Back to Nova Scotia


This page covers the bike trip from North Sydney (NS) to St. John's (NFLD).

Total Days: 2
Pedaling Days: 2
Total Distance: 141 km
Total Vertical: 1,329m
Average Speed: 31.2 km/h

Route summary: We took the ferry from North Sydney to Port-aux-Basques, then drove over to the ferry terminal at Argentia.  The nex day, I pedalled in from Argentia to St. John's.

Click on a day below, or scroll down to go through day by day.  Click on any image below to get a larger view.  Click here to go back to the trip index.

  1. Newfoundland: August 5-6
    1. Friday, August 5
      1. August 5 –Ferry/drive to Argentia (NFLD)
      2. The Caribou
      3. Port-aux-Basques around sunrise
      4. Cheryl in Port-aux-Basques
      5. Wildflowers
      6. Newfoundland from the Trans-Canada
      7. Not so familiar terrain
      8. Wintry light
    2. Saturday, August 6
      1. August 6 – Argentia to St. John’s (the end!!)
      2. Heading into the wind - but not for long
      3. Camping near Argentia
      4. Misty vision
      5. End of the road
      6. Celebration!
      7. Flags

Newfoundland: August 5-6

Friday, August 5

August 5 –Ferry/drive to Argentia (NFLD)

As is our usual mode of traveling, we did not plan ahead or reserve anything to do with our passage to Newfoundland, and we were lucky to have things work out for us without much delay. When traveling by bicycle, it is really hard to make reservations for anything more than a few hours in advance because a change in the weather can change everything.

The Caribou

There are 2 ferries to NFLD that leave from North Sydney, one to Argentia, and one to Port-aux-Basques. The ferry to Port-aux-Basques is more or less a direct route from the closest points linking Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and takes about 6 hours. The ferry to Argentia is about 14 hours long, but you travel much further east and arrive just 140km outside of St. John’s . The drive between Port-aux-Basques and Argentia is about 800km. Our original plan was to catch the next ferry to Argentia, and then bike in to St. John’s. However that ferry, which runs just 3 times per week, was sold out for vehicle space for the next sailing. The ferry to Port-aux-Basques was also sold out, but as luck would have it, they had just decided to put on an extra sailing at 11PM on August 4, so we made a quick decision to get on that ferry and just drive the 800km over to Argentia!

We really felt like we were heading out on an ocean voyage. They have cabins for rent – seemed like a great idea considering it was a night passage, and you are not allowed to stay in your vehicle.

Port-aux-Basques around sunrise

We arrived in Port-aux-Basques near dawn and were immediately blown away by Newfoundland’s unique beauty. We pulled into town to let the ferry traffic pass and looked around the town a bit.

It really does look “just like you imagine” for a Newfoundland fishing village - the little colorful houses perched on rocky ground in random clusters along the water. Really cool, I am so glad we are including Newfoundland in our trip! It is expensive and time consuming to get here, but it is sure different from anything else we have seen!

Cheryl in Port-aux-Basques

Coming into Newfoundland at around Sunrise is definitely an awesome experience, one of the highlights of the trip for us!


These little flowers were abundant in a pullout where we stopped.

Newfoundland from the Trans-Canada

Another day where it was difficult to know where to point the camera! The drive from Port-aux-Basques to Argentia was about 800km long, and took us through some really remote parts. I am glad we saw it. It would be quite a bike ride – the road was really good for the most part, with a good shoulder, and the traffic was light (although people were speeding pretty badly). It was extremely hilly, and the wind was very strong in places. We definitely didn’t have the time to do it on this trip!

The mountains were a decent size – although it looked like the tops of them had been chopped off or something. In BC you would expect the mountain to just keep going up, but here they ended just as they got going. It also appeared that the mountains were too steep or else the weather was too fierce to allow much vegetation to grown on them. Sure looked cool!

As in a few other parts of the country, like northern Ontario, there were lots of little lakes all along the road. We saw many cars pulled over to the side and people out fly fishing. Cheryl commented that her dad would love it, too bad it’s so far from home!

Not so familiar terrain

Some of the terrain looked really exotic and foreign. No trees growing anywhere, and there were big boulders lying about and little lakes. Perhaps it is too cold for tree to grow in some places – it felt like we were going above the treeline. What an incredible place – scary and beautiful at the same time.

Wintry light

As the day wore on we got some clouds, which turned to rain at night, and the wind started picking up. It got pretty chilly too, for the summertime. The sun hardly had a chance against those wintry looking skies!


Saturday, August 6

Bike log: 141.0km, 1329m of vertical, avg. speed 31.2 km/h

August 6 – Argentia to St. John’s (the end!!)

What a great day, a fantastic way to finish this bike trip! I started from the ferry terminal at Argentia (seemed like as good a starting place as any) and biked in to St. John’s. At the terminal, the wind was absolutely blasting into my face, I thought it was going to be a really long day. It was also quite cold, foggy, and raining. A proper Newfoundland day, I suppose! 

Heading into the wind - but not for long

I was really relieved when the road did a big turn just a few kilometres along, and the wind was at my back – and stayed there for pretty much the whole day! The road was also pretty good, although there were some nasty potholes that needed avoidance along the highway that lead up to the Trans-Canada.

Camping near Argentia

We arrived fairly late last night – around 9PM – and stopped at a motel near the ferry terminal to get a room. However, they were fully booked up. But the lady at the desk was so nice, she phoned around to a number of places she knew of in the area (not listed in our tourist guide book of course), trying to get us a place to stay. Everyone was booked up, so in the end the lady let us set up camp in their parking lot for the night, and left the lobby unlocked so we could use the public bathroom. That's Newfie hospitality!

Misty vision

It was a very hilly ride in – in fact, today takes 3rd place in terms of vertical for the whole trip. Only the biggest mountain passes in BC involved more climbing. I was really loving it though, I am glad it was a challenging ride to end it up, especially with the huge tailwind pushing me along. I did not really want the ride to end (in some ways), and I was glad to see the hills keep coming to delay the inevitable finale. Even the misty, rainy weather could not put a damper on things, although it made it hard to dodge potholes as I could not wear my glasses!

End of the road

The weather slowly improved throughout the whole day, and by the end it was a beautiful summer day. There are 2 main ways to do the last little bit into St. John’s – follow the Trans-Canada or else take highway 2. We took the Trans-Canada, assuming it would lead to the fabled “Mile 0” marker. However, it more or less just petered out, unceremoniously passing by a landfill site and then into a residential area, no longer a highway but now just a plain old street. But at last the road ended at a T-junction and we had water!

We could not find any sort of indication that this is the start (or end) of the road, but we were sure we had arrived at it. Later, we found that we had overshot St. John’s by a few kilometres, and this was in fact not the ocean but a small lake. Also, the “Mile 0” marker is nowhere near the end of the Trans-Canada highway but is instead tucked away fairly obscurely downtown.

But fortunately there is no official rule book on where you have to stop or start, and this was a really beautiful place to stop and take some photos! So we took some of us, along with the vehicles that got us here. And so it is the end of the trip east for us.


People in Victoria may recognize this as a bottle of IPA from Swan’s. No, it is not for sale here, but instead we ferried it here in the van. Appropriate, since it was a gift from the “beer fairies” back in Victoria. There were 2 bottles presented to us for good luck when we left. The first was consumed at the halfway point, and the second, well, it won’t make it through the night!

We have 3 more days in Newfoundland until our ferry reservation (we can make those kinds of things now) and plan to spend a day in and around St. John’s and then start heading back to Port-aux-Basques (the Argentia ferry is still fully booked). We're looking forward to it - it's a really cool looking town!


We got this photo one day in New Brunswick – it was a good opportunity to get the flags of Canada and all the provinces (and territories too). A nice windy day too, to fly the flags, and it was going the right direction!

Some wrap-up stats. The trip here was 7154km long, included 39,480m of vertical ascent, and took 67 days. We took 11 rest days, 1 sick day, and 4 or 5 short riding days. In all, I peddled for 251.7 hours at an average speed of 28.4 km/h. There were 29 days of mostly headwinds, 15 days of mostly tailwinds, and the rest were mixed or calm. We went through 8 major construction zones and 4 and a half time zones. We traveled through 20% of the longitude of the earth.

The trip back will be much faster, but far from instantaneous in a van that doesn’t like to do more than 95 km/h! We plan to try to see a few of the things and places we didn’t get a chance to see on the way here, and I plan to keep updating this journal from time to time with the things we see.