Newfoundland rhymes with understand – say it out loud – it’s how to pronounce Newfoundland.
We left Nova Scotia at spent the day driving to North Sydney to get the over-night ferry to Port-Aux-Basques in Newfoundland. We stopped off at Truro, Nova Scotia for a some lunch at the Nook and Cranny and to buy a new earring as mine broke the day before – lucky for us one of the only piercing parlours in Nova Scotia was in Truro!
We arrived in North Sydney, had an amazing meal at the Black Spoon – if you are in North Sydney at any time go here, the food is to die for!! We boarded the ferry and went up to our room. We splurged on a twin cabin for the night as we figured we’d need a decent night’s sleep before another day of driving. The cabins are worth the splurge if you’re looking for a decent night’s rest and some privacy. Our ferry left around midnight and we woke up to the PA system telling us it would be an hour until we reach the port, around 7am.
We didn’t reach our final destination and 5th workaway in Bonavista, until around 6pm; a full day driving but we did have a few coffee breaks and lunch along the way.
We arrived and were greeted by a another workawayer who’d had a few too many bevvies the night before. We were shown to our room, which was a nice private double room and the hostel had a large combined communal and kitchen area.
We met one of the owners of the hostel the next day. A lady called Donna and with her husband Todd they own this hostel, a taxi company, a number of rental properties and were interested in starting up a ambulance-turned-campervan business. Donna also works with autistic children in the area.
We met Todd a few days later when we would start renovating one of the ambulances into a campervan. Now, this is actually a project I’ve been eyeing up for a while, so I’m really excited to get involved! Todd was incredibly willing to share his knowledge about mechanics and his ideas for the campers – his passion was infectious! Overall we spent a few days of a two week trip working with him and were able to make a bit of progress with the camper. It now has no red lights, a bed, a fridge, a microwave and cooker. I can’t wait to see them on the road!
Meh, this workaway has, to be honest, been a downer from our last workaway. We’re working in a hostel, the owners didn’t communicate with us at all. This made it a difficult start to the trip and we quickly decided to shorten our stay in Bonavista and spend as much time out of the hostel as possible. The work on the ambulance was good fun, but the rest of our work stay was pretty dull, particularly compared to the amazing experience we’d had in Nova Scotia at the farm.
It is the off season here still so we didn’t see many hostel go-ers except a handful of bubbly, energetic and lovely travellers.
The surrounding area
Everything in Newfoundland is very far apart, that’s one of the things we didn’t really realise before!
Our first trip away from the hostel was to a place called Tickle Cove. There is a lovely little trail in this quiet trail, although the trail was partially snowed in and we were only able to walk for around 30mins (there and back) the view was pretty spectacular and we even saw some rare wildlife, the Caribou!
The Skerwink Trail
The Skerwink trail is well known around Newfoundland and we were lucky enough to only be around a 40minute drive from the trail. The trail is 5km but it did take up around two hours as the route was partially covered with snow (sometimes as high as your upper thigh!) and a lot of water from melted snow. The Route is pretty hilly and does offer some spectacular views.
Port Rexton Brewery
Dave read about Port Rexton Brewery on the ferry and with further research we discovered that the Brewery was only a 40 minutes away from the hostel we were working at! It’s a small brewery, in a really small town and offers a selection of around 5 or 6 beers on tap. You can also buy a growler to take 2 litres or so to enjoy at home.
Cape Bonavista is the closest lighthouse to the hostel, approximately a 15minute drive. It offers stunning views from the peninsular – especially as the sea is still covered in ice this time of year (May).
The Dungeon is a naturally formed cave and is pretty spectacular views over the ocean. The road driving to the site is a dirt track road with a fair few pot holes, so it’s worth taking care wen driving. It will be worth it, even just to spend a 10 minutes admiring the view.
The Trinity Loop
A.M.A.Z.I.N.G it’s an abandoned amusement park which can be reached by car if there isn’t any snow. Unfortunately for us there is still a lot of snow on the ground so we had to walk about 20minutes before we reached the first sign of the park. Some abandoned trains, which were pretty spooky. We then found what looked like an old office building, small petting animal farm and then around 10 abandoned apartments. After seeing all of this, we saw the remains of the amusement park; a Ferris wheel, crazy golf, snack building and a lot of debris from the apartment forming man-made bridges & dams in the river. We went with a girl we met at the hostel who is really into photography. I’d been wanted to get more into taking photos and on this trip we were able to be really creative when taking photographs.
Eliston is great if you love bird watching. We went in the hope of seeing some puffins as apparently they migrate here during May, we just ended up seeing a lot of seagulls – I guess it has something to do with the long winter this year. After an unsuccessful puffin watching excursion, we drive through Elliston and saw an old movie set for The Grand Seduction (7/10 rating on IMDB), the old root cellars (where villagers stored their root vegetables during the winter in the rock face) , stopped off at a beach and saw the sealing memorial. The sealing memorial is in memory of those who lost their lives in the sealing disaster of 1914.
A 7.5km trail about 20minutes away from the hostel. Luckily, this trail is nicely sign posted in this interesting town. The town was founded in 1916 as a union town by William Ford Croaker and members of the fisherman’s union. The trail is beautiful, it took us around 2 and a half hours to do the walk including a pit-stop for lunch. For a majority of the walk we saw great views of the ocean, icebergs and crashing waves. Part of the route was snowy but mostly dry or bogy. It’s well worth a visit, especially if you love hiking and photography!
Next stop, St. John’s, Newfoundland