This multipurpose stop gives travellers a place to stretch their legs, fill their stomachs and dip their toes in the water while surrounded by historical significance and sweet and fresh coastal Newfoundland air.
After a fifteen-minute drive from Stephenville you’ll find yourself on an isthmus connecting the Port au Port Peninsula to the rest of the rock. Park your car in the ample space provided and read about the history of the area from the bilingual (English and French) storyboards.
The Gravels Beach was reportedly visited by Jacques Cartier in 1534. Centuries later, the entire isthmus was covered by a flood in 1951—cutting off the peninsula from the rest of the island for a period of time. Check out the lobster traps and old dry docked boat on site and then head out on the 7 km round trip Gravels Walking Trail. At the end of the trail, before you head back for a picnic on the beach, visit the Aguathuna Quarry and let your inner rock hound howl. Bitumen fossils, barite and celestite have all been reported found in the area.
Before you leave take a look at Port au Port Bay through the mounted binoculars—for free! No need for quarters or loonies here. But if you do want to spend a dollar or two head across the street to western Newfoundland’s oldest fabrication building. Abbot & Haliburton houses dollar stores and more. These buildings are common in the area as they provided a quick way to get a structure up and get a business rolling.
Western Brook Pond Boat Tour
The idea for Gros Morne National Park began here in beautiful Western Brook Pond. Although it is not a true fjord, due to the water being fresh rather than saltwater, the 700-metre plus cliffs of granite and green are breathtaking and draw fjord tourists from around the world.
And it’s not a pond either, rather a 16-km long lake with some of the purest water in the world. So what is it? A must-see on any tour of the national park.
True North Charters & Tours
"Our outposts are good for what ails ya”, sings Tony Oxford, the harmonica and guitar-playing captain of the 45-foot boat named Pilgrim Chapter 2 during a fishing and sightseeing tour. Oxford and his wife named the boat after their camper that in turn was named after a Kris Kristofferson song. After retiring from the school system where he was an administrator, Oxford fulfilled his dream of owning a boat coupled with his wife’s dream of running a business.
Rose Blanche Lighthouse
This is a case where a drive down a long winding road is rewarded. One of the last stone granite lighthouses in Atlantic Canada, the Rose Blanche Lighthouse is a stunning piece of architecture on a rocky bluff in a remote part of western Newfoundland.
Immaculately kept grounds—think workers picking up cigarette butts with tweezers—from the starting point in the parking lot to the lighthouse a leisurely ten-minute walk make for a pleasant quick trip or longer if you choose.