As you’ve seen from all the latest images on Insta and Facebook we’re currently exploring Canada! In the space of two weeks we’re visiting Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Vancouver Island. Because these destinations offer such contrasting scenery and experiences we’ve decided to share our Top 5 highlights from each region.
In total, we spent five days in Nova Scotia and PEI. We travelled by ferry from Caribou to Wood Islands but returned via the 13 km long Confederation Bridge which joins Borden-Carleton and Cape Jourimain. We’d been given the impression that PEI was only a small island. I guess it is by Canadian standards but the island was a lot bigger than we were expecting and we were gutted we only had one day to explore it.
These are our Top 5 highlights from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, where our whirlwind cross-country Canadian adventure began.
#1 – (First Equal) Halifax Waterfront
The Halifax waterfront has a fun, relaxed vibe. Located amid the downtown area, colourful shacks line the boardwalk along the historic harbour. As well as gift shops selling fantastically cheesy souvenirs there are numerous food outlets selling Canadian staples; lobster rolls, poutine and beavers tails – just to name a few.
There are plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from too. Murphy’s is a great choice if you want to eat lobster in an outdoor setting with a waterfront view. I preferred the more relaxed approach of Stubborn Goat beer garden. It was the perfect choice to soak up the waterfront sunset while enjoying local craft beers.
Just as a side note: I’m honestly impressed with the quality of Canadian beer. I didn’t realise the craft beer industry was so big over here! Halifax is also home to the famous Alexander Keith Brewery. Alexander Keith’s was, and still is, one of Kyle’s favourite beers.
#1 – (First Equal) Greenwich Dunes Trail
Greenwich is located in the northern part of Kings County, in the PEI National Park. There are three trails here but we only had time for one – and I suspect we did the best one. Unlike New Zealand, we had to pay a fee to enter a National Park. It cost $8.00 per person but you can buy an annual pass for around $40.00.
The Dunes Trail is 4 km return track. The scenery was surprisingly contrasting, despite the short distance. The first part of the trail is open with views of Saint Peters Harbour. It then changes to a forested path, from which you emerge onto a long floating boardwalk. The boardwalk could’ve just been built in a straight line but instead it’s been made more spectacular by the incorporation of bends. At the end of the boardwalk you reach the fine red sands of Greenwich beach, which is lined with large dunes. It is such a beautiful beach!
#3 – Kayaking in Mahone Bay
An image of Mahone Bay usually features the three churches, situated side by side, on the waterfront. It’s an iconic photograph that I think everyone who visits the township captures. The weather was ominous when we arrived in Mahone Bay. We actually went to every shop in town searching for a rainbow coloured umbrella that would brighten up our images and compliment the rainbow coloured buildings lining the bay. We didn’t find one.
It may have been drizzling but the water was calm and glassy, absolutely perfect for jumping in a kayak and paddling around the bay. We rented a kayak from Cape Lahave Adventures, who also offer guided sea kayak trips and rental SUP’s (standup paddle boards). Make sure you check out the islands just out from Mahone Bay – we didn’t have enough time to – and say hi to Sarah from us.
#4 – Sunrise at Panmure Island
Even though we were on PEI for two nights we only had one day to actually explore the island. This meant we were out the door before 5:30 am in order to drive, approx. 1 hour, from Charlottetown to Panmure Island for sunrise. Admittedly, we should’ve left 30 minutes earlier because the colour of the dawn sky was intense! Kyle snapped this image near a place we passed, called Montague.
By the time we arrived at Panmure Island the sun was already peaking over the horizon line. It was literally the most epic sunrise and we only just made it in time. (This may have been due to my unenthusiastic approach to early morning starts.) We were incredibly stoked with Panmure Island as location for sunrise, especially because it was a complete stab in the dark whether the sun would even rise behind the lighthouse. We picked the best spot possible but do have one tip; bring insect repellent! The mosquitos were ridiculous here.
#5 – Historic ‘Old Town’ Lunenburg
You know how you often see one house painted a vibrant colour which makes it completely stand out from all the other houses and just look wrong? Well, Lunenburg is the exact opposite. All the buildings are so colourful!
The historic township is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it’s “the best preserved North American example of an eighteenth century British colonial town plan.” Whatever that means?! Everything is so vibrantly uniform you feel like you’re in a fictitious town – no towns are this aesthetically perfect! It has an abundance of great places to eat, galleries, shops and museums to browse and it’s home to the Ironworks Distillery.