Granite Coast Drive

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Granite Coast Drive

  • Start: Channel-Port aux Basques
  • Length: About 45 km. Add 90 minutes for ferry option to La Poile.
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Visit the Railway Heritage Museum, home to two rare 17th-century astrolabes recovered from nearby shipwrecks.

Channel-Port aux Basques is a major entry point to the island of Newfoundland from North Syndey, Nova Scotia. Marine Atlantic superferries carry hundreds of passengers and auto on their year-round service. Most days there are two sailings and the crossing takes six to eight hours, depending upon the weather.

After leaving the ferry in Channel-Port aux Basques, visit this old port and the nearby areas. The Railway Heritage Museum in Channel-Port aux Basques houses two rare 17th-century astrolabes (navigational devices) recovered from nearby shipwrecks by a local diver. The Basque fishermen who arrived in the 1500s were followed by the French, hence the town’s French name.

Further along on Route 470 is the historic community of Isle aux Morts, where the astrolabes were recovered just off the coast. If you’re a dog lover, visit the Hairyman’s Safe Haven Café & Craft Shop to see the exhibit featuring stories about heroic Newfoundland dog rescues. Here you’ll learn the tale of Hairyman, the famed local Newfoundland dog who rescued 163 shipwreck survivors in 1828.

Less than an hour east along this rugged coast is the Rose Blanche Lighthouse. The restored 19th-century granite lighthouse overlooks the resting places of an untold number of shipwrecks. The gentle looped walking trail offers spectacular views of the ocean and Rose Blanche, so pack a picnic and enjoy your surroundings.

From North Syndey, Nova Scotia, take the year-round car ferry to Port aux Basques.

From Rose Blanche-Harbour Le Cou, leave your car behind and take a 90-minute ferry ride - passenger only, no vehicles - to the remote village of La Poile for a taste of the past. Local tours guided by fishing families will also take you to resettled (abandoned) communities like Grand Bruit and Petites to explore the old way of life. Pair this with some fishing and spend a full day out on the water.

Road Trip Tips:

Please check exact directions and road conditions before you start each road trip. Visit for current road conditions and ferry updates.

This road trip includes a community(s) accessible by ferry. Please visit for routes and rates. Some ferries do permit vehicles, with a set limit for vehicle capacity; other ferries are passengers only (no vehicles accepted) so plan accordingly.

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

When travelling by Marine Atlantic ferry from Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques (year-round service – approximately seven-hour crossing) or Argentia (June to September service – approximately 16-hour crossing), it is important to plan in advance. Schedules can vary depending upon the time of the year, the route and the weather. These superferries carry hundreds of passengers and vehicles. Marine Atlantic Reservations 1-800-341-7981.

This is one road trip you'll never forget.

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