Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Explore the best of Newfoundland's Avalon and Bonavista Peninsulas
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Highlights

  • Journey to the far reaches of Canada: the rugged isle of Newfoundland
  • Visit colorful fishing villages steeped in rich maritime history and traditions
  • Hike the acclaimed Skerwink Trail for seastack views and iceberg sightings
  • Relax at unique and indulgent inns offering locally sourced seafood
  • Explore the coves and coastlines of the Avalon and Bonavista Peninsulas

Newfoundland, known affectionately as “the rock”, sits so far east in the Atlantic that its time zone is half an hour earlier than Eastern Time. However, you’ll feel more like you’ve stepped back in time a century as you explore the charming fishing villages, visit the iconic lighthouses, and hike the winding paths of this island.

From the tiny harbor of Quidi Vidi to the vibrant streets of St. John’s, the province’s capital city, immerse yourself in the local culture, food, and music. Spend your days on short hikes showcasing the highlights of the Avalon Peninsula, and relax each evening in a boutique inn. Drive to the next peninsula, Bonavista, where coastal walks offer the opportunity to spot icebergs, whales, and puffins. The hamlets of this peninsula will make history come alive; but even if you don’t believe in time travel, perhaps after a week in Newfoundland you’ll be a believer in magic.

Day 1: Arrive St. John’s

Fly into St. John’s, Newfoundland, and pick up your rental car (available as an add-on). Your boutique inn is only a 15-minute drive, nestled in the historic fishing village of Quidi Vidi. Today The Gut, as the harbor is known, provides the stage for Quidi Vidi Brewery, the province’s largest brewery, and Mallard Cottage, one of the oldest wooden buildings in North America and home to an award-winning restaurant. Enjoy a pint made from iceberg water, snap a photo of the evening light playing on the craggy cliffs, and nestle into your room.


Overnight: Inn by Mallard Cottage, Quidi Vidi


Day 2: Hike Signal Hill & St. John’s

Waking up in Quidi Vidi is both bewildering and dreamlike; tucked into your traditional inn in a sleepy seaside hamlet, you couldn’t feel further away from the stress of daily life. Begin an invigorating hike by ascending Signal Hill, the site of St. John’s harbor defenses for over three centuries. The location of the first transatlantic wireless signal in 1901, this National Historic Site offers a visitor’s center with historic exhibits explaining its military and communications history. Soak in the 360-degree views, including the entrance to St. John’s Harbor (aka The Narrows), before descending to Battery Road.


With an easy detour into the historic downtown district of St. John’s, the afternoon offers the chance to explore the cultural and culinary delights of the province’s capital. Stop by The Rooms, a heritage museum with cultural and artistic displays, try a local specialty like fish ‘n’ brewis or toutons, or simply wander among the bright facades of Jellybean Row.


Hike: 5 mi +/-700 ft


Overnight: Inn by Mallard Cottage, Quidi Vidi


Day 3: Hike Blackhead & Cape Spear Paths

Part of the 300+ km East Coast Trail network, your hike today starts in the community of Blackhead. Trek over the headlands and through the heath, fen, and tuckamore that distinguish this rugged and wind-battered landscape. In early summer, keep your eyes on the water for whales but later in the season, don’t forget to look down as ripe blueberries make the perfect trail snack.


The Cape Spear Lighthouse marks the most easterly point in North America, where you can face east to the open Atlantic Ocean. This is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province and an iconic symbol to Newfoundlanders. If you visit early in the season you may be lucky enough to spot enormous icebergs cruising past Cape Spear, sent annually from the glaciers of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic.


Hike: 6 mi  +/- 900 ft


Overnight: Inn by Mallard Cottage, Quidi Vidi


Day 4: Drive to Port Rexton, visit Trinity and hike Gun Hill Trail

Say goodbye to the populous and bustling Avalon Peninsula, and head east – and even further back in time - to the Bonavista Peninsula, where small fishing villages dot the winding coastline of Trinity Bight (a ‘bight’ is an open bay created by a bending coast). The town of Trinity, more recently known for its theatre, still holds the essence of a bygone era. A short hike to the top of Gun Hill offers an expansive panorama of sky, cliffs, and sea.


You’ll want to reach Port Rexton with plenty of time this evening, where you’ll be treated to a garden-to-fork feast at the table of your family-run inn.  You’ll have a chance to see some of the property’s impressive gardens, and hear stories of its history and diverse art, over the next several days.


Hike: 2 mi +/- 450 ft


Overnight: Fishers’ Loft, Port Rexton


Day 5: Hike Skerwink Trail & Optional Hike Fox Island Trail

With coastal views, sea stacks, and unique geology (it used to be part of North Africa!), the Skerwink Trail may be your favorite of the week. One of Travel and Leisure magazine’s top hikes in Europe & North America, this loop walk sounds quick but expect to spend several hours exploring the nooks and crannies of Skerwink Head, taking in views of Trinity and Port Rexton harbors, and scouting for the spout of a whale or a passing iceberg.


Opt for an afternoon hike as well on the Fox Island Trail, a similar-length loop that encircles the craggy peninsula to the north of Port Rexton. Enjoy this winding walkway with equally impressive views and several pebbled beaches where you can dip your toes in the Atlantic. Top off the day with a visit to the Port Rexton Brewing Co. for a taste of the local nectar, or simply enjoy a refreshment on the porch of your characterful inn.


Hike: 4 mi +/- 300 ft


Optional hike: 3 mi +/- 150 ft


Overnight: Fishers’ Loft, Port Rexton


Day 6: Visit Port Union, Elliston, and Bonavista, Hike Cape Shore Trail to Cape Bonavista Lighthouse

The Bonavista Peninsula offers a rich variety of ecological and cultural highlights within a short drive, so head out early for a full day of adventure. First, stop in Port Union, the only Union-built town in North America, which was established on a deep water harbor in the first years of the 20th century. An optional walk, the Murphy’s Cove trail offers expansive views, glimpses of whales and seabirds, and a viewpoint overlooking Green Island lighthouse. Continue along the peninsula to Elliston, the Root Cellar Capital of the World, home to an impressive Atlantic puffin nesting site where you can view and photograph these birds from the rocky headland. Check out the Sealer’s Memorial Museum for a dose of local history.


Leave time to explore Bonavista, however, as the Cape Shore Trail and Cape Bonavista Lighthouse provide unobstructed ocean panoramas, possible iceberg sightings, and a perfect seaside stroll to stretch your legs. Then head into the quiet village for a walk among the colorful fishing boats and a delicious meal at a local restaurant.


Hike: 5 mi  +/- 90 ft


Optional hike: 4 mi +/- 160 ft


Overnight: Fishers’ Loft, Port Rexton


Day 7: Onward Travel

Depending on your plans, drive back to St. John’s (3 hours). Saying goodbye to ‘the rock’ can be tough, but hopefully, at this point, you’ve experienced the magic of this timeless island, and can bring a little bit home with you.

Accommodation

Stay six nights in hand-picked accommodations, chosen for their indulgent comfort, authentic charm, and upscale style. Both inns provide outstanding service, warm hospitality, and include on site restaurants serving locally sourced ingredients and homemade fare. We hope that your lodging is a memorable part of your Newfoundland experience.


As a summer destination with a short operating season, lodging in this region fills early. Booking early allows the best chance of securing your room at the inns below.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is based on two people sharing a room. If you’d like separate rooms, a single supplement is required. If you would like to request a twin room (same room with two separate beds), please notify us during booking so we can request this option, where available (Note: all Inn by Mallard Cottage rooms contain king beds.)


This trip is available to solo walkers and a solo supplement is
required. The friendly locals and small, charming towns make this a great trip
to enjoy as a solo traveler.


Meals

Breakfast is included each morning. Please notify us of any dietary restrictions at the time of booking.


Your breakfast at Inn by Mallard Cottage includes fresh baked goods, fruit, coffee or tea. Your breakfast at Fishers’ Loft includes a full hot breakfast of rotating specials, or bacon and eggs, along with fresh baked goods, fruit, hot & cold cereals, and beverages.


One dinner is included in the price of the tour; we have booked you a seating at the Fishers’ Loft Dinging Room on the first night of your stay there. This is a set menu, so be sure to give us any dietary restrictions at the time of booking. You may choose to book dinners there on subsequent nights or eat off site.


The restaurant at Mallard Cottage can be busy, so we recommend booking a table in advance if you would like to dine on site. St. John’s, with many outstanding eateries, is only a ten-minute drive from the inn.


All lunches and five dinners are not included. This allows you to choose from available restaurants or pack a picnic. There will be suggestions for food and drink in your route notes, and your hosts are always happy to help you decide.


Extra Nights

You may opt to add extras nights during this itinerary as there is plenty more to see, do, and hike in all three destinations. For further details and pricing, please ask us at the time of booking. 



 

 

 



Inn by Mallard Cottage



Inn by Mallard Cottage

An extension of Mallard Cottage, an award-winning restaurant in one of North America’s oldest wooden buildings, the 8-room inn offers simplicity (think white barnboard walls and a Nordic aesthetic), camaraderie (an open self-serve bar stocked with Newfoundland spirits), and privacy (breakfast is served to each room in a basket)


 

 

 


 

 

 



Fishers’ Loft



Fishers’ Loft

Newfoundland’s premier rural inn, this collection of six buildings overlooks Ship Cove and provides a quiet getaway, complete with food grown on site and exceptional provincial artwork on display both inside and out.


 

 

 

Availability

This tour is available May through October. We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalized as this destination is popular in the summer months and availability is limited. Please note you can start this tour on any day of the week.


When To Go?

There are great reasons to travel to Newfoundland throughout the hiking season! In May and June, you will have a higher chance of seeing icebergs as they are carried south on ocean currents. Puffins and whales can be spotted most frequently from mid-May to mid-September, with the whale watching season typically at its peak from mid-June.  If it’s berries and warmer weather you’re after, August is a great time to visit. And lastly, if you’re looking for solitude and perfect hiking temperatures, September and October are crisp, cool, and quiet.


Navigation

Navigating is easy using the Macs Adventure Navigation App. Your daily drives and hikes will be mapped in the app with GPX tracks, route notes, and turn-by-turn directions. All of these resources are available to download for offline use, which is important as cell phone and wifi service can be unreliable for parts of this tour. Written turn-by-turn driving directions are included in the app; although the drives are straightforward, you may still consider using a GPS device while in the car. You will also have 24/7 telephone support from us here at Macs Adventure.


Experience, Fitness & Grade

The hiking on this trip is easy to moderate. Hikes will typically take 2-4 hours, averaging 4-5 miles and up to several hundred feet of ascending and descending. Due to the nature of the itinerary, you will return to your car after each hike; therefore, you can always shorten a hike or completely skip a day of hiking if you’d like to take a day at leisure or do more sightseeing. We have also included several optional hikes that you may add if you’d like to hike more.


The hiking trails are paths on dirt, gravel, and rock – although they are maintained there is always the possibility of washed out, eroded, muddy, or loose trail conditions. For your safety and out of respect for the environment, please always stay on the trail. At times you will be on coastal trails where the forces of wind and waves have caused erosion and cliffs can be overhanging. Always obey trail signage regarding exposed areas and stay a safe distance from cliff edges.


Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack includes a detailed equipment list on what to take with you. This includes warm and cold weather gear, hiking boots, rain gear, and lots of other specifics. If you have any questions about what to take, we'd be happy to share our own top tips and advice.


Getting Around

You will need a car for this itinerary. Either plan to drive to the trip start or fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and rent a car. If you wish, we can arrange a rental car for you for an additional charge.


Travel Insurance

Travel insurance helps protect your travel investment, your belongings and most importantly you, from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip. For more information, please visit our travel insurance page by clicking this link.

Getting to & from St. John’s

Fly into and out of St. John’s International Airport (YYT) and rent a car on site. There are direct flights from/to many Canadian cities, as well as London and Dublin.


Visas

For US citizens traveling to Canada for less than 180 days, no visa is required. You are required to have a valid passport with a blank passport page.


For non-US citizens travelling to Canada, an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) is required to enter. For more information about the eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website. See Entry requirements.

Included

  • 6 nights in boutique inns
  • 6 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Turn-by-turn route notes
  • Macs Adventure Navigation App
  • Donation to Hike Discovery
  • 24/7 telephone support

Excluded

  • Travel to/from St. John’s
  • Car rental (Can be added)
  • All lunches, snacks, drinks, and five dinners
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel Insurance

Extras

  • Car rental (can be added)
  • Additional nights before, during or after the trip
  • Single Room Supplement (if applicable)

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalized as this destination is popular in the summer months and the lodging that we partner with has limited availability. Please note you can start this tour on any day of the week.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good hiking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes (non-cotton is advised), waterproof raingear, a daypack, and warm layers. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.

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lf you require more information before booking, please contact us on

+44 (0)141 530 5464

+1 -844-858-0740

(USA & CANADA)

© 2019

Macs Adventure - Head Office: Skypark 5, 45 Finnieston Street, Glasgow, G3 8JU, UK

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