Getting there & away
Lonely, 148km-long Rte 480 shoots off Hwy 1 south of Corner Brook and then runs straight into Burgeo. Note there is no gas station and barely any civilization, just glacier-cut boulders and ponds and a whole lotta moose. Stew’s shuttle van runs between Corner Brook and Burgeo.
Access to the other towns is by boat only. While the following ferries run all year, the route described here is for mid-May through September; if hours are not given, it is because departures are not regular. Schedules change, so check with Provincial Ferry Services (709-292-4302; www.tw.gov.nl.ca/ferryservices). Note that the ferries do not take vehicles (except Burgeo to Ramea).
And yes, the schedule is confusing, but with careful planning a trip through the islands is doable.
Starting at Rose Blanche, ferries leave for Lapoile ($3.75, 1½ hours) and Grand Bruit ($4.75, 2½ hours) at 3:30pm daily (except Tuesday and Thursday). On the same days there are two boats from Lapoile to Grand Bruit ($3.50, one hour). From Grand Bruit to Burgeo ($5.50, three hours), boats only leave Tuesday at 8:45am.
From Burgeo you have a couple of options. One to three ferries daily go to Ramea ($3.75, 1½ hours) and one ferry goes daily to Grey River ($5.25, 2½ hours) at 1:45pm. From Grey River there are daily (except Tuesday and Thursday) sailings to François ($4.75, two hours) at 4:45pm. Ferries leave François for McCallum ($4.75, 2½ hours) and Hermitage ($6.75, four hours) at 7am Thursday. If you disembark in McCallum your next chance to reach Hermitage (1½ hours) is the following Thursday at 9:45am.
At Hermitage, you’ll have to suss out transportation back to Rte 360 You can then hook up with Thornhill Taxi Service (709-885-2144, 866-538-3429), which runs between Harbour Breton and Grand Falls, and connects with DRL in the latter.