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Wildland Tours Welcomes You to Newfoundland and Labrador
Welcome to the far east of the Western World. Come to the place where the New World begins. Feel the power of the Atlantic Ocean as it meets North America for the first time. It happens at Cape Spear — North America’s eastern edge — where a lighthouse has faced the ocean for over 160 years and where you’re closer to Ireland than northern Ontario.
Come to the city that started it all, the first in the New World. Come to St. John’s, and take a walk on Water Street, the oldest street in North America. Look out over the naturally sheltered harbour, where 40 vessels lay anchored 40 years before The Mayflower landed. Raise a glass in a place that boasted over 80 pubs before America began its battle for independence. Stand at the top of Signal Hill where Marconi received the first ever trans-Atlantic wireless transmission and said “hello” to the Information Age. Feel the breeze that lifted Alcock and Brown aloft in 1919 on the first successful non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. This is where Britain staked its first colony and fought its final battle with France in the Seven Years War. And it’s the home of North America’s first Court of Justice, established in 1615. Explore the history.
Even with all its rich cultural history, Newfoundland is really for the birds. It’s for the murres or guillemots (world’s largest colony), the gannets, and the black-legged kittiwakes. It’s for the razorbills (world’s largest colony), the storm petrels (world’s largest colonies), and of course the puffins — our provincial bird. Newfoundland just might be the puffin capital of the world. Twenty miles south of St. John’s is the largest Atlantic puffin colony in North America. Venture out into the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, and you’ll quickly be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of the wobbly, stout little “sea parrots. ” Because they’re such great swimmers and fishers, the bright-billed puffins can and will stuff themselves with caplin and other small fish until they are nearly too fat to fly. We get you close enough to enjoy their colours and marvel at their behaviours. Seabirds travel here from the Azores and even the Antarctic. We share the stories and spectacles with you.
The puffins are seldom alone. Hear the cacophony from more than a million pairs of breeding seabirds. Watch the sky darken as your boat drifts through the birds’ domain. In fact, Newfoundland has over 300 different species of birds with rare species from the North, the South, and Europe adding to the exciting possibilities when we are on tour. Newfoundland and Labrador is the home of falcons, hawks, and ospreys. Jaegars and skuas hunt here. And the eagles have definitely landed — we enjoy the North Atlantic’s largest gatherings of American bald eagles. A visit to Cape St. Mary’s will give you access to the most spectacular gannet nesting area in North America: a 300-foot sea stack only 20 feet from where you stand. Just a few hours away from Cape St. Mary’s, members of the world’s most southerly caribou herd, numbering a few hundred, graze quietly on the colorful headlands. We also have the world’s densest moose population and the biggest black bears hidden away in our interior wilderness.
The humpback whales will take your breath away. Newfoundland has the world’s largest population of these curious giants. Feel the moisture against your skin when the whales exhale into the sea breeze. (Cover your lenses and eyepieces!) Get so close you can smell their salty breath as the spray whispers over the boat, or over the feeding beach — unique in all the world. Only Wildland Tours will take you there. You will remember your time with whales forever. The playful humpbacks might even breach, lifting 40 tonnes right out of the water, for your camera. Or it might check out your boat keeping a curious eye on the watchers. Twenty species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises ply our waters and hug our coastline. Humpback, fin, pilot, minke, harbour porpoise, orca, sperm, and white-sided dolphin. They’re all here. Humpback whale song - click to listen! While you’re on the water, spy the blue-and-crystal hues of mammoth icebergs — 15,000-year-old chunks of glacier — as they migrate south.
Our first visitors came ten centuries ago. Five hundred years before Columbus set sail, Norse Vikings founded a trading station and settlement in the New World. That place was discovered in northern Newfoundland through explorers and researchers following 900 year old Sagas or oral histories. Leif Ericson, son of Eric the Red, called his Newfoundland home Vinland. We call it L’Anse aux Meadows (near St. Anthony), the first cultural discovery in the world to receive recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stand on the grassy knolls of our Great Northern Peninsula and view the end of Appalachia. Walk where Thorfin Karlsefni stood a thousand years before in a land that’s as peaceful and untrammeled now as it was back then. Taste the local berries as you explore North America’s first authenticated site of Norse settlement, and you’ll be taken back to the Iron Age as you wander through the recreated sod buildings that show how our first European visitors lived.
Come to Gros Morne National Park, also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site for its exceptional beauty and unique geological features. Ramble over an ancient expanse of mantle where colossal collisions of tectonic plates created formations as barren as the moon. Visit the Tablelands, a 600-metre-high plateau that forms one of the world’s best examples of rock exposed from the earth’s interior. Here, according to geologists and poets, Mother Earth shows her bones. This is a land of giants, where human travelers are dwarfed by Precambrian cliffs towering thousands of feet above land-locked fjords. View the absolute end of the Appalachians in North America. This ancient mountain range, which begins in Alabama and runs up to Maine and into Quebec and New Brunswick, terminates with Newfoundland’s Long Range Mountains. (Of course, the complete Appalachian experience would have to include the Scottish Highlands, separated from the rest of the chain by continental drift and the growing Atlantic Ocean.) Farther north, Labrador’s mountains rival the Rockies except that these surge up from the ocean in a tangle of rocks, glaciers, and icebergs. Labrador includes some of the oldest rocks on Earth and is famous for its mineral wealth. Even old St. John’s gets in on the geological wonders with easy-to-see faults, numerous erratic boulders, nearby fossil beds, a world-class geological museum, and exposed strata that disappear undersea to re-emerge in the Grand Canyon. Newfoundland is the place in North America to visit. In 1997 we celebrated our 500th year of European history. In 2000 we celebrated the 1,000th anniversary of the Vikings walking our shores. And 2001 brought the 100th anniversary of Marconi receiving the first wireless transatlantic message — it happened right here on Signal Hill! Join us…and some of the planet’s wildlife gatherings…as we celebrate thousands of years of human history and achievement on our holidays.