Quay and in a very divvy place. Although divvy, we were able to do some laundry for free, which made Kamal very happy! Within the hotel was a cute little bar with a few gambling machines. One of the machines I was playing on kept crashing. I left with money on the machine, so I will never know if I won the jackpot!
Iconic shot of Newtown with yellow houses
Cemetery in Newtown
The following day we headed to Twillingate, stopping at Musk Grave Harbour on the way. Twillingate is a beautiful spot, and we lost count of how many icebergs we saw, there were a lot!
Huge iceberg seen on route to Twillingate
One place we really enjoyed eating at was a fish trailer called D&T. They had a variety of fresh fish and I had the most delicious crab burger and cod there.
Beautiful yellow house in Twillingate
We explored all of Twillingate the next day and found it to be a very touristy and picturesque area. Twillingate has a lot to offer. Kamal was very excited to have his first espresso of the whole trip here! The people were very friendly with heavy accents. A lot of the roads are very steep and narrow, making it very exciting to see what’s around the next corner! (like the cool rusty motorbike below).
Common Murres from Captain Wayne’s boat tour
The next morning we reluctantly left Twillingate to head back towards St. Johns. We decided to do a boat tour in Bay Bulls on the Avalon Peninsula. Captain Wayne was very knowledgeable and friendly. We saw lots of Icebergs, some Minke whales and puffins.
Iceberg for your drink?
I wish I could tell you what the highlight of the trip was, but honestly I enjoyed everything equally, and can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this trip! I highly recommend Newfoundland to anyone with a love of landscape and bird photography. I can’t wait to go back and explore other areas of Newfoundland.
Suzanne is a hobbyist photographer living in Calgary. From a young age, she was fascinated by both cameras and nature. After moving from the Netherlands to Squamish, BC, Suzanne became increasingly passionate about nature and all of its beauty. It wasn’t long after that, she moved to Calgary and got her first digital camera. And the rest, as they say, is history.
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