JOURNEY

Newfoundland's summer whales and bergs

  • 01 impromptu shower
  • 95 Lighthouses
  • 02 fishes kissed

"You’ll feel like you’re on the edge of the world!" Kristian said, and for once he wasn’t joking, Newfoundland blew us all away. So much untamed nature and exciting wildlife to spot - on land and below the waves. We crammed so many awesome outdoor adventures into our week exploring the eastern coast from kayaking and watching puffins splash-land, to swimming with whales and seeing thousand year-old icebergs glide past our boat. Then every night sunsets so picture-perfect you won’t believe we didn’t photoshop them. Definitely a week to remember.

Day 1
Hikes, boats and canons
After a brisk morning hike to Cape Broyle with colourful wildflowers brushing our boots, we decided we'd earned a break and booked a boat trip with Stan Cook; we'd save kayaking for another day. Turns out they'd spotted no giant squid or mermaids that year but plenty of whales, seals and icebergs - just what we were looking for. With the wind in our hair and a belly full of seafood chowder we went puffin spotting. So cute! We even saw whales flipping their tails by the boat. In revenge for letting him get soaked under a waterfall, Kristian made us all dress up at the old Fort in St John - just between us, it was a blast.
Day 2
Kissing the codfish
We became honourary Newfoundlanders today in a late-night ceremony that involved kissing a fish and taking a shot of the local Screech rum. We also found out that puffins are very bad at flying, but not as bad as Scott was at kayaking - poor Helen did all the paddling. Still it was worth it - being so close to the whales on the water was magical. And more magic awaited us on land with the cute 'jellybean' coloured houses of St John's all lined up in a row. We spent the night on George Street, dancing to Irish ceilidh music; if this is being a Newfoundlander, sign us up!
Day 3
We swim with whales!
We pulled on wetsuits for the highlight of Meagan's trip; so what if we weren't swimming super-close to the whales in the water; we could see them breech and smack the waves on the horizon and like she said, maybe they were just shy. It's quite a shock when you jump in; the water is so icy on your face, which is just what we needed after last night's partying. And we felt like real locals by now as we'd rented an adorable little cottage overlooking the sea. We threw a kitchen party and toasted our swimming buddies as the sun set.
Day 4
Culture and Sunsets
Unexpected hit of the trip? The Bonavista museum; we could have stayed there for hours. It was like exploring a 200-year old attic full of oddities and the people who used to live in the fishing village. So fascinating. We ended up setting off late to catch the ferry to Fogo Island and missed our boat, but who minds waiting when there's fresh-from-the-sea fish and chips to devour? Striding in a straight line along the boardwalks on Fogo Island in the late afternoon sunshine felt like walking into a watercolour; no wonder there's an artist's colony there. Second surprise? Finding such fancy accommodation on a middle-of-nowhere island. Wild luxury? Yes, please!
Day 5
Far away or very small?
There was an other-worldy feeling about this trip; as though we'd stumbled into Gulliver's Kingdom; the miniature lighthouses and model village-like cottages all seemed so tiny, but then we'd feel dwarfed by the landscape around us. At Twillingate we watched icebergs - incredibly, a thousand years old - cruise silently past our boat, then we'd hear the boom! as they cracked and tumbled into the sea; it was awe-inspiring. Trust Scott to bring us back to earth, it was the first time he'd managed to catch anything on a fishing trip; sure it was a chunk of ice and he used a net, but he insisted we toast his success with beer, made from real iceberg water, of course.
Day 6
Gros Morne Park
True locals now, we stocked up on all the essentials: Screech rum and ‘Pebbles' from the Newfoundland Chocolate Company (yes, that's where we got your present.) Then it was on to our final frontier: Gros Morne Park on the trail of the elusive moose. Past towering lighthouses, crossing winding boardwalks, splashing along the seashore we searched everywhere but no moose; a caribou yes - and endless gulls and terns circling overhead. But the moose stayed hidden.
Day 7
Bucket List Ticked off
The best was definitely saved till last; in the morning we ticked off one more natural wonder from our Newfoundland Bucket List, a boat trip through Western Brook Pond, a huge fjord that was carved thousands of years ago by glaciers, with cascading waterfalls and soaring cliff walls. The guys even managed to stay dry this time. Famished after all that fresh air we were heading for one last bowl of creamy seafood chowder when we saw them; moose! Friendly ones who didn't mind coming up and saying hello - and we got the photos to prove it. Lobster almost every day, flying puffins, tail-flipping whales and sighting the not-so-elusive moose - we're proud to say we've been to The Rock!