General Introduction

Olaf noted: "First, some general pointers. The Newfoundland & Labrador provincial government is generous with information; call them at (800)563-NFLD." They could easily mail out a large information brochure, and can also be reached by e-mail at Their website is at Provincial Dept of Tourism .

The province is quite rugged and has variable, exciting weather, rather than stagnant weather patterns found elsewhere, and this ionically charged sea air can be quite invigorating. Also there is a range of different types of scenery in different parts of the province. The Southern Avalon and south coast have slightly more fog than other regions but still lots of good weather too, and fog is good for the complexion, so they say. And sometimes when it is foggy and cool in St. John's a short trip out towards Conception Bay will find you in sunnier climes with temperatures 5 degrees warmer at times, depending on wind direction. However note that St. John's is at about the same latitude as Seattle, Washington, USA or Paris, France and it is just the curvature distortion of those newspaper weather maps which makes it look at casual glance as if it is much further north than, e.g., Toronto. In fact St. John's is brighter near the winter solstice than Vancouver, B.C., both due to thinner clouds, being further south, and some snow reflectivity. But of course due to the Labrador current and associated ice pack the ocean temperatures here are cooler than off Vancouver and this keeps average summer temperatures slightly lower, but winter temperatures do not dip nearly as low as Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

The west coast of the island, central zone and Northern peninsula usually have more snow than the Avalon and hence the best know ski hill here is at Marble Mountain near Corner Brook. The west coast and central area have larger trees and Gros Morne park, which has lots of low mountains and fjords and trails. The Northern Peninsula has L'ans aux Meadows, the Viking World Heritage Site. Corner Brook, the second largest city, has some forestry jobs and now some activity as a petroleum prospecting centre. Gander, in central Newfoundland, has a major international airport. Labrador, the mainland part of the province, has breathtaking natural vistas, pristine wilderness and massive mineral resources.

St. John's is rapidly becoming an "Atlantic Rim" hub and has an ancient vibrant culture and a music scene that must be one of the best for a city this size anywhere in the world. And it has clean air and safe streets.

Airports: The two international airports are at St. John's and Gander. St. John's sometimes gets fogged in and then flights are diverted to Gander, but with new technology this does not happen nearly as often as twenty years ago. Gander is about 200 miles from St. John's. Though St. John's airport is often referred to as Torbay airport since it is in the town of Torbay, it is best accessed by Portugal Cove Road and not Torbay Road. There are several local airports, including Stephenville, Deer Lake and Goose Bay. There are also some world-class helicopter companies and there are some services for (and by) float planes.

Car access: Marine Atlantic ferries from Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques year round and to Argentia (closer to St. John's, but longer from Nova Scotia by sea) in the summer. The Port aux Basques ferry might be more suitable if you want to check out Gros Morne or the Viking sites on the Northern Peninsula, or you could do a loop, coming over at Argentia and returning at Port aux Basques, or vice versa.