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Hike the Discovery Trail: Five Centuries of Newfoundland Coastal Life

Program Number: 12391RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/13/2014 - 7/19/2014; 8/17/2014 - 8/23/2014;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Port Union, Newfoundland & Labrador
Price starting at: $1,365.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking Activity Level: n (see description)
Meals: 16; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Newfoundland’s rugged coastline affords ocean views dotted with icebergs, seabirds and whales. On this fascinating hiking adventure, explore the seascape with qualified experts who discuss the geology, flora, fauna and history of the island, and hike inland trails to study the region’s migratory birds, wildlife and ecology.


• Hike the Klondike Trail to Puffin Island with magnificent views of puffins, kittiwakes, whales, other sea life and spectacular coastal scenery.
• Walk Skerwink Trail with its coastal sea stacks, where forest and meadow meet rocky headlands. The trail is rated by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the Top 35 walks in North America and Europe.
• Travel by boat from New Bonaventure to Kerley’s Harbour with a skipper who is a fisherman born in this enchanting and long-abandoned community.

Activity Particulars

Daily hikes are 2-6 miles over 2-6 hours.

Date Specific Information

7-13-2014, 8-17-2014

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Port Union

Founded as the “capital” of the Fishermen’s Protective Union in 1916, Port Union is situated on the eastern coast of the Bonavista Peninsula 175 miles from St. John’s, against a stunning backdrop of North Atlantic scenery where icebergs sail past the coast and summer whales breach offshore.

Comfortable hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
John Norman

A Bonavista native, John Norman is the department manager of contract training and continuing education for the College of the North Atlantic at its Bonavista and Clarenville campuses. He writes on horticulture, architecture and heritage restoration for newspapers around the island and in Nova Scotia. John also sits on the Bonavista Town Council, is a nationally certified Skate Canada Figure Skating Coach and skater, and co-directs the local high school drama club. In his free time, John enjoys hiking with his partner Leann, gardening, heritage restoration and being involved with numerous volunteer organization around the Bonavista region.
Meals and Lodgings
   Seaport Inn
  Port Union, NL 6 nights
 Seaport Inn
Type: Motel
  Description: Conveniently located between the historic communities of Trinity and Bonavista, the Seaport Inn is the ideal haven for sightseeing on the Discovery Trail.
  Contact info: P. O. Box 37
Port Union, NL A0C 2J0 Canada
phone: 709-469-2257
  Room amenities: Bath/shower, non-smoking rooms, color cable TV, telephone.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant on site.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Contact for current rates. Contact motel in advance for reservations.
  Check in time: 1:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Contact for current rates. Contact motel in advance for reservations.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals to the hotel in the afternoon. Check-in after 1:00 p.m. Late dinner at 7:30 p.m. You will be staying at Seaport Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Departures after breakfast. For those taking the shuttle it departs from Port Union at 7:30 a.m., approximate arrival in St. John's is 12:30 p.m. Check-out is 9:00 a.m. You will be staying at Seaport Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking at motel
To Start of Program
  Location:  Port Union, NL
  Nearest city or town:  Bonavista
  Nearest airport:  St. John's
  From End of Program
  Location: Port Union, NL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

St. John's NL


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Marsh's Taxi
phone: 709-468-7715
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$50.00 (subject to change)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 hours 


The shuttle service is a daily service that goes from Bonavista to St. Johns and return with stops along the way. The service will pick you up at the hotel or your place of accommodation. The usual pick up time in St. John's is between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm so it advisable to arrive in St. John's before 12:00 noon on the 1st day of the program.


St. John's


From Ferry Landing




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 709-682-4877
Advanced Reservations Required




81 miles/131 kms


A shuttle is available from the ferry in Argentia to St. John's, NL. Call 709-682-4877 for rates, schedules and reservations. There is a summer ferry between North Sydney, NS and Argentia, NL. Crossing time is 14 hours, For more information about the ferry visit Marine Atlantic


St. John's NL


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Marsh's Taxi
phone: 709-468-7715
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$50.00 (subject to change)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 hours 


The shuttle service is a daily service that goes from Bonavista to St. Johns and return with stops along the way. On departure day the taxi service will depart from Port Union at approximately 7:30 a.m. and arrive in St. John's by 12:30 p.m.


St. John's, NL


To Ferry Landing




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 709-682-4877
Advanced Reservations Required




81 miles/116


A shuttle is available from St. John's, NL to the ferry in Argentia. Call 709-682-4877 directly for rates, schedules and reservations . There is a summer ferry between Argentia, NL and North Sydney, NS. Crossing time is 14 hours, For more information about the ferry visit Marine Atlantic at

Driving Directions
  St. John's Follow Trans Canada Highway to Clarenville, take Route 230 (Discovery Trail) to Port Union, Seaport Inn is on Route 230.
Equipment Requirements: Good walking/hiking shoes/boots.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Check-In/Welcome Dinner/Orientation and Introductions
(Sunday, July 13)
 Arrive To: Independent arrivals and check-in to the hotel in the afternoon. IMPORTANT: IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING BY TAXI (Shuttle Service) FROM ST. JOHN'S TO PORT UNION YOU WILL NEED TO ARRIVE IN ST. JOHN'S BEFORE 12 NOON ON DAY 1 AS TAXIS START TO PICK UP PASSENGERS SHORTLY AFTER THAT. IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE IN MAKING THESE ARRANGEMENTS PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SITE COORDINATOR. Please note: other passengers use this service and there will be pick ups and drop offs along the route. Trip takes approximately 5 hours.
 Dinner: Late dinner at the hotel (7:30 p.m.). Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Accommodations: Seaport Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Hiking: Murphy's Cove/Lodge's Pond Trail/Historic Port Union
(Monday, July 14)

Note: You must be reasonably fit for this program as this is a walking program. Daily walks on mostly developed trails, 2 – 6 hours with rest stops along the way and picnic lunches. One longer hike of approximately 10 miles is optional – alternative shorter routes available Today's hike to Murphy's Cove on the Lodge's Point is on a 7.5 km/4.7 mile looped trail. Trail is narrow with hilly terrain and can sometimes be wet after a rainfall. Rated as easy to moderate. Approx 3 - 4 hours.

 Breakfast: Breakfast is served at the hotel between 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
 Morning: Depart from hotel for Hike to Murphy's Cove/Lodge's Pond trail, Port Union. This looped trail has a variety of headlands that provide viewing platforms where surrounding communities, whales, seabirds and fishing vessels can be photographed. The halfway point provides a lookout where users can view the Green Island Lighthouse, one of the last remaining manned lighthouses in Newfoundland. The trail follows the coastline offering great photo opportunities. Local guides will talk about the area and how the trails were once used by hunters and berry pickers. Look for fossils along the trail.
 Lunch: Lunch in Port Union.
 Afternoon: This afternoon you will learn about historic Port Union and why it is the "Only Union Built Town" in North America. Learn about Sir William Coaker who in the early 1900's organized a union of fishermen, built a town, formed a large Trading Company, became a politician with his own union party and fought the merchants of the day. Visit his home, now a museum, see some of the newly restored buildings, walk around the shipyard park, where more than 30 schooners were built, walk along the waterfront boardwalk and at low tide view 550 million year old fossils.
 Dinner: Dinner in Port Union catered by a local group.
 Evening: Evening trip to Cape Bonavista to view puffins and possibly whales and enjoy some spectacular scenery.
Accommodations: Seaport Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Boat Trip to British Harbour/Hiking: to New Bonaventure/Random Passage Movie Site
(Tuesday, July 15)

Note: The trail from British Harbour to New Bonaventure is 8 kms/5 miles. Approximately 3 - 4 hours. From British Harbour to Kerley's Harbour (6 kms/3.8 miles) the trail is rated as moderate - difficult. The remaining hike from Kerley’s Harbour to New Bonaventure (2 kms/1.25 miles) is rated as easy - moderate.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Travel by sea from New Bonaventure to the enchanting and long-abandoned communities of Kerley's Harbour and Ireland's Eye. Cross the sound and cruise through the fjord entrance to the deserted community of British Harbour, first settled, in the 1800's. Your guide and skipper is a fisherman born in Kerley's Harbour who will regale us with tales of the life of these communities.
 Morning: We leave British Harbour and hike over highlands and alongside tumbling streams back to New Bonaventure, another historic abandoned fishing village. Along the way witness scenic harbor views and discover the stone foundation remains and tombstones of early settlers from this old, secluded fishing out port. New Bonaventure is located on the Northeast shore of Trinity Bay where the The Shipping News was filmed.
 Lunch: Box lunch.
 Afternoon: Visit the “Random Passage” movie site where an expert storyteller will regale you with tales from the movie. The site was constructed in 2000 for the filming of the international TV mini-series "Random Passage" and provides the opportunity to imagine the life of our forebears in a typical fishing outpost in the early 1800's. The site includes various sod roof houses, church, schoolroom, fishing stage & fish flakes, sheep grazing and a traditional vegetable garden.
 Dinner: Dinner at Random Passage.
Accommodations: Seaport Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hiking: King's Cove Lighthouse Trail/Trinity/Free Time
(Wednesday, July 16)

Note: Today's hike on the King's Cove Lighthouse Trail is 4.5 kms/2.8 miles.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Hike the King's Cove Lighthouse trail and to Brook Point. The first and last parts of the trail are through meadows known as “Pat Murphy’s Meadow”, and were the inspiration for the famous folk song of that name. Most of the trail is through boreal forest with bogs and ponds. Coastal vegetation consisting of stunted or scrub spruce and fir predominates as you approach the coast. Tuckamore occurs on the coastal cliffs - a thicket of small stunted evergreen trees with gnarled spreading roots, forming closely matted ground-cover or thickets on the barrens and coastal regions. Shrubs of bog and sheep (goo-witty) laurel, Labrador Tea and rhodora grow in and around bogs, open areas and as forest undergrowth. Blackberry earth, irises, sedum, blueberry bushes and bakeapple plants are common. Brook Point is at the end of the trail and provides views of layer upon layer of multi-coloured, 570-million-year-old sedimentary rocks are exposed in these spectacular coastal cliffs.
 Lunch: Lunch at Bonavista Social Club - voted in the top 50 restaurants in Canada.
 Afternoon: This afternoon you will have some free time in Trinity to explore. Trinity has been a viable North Atlantic community for hundreds of years. Its defensible harbor, with abundant room for the ships of the day and shores well suited for outbuildings, wharves and fish-flakes, made it ideal for the early migratory fishery. The preservation of Trinity's cultural and built heritage has made it perhaps the most notable "heritage community" in the province. See a play at the Rising Tide Theatre, one of Newfoundland's best loved professional theatre companies; take a walk, either on your own or on one of the great walking tours offered; visit historic sites or go kayaking.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Trinity. There is a dinner theatre in Trinity - the cost is $38.00 - please let the Group Leader know in advance if you would like to book a ticket.
Accommodations: Seaport Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Hiking: The Skerwink Trail & Fox Island Trail
(Thursday, July 17)

Note: The Skerwink is a 5.3 km/3.3 mile looped trek. Hilly terrain along high cliffs, it is rated moderate to difficult. About 2 1/2 - 3 hours including rest and photo stops. The Fox Island Trail is 3 kms/1.9 miles. Steep hill to Fox Island. Approximately 1.5 hours.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart by bus for Port Rexton to hike the Skerwink Trail - Rated by Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of top 35 walks in North America and Europe, this looped trek offers fantastic photo opportunities. Hilly terrain along high cliffs, it is rated moderate to difficult but worth every minute you spend on the trail. This trail is one of the most popular in the area and provides fantastic views of the ocean and sea stacks with magical names like the “music box”.
 Lunch: Lunch at Two Whales Cafe in Port Rexton.
 Afternoon: Depart by bus for Trinity Bight and walk the Fox Island Trail in Champney’s West. Settled in 1675 by English Fishermen, Fox Island played a significant in the war between the French and English in the mid 1700’s. Fox Island is not technically an island, as it is connected to the mainland by an isthmus. The trail crosses this isthmus and then proceeds to the summit of this prominent headland that juts 35 meters (115 ft) above sea level. Hikers will enjoy exploring this trail with its history and scenery.
 Dinner: Dinner will be at the Recreation Building in Port Union and will be a traditional Newfoundland meal.
Accommodations: Seaport Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Hiking: The Klondike Trail/Elliston Root Cellars/Puffin Viewing/Historic Bonavista/Farewell Dinner and Screech-In
(Friday, July 18)

Note: The Klondike Trail is a 5 km (3.1 mile) linear trail; rated easy-moderate.

 Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
 Morning: Depart for Elliston to see the root cellars; take a walk back in time and enter cellars originally built in the 1850s, many of which are still used today to store root crops. We will also stop to see the famous puffins which have been known to be tame enough to get even 2 or 3 feet away from them.
 Morning: Hike along the Klondike Trail. This walk takes you from forest to wetlands, heathlands to sea. Learn about the plants and animals inhabiting our area. Look for puffins, whales, kittiwakes and other sea life as well as spectacular coastal scenery. This area was initially called Bird Island Cove and offers hikers spectacular oceanfront scenery with plenty of seabirds and wildlife along the way.
 Lunch: Lunch in Bonavista.
 Afternoon: Spend some time exploring the Historic Town of Bonavista, the Landfall of John Cabot when he discovered Newfoundland in 1497. Talk with local residents to learn the history of the town and our unique language. Return to Port Union for some free time before our evening activities.
 Dinner: For our farewell dinner and evening we will be joined by local residents joining who will share their stories about life in rural Newfoundland. Dinner will be a buffet style meal featuring traditional Newfoundland dishes.
 Evening: Following dinner with local residents there will be traditional Newfoundland stories, music and dancing. Try your hand at playing the "ugly sticks" and spoons. Also, participate in a "screech-in" ceremony where you will be made honorary Newfoundlanders. An unforgettable evening of fun and laughter.
Accommodations: Seaport Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Program Concludes/Departure
(Saturday, July 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (depending on your method of departure).
 Morning: For those who are using the shuttle service departure time is 7:30 a.m. from Port Union; scheduled to arrive in St. John's approximately 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. Independent travellers will depart after breakfast as per individual travel plans. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Port Union, NL Terra Nova National Park
400 square km. park National Park located in Glovertown, 709-533-3126 for possible day trip before or after the program. Hiking, mountain biking trails, canoeing. Sandy Pond-Dunphy’s Canoe Route- a 10 km paddle. Interpretation of boreal and marine habitats. Several picnic areas. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Outport: The Soul of Newfoundland

Author: Candace Cochrane

Description: "A collection of beautiful photography that captures our land and our people at their most comfortable and natural state." The Newfoundland Herald

A Field Guide to North Atlantic Wildlife: Marine Mammals, Seabirds, Fish and Other Sea Life

Author: Noble S. Proctor | Patrick J. Lynch

Description: FIELD GUIDE, 2005, PAPERBACK, 221 PAGES A comprehensive pocket guide to the marine mammals, seabirds, fish, invertebrates and other marine life of the Northwestern Atlantic. Built for the field, full-color illustrations, range maps and descriptions are integrated on opposite pages for easy reference. The range maps cover the Atlantic coast from Cape Hatteras to Newfoundland. Many of the individual whale species get two full pages. With an outstanding overview of oceanography and conservation, checklist and glossary. (NAM24, $19.95)

Frommer's Newfoundland and Labrador

Author: Andrew Hempstead

Description: GUIDEBOOK, 2012, PAPERBACK, 243 PAGES A comprehensive, practical guide to the region with excellent recommendations for hotels, restaurants and excursions. With two-color maps throughout. (NFL25, $19.99)

Newfoundland & Labrador Map

Author: Map

Description: 2011, MAP This double-sided map shows the island of Newfoundland on one side (1:750,000), showing all roads and villages, and the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, as well as an inset map of St. John's. The other side is the first-ever map of enormous and largely-unexplored Labrador at a scale of 1:1.39 million. There is a land connection from Baie Comeau in Quebec north to Labrador City, and an east-west dirt road to Goose Bay via the huge power station at Churchill Falls, and ferry services along the coast. The rest is as wild as it gets. 27"X39" (CND378, $7.95)

Newfoundland Birds: Exploitation, Study, Conservation

Author: William A. Montevecchi & Leslie M. Tuck

Description: The exploitation, study and conservation of Newfoundland Birds.

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