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Enjoy a self-drive whale watching short 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.

Suggested Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Fly to St John & collect hire car

    Fly 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.

    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.

    Accommodation: Homeport Historic Inn, 3-nights

  2. Day 2: Whale watching trip in St Andrews

    This morning you drive to St Andrews (approximately two hours' drive west of St John) in time for a whale watching boat trip with a local specialist operator. 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.

  3. Day 3: Whale watching trip on Grand Manan Island

    Today another whale watching boat trip has been arranged for you. Once again the trip is scheduled to last between two and three hours, but today's trip departs from Grand Manan Island. You will need to drive around one hour west to Blacks Harbour to catch the ferry across to Grand Manan.

    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.

  4. Day 4: Free day, then transfer to the airport & depart

  5. Day 5: Arrive UK

Key info

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 days from £1,745 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 4 days from £645 pp
  • Single supplement: From £80
  • When to go: Jun-Aug: Daily
Featured locations:

New Brunswick

Connect with wildlife in its natural environment. Abundant bird species are present here – from Atlantic puffins to bald eagles – as well as mammals such as moose, black bear and whales. The Bay of Fundy is a haven for fin, minke and the rare right whale, seabirds, and harbour and grey seals.

  • Ideal for viewing: humpback whale, American black bear, moose, harbour seal, Atlantic puffin
  • Excellent for: Whale watching

Bay of Fundy

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: Mark Carwardine wildlife holidays, Whale watching

Grand Manan Island

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 here.

  • Where: New Brunswick
  • Ideal for viewing: North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, minke whale, Atlantic puffin, Atlantic white sided dolphin
  • Excellent for: Whale watching