Woody Point is a typical Maritime fishing village -- only thing special about it, it is surrounded by a national park. That means it has four B&B's and a motel, restaurants and pub, tourist craft stores, school, etc, besides the normal fishing boats and a fish plant.
Unfortunately, we could not find a B&B with queen size beds, so we landed up staying in the motel -- one of the only times we stayed in a motel on our trip. After staying in B&B's the past week, we realized that we preferred the interactiveness of the B&B's.
The motel seemed too impersonal, although we did hear from the motel clerk that there had been a huge undercover sting in the town a couple of days earlier where the RCMP (police) had confiscated a number of boats and vehicles of locals who had been fishing out of season AND selling the fish to others. I guess it has been the talk of the town since it happened.
I watched the sun come up over the mountains on the north side of the fjord, but the photo does not do justice to the feelings of a sea-side sunrise in small town Newfoundland.
If you are following our Newfoundland holiday, click here to get back to my Newfoundland page.
Trout River is a seaside town which is located near to Woody Point and the drive there is fantastic. From Woody Point, the road goes up which gives you a panoramic view of Bonne Bay and surrounding mountains. Once on top, the road continues and you will see the famous Tablelands before finally reaching Trout River which is facing the Gulf of St Lawrence. There is a big lake called Trout River Pond just next to the town. More information and photos of Trout River are at my VT Trout River page.
Woody Point is a small town located on the southern shore of Bonne Bay. This town is set among very beautiful backdrop of the famous Tableland Mountains of Gros Morne National Park. From Woody Point, one can have a good view of the town of Norris Point which is across the other side of Bonne Bay. Woody Point is the launching base for hikes to the Tableland trail, Lookout Point trail and the Green Gardens trail of Gros Morne National Park.
During summer to mid-autumn, there are daily boat taxi services from Norris Point to Woody Point and vice versa (see my VT tips). More photos of Woody Point are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Even though tourism is the main form of economy at Rocky Harbour, Norris Point and Woody Point, these towns still rely on fishing off the rich coastal water. You can see fishing boats at these towns as well as Bonne Bay on a regular basis.
Bonne Bay is a big inland bay of the Gulf of St Lawrence and it is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. This salt water lake is the centre piece of Gros Morne National Park. More information and photos of Bonne Bay and Gros Morne National Park will be available at my VT Newfoundland page soon.
Norris Point is a small town located on the northern shore of Bonne Bay. This town is set among very beautiful scenery of mountains, lakes, forest etc. From Norris Point, one can have a good view of the town of Woody Point which is across the other side of Bonne Bay. During summer to mid-autumn, there are daily boat taxi services from Norris Point to Woody Point and vice versa (see my VT tips). More photos of Norris Point are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Rocky Harbour is the biggest town at Gros Morne National Park. This small and idyllic town is located at the junction of Bonne Bay and the Gulf of St Lawrence. Most of the tourists visiting Gros Morne National Park will stay at this town. More photographs of Rocky Harbour are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
As you can see from this map, these 3 towns are located along the waters of Bonne Bay. You can spend a few days here to slowly explore the beauty of Gros Morne National Park. In order to get here, you need to drive or take a bus from the town of Deer Lake (more information are at my VT Deer Lake page).
About thirty of us tourists sailed on the Trout River Pond boat tour. For 2 and 1/2 hours, the ship follows the shore of interpretation cruise (English and French) on the Trout River Pond - a 15km long fjord -- at least it once was a fjord, now it is a fresh water lake.
The pond (lakes in Newfoundland are often called ponds) lies in the valley between the Tablelands and the massive cliffs on the Gregory Plateau. The boat tour features many of the geological features that make this park so unusual. You almost had to be a geology major to appreciate the different rock formations that they showed us.
As we were there in September, the cruises only ran once a day (at 1pm). Personally, I felt that the operators had sort of lost their enthusiasm for the job. It had rained heavily enough the day before our tour that the lake had risen 5 feet overnight. That meant that in a couple of places, the boat stopped, the cruise director read the spiel for that stop, but the rock formations that we were supposed to be looking at happened to be 5 feet under water.
Nonetheless, it was an interesting experience. Cruise tickets in 2004 cost $30 Cdn per person, tickets are available at the Gros Morne N.P. Interpretive centre.
As with most national parks, Gros Morne NP has numerous trails (20 day hikes are listed, ranging from half-hour strolls to strenuous day hikes) including trails to the top of the Tablelands.
As we did not allow enough time to tour the park properly, we were limited to a couple of the day hikes. One that we enjoyed was the Tablelands Trail. This 4km trail follows an old road from the parking lot (1 km of boring), then climbs slightly to the entrance of Winterhouse Brook Canyon at the base of the Tablelands.
Hiking through the brown rocks is interesting. Unless you are next to the brook, there is no sound. Because this land is from the earth's mantle, plants have difficulty growing on it. No plants means no animals -- not even birds, so it is quite desolute. The other issue is that we found at the top of the hike - it was difficult to decide where the trail actually was. With no ground cover other than the brown rocks, marking the trail was not easy.
However you can see from my picture that nature is always trying. Near the brook there is enough moisture that some hardy grasses grow - poisonous mantle rock or not. However, step away from the brook, and only the odd plant survives.
Gros Morne National Park is a World Heritage site primarily because of the Tablelands - an ancient mountain range which was created when tectonic plates collided, and one plate got shoved up over another one.
We enjoyed our day and a half in the southern half of the park. We included activities such as hiking at the base of the barren Tablelands, a cruise on an inland pond, exploring the Discovery Centre (the park's visitor centre) and soaking up the feel of the small sea-side fishing village of Woody Point.
The entrance fee is complicated - because there are a number of choices. You can pay a daily rate (2004 charge was $15), a weekly Viking Trail pass ($67), or yearly park & historic site pass ($119).
The houses, lake (i.e. Bonne Bay) and surrounding mountains create a very scenic atmosphere and a heaven for photography. More photographs are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
There is a nice lighthouse at Woody Point overlooking Bonne Bay which is worth a visit if you are there.