On the edge of civilisation yet packed with cultural sights and world class food, New Brunswick is the perfect destination for adventure. Rachel Stretton takes a road trip along the Canadian province's Bay of Fundy.

Still. Quiet.

The only sound I can hear is the lapping of the water on my kayak until a gentle splash to the left grabs my attention. It’s difficult to turn in a kayak but my efforts are rewarded when I spot a seal, metres away, staring at me.

We contemplate each other. I’ve piqued his curiosity, but he’s not coming closer. His nostrils flare and he sinks, barely disturbing the surface of the water.

I don’t mind that he’s gone. This is the wildlife haven of the Bay of Fundy, and there are more treasures yet to see.

Our trip began in Hopewell Cape, close to the fierce headland of Cape Enrage, at the head of the Bay of Fundy. Even for someone used to coastal living, the bay’s tides are awe-inspiring and it’s here you can see them at their most dramatic. The height of the tide is up to 16m here, the highest in the world and it’s worth sticking around to watch them rise and fall. Luckily, there is plenty to keep you occupied at Hopewell Cape, from kayaking around the weird and wonderfully shaped rocks to hiking the surrounding forest and coastline.

From here we followed the bay south west, calling in at beautiful little fishing villages and small towns, peopled by hardy folk who have eked out a home between the vast forests of New Brunswick and the wild coastline.

Cape Enrage is worth a stop, if just to prove that the wild seas here live up to their name, and visitors will be welcomed by a shop and picturesque lighthouse, as well as an authentic lobster cookout.

Despite their modest size these villages are packed with culture and boast genuine tourist gems – microbreweries and sticky buns in Alma, quirky shops, book exchanges and caves in St Martins and roadside eateries offering the local speciality of lobster rolls.

A car is the best way to get around, stopping when and where you fancy to discover hidden waterfalls in Fundy National Park, recently designated a Dark Sky Preserve. The roads are wide and easy going; and it’s rural enough that even if you’re not confident driving abroad it’s easy to get the hang of. Soon, the driving became part of our adventure, undulating hills and unexpected ferries just the props in the grand stage of that remarkable scenery. New Brunswick is certainly a place that makes you feel small.

Wildlife lovers won’t want to miss out on the Kingston Peninsula and Deer Island. At Kingston we stayed in Ridgeback Lodge, a glamping setup where the only thing capable of tearing you away from your own private hot tub and the exotic visiting hummingbirds is the swimming lake. The tranquillity was broken only by a moose huffing metres away in the surrounding forest, staying just out of sight.

Deer Island is yet another wildlife haven, and it was here our kayaking excursion took us searching for seals, whales and porpoises. We stayed quiet to avoid startling any creature which happened to be close by, our oars slicing softly through the water. You get the sense of being a visitor in a world that belongs wholly to these giant sea mammals and it is an experience I will remember for a long time to come.

When you return to the world of humans, the Bay of Fundy has luxury to offer the most discernible traveller. Our final stop was Saint Andrews, close to the US border, by far the largest town on the bay which, by now, has almost widened out to become part of the North Atlantic Ocean. This is a place for rest and relaxation, souvenir shopping and some truly world-class food at places like the Rossmount Inn and the Alonquin Hotel’s Braxton’s restaurant, featuring only the freshest daily catch and local ingredients.

If you have any energy left, hire a bike and cycle across the causeway to Ministers Island, to explore the trails and eerie buildings which were once the summer retreat of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, or take one of the many sea voyages out in search of fin whales and bald eagles.

For us, this was the end of the road, but we had one last road trip left on our journey back to the airport, marvelling, still, at that limitless landscape and dreaming of the countless New Brunswick roads we have yet to explore.


Interested in planning your New Brunswick adventure? Check out www.tourismnewbrunswick.co.uk for some inspiration.

Tour operator Frontier Canada also has some great New Brunswick self drive holidays. Visit frontier-canada.co.uk/holiday/view/ultimate-new-brunswick-fly-drive-holiday-nb