I’m Tom Cochrane from the Instagram account @tomcochrane. Welcome to my travel guide on Newfoundland and Labrador. I grew up in Western Newfoundland and so was always surrounded by the mountains and water.
I lived away for a few years but before long realized that I needed to live back in Newfoundland. I was drawn back, you know? My love for travel and photography came hand in hand. Once I started to get into photography (which was many years ago now), I wanted to explore and see new places.
Why Visit Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is rugged, warm (in its heart not its weather!) and still has a feeling of being unexplored. It has a little bit of every type of landscape you could think of. When I’m traveling through the province, I constantly have a thought along the lines of: “I can’t believe this is Canada”.
My favorite place is easily Woody Point and the Gros Morne region. The geography is stunning and the people are some of my favorite in the world. The place just feels magical. I’ve been spending a lot of time here over the past 10 years and I keep coming back, so much so that I live here now!
Awesome People of Newfoundland and Labrador
People here are incredibly special. You need to be a special kind of person to live in a place like this! People often talk about the “Newfoundland accent” but of course there is no one Newfoundland accent. The accents change from town to town, shifting as much as the landscape.
Our connection with Ireland has also led to an extraordinarily talented group of musicians. The music scene is amazing. When you visit, make sure you check out as much live music as possible. It will blow you away!
5 Must-See Places in Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is known for its rugged landscapes. There are endless places to visit here but for first-time visitors I would recommend checking out these 5 places below just to get you started.
1. Woody Point, Gros Morne National Park
Woody Point is just friggin’ magical. It’s snuggled next to Bonne Bay in the shadow of the majestic Tablelands (flat-topped orange/red mountains that used to be part of the earth’s crust that were thrusted to the surface). Just down the road is Trout River where epic sunsets await.
2. Bay of Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador
Head out to the outer edge of the Bay of Islands inlet located on the west coast of Newfoundland and you arrive at a small village called Lark Harbour and another incredible spot called Bottle Cove. You’ll feel like you’re on the edge of the earth. Again, the sunsets here are absolutely stunning.
3. Fogo Island off the Coast of Newfoundland
I know Fogo Island has been getting a ton of attention over the past few years but it’s for good reason. This beautifully rocky island is located off the coast of Newfoundland and has some amazing small towns to check out. Discover the colorful houses, sea-cliff paths and lush forest of Fogo Island.
4. The Port Au Port Peninsula on the West Coast
The rugged cliffs of Port Au Port Peninsula will leave you wondering if you’re in Ireland instead of Newfoundland. This is the ultimate destination in Newfoundland and Labrador to take a road trip. Enjoy coastal views, bird colonies and charming little towns along the way.
5. Francois Village in Newfoundland and Labrador
The tiny town of Francois is tucked into the back of a fjord on the south coast of Newfoundland. It takes a lot of effort to get here but it’s worth it and the town is beautiful. I recommend exploring as many of these villages as possible. Block off a few weeks and see what hidden gems you find.
Rich Wildlife of Newfoundland and Labrador
The rich wildlife of Newfoundland and Labrador is just as impressive as the landscape and villages. Whales, puffins, moose and gannets – we’ve got all kinds of amazing wildlife and it changes depending on the time of year.
One of my favourite things to do in Newfoundland is to hop on a boat in late-July and see the whales. There are only certain times of year and certain locations where they’re plentiful, but what a magical experience.
Puffins are also amazing. They’re small birds that look like penguins with multi-coloured beaks. They spend almost all of their time on the water, except for a short season in summer when they come to land to nest.
Another Highlight – Delicious Food Scene
The food scene is amazing. Not only are the traditional dishes fantastic but new chefs are opening up some incredible restaurants that you have to try.
If you love fish and other seafood, you’re in luck. You can get incredibly fresh fish so easily here. You should also make sure you try toutons – fried bits of bread dough usually served with molasses and jam. Delicious!
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Make sure you take your time in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is a place that deserves as much time and attention as you can give it. And trust me, you’ll be rewarded. It’s a large province so plan your trip and don’t rush. Besides, you can always come back if you run out of time!
Getting around can be tough if you don’t have a car. There isn’t a lot of public transport in the remote areas. Having your own wheels is key. If you’re going to rent a car make sure you book in advance. The tourist season can get busy and you don’t want to miss out on your preference.
The same goes for accommodation. Book in advance if you’re going in the busy season (May-September). If you’re planning on visiting outside of summer, make some phone calls and do research to see what amenities are available. Some of the smaller communities get quiet in the off season.
Lastly, just reach out and talk to people! The locals tend to be chatty and you never know what kind of stories you will come across. Plus the locals always know the best spots and hidden gems. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your travels in the beautiful Newfoundland and Labrador!