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Getting Close To Whales And Icebergs In Newfoundland & Labrador

Lunge-feeding Humpback around the Quirpon point

Lunge-feeding Humpback around the Quirpon point

Where can you find coastlines covered in driftwood, pods of whales, massive icebergs floating just offshore and unforgettable adventure?

The north-west side of the island Newfoundland has all this to offer—and more. After driving through Gros Morne National Park, I stayed overnight at Quirpon Lighthouse Inn on the northern tip of the island, a 1922 lightkeeper’s home near a working lighthouse in Iceberg Alley. This area is to whales as Toronto is to pigeons.

The first evening there, I set up a chair on the viewing platform and watched half a dozen humpback whales lunge-feeding around the point just below me.

The next day’s Zodiac tour from the lighthouse got me even closer to these curious giants. They surfaced right beside our boat, barnacle-covered backs breaking the water within arm’s reach, a huge eye looking us over. When the whales finally departed after giving us a good show of tails and water plumes, we went iceberg hunting. A massive one appeared through the mist, and we were close enough to see the veins of otherworldly blue threading these towers of ice.


Majestic icebergs off Quirpon

Back on the island, we toasted to the day with Iceberg Beer made with 25,000-year-old iceberg water by Quidi Vidi brewery. The island is covered in cloudberries, also called bakeapple because they taste… exactly like freshly baked apples. The afternoon was spent picking and eating our fill, before a delicious cod supper at the inn.

Newfoundland is a place that is so stunningly beautiful, I kept being shocked at the relative lack of tourists. If you like to travel to nature destinations that still feel unexplored, secluded, and off the beaten track, head over to the The Rock now.

Quick tips:

What: Driving the North-West side of Newfoundland and encountering whales, icebergs, and cloudberries.

When: Whales peak in July/August, while the optimal time for icebergs is spring and early summer.

Where: Stay at Quirpon Lighthouse Inn and book Zodiac whale sightseeing with Linkum Tours.

How: Air Canada and WestJet both offer direct flights from Toronto to Deer Lake airport (and connecting flights from many other Canadian cities). Book a car for pickup at the Deer Lake airport in advance. Drive through beautiful Gros Morne National Park and either camp in the park, or stay at an inn in Rocky Harbour. Head North with a stopover at L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site for a look at Newfoundland’s Viking past, before dropping the car off at Quirpon and being picked up in a boat to be taken to the Inn.


Like this post? Check out Unplug From It All In Beautiful Battle Harbour and Sleep In A Lighthouse On Iceberg Alley, too!

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