Tips & Tools

Location

location

NL is located on the eastern shores of North America between the 46th and 61st parallels.

Newfoundland, the island portion of the 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.

Size

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NL may look like a mid-sized region on a map, but in reality, it is a huge place with lots of open country.

At 517,110 km2 (199,657 square miles), NL is vast. The island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 km2 (43,008 square miles) and massive 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 combined neighbouring

Population

514, 536 people reside in NL. St. John’s, our provincial capital, is the largest city with 106,172 residents. 

94.8% of the population (487, 808 people) live on the island with the remaining 5.2% or 26, 728 residing in Labrador.

Time Zone

Timezones2008_UTC+10

Newfoundland occupies its very own time zone, known as Newfoundland Time. Half an hour ahead of Atlantic Time, and an hour and a half later than Eastern Standard Time.

Most of mainland Labrador observes Atlantic Time Zone with one noted exception, the southeast region from Black Tickle to L’Anse au Clair which operates on Newfoundland Time.

Metric System

To our American visitors, NL operates on the metric decimal system of measurement. 

For easy conversion, download our Conversion Calculator.

Getting Here

NL boasts a modern transportation infrastructure with comprehensive air, road, and marine (ferry) service.

Air

flying to nl

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:

imageedit_4_9526096541Nunatsiavut, Labrador’s northernmost region is serviced by Air Labrador and Provincial AirlinesScheduled 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.

Highway/Motorway

Both regions of NL contain major highway networks that include the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) and the Trans-Labrador Highway (TLH).

Trans-Canada Highway (TCH)

The TCH (Route 1) crosses Newfoundland from Channel-Port aux Basques to St. John’s, a distance of 905 km (543 miles).

Trans-Labrador Highway (TLH)

The TLH (Routes 500 and 510) runs 1,135 km (705 miles) from Labrador City to L’Anse Au Clair.

The first 533 km (331 miles) along Route 500 to Happy Valley-Goose Bay is paved, Route 510 is partially paved between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Red Bay and paved between Red Bay and L’Anse Au Clair.

Access highway driving from either the province of Quebec (Route 389, see below) or the Island of Newfoundland. (via Labrador Straits ferry service in St. Barbes).

Download this convenient Trans Labrador Highway User Guide.

Reach western Labrador via Route 389 in Quebec, a 570 km (354 mile) highway that travels north from Baie-Comeau through the Côte-Nord region. Click image below for highway driving map.

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Please note: only 300 km (186 miles) of this road is paved, in two sections, with the remainder being gravel. Driving time is approximately 8 hours. For further Quebec highway information, visit Quebec 511.

Driving Times/Distance

For approximate driving times and distance, please visit Community to Community Distance Finder.

NL Driving Safety 

NL’s climate, topography, and natural habitat offers 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.

Marine

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

Marine_atlantic_route_map

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 Argentia, the driving distance to St. John’s is 131 km (78 miles).

These modern car ferries also accommodate recreational vehicles and offer a wide variety of onboard 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.

Provincial Ferry 

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.

Nunatsiavut Marine 

Nunatsiavut Marine2

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.

Climate

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When it comes to NL weather, you won’t ever be stuck for conversation and we love talking about it.

NL’s 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.

For current weather conditions, please visit The Weather Network.

Newfoundland

Newfoundland has a maritime climate that is moderate (minimal temperature fluctuations) and is characterized by four distinct seasons. 

Overall, summers range from cool to hot with an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) while 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 four seasons in a day’. 

Labrador

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 with long, cold winters, 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 region & season

 Region

 Spring  Summer Fall Winter
Apr – May Jun – Aug Sept – Oct Nov – Mar

high

 low high low high low high

low

Avalon 0 19 9 13 6 1 -6
Eastern 8 0 18 9 14 6 1 -6
Central 8 0 17  9 13 5 1 -6
Western 6 -1 19 9 12 5 -1 -8 
Labrador 5 -5 17 6 8 1 -8 -18

Before You Leave

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 traveller? To plan, prepare and track your NL travel expenses, download our Travel Budget.

Contact us today to start planning your incredible NL journey.

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