You'll find Rose Blanche and the lighthouse at the end of the road, literally. As you leave the ferry terminal in Port aux Basques, the first exit to the right is Highway 470, Isle aux Morts. Take the road east for 42 km to get to Rose Blanche and the lighthouse.
If you are coming towards Port aux Basques on the Trans Canada finding Highway 470 isn't easy.It looks like you are driving into the ferry terminal. You'll even pass signs thanking you for visiting the province. But relax, just before you get to the terminal, there's a final exit for Highway 470.
The road along the south coast ends at Rose Blanche. Most living communities east of here along the south coast are only accessible by a coastal ferry that does not take cars. The drive to Rose Blanche is spectacular. Chances are you have never seen a landscape like this! The road follows the coastline winding up, down, left and right. It's difficult to drive more than 60 or 70 km/h for most of the route. Although paved it can be a little rough at times. As you approach Rose Blanche, you'll start seeing signs for the granite lighthouse.
The Granite Lighthouse in Rose Blanche sits high over the town at the waters edge. It was built in 1871 from locally quarried granite, of which there is no shortage. After falling into serious disrepair it was rebuilt in the late 90's. You can actually go into the lighthouse starting mid June till the end of August. We visited in early June, when a lot of tourist sites in Newfoundland are still closed.
From the parking area you you can take one of two well maintained paths that create a loop. The first route is straight up and over the hill. This part of the path gives you a great view of the town of Rose Blanche and the surrounding area. The second path is accessed through a gate that takes you down towards the water and around the base of the hill. It is a bit easier to walk. The lighthouse has a medieval appearance, especially on a foggy, cloudy day. You can see by the rocky shoreline why they built it originally. This coast line is notorious for shipwrecks. Even far out over the water you can see waves breaking on barely submerged rocks. You can also see the recently resettled (2003) community of Petites off in the distance to the east.
A number of tourist attractions in Newfoundland are not open in June. They don't open until they can hire students for the summer. You can still hike over and see the lighthouse. The washrooms were locked up, so we stopped at the town hall in Rose Blanche and they were happy to have a chat, and let us use the washrooms.
While you are in Rose Blanche you will also want to hike the Harbour Le Cou Old Road Trail.
We've written two blogs on topics that might interest Rose Blanche visitors. If you like to hike, there are some great trails near Rose Blanche. For lighthouse enthusiasts, we've written about the trails that we've visited on the west coast.
(click photos to enlarge, click caption for mapped location)
There is a Bed and Breakfast that is part of the lighthouse grounds and during the open season you can get inside the lighthouse and partake in various scheduled activities.
While walking trails we often find ourselves wondering how the various interesting formations came about. Our understanding of geology is pretty limited. We purchased a great book titled 'Geology of Newfoundland' by Martha Hickman Hild.
The book has GPS co-ordinates, photos and descriptions of 48 sites across the island. The level of information will satisfy serious rock hounds. In our case, we are able to glean enough to satisfy our curiosity. We keep the book in the truck, it does not matter what part of the island you are visiting, there will be an interesting site nearby.
We bought a copy ahead of our September 2015 trip to scout out sites we wanted to explore. The book is available on Amazon and you can purchase it through this link.
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: