Enjoy a short self-drive break to New Brunswick, where you'll have the opportunity to see minke, fin, humpback and North Atlantic right whales.
Two whale-watching excursions are included in this short self-drive break in one of eastern Canada’s three Maritime Provinces, just north of the US state of Maine. The Bay of Fundy, which boasts the world’s highest tides, is a cetacean hotspot, and on your boat trips you may see minke, fin, humpback, and North Atlantic right whales together with harbour porpoises, white-sided dolphins and a splendid array of seabirds. Car hire is included so you can explore the area at your leisure.
Day1: Fly to St John, collect hire car and transfer to Homeport Historic Inn
Daytime flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with an onward connection to St John, New Brunswick. On arrival at St John Airport, after collecting your baggage pick up, collect your hire car and drive to your accommodation nearby.
You have the use of a small compact hire car with unlimited mileage for the duration of your stay. The car will be issued with a full tank of fuel. To avoid being charged for fuel, you must return it with a full tank at the end of your stay.
St John (known in French as Ville de St Jean), is the largest city in the province, and the second largest in the maritime provinces after Halifax, Nova Scotia. Situated on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy, at the mouth of the St John River, it has a population of around 70,000.
Day2: Whale watching trip in St Andrews
This morning you drive to St Andrews (roughly 105 kilometres i.e. an hour and a half's drive west of St John) in time for a whale watching boat trip with a local specialist operator, which has been arranged for you. The boat trip lasts between two and a half to three hours.
Situated right at the tip of a promontory, beside the border with the United States, St Andrews by-the-Sea - as it is sometimes referred to - was founded in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists. The town is well preserved and many of its original wooden buildings still grace the old centre. Some of these were brought by barge from Castine, Maine at the end of the American War of Independence (1775-1783). Today the town (population around 1,800) is a dynamic, prosperous community.
You can see whales off the coast of Newfoundland and New Brunswick all year round, but sightings are most common during the period from mid-June through to mid-August. Just before them (i.e. May through to mid-June) and immediately after (i.e. mid-August through to late September) sightings are still possible, but less consistent.
The rest of the day is free to enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery, using your hire car.
Day3: Whale watching trip on Grand Manan Island
Today another whale watching boat trip has been arranged for you with a local specialist operator. Once again the trip is scheduled to last between 2.5 and 3 hours, but today's trip departs from Grand Manan Island. To get to Grand Manan, you must drive around 65 kilometres i.e. a trip of around one hour west to Blacks Harbour to catch the ferry across to Grand Manan. There are regular sailings and the 32 kilometre crossing last around 1.5 hours. Ferry tickets are included in the cost of the trip and will be issued locally.
Situated on a major eastern flyway, the Grand Manan Archipelago is renowned as a bird watcher’s paradise. Over 360 species have been recorded, 131 of which have bred here since 1900. In winter you can see thousands of seabirds - common murres, razorbills, kittiwakes and dovekies just offshore, but the best seasons are the spring migration period (early April to early June), the summer nesting season, and the autumn migration period - which actually starts in late July when many shorebirds return from nesting in high Arctic regions. You can see seabirds from the ferry or during your whale watching trip. Machias Seal Island, the outermost of the Grand Manan group, is the southernmost breeding site of the North Atlantic puffin, and razorbills, Arctic and common terns, and some land birds also breed on this remote rocky island. Although birds begin arriving in late May, breeding and nesting usually starts in mid-June. The island is a sanctuary and the number of daily visitors is restricted during the breeding period. Its large lighthouse is the last in the three maritime provinces - New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia – to have lighthouse keepers rather than an automated system.
As before, the rest of the day is free to enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery, using your hire car.
Day4: Free day, then transfer to the airport and depart
Day5: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 5 daysfrom £1,545 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 4 daysfrom £645 pp
Single supplement: From £320
When to go: Jun-Aug: Daily
Connect with wildlife in its natural environment. Abundant bird species are present – from Atlantic puffin to bald eagles – as well as mammals such as moose black bear and, of course, whales. The Bay of Fundy is a haven for fin, minke, and the rare right whale, harbour, and grey seals and seabirds.
Ideal for viewing: humpback whale, American black bear, moose, harbour seal, Atlantic puffin
Excellent for: Whale watching
One of the marine wonders of the world, the Bay of Fundy boasts the world’s highest tides, a distinctly scenic coastline, and one of the North Atlantic’s highest concentrations of whales and seabirds. Humpback, minke, and the rare North Atlantic right whale are amongst the species to be seen here.
Where: New Brunswick
Ideal for viewing: humpback whale, harbour porpoise, bald eagle, fin whale, North Atlantic right whale
Excellent for: Whale watching
Nutrient rich waters surrounding this, the largest of the Fundy Islands, provide a haven for seabirds, seals and whales. Cetacean species include humpback, the North Atlantic right whale, harbour porpoise and white-sided dolphin. Over 360 species of land, shore and sea birds have been identified.
Where: New Brunswick
Ideal for viewing: North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, minke whale, Atlantic puffin, Atlantic white sided dolphin