Hiking & Boating
The park has more than 97km (60 miles) of hiking trails; the booklet you receive when you pay your entrance fee offers descriptions of them. Some are fairly easy treks of an hour or so round-trip through undemanding woodlands. Among the most popular is the Coastal Trail, which runs between Newman Sound Campground and the information center. You get great views of the sound (a noted bird sanctuary), and en route you pass the wonderfully named Pissing Mare Falls. The hike is between 8 and 10km (5-6 miles) in all, and takes perhaps 3 hours round-trip.
The most demanding hike, by far, is the Outport Trail, a 48km (30-mile) walk that winds in and around the south shore of Newman Sound past several abandoned settlements, then doubles back upon itself. A nice side trail along the way leads up to the summit of a small mountain, with a great view of the sound and parklands. You can overnight at one of two backcountry sites along the way; or each direction can be completed in about 8 hours. With camping layovers the round-trip typically takes 2 to 3 days, the going sometimes slowed by bogs or wet sections. Remember: You must register with the park office before setting off on this trip.
To go canoeing, head for either Sandy Pond or Southwest Arm. Canoes are available for rent at Sandy Pond by the hour or day. You can cobble together a very attractive 10km (6-mile) one-way trip from Sandy Pond by paddling to Beachy Pond (however, this requires a 400m/ 1/4-mile portage), then continuing onward to Dunphy's Pond.
The park also lends itself quite nicely to sea kayaking. If you've brought your own boat, ask for route suggestions at the information center. (Overnight trips to Minchin and South Broad coves are good options, as are day trips out to Swale Island.) If you haven't, outfitter Ocean Quest (tel. 866/623-2664 or 709/834-7234) in the St. John's area maintains a rental kiosk in Terra Nova's visitor center.
For a lower-calorie-burning view, consider a tour with Coastal Connections (tel. 709/533-2196), which sails in a converted fishing boat that looks more like a small yacht. It runs two or more times daily from the wharf at the visitor center. You're all but certain to spot bald eagles and, with some luck, whales and icebergs; the 2 1/2-hour tours typically cost C$65 per adult and C$35 for children under 17. (Rates are discounted by about 25% if you bring a family of at least four.) Be sure to purchase and bring your park entry pass before boarding.