Day 1: Australia – – Toronto
Depart on your Air Canada flight towards Toronto. You arrive into the city, the capital of Ontario, and are greeted at the airport for a hotel transfer. Once you check in and settle into your room you have free time until tonight’s welcome drink and orientation meeting. This rendezvous is your chance to meet your tour manager and be briefed as to what lies ahead for your time exploring Eastern Canada. The meeting starts at 7pm.
Day 2: Toronto – Niagara Falls – Niagara-on-the-Lake – Toronto (B, D)
Head out today on an excursion that is sure to be one of the highlights of your time away – to Niagara Falls! These legendary cascades are perhaps one of the most renowned natural landmarks in Canada, and you get to experience its power by clambering into a boat and cruising to the base of the falls – and yes, getting sprayed by the splash and mist is definitely part of the experience! The group continues to Niagara-on-the-Lake where you are free to have lunch at leisure. Stop for a tasting at a local winery on the return drive to Toronto, and once back in the city you attend a welcome dinner that officially marks your arrival in Canada.
Day 3: Toronto – Thousand Islands – Ottawa (B)
Make the drive to St. Lawrence River and pay a visit to Kingston, the first-ever capital city of Canada. Get to see some of the landmarks and monuments of the Thousand Islands region from a scenic cruise that takes you past points including Boldt Castle, the statue of St. Lawrence and the Thousands Islands International Bridge. After disembarking the cruise, the group sets out for Ottawa, the current Canadian capital. You have tonight as leisure time.
Day 4: Ottawa (B)
See the sights of Ottawa on a city tour this morning. This guided experience ticks off some of the city’s most popular sights, including the National War Memorial and the buildings that make up Canadian Parliament. You have free time once the tour is over. Use this chance to visit the city’s famed Rideau Canal (it becomes the world’s largest skating rink when frozen over in winter!), or shop for souvenirs and street food fare in ByWard Market. Wander between exhibits at the National Gallery of Canada, or give your sweet tooth a fix by ordering a Beaver Tail – golden-fried pieces of dough usually topped with chocolate or syrup.
Optional: Rideau Canal Cruise with Dinner. See Ottawa’s famous Rideau Canal up-close by heading out on an electric-operated boat for a cruise along its waters. Learn about the canal – the oldest continuously operated system of its kind in North American – and hear how it has become such an integral part of Ottawa’s identity. The cruising commentary also offers insight into 30 different historical points scattered along the canal banks. Disembark the cruise and then head to a local restaurant for dinner. This excursion includes hotel pick-up and drop-off. Additional cost applies.
Day 5: Ottawa – Quebec City (B, L)
Use this morning’s drive to brush up on your French as you travel to Quebec City. This is the only walled city in North America and is the epicentre of French influence in Canada. Before you arrive in the city however, there is a lunch stop at a sugar shack where you have the opportunity to get a sweet hit by tasting maple treats and taffy. A lunch of traditional Quebec cuisine is also served. There is no itinerary once you check in to the Quebec City hotel and you have the remainder of the afternoon and the evening as free time.
Day 6: Quebec City (B)
Become acquainted with the old and new sides of Quebec City today. Begin by seeing the site of the city’s original settlement at Place Royale, and then move to other sites including Notre-Dame-des-Victoires and Chateau Frontenac. Move into the Old City to meander through its winding lanes and peer into the window displays of cute boutiques. The rest of the afternoon is yours.
Optional: Half-Day Quebec Tour with Lunch. This afternoon outing takes you to Ile d’Orleans to learn about and soak up the beauty of Quebec’s rural culture and landscape. An included lunch is served at a restored 18th-century flour mill and the group then travels to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre Shrine, the second-oldest pilgrimage site in North America. The shrine boasts striking stained-glass windows and a number of wooden and stone sculptures. A final stop at Montmorency Stop is made before returning to Quebec City. Tour duration is approximately six hours, and hotel pick-up and drop-off are included. Additional cost applies.
Day 7: Quebec City – Montreal (B)
Depart Quebec City for Montreal in the morning. Montreal is the largest city in Quebec, set on an island in the St. Lawrence River and named for Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill it sits upon. You have the afternoon and evening to explore however you like, whether it is discovering the cultural side to the city at its museums and galleries, or delving into its culinary offerings at any number of old-school Jewish delis, buzzing food markets or fine French eateries.
Day 8: Montreal (B, D)
A city tour is a great way to uncover the charms of Montreal and some of what this tour takes in includes Jacques Cartier Square, Notre-Dame Basilica, Place d’Armes and St. Joseph’s Oratory. Make your way up to the peak of Mount Royal and spend time taking in the panorama – some eagle-eye visitors may even be able to pinpoint Olympic Park, the site of the 1976 Summer Olympics. You have free time after the tour concludes.
Day 9: Montreal – – Deer Lake – Rocky Harbour (B)
You are picked up for a transfer to the airport, where you will board a one-way flight to Deer Lake – the launching pad for your travels throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. A transfer will meet you upon arrival and take you to the hotel in Rocky Harbour for check in.
Day 10: Rocky Harbour (B, L, D)
An orientation meeting with your new tour manager and fellow travellers is first on the agenda this morning. Then, head out for Gros Morne National Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the second-largest national park in Canada, and is popular for its Long Range Mountains and desert-like rock formations. The group makes a stop at the Discovery Centre in Woody Point to learn more about the area’s geological and glacial activity, as well as the animals and plant life that are native to the region. There is also a tour of the saltwater aquarium and touch tank located at Bonne Bay Marine Station. This afternoon, hop on-board a scenic cruise of Bonne Bay and keep your eyes peeled for any bald eagles that may be soaring overhead. Lucky travellers may even be treated to sightings of whales! A welcome dinner commemorates the beginning of this leg of the tour.
Day 11: Rocky Harbour – L’Anse Au Clair (B, D)
Leave Rocky Harbour behind and have a stop at Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse enroute to Labrador. Follow the road that weaves along Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula on the trip to Port au Choix National Historic Site, being sure to admire the glacier-carved mountains along the way. Once at the site you will learn about how artefacts – burials, structural remains, working tools – have been discovered here as early as the 1900s. Board a ferry to undertake the crossing of the Strait of Belle to Isle to Labrador. Your destination is the idyllic L’Anse Au Clair, a French-established town that has a rich history and charm. This is your overnight stay location.
Day 12: L’Anse Au Clair (B)
Head out to Red Bay and make a stop at Point Armour Lighthouse enroute. The Red Bay area was a key industrial centre in the colonial days of Canada and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the former whaling station and learn about its history, and also view original Basque artefacts while here. Return to L’Anse Au Clair for the night.
Day 13: L’Anse Au Clair – St. Anthony (B)
Be whisked via ferry from L’Anse Au Clair to a local scallop farm. Here you can learn about the growing and harvesting process of these delicacies. Travel back to Newfoundland aboard the ferry and then commence the journey to St. Anthony. There is a pitstop at Fishing Point to stretch your legs and take in the untamed wilds of this landscape – all rugged coastline, verdant valleys and looming mountains. Arrive in St. Anthony, a major hub of the Great Northern Peninsula, and have free time once you are checked into the hotel.
Day 14: St. Anthony (B)
Enjoy a leisurely morning or join an optional excursion, before setting out on your afternoon outing to the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. This site is unique in that it houses the only known remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement in North America – a true treat for history lovers! It also lays claim as to being the first cultural centre in the world to receive UNESCO World Heritage Site status. While here you will view the excavated remains of wood-framed buildings, see a handful of Norse artefacts, and tour reconstructed sod huts. These experiences offer incredible insight into how the Vikings lived. Return to St. Anthony later on.
Optional: Iceberg Alley Boat Tour. See St. Anthony from a different vantage point as you explore the waters of its coastline in a thrilling boat excursion. These waters are known for icebergs, seabirds and even whale sightings! Be taken to see one of Newfoundland’s largest sea caves and hear stories about local folklore. You will also have opportunity to listen to a local naturalist. Tour duration is approximately three hours, and this tour is weather dependent. Additional cost applies.
Day 15: St. Anthony – Cow Head (B, L, D)
The day starts with a visit to the home of well-known medical missionary, Sir Wilfred Grenfell, upon leaving St. Anthony. Learn more about his work and far-reaching social, medical and economic influence while here. Move past Hawke’s Bay on the way to Arches Provincial Park to see the ancient limestone formations that have been carved out by years and years of unrelenting tides. Follow the path out to the rocks and enjoy being able to walk beneath these arches. Continue to Cow Head, the northernmost point of Gros Morne National Park, and there is a group dinner served at the hotel.
Day 16: Cow Head – Gander (B, L)
Visit the Salmonid Interpretation Center in Grand Falls. This is one of the largest Atlantic salmon enhancement projects in North America and is home to a number of exhibits documenting the biology, ecology and habitat of its namesake fish. Depending on the season, you may even be able to peer through underwater windows and catch a glimpse of these salmon, dubbed the ‘King of Fish’, making their way upstream to the spawning habitat. The group travels to Gander afterwards. Gander, a small town launched onto the world stage in the musical Come From Away, is the home of the North Atlantic Aviation Museum and is the location of your overnight stay.
Day 17: Gander – Clarenville (B, L, D)
Take a scenic drive along the rocky coastline, leaving Gander and making for Twillingate. This is one of Newfoundland’s oldest fishing communities and there is much to learn about its interesting history. Refresh with a tasting of unique Newfoundland berry and fruit wines. Arrive in Clarenville, a settlement established by loggers, farmers and trappers in the 1890s, and join the group for dinner this evening.
Day 18: Clarenville (B, D)
Appreciate the natural bounty and heritage of the Bonavista Peninsula today. This spot marks the site where Italian explorer John Cabot first discovered North American is 1497. The landscape is made up of rocky shorelines, pebbly beaches and fishing boats bobbing up and down in the waters. You may even see an iceberg, or seabirds soaring in the sky. View a full-size replica of Cabot’s expedition ship, Matthew, and keep a sharp eye for puffins when atop the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site. Next up is time in Trinity, one of the oldest communities in North America, where you will enjoy a guided tour throughout the charming townscape. Some of the noteworthy architecture in Trinity include the merchant’s house and counting house. Venture back to Clarenville and have dinner as a group.
Day 19: Clarenville – St. John’s (B)
Your destination today is St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland. It also happens to be the oldest English-founded city in North America and boasts a dramatic location of atop granite cliffs and slopes along the Avalon Peninsula. A tour takes you around the old seaport, through laneways lined with Victorian-era architecture, and sights including the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the Confederation Building. The final stop of the tour is Signal Hill to take in the sweeping panoramas.
Day 20: St. John’s (B, L, D)
Join the group on a trip to Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. This is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the area and is become an emblem of Newfoundland and Labrador’s maritime history. This is followed by a cruise at Bay Bulls (weather permitting) for a visit to Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. The reserve is the home of the largest colony of puffins on North America’s east coast. The bay itself is the location of four islands, that become prime breeding grounds for native birdlife during season. Return to St. John’s after lunch and have free time. This evening is your final night in Eastern Canada and there is a farewell dinner, so you can bid goodbye to your new friends and tour manager.
Day 21: St. John’s – – Australia (B)
You will be transferred to the airport at the appropriate time, so you can commence your return journey back to Australia.
Day 22: In flight
Day 23: Australia
Arrive back in Australia today.