NL is located on the eastern shores of North America between the 46th and 61st parallels.
Newfoundland, the island portion of our province, is situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence separated from larger, mainland Labrador by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Nova Scotia by the Cabot Strait. The bulk of Newfoundland is below the 50th parallel.
Mainland Labrador is bordered west and south with the Canadian province of Quebec and shares a small land border on Killiniq Island with the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
NL may look like a mid-sized region on a map, but in reality it is a huge place with lots of open country.
NL is vast at 517,110 km2 (199,657 square miles). The island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 km2 (43,008 square miles) and Labrador covers 405,720 km2 (156,649 square miles).
To give you a better perspective, NL is more than three times the total area of its neighboring Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), would rank fourth in size behind Alaska, Texas, and California if it were one of the United States and is almost one-and-three-quarter times the size of Great Britain.
The island of Newfoundland occupies its very own time zone, known as Newfoundland Time. It is half an hour ahead of Atlantic Time, and a full hour and a half later than Eastern Standard Time.
Most of mainland Labrador observes Atlantic Time Zone with one noted exception, its’ southeast region from Black Tickle to L’Anse au Clair which operates on Newfoundland Time.
What Is The Metric System?
To our American visitors, NL operates on the metric decimal system of measurement. For easy conversion, download our Conversion Calculator.
NL boasts a modern transportation infrastructure with comprehensive air, road and marine (ferry) service.
NL is strategically positioned between North America and Europe – just a 5 hour flight from London and a 4 hour flight from New York City. We are serviced by 4 regional and 3 international airports:
- St. John’s (YYT)
- Gander (YQX)
- St. Anthony (YAY)
- Deer Lake (YDF)
- Stephenville (YJT)
- Goose Bay (YYR)
- Wabush (YWK)
Nunatsiavut, Labrador’s northernmost region is serviced by Air Labrador and Provincial Airlines. Scheduled flights depart Happy Valley-Goose Bay and ‘hop’ from community to community along the North Labrador coast. All planes are 19 passenger Twin Otter aircraft.
Both provincial regions contain major highway networks that includes the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) and the Trans-Labrador Highway (TLH).
The TCH (Route 1) crosses Newfoundland from Channel-Port aux Basques to St. John’s, a distance of 905 km (543 miles).
The TLH runs 1,185 km (736 miles) from Labrador City to L’Anse Au Clair. This allows the discerning traveler unmitigated access driving from either the province of Quebec (Highway 389) or the Island of Newfoundland. (Via Labrador Straits ferry service in St. Barbes). Download this convenient Trans Labrador Highway User Guide.
Driving Times and Distance
For approximate driving times and distance, please visit Community to Community Distance Finder.
Driving Safety In NL
NL’s climate, topography and natural habitat offers up a unique set of driving conditions. Download our Driving Safety in NL guide.
For further information on vehicle and highway safety and current road conditions, please visit Transportation and Works.
Getting to NL is an adventure in itself and what better way to begin your journey than an ocean cruise. Our region maintains excellent service delivery and offers numerous marine options to explore our exquisite coastal communities.
Marine Atlantic, regulated by Transport Canada, services a four vessel fleet with 2 major routes: a year-round 96 nautical mile daily ferry service between Channel-Port aux Basques, south-western Newfoundland and North Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The second route is a 280 nautical mile tri-weekly ferry service between Argentia, Newfoundland and North Sydney, Nova Scotia. This service operates from mid-June until late September. From here, the distance to St. John’s is 131 km (78 miles).
These modern car ferries also accommodate recreational vehicles and offer a wide variety of on-board accommodations and features including: deluxe cabins, dormitory sleepers, full meal and beverage service, live entertainment, lounges, movies and children’s activity programs.
Please visit Marine Atlantic for current schedules and prices.
The Government of NL maintains a fleet of 15 ferries and coastal boats (automobile, passenger and freight). They operate on year-round and seasonal schedules that take you to our coastal communities. Please visit Transportation and Works for current schedules and routes.
Coastal ferry service operates each year from roughly June to November (the ice-free season) to the five coastal communities of Nunatsiavut, a five day return trip from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Nain. Please visit Nunatsiavut Marine for scheduling and fare information.
Our climate can be attributed to our ocean proximity, particularly the extensive area of cold water and seasonal ice offshore including the Labrador Current system, the distinctly warmer Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift systems to the southeast of the Grand Banks which affects the properties of air reaching the province from the south and east.
Newfoundland has a maritime climate that is moderate (minimal temperature fluctuations) and characterized by 4 distinct seasons. Overall, summers range from cool to hot with an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) while the winters are mild with average temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit).
While regional temperature differences exist (coastal versus central), they are minor in nature. One defining characteristic of Newfoundland’s climate is its volatility. It is not uncommon to hear a Newfoundlander say ‘we can get 4 seasons in a day’ or ‘we have 3 seasons a year – fall, winter and spring)’.
Characteristic of the Canadian mid-north, Labrador’ climate is more arctic than maritime. It has cold winters with typical daytime temperatures for January between -10 and -15 Celsius (14 and 5 Fahrenheit) and the ground is snow-covered for eight months in the far north and for six months in the south. Summers are short and cool along the coast because of the cold Labrador Current.
On a regional basis, the Labrador Interior has a continental climate. The region has long, cold winters with deep snow cover and weather patterns which are relatively more settled. The Upper Lake Melville area has relatively shorter winters and warmer, sunnier summers.
Coastal Labrador is exposed to stormy and unsettled weather from the Labrador Sea. The area south of Groswater Bay usually has the heaviest precipitation. At times the region experiences extremes of temperature during offshore wind directions during both summer and winter.
Northern Labrador, north of Nain, has a tundra climate. Summers are short and too cool to support full tree growth with a precipitation decrease toward the north.The mountains and fjords of the Torngat region create locally variable conditions.
Temperatures (°C) by regions
|Apr – May||Jun – Aug||Sept – Oct||Nov – Mar|
Before You Leave Essentials
For tons of great travel planning tips and suggestions en-route to NL, download our Travel Priorities Check-List.
Thinking about camping in NL? Be sure to download our handy Camping Check-List.
Are you a prudent traveler? To plan, prepare and track your NL travel expenses, download our Travel Budget.