Sunday, 20 December 2015

Gros Morne National Park - Boat Tours

If you are planning a trip to Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland, make sure you include a boat tour in your itinerary.

The two main boat trips in Gros Morne are run by BonTours.

We would highly recommend that you make time for both tours. You'll want to do them on different days. If you are in the park for a few days, watch the weather forecast. You can generally book either tour the day before. If it's foggy or rainy you're not going to see much. The tour schedule varies through the season. They don't run as many tours in June or September.

If you are only planning on one boat tour, make it Western Brook Pond. It's a land locked fjord and the scenery is some of the most spectacular that you'll see. We've been to Norway's fjords and Western Brook Pond definitely compares.

Call the day before to reserve your tickets. If it's a nice day the boats can be crowded. You need to arrive at the parking area at least an hour before your tour departs, because you have about a 3 km walk from the parking lot to the boat launch. It's not a difficult trail to walk. A lot of it is boardwalk across a large bog area. If you want to see what the trail is like, you can now take a virtual walk on Google Street View.

Western Brook Pond Boat Tour Dock
There's a large building, deck and dock at the end of the trail. You can pick up your tickets here. If you don't have a park pass, they will sell you one here. There's a snack bar where you can grab a hot dog before you head out on the fjord. There is also a small gift shop and washrooms. The boats are equipped with toilets, but don't count on that. The last time we went, they were not operating.

If there is a big crowd, which is normal on the nicest summer days, they will load you on one of three boats. The tour has great commentary. They take you to the farthest point in the fjord where you will see the spectacular Pissing Mare Falls.

Pissing Mare Falls, Western Brook Pond
The boat will sometimes stop at a dock at the far end of the fjord. If there are hikers on-board that are setting out on the trail to the Western Brook Pond Outlook. This is the famous photo spot that you see in all the Newfoundland travel brochures.

The Bonne Bay boat tour is also well worth doing and a little easier to get to. You just drive into Norris Point. Follow the main road right down to the dock. The parking is to your left. There is a gift store and ticket office. The boat is a short walk from your car.

Woody Point seen from Bonne Bay Boat Tour
The tour takes you out into Bonne Bay towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On our trip in June, we saw humpback whales and bald eagles. They return along the south shore of the bay past Woody Point and into the South Arm past Shoal Brook.
Bonne Bay Boat Tour passing Shoal Brook in South Arm

The views of The Tablelands from the boat are spectacular. You'll also have a nice view of Gros Morne Mountain. The crew is quite comical and the tour ends with the crew providing you with a traditional Newfoundland musical show.


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