With volunteers coming and going throughout the season we do our best to showcase our peninsula in the small time we have with them. In the odd days we can sneak everyone away from the hostel we love taking the opportunity to get out and enjoy the beautiful Newfoundland landscape. This often means taking a hike or an afternoon/evening drive along the coast. We try to hit some of the top-spots as well as those that are a bit off the beaten track, in an effort to share what we love about the beautiful region we call home.
We have put together some of our favourite drives around the Bonavista Peninsula in the hopes of inspiring you to get out and take a cruise!
If time is short and doing a long drive is not an option, we usually pick one of the following as they are close by, provide a unique viewpoint of the area, and are great spots for catching a glimpse at local wildlife. Both spots also provide quick access to beautiful hikes, if the urge to stretch our legs arises.
Only a few minutes from the hostel, Fox Island is a great spot to jump to when we’re short on time. Home to a lovely hike, a lovely beach, and lots of even more lovely wildlife, this is a great place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view back to the Skerwink cliffs. For more information on Fox Island see here.
Though a bit further than Fox Island, the Horse Chops is usually our go-to for catching a glimpse at some local wildlife. This beautiful cliff network has an unobstructed view across Trinity Bay, making it an ideal location for whale watching. For more information on the Horse Chops see our blog post about it here.
A Bit Over An Hour
If we have a bit more time away from the hostel we opt for a spot that isn’t one of our local haunts. These beautiful locations are a pleasure to explore for more than just the landscapes as they are home to historical sites where guests can learn about Newfoundland’s rich culture and heritage. If you’re in a pinch for time however, it’s worth it just for the scenic drive.
Fort Point Lighthouse
Although only slightly over a kilometer from Trinity East, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the Fort Point Lighthouse that protects our bay. The lighthouse is manned throughout the summer, and guests can pay admission to learn about the military history of the region. A beautiful drive around Trinity Bight makes this visit very special, not to mention the wonderful views out into the greater bay once there.
Another spot that is roughly 30 minutes from the hostel and well worth the trip is New Bonaventure. Recognisable from various film sets including Random Passage, the Shipping News, and the Grand Seduction, this picturesque bay is a great spot to visit and explore, or just to grab a cup of tea and a cake. If you have some extra time, take a walk into Kerley’s Harbour, or head out on a boat tour with Bruce Miller at Rugged Beauty Boat Tours, and learn all about the history of the outport communities, resettlement, and the cod industry.
Two Hours Plus
If we have the afternoon off from the hostel we generally take the volunteers a bit further afield and usually grab a bite to eat before heading back. We give these spots a bit of extra time because of the distance, the food options, and also because we regularly group them together in one long trip. For more info on spending an afternoon doing a full loop of our peninsula see here.
Did somebody say puffins? A great spot for the wildlife photographers among us, Elliston is the closest you can come to a puffin colony while keeping your feet on solid ground. The numbers of birds is so great that you may find yourself mistaking large swarms of small flapping animals for insects. That is, until you see their bright orange beaks and realise you are looking at the tiny creatures you’ve come to visit. If you have a bit of extra time we would highly recommend visiting the Home From The Sea: Sealer’s Memorial Center. This beautifully curated museum tells the oft-forgotten history of the sealers of Newfoundland and Labrador, and for only $7 entry, it is well worth a visit.
Home to the Devil’s Footprints, a caribou herd, lots of blueberries, and very beautiful rock pools, Keels is a lovely place to spend a warm summer’s afternoon. Whether you’re interested in taking a stroll along the water, into the woods, or up the hill, there are lots of beautiful places to stop and enjoy scenic Keels. We often head here when the weather is warm, and we’re on our way to grab dinner at the Bonavista Social Club just up the road in Upper Amherst Cove. For more information on Keels, see here.
Undeniably the best place to see icebergs, whales, and seabirds on our peninsula, Cape Bonavista is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Newfoundland. With unobstructed views, deep waters and plentiful fish, it’s no wonder that Cape Bonavista is one of the best places to see whales getting very active. Tails, heads, fins, and breaches are not uncommon in August when the whales are well-fed and playful. What’s more, Cape Bonavista sits alongside the Dungeon Provincial Park and the town of Bonavista where you can get a delicious lunch at Neil’s Yard, dinner at the Boreal Diner, or perhaps just dessert at Sweet Rock Icecream.
Thanks for reading. We hope we’ve inspired you to sit back, relax, and take a cruise.