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
Continuing northeast on Rte 510 you'll pass Forteau, L'Anse Amour, L'Anse au Loup, West St Modeste and Pinware. Labrador Adventures provides knowledgeable guides for Straits-oriented hikes or day tours by SUV. It also arranges all-inclusive overnight packages. This is a terrific way to see the area, especially if you're short on time or car-less.
Blanc Sablon to L'Anse au Clair
After arriving by ferry or plane in Blanc Sablon and driving 6km northeast on Rte 510 you come to Labrador and the gateway town of L'Anse au Clair. Here you will find the Straits' excellent visitors center in an old church that doubles as a small museum. Be sure to pick up hiking trail information for the region. The town makes a good pre-ferry base.
Spread between two venues, Red Bay National Historic Site – which was 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.