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I’m still recovering from a week in Central Newfoundland, an affordable, off-the-beaten-path destination for adventure enthusiasts, with outdoor pursuits galore. Even if you can’t get away for that long, the area’s abundant hiking trails, quaint coastal towns, and friendly locals make for a great weekend getaway. But there are a few things I wish I would have known ahead of time – like the offset time zone. Here, some travel advice from my trip to help you start planning yours.
Hike with caution. As I wrote last week, Central Newfoundland is chock full of excellent hiking trails, many of which are underutilized. It’s not uncommon to finish a long hike without running into another soul, so if you hike solo like me (not ideal but unavoidable), that means a minor mishap – a twisted ankle, a bee sting – can turn into a major disaster if you don’t have a working cell phone or emergency kit. No matter how short your excursion, be sure to let a contact at your accommodations or someone at a local information center (a great place to pick up free trail maps, too) know where and when you’re headed out. Read more
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked how I wound up traveling through Central Newfoundland, I’d have a tidy little sum piled up in just a few days. Indeed, this region of Canada – part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that lies northwest of the port city of St. John’s – tends to get overlooked on tourists’ itineraries in favor of hotspots like Montreal and Quebec City and the more well-known coastal regions of British Columbia.
It’s a destination well worth a trip, though, especially for adventure-seeking travelers, as the area is loaded with off-the-beaten path opportunities for exploration on both land and sea. Hundreds of miles of spectacular hiking trails, boasting unforgettable names like the Squid Jiggers Trail, crisscross the rocky terrain. Tour boats take visitors in search of migrating whales and mighty icebergs.
And, as I discovered from a recent visit, the area is also home to Canada’s version of the Loch Ness Monster: a mysterious, eel-like creature that’s said to live in the murky depths of Lake Crescent.
I’ve recently returned (and am still recovering) from several days in Keystone, Colorado, for the 2012 Travel Bloggers Exchange. This is the third year for this growing gathering of travel enthusiasts, from travel bloggers (such as yours truly) to tourism bureaus eager to spread the word about their destinations.
Not surprisingly, a common topic during the weekend was the explosion of adventure travel – as well as where the next hotspots are. Here, a few expert picks for places to put on your adventure travel bucket list.
On July 26 – give or take a day or two, depending on weather conditions – about a dozen two-person teams will take the helms of small wooden boats called punts and row 10 miles across open ocean off Newfoundland, Canada. The race – officially called the Great Fogo Island Punt Race To There and Back – represents three centuries of tradition on the quaint, rugged islands of Newfoundland, as well as bragging rights for the hardy souls who undertake the endeavor.
The race itself is only open to residents of Fogo and/or Change islands, just off the main island of Newfoundland, but it’s a thrill to watch. And just as exciting is the abundance of opportunities for any traveler with adventure on the agenda – not to mention the fact that the region remains deliciously undiscovered by mass tourism.
Here’s a quick roundup of adventure options around Fogo Island and Central Newfoundland, which are ideal to visit in late summer through fall. For more information, check out the superb adventure guide put out by Adventure Central at www.adventurecentralnewfoundland.com.
The Luxury The northeast shores of Canada boast some of the oldest settlements in North America, stunning ocean vistas – and exceptional golf courses. With Golf Coastal Canada’s Sherman’s Travel Puffin’ and Swingin’ Golf Package, you’ll bed down at three Newfoundland and Labrador resorts – with two nights at Delta St. John’s, two nights at Terra Nova Golf Resort, and one night at The Wilds Golf Resort – while enjoying four rounds of golf per person at some of the area’s top courses. On top of that, you’ll also get a whale-watching tour in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, a day of sea kayaking, and breakfast daily.
The Value The five-night package normally costs $340/night (double occupancy), but Sherman’s readers can score the deal for $254/night – a savings of over 25 percent. Available for booking between July 15 and September 30.
The Catch Transportation between the hotels is not provided; it is about a 3-hour drive from Delta St. John’s to Terra Nova, and a 2.5-hour drive from Terra Nova to The Wilds.
The Details 709-424-3102 (mention Sherman’s Travel’s Puffin’ and Swingin’ Golf Package); www.golfcoastalcanada.com
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to St. John’s, Newfoundland.
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