This small group tour offers exceptional opportunities to see a range of marine wildlife and the world’s largest gathering of humpback whales – all amidst giant landscapes.
Combining boat trips with land-based excursions, you can expect to view a variety of whale species, dolphins and seabirds, and moose, caribou and possibly black bear. Although there is no guarantee, numerous whales generally appear between late June and early August. By late July, seabird colonies start to thin out, but guillemot, puffin, razor-billed auk, gannet, eagle, moose and caribou are still around. June and July is a good time to see icebergs – once again, no guarantee! You can also enjoy local museums, scenic trails, wildflowers, songbirds and the unforgettable locals – the ‘Newfies’.
Fly to St John's
Depart the UK for St John’s, arriving the same day. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel, which is conveniently situated in the downtown area. Depending on your arrival time, you can join an informal evening introduction to Newfoundland, whale biology and local ecology.
Accommodation: The Quality Hotel Harbourview, 2-nights
Boat trip to see whale, dolphin & seabirds
Today you’ll take a boat trip to watch whales and see North America’s largest colony of puffins, plus tens of thousands of other seabirds, amongst some of the planet’s largest island seabird reserves. The area attracts the world’s largest summertime gathering of humpback whales, although other species including fin, and minke whales, and dolphins are often seen. Throughout the week you’ll be keeping an eye out for exotic bird species like shearwaters, jaegers, fulmars, and thick-billed murres.
Expect a full and entertaining morning at sea, before visiting one of the New World’s earliest fishing villages and returning to St John’s for the night.
Avalon Wilderness Area; continue to St. Brides
Today you head out to Avalon Wilderness area, where it’s usually possible to see whales, members of the world’s most southerly caribou herd, a small puffin colony, a tern colony, and seals! Sometimes the whales can be seen lunge feeding on a local beach — a fascinating spectacle!
En route to your overnight stop at St. Brides, you pass through an enchanted landscape of pretty fishing villages and patches of woodland. If southerly winds cause fog along the coast, you may follow an alternative route, but will still be able to visit coastal communities and watch wildlife on the way to scenic St. Brides.
Accommodation: Hotel in St Brides, 1-night
Visit bird colony, drive to Trinity
The day starts with a visit to the continent’s third largest gannet colony, also a breeding ground for thousands of other seabirds, including the world’s most southerly thick-billed murres, and you’re guaranteed great views of birds with their eggs and/or chicks. In season (around mid-July), you can enjoy some of the world’s finest land-based whale watching from the perfect vantage point of the high sea-cliffs, overlooking the whales’ northern coastal feeding ground.
After lunch you continue to Placentia, the first colonial outpost of New France, via the Trinity/Bonavista/Port Union area. Along the way you have a good chance of seeing a moose, although black bears are much more elusive.
Accommodation: Hotel in Trinity/Bonavista, 2-nights
Boat trip to see bald eagle & sperm whales
This morning you’ll be at sea again looking for bald eagles and whales; during the summer sperm whales can be seen around Trinity Bay.
The afternoon will be spent enjoying more of what makes this area so special: an opportunity to walk trails with dramatic vistas, see moose, osprey, songbirds, shore birds and orchids, and visit various tiny museums and interpretation centres. Choose from a variety of activities and attractions: bird watching; photographing icebergs, lighthouses and local architecture; sea kayaking; land-based whale watching, and participating in a hands-on marine biology programme. Or you could explore the lovely historic community of Trinity – either alone or on a walking tour with a knowledgeable and entertaining guide.
Explore Bonavista/Trinity region; drive to St. John’s
The day is dedicated to exploring more of the historic Bonavista/Trinity region. The presence of icebergs, giant chunks of 15,000-year-old Greenland glacier, plus even more whales, usually adds to the day’s photographic interest. You’ll call in at nearby coastal settlements to learn more about Newfoundland’s unique cultures and flavours before returning to St. John’s for the evening, where you can enjoy a night out on the town in North America’s oldest city. Your tour leader will offer suggestions as to what you can do – whether it’s theatre, local entertainment, fine dining, or other aspects of local culture.
Accommodation: The Quality Hotel Harbourview, 2-nights
Explore Cape Spear & historic St. John’s; boat trip
This morning you’ll drive out to Cape Spear, the most easterly point of North America. During the day there will be time to further explore the museums and attractions of historic St. John’s. And, if your interest in wildlife has not been sated, there should also be time to fit in another fascinating boat trip to see more puffins and whales.
Explore St John’s & depart
Most of the day is free to explore the historic city of St. John’s. You can visit Signal Hill, where Marconi received the first ever transatlantic wireless transmission, or see the spot from which pioneer aviators Alcock and Brown took off in 1919, on the first successful non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Alternatively, you may wish to go for a final visit to the whales.
Transfer to the airport in the afternoon for your overnight flight back to the UK.