Nova Scotia self drive holiday
Description of Nova Scotia self drive holiday
Take this 16-day road trip around Nova Scotia’s long, wild coastline, and get a true taste of Atlantic Canada.
This quiet area needs a car to appreciate in full – dodge the tour buses and instead go at your own pace between the sandy beaches, charming towns and windswept marshland and forest.
The driving here is great. Canada’s second smallest province is nearly all peninsula. It has a massive coastline, where stretches like the Lighthouse Route feature photogenic lighthouses jutting out of wild scenery. Driving the Cabot Trail along Cape Breton Highlands National Park has you teetering between sea and forest. Passing through little historic settlements you’ll spot ramshackle jetties, neat white churches, and houses with pastel-coloured clapboard siding.
These remote areas mean that you can enjoy fabulous star gazing. It also means that your money is serving the community well in small towns like Guysborough and Wolfville. You’ll meet extremely friendly people in Nova Scotia – it’s one of the most welcoming places around, and once you get stuck into the numerous small towns beyond Halifax you’ll soon be hanging out with fishermen and learning cultural history.
It might be wild and remote, but you’re not the only visitor. There are twelve species of whale that converge on the nutrient-rich feeding ground in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, a place with the largest tidal range in the world. On this trip there are plenty of opportunities to whale-watch and see how many species you can spot.
Food is a surprising highlight – whether your preference leans towards locally-made pear eau-de-vie, or simple seafood chowders, home-baked muffins and or pecan buns. The Annapolis valley has some of Canada’s most up and coming vineyards. And you can’t leave without donning a bib and tucking into at least one classic lobster supper – you can even help local fishermen splice ropes for their lobster traps first. Learn how to be a locavore – someone who tries to eat as locally as possible. It’s easy when everything here is so enticing.
Between meals, there’s some wonderful wilderness to explore, including the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where moose roam in the forests, and Uisge Ban Falls Provincial Park, where a pretty trail leads to its namesake waterfall. There are opportunities to kayak and hike – great ways to explore close to nature.
It’s thought that the early European explorer John Cabot sailed here from Bristol, England in 1497 – travellers coming from the UK can now get here by just a 6-hour flight. Come and discover what Cabot saw – plus, so much more.
Photo credits: Destination Canada, Stefanie Heinzmann, Adele Beaton
PlanetAny activities undertaken are strictly controlled within the park or region that they take place. ie. hikes and mountain bikes stick to trails so that they don’t disturb the naturally environment that they go through. In this itinerary that is on the Cabot Trail and within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. On the Margaree River and also the Bras D’Or Lake, any motorised boat trips stay away from environmentally sensitive areas, and we encourage families to enjoy kayaking and stand-up paddle where possible, which are less harmful to the environment, but allow them to enjoy the fabulous landscape without noise.
With our self-drive trips, we always suggest routings and attraction and accommodation ideas that are off the beaten track. This means clients avoid main roads and heavy traffic – and it encourages visitation to less well-known places, away from the crowds, where the tourism dollar is more needed and appreciated. In Nova Scotia, there are plenty of small towns that we direct clients towards.
Wherever possible, we also actively support attractions, accommodation and service providers accommodations that have their own environmental policies in place and encourage our clients to ensure their own environmental footprint is minimised wherever possible.
PeopleWe have taken time to work with our Canadian partners to ensure our clients are encouraged to use accommodation and support products that are authentic and support local businesses and communities. Our partners are Canadian based and comply with all relevant laws that protect the rights of their employees.
Prior to departure, we let our clients know about local customs, specially relating to indigenous communities and their traditions.
Wherever possible, we use locally owned accommodation that supports the communities in the area and provides employment to the local population. We also try to ensure that local produce is used and we suggest attractions and restaurants that are unique and used locally sourced ingredients. Some examples in Nova Scotia include, The Ironworks Distillery, Annapolis Brewing Company, Le Caveau Restaurant at Domaine de Grand Pré Winery and the Frog Pond Café.
In order to promote the overall health of their workforce, one of our first nation accommodation providers has also established the Employee Wellness Programme, which aims to address the holistic health needs of not only their staff, but also of the communities that surround their lodge. In essence, the programme is devoted to reducing the incidence of accident and illness in the workplace, promoting healthy lifestyles, maximizing potential and promoting optimum quality of life.
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