Wintertime in Newfoundland can be an amazing experience as long as you remember to plan ahead and keep an eye on the forecast. These are a few tips to help plan your winter getaway.
Keep an eye on the forecast
Newfoundland has always been known for its grey foggy days in the summer, but the weather in the winter can affect visibility just as badly. snow squalls are a daily experience during the winter months, especially on sections of the highway with little to no tree cover. The Wreckhouse is a perfect example of this.
The Wreckhouse, located just outside of Port aux Basques, is infamous for its strong winds. This makes travel difficult throughout most of the year, but especially in the winter. This area is prone to heavy snow squalls which can result in little to no visibility. When traveling through this area, make sure to plan ahead and give yourself extra time in case you have to pull over to wait for the squall to pass.
Ferry & Flight Cancellation
Another effect of Newfoundland's adverse weather is delays and cancellations of the provinces mass transport services in and out of the province. Marine Atlantic, Newfoundland's ferry service, is directly impacted by the high winds both on land in Port aux Basques and North Sydney, and on the ocean in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
We recommend booking your ferry crossing in advance of your arrival so you can be notified if there are any delays or cancellations.
In turn, you should also reserve your room at St. Christopher's Hotel as soon as you are notified the ferry has been canceled as we often fill fast when this happens.
While this is not a common occurrence, main roads and sections of the highway may be closed due to high winds or heavy snowfall. There are electronic signs located just before the Tourist Information Center outside Port aux Basques and at the location of the former Chignic Lodge near South Branch that advise motorists of the weather conditions and will display if the roads are closed. More information regarding winter road conditions can be found here.
Local wildlife, specifically moose, are a wonderful sight while traveling across our beautiful province, but they can also be a large safety risk. While driving on any of the provinces highways, it is important to keep an eye out for moose along the side of the road. these animals tend to dash from the trees into oncoming traffic with little to no notice, which has caused a number of moose-vehicle accidents each year.
This is an even greater risk during the winter months as visibility can be limited due to snow squalls and snowy or ice covered road conditions may result in the vehicle sliding while attempting to stop. While traveling our highways, please follow posted speed limits and keep an eye on both sides of the road to provide yourself with enough time to react if a moose approaches the road.
When traveling in the winter, it is important to always plan ahead. Keep checking the local forecasts, ferry and flight schedules, and road conditions so you can plan your trip accordingly. Always allow yourself extra time in case of poor road conditions and always book your hotel rooms in advance, even if you are not traveling on the ferry, to ensure a room is available in case the ferry is canceled.