Day 1: Pick up in Halifax and travel to Matane on the south coast of the St.Lawrence River where we will spend the night at the Hotel Riotel. In Matane there are excellent hiking trails through the town with interpretive panels and exhibits and a beautiful walking park where you can view salmon swimming upstream and a sculpture exhibit. Includes: (B)
Day 2: We board the Camille Marcoux, a large modern ferry, for the 2.5 hour trip across the St. Lawrence River where whales are often spotted. We disembark in Godbout a short distance from Bay Comeau where we start our journey north. We will follow the valley of the Manicougan River into the rugged Laurentians and the vast northern boreal forest. There will be numerous stops along the way for sightseeing and picture taking as we wind our way through some magnificent scenery. We will stop at Manicougan 5 and the Daniel Johnson Dam, which is the largest arch dam in the world, for a tour of the dam and the hydro station. We will stop here for the night at the Motel Energie. Includes: (B)
Day 3: We start for Western Labrador where everything is oversize in the extreme-mega-developments in a mega-landscape. From Manicougan 5 we follow the shoreline of the huge do-nut shaped Manicougan reservoir which occupies the giant Manic M eteorite crater, one of the largest known. About 38 million years ago, a meteorite about 1 kilometer in diameter hit the earth here, vaporizing and melting 40km3 of rock and leaving a crater 3 km deep and 28 km in diameter, later to be occupied by one of the deepest lakes in North America.
We are now in the heart of the great Canadian Shield, a piece of earth's original crust with some of the oldest rocks in the world. We will also pass through the old town site of Gagnon, a mining town of some 3000 inhabitants that was completely relocated when the ore ran out leaving only the vacant streets as a reminder.
We now pass through the Cartier mine (a large iron ore mine) and pass the town of Fermont (one of the northernmost towns in Quebec) which is unique as all the services and living quarters are in one huge building. We will tour this facility while in Labrador City. We now come to the twin towns of Labrador City and Wabush. We will stay in the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Hotel in Wabush for 2 nights. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Labrador City has the largest open pit iron ore mine in the world and Wabush has another almost as large. We will take a hands on tour of the Wabush mine. We will take a tour of Labrador City & Wabush with a side trip to Fermont,Quebec (10km away) visiting the Gateway Labrador cultural center.
We will visit Grand Hermine park where we will enjoy the magnificent scenery and take nature hikes. We will then enjoy a traditional meal in the main lodge with a "screech in ceremony" where you will be presented with Labrador Adventure Certificates. Back to the hotel for a nightcap. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 5: We start our journey on the Trans Labrador Highway to the town of Churchill Falls. We now cross a huge piece of the vast Canadian Shield which still show signs of the glaciers of the ice age, littered with glacial debris and a maze of lakes and streams, now overgrown with coniferous boreal forests and areas of marsh, inhabited by moose, caribou, black bears, wolves and smaller wildlife.
We will stop along the way and hike into Hamilton Falls on the Churchill River and view the Beaudoin Gorge and the once mighty falls. We then come to the town of Churchill Falls and the gigantic hydro development which is he reason for it's existence. The scheme involves the diversion of the huge Churchill River into underground turbines which produce enough electricity to power the needs of the New England States in the USA. It is one of the engineering marvels of the world. We will have a guided tour of this facility before leaving. We spend the night here in the Churchill Falls Inn. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 6: We follow the Churchill River to Lake Melville (an inland arm of the ocean approximately 100 kilometers from the coast) and Happy Valley - Goose Bay where we spend the night at the Labrador Inn. Goose Bay was established as a staging point for planes traveling to and from Europe during World War II. It is still an important military base for training NATO pilots, with a population of 7,000.
Here we take a tour of the area and travel to North West River (about30 km) to visit the Labrador Heritage Museum and the Hudson's Bay Museum where they feature a trappers traditional shelter and tools of the trade. Includes: (B), (D).
Days 7 - 8: We board the ferry for a 12 hour voyage to the Labrador coast. This takes us across Lake Melville, through the narrow Hamilton Inlet and on to Cartright on the Sea of Labrador. Here we travel the newly completed coastal highway which was completed in 2002 linking the many small fishing villages dotted along the rugged Labrador coast. Reaching the south coast of the Strait of Belleisle opposite the island of Newfoundland, we find the oldest settled area of Labrador, and one of the most historic areas of Canada. Here we stay 2 nights at The Northern Lights Inn. We will enjoy their traditional menu including caribou and local seafood.
Exploring the sights of the southern Labrador coast. Amongst the few small villages we will see several interesting historic sites and museums. The 7500 year old L'Anse-AmourBurial Mound of a Maritime Archaic Indian is the oldest known burial site in North America, but the prime attraction of the region is the site of the Basque Whaling Station at Red Bay which was the largest whaling station in the world in the late 16th century with a population of 2000, the finds from 3 whaling galleons which sank here and remained well preserved in the freezing waters are displayed at the visitors center. Includes: (B).
Day 9: We travel to Blanc Sablon on the Quebec border and cross the Straits of Belleisle to Newfoundland on the morning ferry. We land at St. Barbe and travel to the tip of the northern peninsula to the fascinating L'Anse-aux-Meadows National Historic Park, site of a 1000 year old Viking settlement, the only authenticated site of earliest European settlement in North America. These Vikings from Scandinavia and Greenland built boats here and even smelted iron and forged nails. Amongst the village remains see several reconstructed sod buildings showing how people lived, browse the interpretive centre, and walk the 3km coastal trail. In the town of St. Anthony see it's fine harbor and views of towering coastal cliffs at Fishing Point Park Stay 1 night at The Vinland Motel.
Day 10: We travel south along the Viking Trail from St. Anthony, one of the most extraordinary and beautiful roads in eastern North America. Besides the regions great beauty and it's wealth of wildlife, there are several more historic attractions to be seen along the way. Port au Choix National Historic Site preserves the history of two groups of early settlers- the Maritime Archaic Indians who lived here more than 3000 years ago. These are seen along a trail to Point Riche Lighthouse. At Arches Provincial Park, see a rocky formation looking like a 3 span bridge carved by waves in limestone. Then enter magnificent Gros Morne national Park (a UNESCO world heritage site). We will stay at the Ocean View Motel for 2 nights. Includes: (B).
Day 11: We spend in Gros Morne Park. On drives in the park and on short hiking trails we see some of the parks varied scenery. Fiords that rival Norway's, majestic red-rock tablelands that were once part of the sea floor, lakes and waterfalls, forests and wildlife including caribou and moose (even on the roads), sandy beaches, rugged pieces of coastline and small fishing villages. Includes: (B).
Day 12: We travel to Deer Lake and then eastward through the centre of the island. We stop at Grand Falls-Windsor where we visit the interpretation center which explains the life and ecology of the salmon and the Exploits River (largest in Newfoundland). We will also visit the Mary March Museum which explains the 5000 year history of the area and the Loggers Museum where you get a taste of what life was like in this hard occupation.
We will travel on to Gander and spend the night. Gander, with a population of 13,000 is best known for its historic airport. It opened in 1938 to cater to transatlantic travel as the shortest crossing to Europe, and during World War II, became a strategic command and refueling base, later to be bypassed by the new long range jets. Includes: (B).
Day 13: We leave Gander and travel east to Port Blanford where we take the Discovery Trail to the Bonavista peninsula, one of the most historic and beautiful parts of Newfoundland. The northern tip of Bonavista Peninsula is where John Cabot landed in 1497.
Here we visit the Ryan Premises National Historic Site. This restored fish merchants multi-building premises tells the story of the fishing industry through multi-media displays and also houses the community museum. We may also view a replica of Cabot's ship "the Matthew". We travel from here along the northern shore of the peninsula for some scenic views of the rugged coastline and then on to St. John's the historic capitol city. We will spend the next two nights here.
John Cabot discovered the excellent well protected harbor in 1497. With a settlement here in 1528, and England claiming all of Newfoundland from here in 1583, St. John's is considered to be the oldest city in North America, and England's first overseas colony, the establishment of St. John's has been said to mark the birth of the British Empire. It was attacked by the Dutch, fell to the French three times and almost burnt down twice. From the 1880's it became a center for ship building and fish drying, smoking and large scale export of cod caught on one of the greatest fishing grounds in the world- the adjacent Grand Banks. includes: (B).
Day 14: Historic St. John's. A day to explore this charming old city which rises steeply from the Harbour front, with narrow streets of colorfully painted clapboard Victorian terrace houses. On the northern side of the Narrows that form the entrance to the harbor, explore Signal Hill National Historic Park with it's great views of the port and spectacular piece of coastline. During the battle for Signal Hill in 1762, the English took back St. John's from the French, and with this and the already lost battle for Quebec in 1759, any French control of North America came to an end. See the Queen's Battery, the Cabot Tower, and the site where Marconi received the first trans- Atlantic radio message in 1901, and wander some of the magnificent coastal trails. Amongst the many museums that may be visited, two of the most interesting are the underground Geo Center featuring the geological history of Newfoundland ( and the world) and the Freshwater Resource Center with it's fluvarium, a glass-sided cross-section of a living river, the only public one in North America. Includes: (B).
Day 15: Leave for the airport and home.
Also see tour packages in:
Canada Newfoundland Quebec History Whiz Archeology/History Hiking & Trekking
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