Areas of interest in the Channel - Port aux Basques area


  • Birdwatchers find lots to see in southwestern Newfoundland. The following birds are not strangers to the area: American Redstart, Great Crested Flycatcher, Gray Catbird, Eastern Kingbird, Veery, Cape May, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, and Say's Phoebe.

  • The Starlite Trail is a well marked trail to the top of the Long Range Mountains. It starts at the Trans-Canada Highway about 20 miles north of Port aux Basques.

  • The S. S. Caribou monument, near the public library, notes the torpedoing of the passenger ferry S.S. Caribou 40 km (25 miles) off Port aux Basques on October 14, 1942. 137 persons lost their lives (with 1 death on land); there were 102 survivors.

  • The Bethany United Church in Petites (near Rose Blanche) is the oldest wooden church in Newfoundland that is standing on its original foundation.

  • The Rose Blanche Lighthouse (50 km [30 miles] east of Port aux Basques) was built in 1873, before Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. The south coast scenery makes this a favourite evening trip. The restored lighthouse was offically opened on June 23, 1999.

  • During the summer months, the Mushrow Astrolabe is housed in the Gulf Museum in downtown Port aux Basques. 3 astrolabes have been found in Canada.

  • The Harvey Trail in Isle aux Morts is named after the Harvey family that in 1828 saved the entire crew of the ship "Despatch."

  • Gordon Matthews [(709) 695-3920] offers oceanside Newfoundland Pony and horse rides at Port aux Basques. Wagons rides are also available.

  • The wave forest at Bear Cove Brook, just 16 km (10 miles) north of Port aux Basques, can easily be seen from the Trans-Canada Highway. The wavy swaths of trees on the hillside mark the trailing edges of each wavefront. The forest profile moves up the hill at a rate of roughly 100 metres (110 yards) per 60 years.

  • The unmarked Dorset Palaeo-Eskimo site near the Cape Ray lighthouse was the most southerly site inhabited by these people. The site was occupied as a summer staging area for about 700 years, beginning around 400 B.C. Further archaeological excavations were made in 1997. The Cape Ray Lightkeeper's House Museum is nearby, within walking distance.

  • The Codroy Valley is a great place to see one of Newfoundland's rare fertile areas. The valley includes a Ramsar protected wetland.

  • 33 different orchids have been recorded in southwestern Newfoundland. The Large Purple-Fringed Orchid is common in July.

  • The public library has a Newfoundland Section for the curious.

  • The Sand Dunes area is unknown even to most Newfoundlanders. This area is the largest sand dune/saltwater-marsh estuary ecosystem in Newfoundland. The total area exceeds 10 sq. kms. The sand dunes have occasionally become large enough to appear on charts as the winds and waves have altered their shape. Within the dunefield itself many classic textbook dune forms often occur. Barchans, lunettes, seif dunes, and rhourds may periodically be observed. The sand in the dunes (and the adjacent beaches) is derived from pre-existing glacial deposits that were deposited within the last 10,000 years.

  • A walk not much more than halfway up Table Mountain, 8 miles north of Port aux Basques, will provide a nice view of the coast of Nova Scotia on a clear day.

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