Making up the territorial bulk of Labrador, the central portion is an immense, sparsely populated and ancient wilderness. Paradoxically, it also has the largest town in Labrador, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, home to a military base. The town (population 7600) has all the usual services, but unless you're an angler or hunter, there isn't much to see or do.
North of Cartwright up to Ungava Bay there are a half-dozen small, semitraditional Inuit communities accessible only by sea or air along the rugged, largely unspoiled mountainous coast. Torngat Mountains National Park is the (literal) high point. In 1993, geologists discovered copper, cobalt and large quantities of nickel on the shores of Voisey's Bay near Nain.
Forteau to Pinware
Heading northeast on Rte 510 you'll pass Forteau, L'Anse Amour, L'Anse au Loup, West St Modeste and Pinware. In Forteau, the Overfall Brook Trail (4km) shadows the coast and ends at a 30m waterfall. Six houses comprise the village of L'Anse Amour; among its many attractions, L'Anse Amour Burial Mound is the oldest burial monument in North America.
Blanc Sablon to L'Anse au Clair
After arriving by ferry or plane in Blanc Sablon, Québec, and driving 6km northeast on Rte 510 you come to Labrador and the gateway town of L'Anse au Clair. The town makes a good pre-ferry base, with sleeping and basic dining options and a useful visitor center.
Spread between two venues, Red Bay National Historic Site – declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 2013 – uses different media to chronicle the discovery of three 16th-century Basque whaling galleons on the seabed here. Well preserved in the ice-cold waters, the vestiges of the ships tell a remarkable story of what life was like here some four centuries ago.
Sitting on an island in the Labrador Sea is the elaborately restored village and saltfish premises of Battle Harbour. Now a national historic district, it used to be the unofficial 'capital' of Labrador during the early 19th century, when fishing schooners lined its docks.