In tourist terms Gros Morne National Park is the jewel in the crown of Newfoundland’s offerings, a site of unique geological importance, hosting some of the oldest strata and fossils on the planet, combined with superb views and features. Rocky Harbour is by far the best place to stay but is plagued with coach parties, most staying at our hotel, the Ocean View which conveniently possesses both a pub and a restaurant overlooking the harbour. The bar hosts typical Newfoundland entertainment, Anchors Aweigh and Kitchen Party which played on alternate nights. The majority of the former also work as guides on some of the boat trips around the area. They are also the most popular, combining quite boring Newfoundland music with good jokes and skits, one being them recreating how The Who or Led Zeppelin would cover a quite boring Newfoundland song (short videos available on request).
Day 1 was cool, windy and overcast but we visited a couple of spots, Green Point, on the coast, where we found another red chair. Red chairs are dotted around the National Parks of Canada at strategic lookouts and it is unusual to find them empty. It is always fun to see where they are hidden and whether it’s worth the effort for the sit down!
Green Point is a well-known geological highlight as well as being a good vantage point to view the wild coastline and the mountains behind.
One of the most popular boat trips is on Western Brook Pond, an ex-fiord now connected to the sea only by a stream, so taking the boat requires a 2 mile walk to the dock. We couldn’t book onto the boat trip but we did the walk anyway in a brief spell of good weather.
The next day we’d booked an alternative boat trip, in Bonne Bay, situated just south of Rocky Harbour. We stopped at Jenniex House, an historical home that had been moved across the bay over the ice when the widow of the original builder and settler to the area remarried. It was built in 1926 and moved in 1938. The lady of the house had over 10 children with her 2nd husband and they all lived in this 2 up 2 down poorly insulated basic home. It was full of artifacts and were told some of the children still lived in the area.
The view across the bay towards The Tablelands was fantastic.
The boat trip itself was interesting, a pair of Bald Eagles nest up the valley and were easily seen
Touring the fiord in glorious weather gave us the opportunity to see the best parts of the park
The national park is effectively split in 2, with Bonne Bay separating the northern section (Gros Morne) from the The Tablelands. Traveling between the 2 involves an hours drive or a foot passenger ferry so we never made it to the southern section, despite this being a unique geological feature (the bare mountain is made from the earth’s mantle, so from much deeper than normal rocks and made from materials which plants find difficult to colonise). A good description is found in Two for the Tablelands, a murder novel written by a local writer we found in a local drugstore, although some of a delicate disposition may find the death scene a little disturbing!
After 3 evenings of typical Newfoundland cuisine we were ready to move north to reputedly one of the best restaurants in Newfoundland.