The Ackland Family South Coast Road Trip!

Two weeks ago we packed our bags, hopped in the car, and set off along the South Coast Road to explore more of this beautiful land that we call home! Today, I’m going to take you along on our adventure!

Day One:
Our first day was all about putting miles behind us! Our destination– Forteau, putting us close to Blanc-Sablon to catch the ferry the next day. We stayed at The Florian hotel, had a delicious dinner (including fresh cod, and a spritzer with bakeapples and iceberg ice!), and walked along the beach!

Day Two:
Today we were scheduled to cross over to Newfoundland on the afternoon ferry, so we spent the morning in L’Anse Amour to see the Point Amour Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada (and the second tallest in Canada). Koen, not being a fan of heights, only made it halfway up (so I only made it halfway, too), but Gwen and Trev made it to the top and got to enjoy the view from 112 feet. The Lighthouse dates back to the 1850’s, and each of the stones that make up its construction (which is an unbelievable 6-feet thick at the base and 4-feet thick at the top) were hand-chiseled!
In the afternoon we boarded the MS Appollo to cross the Strait of Belle Isle, where we saw a couple whales surface briefly. The water was rough, and Koen, Gwen, and I regretted not taking Gravol beforehand!
After reaching the island, we hit the road again for 1.5 hours to reach St. Anthony, where we set up camp before visiting The Lightkeepers Restaurant for dinner with views of the ocean and icebergs.

Day Three:
We got up and made our way to L’Anse aux Meadows this morning, to spend the day visiting North America’s first viking settlement. It was one of our favourite days of the trip, getting to walk among the sites of log houses built over 1000 years ago, walk inside re-created houses, and interact with Viking interpreters. Koen and Gwen loved Ragnar Redbeard, who spent a lot of time walking around and chatting with them. After a delicious lobster dinner at The Norseman, we returned to the log house for Sagas and Shadows, where we ate and drank with Ragnar while he told tales of Thor, Loki, and Brock over the fire. The kids loved it, and the actors were phenomenal.

Day Four:
Today we packed up our camp and got back on the road to reach Gros Morne! We overshot to stop in Corner Brook for a few hours, then made our way back to set up our campsite. The vistas in Gros Morne are incredible, and the campsites were private and clean.

Day Five:
Today’s forecast was rainy, and boy, was it ever! So we got in the car and decided to visit a few interpretation centres around the park to make the most of being forced indoors. After humming and hawing about whether or not we’d bother driving an hour and a half to the Discovery Centre, we figured that since the alternative was just sitting around a soggy campsite, we’d go ahead and do it. What a great surprise it was when we walked outside an hour or two later to find that the rain had stopped! We took the break in the rain to visit the nearby Tablelands, which is the incredible result of two ancient continents coming together and leaving behind one of the only places on earth where the mantle has been exposed! While it would have been nice to do this hike on a beautiful, sunny day, there was certainly something special about doing it after the rain, which left behind clouds low enough that we were able to climb up into them!

Day Six:
Our last full day in Gros Morne, we spent the afternoon at Western Brook Pond hiking to the base of the billion-year-old fjord. After the hike, we went back to the campsite and walked along the beach at Cow Head. It was a chilly afternoon and the kids were disappointed that they didn’t get a chance to swim, but we still had fun checking out jellyfish that had washed up on shore and collecting sand dollar after sand dollar!

Day Seven:
Goodbye, Gros Morne! We packed up camp and made our way to St. Barbe for the afternoon ferry (we remembered Gravol this time!!!), and then continued on to Mary’s Harbour for the night. Trev and I had to listen to Jumanji 2 twice in a row along the way, which is still preferable to listening to the kids moan and groan, right?

Day Eight:
We woke up and made our way to the dock where we would start our adventure over to Battle Harbour. Let me tell you– when we booked a night at Battle Harbour, we told ourselves that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list kind of trip (because it’s not exactly cheap!). But within half an hour of reaching the island, we looked at each other and said that we had to come back. Stepping off of the boat is like stepping back in time, in a way that we have never experienced before. The historic buildings have been beautifully maintained, you’re completely disconnected (which can be a wonderful thing!), the food is delicious, and the people are incredible. We walked all over the island, sat on the cliffs and watched a pod of 20+ whales below us for hours, saw icebergs in the distance, and toured the buildings with someone who grew up there to learn about the history of the island. Even Koen and Gwen (who aren’t as impressed with history and being disconnected as Trevor and I are!), thought the place was magical and will tell you in a heartbeat that it was the highlight of our trip. We were incredibly sad the leave the island, and what started as a “let’s just cross it off the list and get it done with!” has turned into something that we’re excited to do again soon. I love so many of the photographs that I got on the island, but I promise you, even the prettiest of them all does not do justice to the place.

Day Nine:
Home day! We woke up in Battle Harbour and enjoyed a breakfast of salmon eggs benedict before taking the boat back to the mainland. Then hopped in our car and hit the road, eager to get home to Goose Bay! We had a great trip, but by now all 4 of us were ready to get back home to our beds and our dog! Somehow, I’m pretty sure our 6 hour drive was actually 16 hours (at least, that’s how it felt!), but we rolled into the driveway to see a very excited pup waiting at the window just in time for dinner!

I will admit that these kinds of adventure-based vacations are usually more Trevor’s idea than they are mine. But I’m so grateful that we took the time to visit more of this province that we’re living in, and I can’t wait to do a lot of it again! But now, I’m just happy to be home!

***Funny/not funny story: So in an effort to pack light, and not have to carry around a lot of my camera gear, I charged two camera batteries and left my charger at home. SOMEHOW, on the first day of taking out the camera, I got the dreaded blinky battery icon telling me that my batteries were almost out. WHAT?! So for 7 out of 9 days of travel we could only use the camera sparingly, so you’ll notice a lot of cell photos in this post. THANK GOODNESS we ran into a very generous Canon user in Battle Harbour who let me use his charger!

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