Getting Here Car & FerryLearn More
Planning on driving? Most travellers will take the ferry from Nova Scotia to either Port aux Basques or Argentia, and there are ferry routes for travelling between the island and Labrador. You can also drive to Labrador from the mainland of Canada, via Québec.
Getting Here Driving to Newfoundland & Labrador
Ferry to Newfoundland
Located at the most easterly edge of North America, Newfoundland and Labrador makes a great road-trip destination. Most auto travellers access the province by Marine Atlantic ferries, which operate between Nova Scotia and the island of Newfoundland. These modern vessels carry thousands of vehicles and passengers to the island every year.
There is year-round service between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Port aux Basques, in southwestern Newfoundland. Most days have two sailings – morning and evening – and the crossing takes six to eight hours, depending on weather.
From June to September there is also service between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Argentia, on the Avalon Peninsula, a 90-minute drive from the capital city of St. John's. This longer trip, about 15 hours, runs three times a week.
Driving to Labrador
It’s possible to drive to Labrador from the mainland of Canada via the Québec-Labrador Highway, also known as Expedition 51°. You can reach western Labrador via Québec Route 389, a partially paved 570-kilometre highway that runs north from Baie-Comeau. The travel time is about eight hours. More than 400 kilometres of the road is paved, in two sections, with the remainder being gravel. Services along the route are very limited, but the terrain is marvellous, rising from the lower reaches of the North Shore to the escarpment that is the Canadian Shield. Crossing from Québec to Labrador moves you from Eastern Time to Atlantic Time (1 hour ahead).
Driving across Labrador
From Labrador City and Wabush to L’Anse-au-Clair, Expedition 51° crosses The Big Land connecting the west to the south coast, 1,135 kilometres away. The first 533 kilometres on Route 500 between Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay is paved. Route 510 is partially paved between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Red Bay, and paved between Red Bay and L’Anse-au-Clair. The road can be a challenging drive, with no cellphone service or gas stations for many kilometres outside towns and communities. Before heading out, travellers are encouraged to borrow a satellite phone to make sure your drive is a safe one. You can find more information on the phones and the drive at Destination Labrador.
Ferry to Labrador from Newfoundland
To get to Labrador from the island of Newfoundland, take the ferry that runs from St. Barbe on the island’s Great Northern Peninsula to Blanc Sablon, on Québec’s southernmost coast, right next to the border with Labrador. During peak season, the ferry runs several times each day, and the crossing takes less than two hours. The trip is a great opportunity to spot whales and birds, so keep a lookout while you’re on board. There’s a switch in time zones as you cross between the provinces, be sure to double check crossing times (the schedule on the website uses Newfoundland Time for all departures).
Getting Around Travel Within NL
With so many memorable places to see and things to do, finding the best way to travel around Newfoundland and Labrador is as important as figuring out where you want to go. Our province is much larger than most travellers realize, with lots of open country.
To give you a better idea of the province’s size, Newfoundland and Labrador is more than three times the total area of the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) and would rank fourth in size behind Alaska, Texas, and California if it were one of the United States. It's almost one-and-three-quarter times the size of Great Britain. Most of that open space is in Labrador, but even on the island, the nine-hour drive from the ferry at Port aux Basques to the capital city of St. John’s is longer than the drive from Toronto to New York or from Paris to Berlin.
While there may be times when you truly want to get lost in this land, you might need a hand finding your way back. Our interactive map will help you plan routes, determine distances, and highlight accommodations and attractions along your journey.
511 Traveller Information System
NL 511 is your source of up-to-date information on winter driving conditions, construction and major incidents, highway cameras, ferry status, and more. Travellers can access 511 by using the free smartphone app (Apple, Google Play), visiting the website NL511.ca, or dialing 5-1-1 to hear key information over the phone.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Newfoundlanders and Labradorians get to rediscover home this year, and we welcome our Maritime neighbours on July 3. Call or connect with operators / venues before you go, as details on the website may be modified by COVID-19. Future travellers from elsewhere, please keep dreaming and check back for travel updates.