To Signal Hill and Quidi Vidi 

Saturday I forced myself to go out into the dreary weather and walk to Signal Hill. Though it rained on me a little bit, it wasn’t really heavy rain and my raincoat kept me dry.

Signal Hill overlooks the entry point to St John’s harbour and was a strategic point in the town’s defences for many years. It was also the point where Guglielmo Marconi received the first wireless transmission across the Atlantic.

I took the long way around, going via Battery Road and around the point to get up to Signal Hill from the ‘outside’. There’s a quicker walk from St John’s but isn’t much of a hike. The path I took was pretty good and well maintained, and you get a great view out to the Atlantic. I wondered what it would be like to be in St. John’s in the early years and wait and watch for ships to come in (and see whether they were friend or foe).

Once at the top of Signal Hill, I checked out Cabot Tower, built in 1900 to commemorate John Cabot’s ‘discovery’ of this part of the world in 16-whatever. And, as I said, Marconi use the site for his wireless transmissions. It’s quite the historical point and has a great view too.

From Signal Hill, I walked to Quidi Vidi along another track, and saw some of the most beautiful coastline I’ve ever seen. Truly breathtaking. I was lucky enough to get a moment when the sun came through as well. The contrast between the blue of the water, the green of the trees, and the brown/grey of rocks was just stunning.

Quidi Vidi is a little village on the other side of Signal Hill. The reasons to go here are the brewery and Mallard Cottage, one of the oldest in North America. Mallard Cottage is now a cafe. I stopped in there for a bite to eat but had just missed the brunch window. Luckily, they accommodated me and cooked me up a fish cake sandwich, while I had a ginger beer at the bar.

I then joined the tour of the Quidi Vidi Brewery at 3pm. It’s a small brewery but has some popular brews. We tried six of them including the iceberg beer again. Most of their beers come in short-necked bottles which were designed specifically for Newfoundland. The reason being is that Newfoundland only offers 8c per bottle on rebate, whereas the mainland is more. People were taken the bottles of the island and so the breweries weren’t able to get enough (they recycle them about 15 times). The solution: make an island specific bottle that can only be returned on Newfoundland.

After the tour finished, I tried to find the Battery but couldn’t. Instead I got a nice view of Quidi Vidi, and then walked back to St John’s. With all that walking, my arse was really sore the next day.

In the evening, Andrew dropped me at the airport to pick up my hire car. I’d booked a compact or intermediate as they were the cheapest, but they upgraded me to an SUV (probably because they need it in Deer Lake, which is where I’ll be dropping the car). I’m very happy about the upgrade in size. Means I might survive an impact with a moose now.

Spent the evening in watching a film about ice hockey called Goon. Very violent but pretty funny, all about the team enforcer. The wine I was drinking might have made it funnier than it was, but still it was a good watch. Also watched an episode of Republic of Doyle, which is set in St John’s. Because St. John’s isn’t a bit place, you can spot many of the locations used, and plenty of people have had parts in it. Kind of wish we had something a bit like it in Perth.

I tumbled into bed about midnight, having had a great day in this foggy city.

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3 Replies to “To Signal Hill and Quidi Vidi ”

  1. Loved reading about your experience and seeing pictures. We’ll be in St. John’s next month on a cruise stop and seeing Signal Hill and Quidi Vidi are part of our plans. How long did it take you to hike the whole thing? We enjoy hiking but are a little limited on time and I’ve heard the hike up to Signal Hill is pretty brutal and time consuming.

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    1. I set out at about 11ish I think from downtown St John’s and got to Quidi Vidi at about 2pm, but that was just into the village. That included a stop at Signal Hill, time to check out Cabot Tower, and then the hike down Signal Hill to Quidi Vidi. If you’re of reasonable fitness, then it’s not really a killer hike, and it doesn’t go for long. I took the long way around the coast (Battery Rd) but there’s a more direct route. There is also a bus that goes from Downtown to Signal Hill so that could be an option if you’re short on time. What you might be best doing is going to Quidi Vidi first, see what you want there (it won’t take long), then walk up the hill to Signal Hill and take the bus down. Or do it the way I did it and take a taxi from Quidi Vidi once you’re finished.

      Anyway, long story short. The hike isn’t bad, and it doesn’t take all that long. To speed it up, take a bus or a taxi. Hope that helps.

      Newfoundland is amazing. You’ll enjoy it either way.

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      1. Thanks for all the information; this will be very helpful! I’m certain we’ll enjoy Newfoundland. Good luck with your continued adventures.

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