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The central region of Newfoundland and Labrador is, literally and figuratively, in the very heart of Newfoundland. It has a natural beauty, boasting boreal forests and rugged coastlines in abundance.
The interior, covered with huge stands of birch, spruce and pine, provides a vast wilderness that houses a variety of flora and fauna for the outdoor enthusiasts. With its scores of bays, big and small and dotted with islands, the northeast coast attracts humpback whales and towering icebergs each spring. On the south coast, a handful of remote communities nestled around secluded harbours are still only accessible only by boat providing budding photographers with treasures to behold.
The region's aboriginal history goes back 5,000 years and includes the Dorset people who carved soapstone pots at Newfoundland's first quarry. Their story can be seen in Fleur de Lys on the Baie Verte Peninsula, an area with a 150-year-old mining history. Discover the story of the Beothuks, a people who once hunted and fished here, at the Beothuk Interpretation Centre at Boyd's Cove. Notre Dame Bay is teeming with humpback whales and icebergs. See them from the coast or from a tour boat. For the more adventurous, explore the coastline and all of its visitors up close and personal from the seat of a kayak.
Heading northeast on Route 340 off the main highway, clapboard houses sit atop the rocky coast as wharves and boats testify to the continuing importance of the centuries-old fishing industry. Most of the people living here descended from West Country fishermen who settled these shores more than two centuries ago. In addition, their dialect and music remain firmly rooted in the old country.
Towards the south, the Mi'kmaqs of Conne River holds an annual Pow Wow that welcomes people from all over. At Harbour Breton, the Sunny Cottage Heritage Centre displays the history of this coastal part of the province.
Grand Falls-Windsor and neighbours host thousands of visitors for the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival, an outdoor concert event each July. While in town, the Salmonid Interpretation Centre, complete with underwater viewing, is a great place to learn about the habitat and life cycle of the Atlantic salmon.
The Barbour Living Heritage Village in New-Wes-Valley is a must-see featuring architectural gems, historic buildings, tours, and dinner theatres that tell the stories of this fascinating part of the coast. Just down the road, find impressive stretches of light sandy beaches (without the usual crowds) at Windmill Bight, Musgrave Harbour, and Lumsden.
Dubbed the Crossroads of the World due to its international airport, the town of Gander features an outstanding aviation museum complete with vintage aircraft like a Hudson Bomber. Stretch your legs with a 10-km hike along the scenic Alexander Murray Trail in King's Point. Or head to Terra Nova National Park for whale watching, birdwatching, hiking, or camping in and around 400 square kilometres of boreal forest and coastline.
Visit Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism - http://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/ for more detailed information on the features of this geographical area of the province.