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Port aux Basques

(click here to find Port aux Basques on the map)

(click photos to enlarge, click caption for mapped location)

Marine Atlantic Ferry at Port aux Basques, NL
Ferry Terminal at Port aux Basques, NL

Port aux Basques is where the ferry docks from North Sydney. You literally drive off the ramp and onto the Trans Canada Highway (TCH). There is an off ramp for Route 470 that takes you along the Granite Coast to the east but at this point most people will take the TCH, usually heading for Gros Morne. (The signs say TCH East, you are actually driving North for a few hundred miles before it turns to the East).

Many visitors will miss out on the many attractions, services, trails and scenery that Port aux Basques and the larger area has to offer. From here you can make the drive to Rose Blanche on the south coast, Route 470, in less than an hour and if you head north you are in the Codroy Valley in about 40 minutes. The areas in between provide lots to do for any tourist.

Newfoundland Travel Tip:

if you are arriving in the morning make sure you grab breakfast on the ferry. Since you are disembarking shortly after 7 AM, there are not a lot of breakfast options or other services, open in the town. Be careful, you will immediately drive into a traffic jam as the truckers pull over on the side of the TCH to cross the highway and run up the hill the Tim Hortons. The drive through is always crazy there.

With a population of over 4,000 people Port aux Basques has the services that any one would require. There are a number of grocery stores, a Canadian Tire, pharmacies, electronics, liquor, gift stores, gas stations, restaurants etc. If you are having trouble finding something just ask a local. That could start up an entire discussion group.

(click photos to enlarge, click caption for mapped location)

 Port aux Basques, Newfoundland
 Port aux Basques, Newfoundland

Community of Port aux Basques:

Driving around Port aux Basques is a true test of your navigation skills. Like most of the coastal communities the streets followed the geography. The houses seemed to be an afterthought, being put where a person thought it would suit the needs of their family.

Enjoy a drive around the town. The streets are narrow, winding their way up and down the short steep hills. The smaller lanes can lead to some very pretty spots.

Port aux Basques Attractions:

A prominent hiking trail can be reached from the far end of the parking lot at the Railway Heritage Center. The Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park it is a multi use trail that has been built using the original railway beds reaching from Port aux Basques to St. John's. It also makes up part of the TransCanada Trail and the International Appalachian Trail. T'Railway Trail is a total of 883 km.

The Railway Heritage building has a large collection of narrow guage rolling stock that had been used while the Newfoundland Railway was active. The building houses displays of the areas involvement in the transportation and fishery fields. The centre is also the home for 2 astrolabes, navigational instruments dating back to the 1600's. They were found on ship wrecks off of Isle aux Morts by Port aux Basques resident Wayne Mushrow.

Port aux Basques offers a great central starting point to explore east along the Granite Coast and to the north including the Codroy Valley. Within an hour drive either direction there are numerous trails, small villages, wonderful scenery, sandy beaches and a migratory bird route.

Newfoundland Travel Tip:

While you are in Port aux Basques you may want to stop in at Coleman's Grocery Store on Main Street. Their on site bakery makes the whole store smell heavenly. If you are planning to drive along the Granite Coast grab some food and beverages to take along. Depending on the time of year your food options can be slim to none.

There is a second Newfoundland Railway display on the west coast in Corner Brook. We've written a blog about the railway and the two displays of narrow gauge rolling stock and locomotives. To see more railway photos and to read the blog, click here.

 T'Railway Trail, Port aux Basques, Newfoundland
 Railway Heritage Centre, Port aux Basques, Newfoundland
Narrow Gauge Railway Snow Plow, Port aux Basques, Newfoundland
 Mushrow Astrolabes Monument, Railway Heritage Centre, Port aux Basques, Newfoundland

Near Port aux Basques:

Cape Ray, Newfoundland

Newfoundland Travel Books and Field Guides

Before you head to Newfoundland, you may want to consider one or more of the great field guides that are available. We have done short reviews of the following:

Edible Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador
Trees & Shrubs of Newfoundland and Labrador
Wildflowers of Newfoundland and Labrador
Whales and Dolphins of Newfoundland and Labrador
Birds of Newfoundland
Geology of Newfoundland

Newfoundland books available from (Canada)

Newfoundland books available from (USA)