Gander once played a vital role in transatlantic aviation, and has plenty to offer plane buffs, but is also a world-class destination for lovers of outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and hunting.
Located in Canada’s Newfoundland province, the city was a stopping point for planes that needed refuelling, and has a superb exhibit of some of the planes which used the airport during its heyday in the 1920s. Aviation fans will find this unique museum absolutely fascinating.
For others, Gander offers activities that can be enjoyed in all seasons. When the snow comes, skiing is a favourite local pastime and the town has a network of superbly groomed cross-country trails and snow-shoe paths to explore.
During the summer months (June to September), the city offers some of Canada’s best hiking in the country, has an excellent golf course and plenty of places to find relaxation and solitude, such as the tranquil Thomas Howe Forest. Fishing fans can test their wits with Atlantic salmon or wait for the pike to bite in idyllic lakes near Gander.
Canada is also hunting territory, and the area offers hunting tours to initiate newcomers. Head out with expert guides along the Gander River to seek out deer and moose. If that sounds too bloodthirsty, the scenery around town also provides stunning views. Head to the Terra Nova national park to see unspoilt nature, waterfalls and breathtaking views across the Atlantic Ocean.
History lovers can also make the short journey to the enchanting village of Twillingate, where they can see turn of the century homes restored for visitors and catch the lively Fish, Fun and Folk held in July.
When the day is done, Gander is also one of the world’s great spots to try fresh, lovingly prepared seafood, with locally caught salmon, scallops and shrimp just some of the area’s produce.
Visit between November and March to enjoy the area’s winter sports, or between June and August to enjoy the best hiking conditions. Festivals generally take place in July and August when the weather is most reliable, and aviation lovers will want to be there in August for the Festival of Flight. Otherwise, the Newfoundland leaf fall is spectacular in September, and spring provides some accommodation bargains.
Renting a car or a camper van is the ideal way to see Newfoundland, which takes about eight hours to cross, making almost every attraction accessible by road. Book in advance for the best deals, and be aware that using mobile phones while driving is illegal. Gander also has a local bus network, and is extremely cycle-friendly as well.