Kittiwake Coast: Road to the Isles

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Kittiwake Coast: Road to the Isles

  • Start: Notre Dame Junction
  • Length: About 311 km
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Take a guided trip into the Lewisporte area’s backcountry to encounter woodland caribou, moose, and other wildlife.

This is one of four sections of the Kittiwake Coast road trips, and you can pick it up where the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1) meets Route 340.

Lewisporte is a major service centre for Notre Dame Bay. Historically known for its shipping and forestry economy, you can learn more about the town’s history at the By the Bay Museum. Lewisporte’s other attractions include boat tours, walking trails, entertainment-chocked festivals, and even a dinner theatre.

While in town, walk the South West Brook Estuary Bird Watching Trail and keep an eye out for some of the 60 species of birds found here, including waterfowl. Take a guided trip into the Lewisporte area’s backcountry to encounter woodland caribou, moose, and other wildlife. The Loon Bay and Birchy Bay areas will also appeal to birdwatchers and beachcombers alike – watch for terns diving to catch their meal of fish as you stroll a beach looking for sea glass and flotsam. Be sure to tour the Over the Top Museum to learn about what life was like here in the early 1900s. There’s also a scaled replica of the schooner Over the Top, built to honour Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who lost their lives in WWI.

Also nearby is Notre Dame Provincial Park. This serene, forested park borders on the calm waters of Junction Pond and is ideal for camping, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. Sink your toes into the sandy beach, and take a refreshing dip in the water.

Visit the Beothuk Interpretation Centre Provincial Historic Site in Boyd’s Cove.

A major attraction on this part of the coast is the Beothuk Interpretation Centre Provincial Historic Site in Boyd’s Cove. An easy 1.5-kilometre walking trail leads to a former Beothuk village site – today, the only evidence that remains here are the outlines of house pits. You can pause and imagine what it would have looked like 300 years ago, when families tended to their tasks and a now-extinct language rang out through the trees. Back at the interpretation centre, tour the exhibits and artifacts for a better understanding of how the Beothuk lived.

As you make your way towards Twillingate, a slight detour on Route 345 follows a scenic drive through some rural communities. There are hiking trails along this stretch as well as berry picking opportunities, and the town of Bridgeport is a little-known hotspot for iceberg viewing. The Moreton’s Harbour Museum is a must-visit for its impressive collection of artifacts, archival documents, and personal mementos belonging to locals of years past – the Fishermen’s Room showcases the tools used during the inshore fishery.

From Moreton’s Harbour, you can take Route 345 back to Route 340 and Dildo Run Provincial Park on New World Island. This park is open year-round and is popular for its cross-country skiing trails and hiking trails, while the smooth waters of Dildo Run are ideal for paddling. On the drive to Twillingate, you’ll see a giant Sei whale skeleton on the dock outside the Prime Berth Twillingate Fishing and Heritage Centre. Explore this village of curiosities and see the skeleton up close for yourself, visit the fishing museum, join the captain on a fishing trip, or take a boat tour to watch for whales and icebergs.

View icebergs and whales from land in Long Point, where a lighthouse stands atop a high cliff overlooking the bay.

Twillingate embodies everything so many Newfoundland and Labrador outports are famous for: stunningly rugged coastline, historical and picturesque streets, and lush countryside roads. In the waters off the coast, look for whales, dolphins, seabirds, and – if the season is right – icebergs. Twillingate sits in the heart of Iceberg Alley, a vast corridor of ocean that runs from Greenland and a popular path for these frozen leviathans. A great place to view icebergs and whales from land is Long Point, where a lighthouse stands atop a high cliff overlooking the bay. Boat tours are also plentiful here, including sea kayaking tours.

During the summer, you can find live entertainment almost every night and festivals throughout the season, including the Unscripted Twillingate Digital Arts Festival, where visitors participate in experiential digital arts workshops combined with other activities involving music, food, and entertainment. Soaking up Twillingate’s culture is easy to do here, as several performance venues, art galleries, and craft shops are yours to enjoy. Attend a live show at the Twillingate New World Island Dinner Theatre, or join a fun-filled kitchen party with the Split Peas. For a truly unique experience, attend a concert at the 618 Sessions at the Gate. Housed inside a church built in 1868, the natural acoustics of this historic structure fills the chamber with beautiful music. Wrap up your time in Twillingate with a trip to the Twillingate Museum and the Isles Wooden Boat Museum which both pay tribute to Twillingate’s vibrant past.

Take advantage of the network of trails to see hidden coves and great views.

There’s a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and bars around here, as well as the Auk Island Winery and the Split Rock Brewery. Hikers can take advantage of the network of trails on Twillingate Island known as the Rockcut Twillingate Trails. These will take you along the coast, to hidden coves and great views overlooking the islands. Keep an eye out for one of the area’s 230 root cellars as you go!

As you’re driving the Road to the Isles, take your time to explore the many rural communities along the way. Towns like Too Good Arm and Herring Neck are full of historic homes and colourful fishing sheds, and as you navigate the winding coastal roads and streets, you’ll find photo-worthy moments at every turn.

Road Trip Tips:

Please check exact directions and road conditions before you start each road trip. Visit www.511nl.ca for current road conditions.

Distances are estimates and for guidance only. Routes can be taken as is, or in reverse order.

Welcome travellers, the wait is finally over! Book your car rentals and accommodations well in advance and be sure to follow public health guidelines during your stay in Newfoundland and Labrador. Click Travel Info for details.

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