New Brunswick is often considered to be a drive though provence for a lot of people heading out to Nova Scotia or PEI. We spent 8 nights crossing the lower coast and then up the boarder with America. We found New brunswick to be a truly amazing place! The beautiful green rolling fields, thick forrest, dramatic coasts and rivers carving through the countryside and then there are the amazing people. Yet again Canada you do not disappoint with the incredible people!!
We spent a night on a nice little beachside camping spot down the end of a dead end road not very close to anywhere. It was beautiful. We a lovely relaxing afternoon just chilling by the water before a big storm rolled in and we had thunder and lightening over the night. We were all nice and snuggy in ‘Harrison’ our portable house 🙂
Our first main stop in New Brunswick was in Moncton. I must saw it is not the most physically appealing city though it definitely has potential and the people want to make it better… prettier. With the upper ‘chocolate river’ .. a tidal river so it is always muddy brown.. carving its way though the centre city it brings lots of exciting things to do and then dotted with little parks in and around it is great.
Our friend Sean recommended us to do Treego whilst we were in New Brunswick so that was what drew us into Moncton. This is a high rise zip line and ropes course though the forrest. It is super cool!! We unfortunately went at the wrong time so it was kinda busy, if you are a small group I would recommend to go early in the morning. But as we also didn’t book we were just happy to be going at all. There courses are colour coded from easy to hard and you can stop at any time you like, though I don’t know why you would. Everything is very safe as you are wearing harnesses so if you slip off the swings or walking the line you don’t fall far. Some of the zip lines are a good few hundred meters crossing over the rivers too. It was a great way to spend a few hours.
The staff there were all really helpful and nice, one of which even offered us a place to stay but as we knew some bad weather was coming we wanted to make our way down the coast to make the most of the sunshine as we could.
So that was what we did, we headed south from Moncton, driving down the chocolate river. We went though beautiful green country side and rolling fields, along past the hopewell rocks as the tide was out so we got a nice glimpse from the car (we probably should have stopped at they are awesome but as the day was getting on we were looking more for our place to sleep). We wanted to get close to Fundy National Park as that was where we planned on spending a fair amount of our day the next day.
Our friend Sean had also told us of this nice little town called Alma which was just on the edge of the national park and had some good seafood which we had to visit. We were thinking of heading to there for the night. Along the way we took a little detour to by pass Harvey. From there we took a little side road down, route 915. In the little town of New Horton we saw a sign hand written up on the side of the road saying “free camping, 1 mile, all welcome”. Sounding too good to be true and also somewhat strange we went to explore….Located right next to the Ha Ha Cemetery (Yes you read that correct)…We then saw the sign out the front all nicely done hanging from a large piece of drift wood “Shire Camping -Free”. The gate is guarded by a lovely black and which garbage cow and the property by a lovely friendly Labrador ‘Sally’. It was the most perfect place!
We drove in and Sally came running our barking to meet us along with Don who own’s the property and his son Jeremy was out doing some landscaping. The sun was shining, the place was simply stunning with the camping site backing onto a wildlife reserve and the company so welcoming we spent three nights at the campsite. If you go past this area of New Brunswick I definitely recommend this for a stop. You can find it here for further info.
Our first day in the area was a nice and sunny one, we went down the road a little to Cape Enrage. This area in New Brunswick and also along the coast of Nova Scotia which is on the opposite side of the Fundy Bay is home to the highest tides in the world (up to 16 meters in some places)!! Cape Enrage is a perfect place to witness these tidal changes as it has a nice little lighthouse overlooking the bay, a restaurant and even a zipline. We went there as the tide was going out, almost at low tide, we walked down onto the rocks below and went fossil spotting, seeing the hundreds of millions of years old tropical forests preserved in the rocks and cliffs below. Here we also found some awesome hand crafted wooden walking sticks at a really descent price so we got some.
After this we went into the Fundy National Park. Here we did the Laverty Falls track and looped back around with the Moosehead trail. It was a nice walk out through the forrest to a scenic waterfall then back through the forrest and along the river. The trail was good, the day was beautiful but the mozzies were out so we could not stop or they would get us.
We went back across to the Shire for the evening and settled in for another wonderful night. After a good few weeks on the road it is nice to camp out somewhere where we know we are allowed to be.
That evening Jeremy was having a gathering with some of his friends before heading back to Toronto, where he now lives, we joined then down in the campsite around the fire pit. It was an awesome evening, everyone was really nice and it was super interesting to be in our lives, but also a moment in someone else’s. All in the same place but all coming from very different paths to make our way there. There was stories, laughing, guitars and singing all making up a fantastic evening.
The next morning was overcast and a bit foggy but the rain was not too bad so we set off to a little spot down the road which Don had recommended us. The Two Rivers walking trail. This was a short trail out to a little point on the coast, we happened to go at low tide so we had a great view out over where the water had once been. Here is a great spot for finding fossils too so we walked down the rocks looking at parts of old forrest as we went.
The rain started just as we were back to the car so we decided to head into Alma to get some lunch at the octopus garden, where some pf the people from the night before worked. It was the perfect thing to do on a rainy afternoon.
For the evening we went back and were invited to have some dinner and enjoy the evening with Don up in his awesome full of character house. We tried some of his home made wine which was pretty good and just enjoyed the evening chatting about life.
The next morning the skies were clearing and we went out with Don down the road to collect some firewood for the campfire over the summer. There is a great spot where the driftwood washes close up to the road so it was the perfect spot to stop and gather some for the trailer. It was great fun!!
Actually so many things about being at the Shire reminded me of home. All the hand crafted things around, the swing seats, the pizza oven and the fire pit. Going and getting wood and the smell of the chainsaw, it was something we always used to do as a family when I was younger and I have not done it since. And the lovely welcoming happy faces surrounding us. It was a lovely place to rest up for a few days.
We went into the Fundy National Park for another short hike, taking the Coppermine trail though the woods. It was not what we expected, no coastal trail and no Coppermine at the end but it was still a mice walk.
The first attraction for us to visit the Ganong chocolate museum, take a tour and eat lots of yummy chocolate. Reading about this was what made us decided to come there is the first place. After looking where St Stephens location was on the map we realised how close it was to America. This became our second attraction. The St Croix river separates New Brunswick and Maine and St Stephens is right on the St Croix river. The last attractions were more nice surprises when we arrived there, the sun was shining, we met some incredible locals and found some great little nature sights there too.
So when we arrived into St Stephens it was the later afternoon and about time for us to start looking for somewhere to stay, we did our usual of looking on our map (I have to point out that it is a very vague one…). We found where the centre of the city was and then looked on the outskirts for little roads that appeared to lead nowhere, these are usually the perfect spots for us as they are never very built up areas if any houses at all. We found one that looked promising, which would have taken us out to a little point overlooking the river and America.
When we got to the end of the road we found the was the Ganong Nature Park there. Just before the park was the dead end road, a place for parking and not too much else around. We were originally a little sad the park was there and the gates got locked as it could have been a suitable spot. We decided to go in and ask if the minded if we stayed there or if they had any recommendations for somewhere else where we wouldn’t annoy anyone. The wonderful woman, Patti, who was working that day said to us that she wouldn’t have a problem for us to stay there but occasionally people come down and check on everything over the night. Instead she invited us to come back and stay with her and her family, the afternoon was late, the sun was shining and they were about to be having a BBQ for dinner. How perfect!
After some chatting at the park we got all her details then decided we would take a stroll around the park while we were there and wave across to America. It was beautiful in the park, the smell of summer was finally upon us with the flowers on the trees and the lush green grass surrounding us. We were simply stoked with life!
We made our way out to Patti’s house where we were greeted by her daughter Laura and her dog Abby. Being a similar age to us and planning a trip out to NZ and OZ soon we had lots to talk about with Laura. Over the evening we enjoyed a delicious BBQ, salads, beer, a much enjoyed shower and especially great company! Patti and Roy, Laura and Zack and Abby were just amazing hosts. We were so lucky to have met them and had them welcome us into their home. We spent most of the evening just talking about so many things in life, just like we were old friends. It really is something special when you meet people and feel like you have known them forever!
One of the many amazing things that they shared with us was a detailed book of all the waterfalls in New Brunswick and a back road atlas so we were able to find them. It was the perfect thing for us!!
The next day we set off to walk the Simpson Hill Trail which they had told us about the evening before. It had a great view out over the bay and of St Croix Island, New Brunswick and Maine. It was also a nice walk though the forrest but very confusing with the trail labelling. We got there in the end and it was beautiful.
After this we went to visit the chocolate factory. The Ganong chocolate factory and museum was awesome. Through the museum you can take a tour and learn about the process of chocolate and about the Ganong factory itself. You can else eat loads of scrumptious chocolate… and unlimited supply. Now who wouldn’t enjoy that is if you are passing through this area in New Brunswick I would recommend making this a stop.
From here we headed out from St Stephens north along the boarder of New Brunswick and America. We were heading to lake Spednic which we had learnt about the evening before from Roy. This little spot was one of his favourite places so after talking to him and everyone about it we knew we had to visit it!
Lake Spednic is one of the Chiputneticook Lakes. A large area of connected lakes which boarder both New Brunswick and Maine making the water international water. The Chiputneticook Lakes are a beautiful spot for getting out on a boat or kayak and exploring. Lake Spednic provincial park is the gateway for this exploration. A free park run by volunteers with nice camping spots. Unfortunately for us a boat is not something we can fit into the back of the car but we did just go any enjoy the beautiful scenery regardless and do a little walking out and around the area. We chose the best camping spot with a break in the trees overlooking the lake. So we stood on the edge of the rocks… on the edge of New Brunswick and looked out across into America. I know it is not exciting for lots of people but it was my first looking into the mighty USA.
The following morning I had some time to really figure out where we were and look through the waterfalls of New Brunswick book to make us a plan for the day. There were many in the direction we were going but I chose us two to visit for the day. The falls of Shogomoc River and Hays Falls. Both were just short walked from the road and were recommended falls to visit in the book so I figured this made them a must see!!
After this we made our way up to Hartland to see the longest covered wooden bridge in the world. New Brunswick is dotted with covered wooden bridges but the bridge in Hartland crossing the St John river is the must see. We drove through and stopped to have a good look. Then we used our exceptionally useful backroads atlas to find somewhere to stay. We went some Km’s out of town and ended us right at the end of a forestry trail in the mountains. It was awesome and a perfect spot and there was no-one else around or passing by. Unfortunately there were about a thousand million mozzies and mini mozzies. They were not so much fun and we ended up covered in bites despite all our efforts!
The first this we did the next day was find a Walmart and get some bug jackets. Possibly one of the best investments we will make for the rest of the trip. Then even have extra fine mesh so the mini mozzies (midges/sandflies/no-see-um’s) wouldn’t get through to us either.
After feeling equipped for life we went to visit grand falls. The biggest falls in New Brunswick located in the town of… (drum roll please)… Grand Falls. They were easy to find and worth the stop. Being spring and as it had rained a lot the night before the falls were extra powerful and in perfect viewing season! We did some walking around to see them from all angles and also the dam sitting at the top of them.
The afternoon was spent heading out very close to the boarder with Quebec. We found the last falls we were to visit from our trusty little Waterfalls of New Brunswick book. The Falls Brook Falls. These were possibly my favourite of all. Maybe even of all the waterfalls we have seen on the whole trip so far. I don’t know why, it is not something I can really explain but I just loved everything about the place. We drove for a long way down gravel roads before stumbling on the little sign and carpark. From the car park we looked out at what I’m certain was a big beaver pond (didn’t see any beavers though 🙁 ). The falls were only a very short walk us a well used path… or shall I saw mini river in our case, there had been a lot of rain and more was on it’s way. We walked for only about 500 meters along the wet forrest trail. This time I don’t mean so much that the trail was wet just that it was a wet forrest, everything was green and there was so much moss growing everywhere. There were lots of old trees decomposing on the forrest floor which doesn’t sound cool but it is how I imagine things would have looked before people came and interfered with everything. Some of the old dead trees looked as though they had been there forever, untouched and smothered in dark green moss and large fungi.
Shortly we got to the falls and they were just as awesome, only small but exceedingly beautiful, surrounded by incredibly slippery rocks at all funny angles. I can’t really say much else about it apart from the fact that something about it really just captured all of my interest.
Just up the road from the falls we found a great little spot to camp. Up and away from the road it was perfect. We were only just still in New Brunswick when you look at it on the map. Not far through the woods and we would have been in Quebec. Which is where we made our way the following morning, though we had to go all the way back onto the main road to do so.
All in all New Brunswick you were super awesome and we loved everything about you! Definitely a must see provence New Brunswick really has so much going for it!!