Drive back in time on the Discovery Trail. This 230-kilometre loop is one of Central Newfoundland’s most scenic drives—and twowildtides knows exactly what stops to make along the way for a truly memorable experience.
The Discovery Trail, also known as the Bonavista highway, can be accessed off of the Trans-Canada Highway near Clarenville. For this trip, I recommend taking the eastern-most exit. There are many great restaurants and cafes throughout the towns along this highway, but I think packing a picnic lunch to enjoy during one of your stops adds something special to any road trip.
The Random Passage Site in New Bonaventure makes a great first stop along the Discovery Trail. Random Passage was an international TV mini-series that was filmed and set in rural Newfoundland and is worth the watch (especially for you history buffs!). A short hike brings you out to the film set, which is a truly authentic way to experience what life was like during early settlement.
Make your next stop in Port Rexton. Perhaps stop by the Port Rexton Brewing Co. (don’t drink and drive!), but definitely, make the Skerwink Trail a priority. This 9-kilometer loop boasts incredible views of Newfoundland’s unique coastline; sea stacks, cliffs, and rocky beaches are just some of the marvelous sights you’ll take in. Readers and hikers be warned: this trail is not for those afraid of heights. The trail takes you very close to the cliffside and there are no guardrails.
After your hike, take a breather as you drive from Port Rexton, through Port Union, and into Elliston. Elliston is a very small town that happens to be internationally recognized for two things: 1) it is the root cellar capital of the world, and 2) it is one of the most up close and personal puffin viewing sites in the world. Random, hey? It is worth your while to stop by and admire the puffins, which I would argue are the cutest seabirds on Earth.
From Elliston, it is only a short drive to the community of Bonavista. Here, you will find a lovely downtown area with cozy restaurants and shops selling locally made products. Definitely, pick up some homemade soap and bath bombs at East Coast Glow! Along the shore is the Bonavista lighthouse and Dungeon Provincial Park. The Dungeon is a massive double sea arch and a small lagoon with beautiful turquoise water.
Since Bonavista is at the very tip of the Discovery Trail, when you leave you will drive down the other side of the peninsula to complete the loop. At this point you will probably be starving and dead tired, so make one last stop at the Bonavista Social Club; a quaint restaurant in Upper Amherst Cove. They specialize in homemade pizza baked in Newfoundland and Labrador’s only commercial wood-fired bread oven. YUM. The staff were so friendly and accommodating, even seating us on the patio so our puppy could enjoy dinner with us.
A road trip on the Discovery Trail is the perfect way to spend a Saturday or Sunday with a couple of great friends.
What is the best road trip you have embarked on? Tell us about it!