A number of small ferries in southern NB provide free passage, mostly on various mainland river crossings but also to off-shore islands. My 2006 bike trip to the Fundy islands started in the small village of Letete, where we caught the "Deer Island Princess II", with a capacity of 20 cars. Duties are shared with the "John E. Rigby", a 17 car ferry, for 16 hours per day, with ferries leaving every half-hour (one from each side). The actual crossing is only 5-km (3 miles), taking about 20 minutes to weave between various small islands that separate Passamaquaddy Bay from the much larger Bay of Fundy. It was beautiful weather, so most passengers got out of their vehicles to take-in the amazing scenery, including a whale-watching schooner out of St. Andrews, NB.
The 2nd photo shows another provincial ferry, the smaller 'Lady Whitehead' (capacity 8 cars, 45 passengers) operated by Coastal Transport for the New Brunswick government. This voyage was unusual because we were already on the island of Grand Manan and took this one to the even smaller Whitehead Island! She operates 11.5 hours per day and takes about 28 minutes to make each crossing (no charge).
A private company, East Coast Ferries Limited runs two ferries from the end of Deer Island that is furthest from the mainland. The 'Hopper I/II' barge/tug combo shown in the 3rd photo runs to and from Campobello Island every half-hour between 8:30 AM and 7:00 PM. That is, the ferry leaves Deer at 8:30 AM, it leaves Campobello at 9:00 AM, then Deer at 9:30 AM and so on. Their second ferry makes similar runs serving the nearby American town of Eastport - claiming to be the most easterly town in the United States. We paid C$4 (US$3.60) each for our bicycles (cash only), while a car/driver pays C$14 and C$3 per passenger to a maximum of C$20. Motorcycles cost C$7, motor coaches C$50 and large trucks/trailers are charged C$1 per foot.
The 4th pic shows one of the several free inland car-ferrys in southern NB, as it crosses the Saint John River near Gagetown.
I don't really do a lot of biking, maybe two days a week on my cheap old bike from the local grocery store! I normally go only 18 km total distance, but it does involve a very long climb up out of the Saint John River valley when I am headed home. That exercise really helps both my legs and my wind for the annual bicycle trips that my buddy Russ and I have taken in the last 5 years. We pack everything we need for 3-days into relatively small back packs and away we go! Of course it helps that we stay in lodgings instead of trying to carry our own camping gear! This photo was taken near the end of our three days on Grand Manan Island, just outside the ticket office with the ferry to the mainland waiting in the background to the right.
All the main and most of the secondary roads in the province are paved and they have good unpaved shoulders if you need to get off the main part of the road (2nd photo). For the most part, the terrain is rolling hills through either forested or farmed areas and the hills are usually not too challenging. Traffic is usually not too bad either since NB has quite a small population of only about 750,000 and the drivers are courteous, giving a wide berth if there is no on-coming traffic. Using our mirrors, we can spot when a conflict like that could arise and we move off onto the shoulder in those cases. It is a great way to travel when the sun is shining because you are out there feeling the breezes and smelling the scent of flowers and hay in the fields!
Grand Manan Island, off the southwest coast of NB, can be reached only by air or by a ferry service from Black's Harbour on the mainland coast. Because it is the largest of NB's islands and has a fair-sized population, it has been provided ferry service since 1884. This is a view of the largest ferry 'Grand Manan V', as it leaves the island. This 3800 gross ton, 75 metre ferry can carry 300 passengers and 64 automobiles/semi-trailers. She was built in Holland in 1990 and, during the summer months, the older and smaller 'Grand Manan IV' is used to help with the extra tourist traffic. We had a beautiful sunny morning for our 1 hour 40 minute crossing and we spent the time on deck observing the surroundings (2nd photo). On that 1995 trip with my wife and her sister, we were lucky to get a free whale-watching experience, because we managed to spot some spouts during the crossing - out came the binoculars for a closer look! The same thing happened on my 2005 bicycle trip to the island as Russ and I sat out on the expansive upper deck (3rd photo). The sun was shining as we left North Head and we soon spotted the two whale watching schooners that had set out from the harbour earlier in the day. The gaff-schooner D'Sonoqua was some distance off our starboard side so we kept a close eye on her. Sure enough, it was not long before we saw many tell-tale whale spouts erupting from the water in front of the vessel. Using my 10x binoculars, I had a good view of what looked like large Fin whales doing their thing before diving.
During that latest voyage in summer 2005, there were a combined 7 daily departures by the two ferries, starting at 7:30 AM with round-trip fares of US$7 per adult and US$21 per car. There is no charge to take the ferry across to Grand Manan, you pay for the round-trip before you board for the return trip. On that trip I was biking, so the total fare for one passenger plus a bike was C$13 (about US$9.50). Details on the web-site below.
New Brunswick is criss-crossed by lakes, rivers and streams - not to mention its coastal areas! As a result, you can very quickly escape to wilderness whenever you feel like it! In my younger days, I used to take the odd weekend canoe trip in the Magaguadavic Lake (pronounced Mack-a-davic) area near Harvey and about a 40-minute drive from Fredericton.
I personally enjoy canoeing above all other forms of water transport. My wood/canvas canoe is so light that a single person can easily handle it and it only takes a few inches of water for it to make its way through swamps, reeds and various other impediments! It is also quite amazing how much freight one of these things will carry! Here my buddy and I have our tent, sleeping mats and bags, ground sheet, food and (just in front of my feet) our full-sized ice cooler full of perishables as well as a plentiful supply of beer cans! We set out on our trip late on a Friday night and paddled by moonlight to a sandy beach on a spit of land where we set up camp. In this photo, we have had breakfast, packed up and are setting off for our day's adventure!
We really did have great luck with the weather that weekend - sunny and mid-20s C! It was great not having any particular itinerary - we just paddled or coasted along depending on the wind and enjoyed the scenery as it passed (2nd photo)! One of the duties of the bow-man is to keep his eyes peeled for hidden granite boulders when in shallow waters. This lake is a granite-strewn area and the water is almost black due to the effects of the surrounding vegetation! Not withstanding this, on occasion, I would reach into the beer cooler at my feet and pass a cold one up to Len by setting it on the blade of my paddle! Life does not get much better!
Canoes are available for rent at a number of locations and you don't have to go on a major expedition to enjoy a 2-3 hour paddle along some quiet stretch of water.
I had only crossed into Canada at larger more popular borders before this trip--the 2 places we crossed on the Maine/New Brunswick border were so much nice than my previous experiences. No long wait, no horrible hassling, no rude people. They did their job, they did it well, but they didn't hassle. If possible, I definitely recommend choosing smaller borders to cross over rather than the larger, touristy ones. Granted, Canada is a huge country and the border isn't hard to cross compared to other places, but it's more enjoyable to have an easy time with the whole process. We crossed over from St. Stephen, NB (Canada's chocolate town) into Maine.
The only slightly embarassing thing that happened is the lady, after checking our IDs and seeing we were from different states that aren't close to being neighbors, asked how we knew each other. I was traveling with VT member ClarkRB. He said "Virtual Tourist" which prompted a very strange look from the patrol woman. I quickly said "mutual friend"--that could be true, right? Anyway, I think she thought we were crazy, but she let us through. We didn't have any questioning on the way into Canada...we would have had our stories straight if the question came up more than once.
We drove up to Canada from New Jersey. Although we made lots of stops along the way, it was still quite a long trip! Well worth it though, it's really the only way I could see us getting around to all of the places we wanted to go. If you can't drive your own car here, I would highly recommend renting one. It seems the best way to make the most out of your time here
New Brunswick is a huge Province with great distances between attractions but there is so much to see in between, you would miss a lot using mass transportation. You don't need a SUV either, the old Civic did just fine and was big enough to lug around all our camping gear. And it's not a gas guzzler either, something to think about with the prices of Canadian gasoline. ;)
333 Bishop Drive, Fredericton, E3C 2M6, Canada
Good for: Couples
369 Ch. Rockland, Saint John, E2K 3W3, Canada
Good for: Business
The service is great here . They go out of their way to help their guests . All guestrooms complete...more