As it nears the west coast of Newfoundland, the Trans-Canada Highway cuts through the magnificent Humber Valley, beginning with mountain-rimmed Deer Lake and dropping into an increasingly steep and rugged gorge bristling with rocky outcrops and mountains rolling away on each side. From here you can head south on the Trans-Canada to the Nova Scotia ferry at Channel-Port aux Basques, or cut north to the Gros Morne National Park and Labrador.
The Humber flows into the Bay of Islands, a mesmerizing blend of mountain-topped islands and soaring fjords. To best appreciate the bay and the isolated inlets to the north, contact True North Tours (w truenorthtours.ca). Tony and Joan Oxford run 2hr 30min tours along Middle and Goose Arms from Cox’s Cove (at the end of Rte-440, 40km from Corner Brook), passing resettled villages, a Dorset Paleo-Eskimo site and plenty of wildlife, including whales, ospreys and bald eagles. During the journey they regale their passengers with folk songs and stories of Newfoundland history – you might also catch a cod or two. Tours run daily between July and September ($40).