Walking among the flower pots at Hopewell Rocks

A month or so ago, we decided to squeeze in one last trip before our flights back to Australia. We were keen to see New Brunswick, it being one of the remaining provinces/territories that was within easy distance and had a few things we were interested in seeing.

So on Canada Day (Wednesday) we got ourselves up at 7am, crept out of Bec and Al’s place, got our stuff from our apartment and caught the subway down to Union Station. With it being a public holiday, it was pretty quiet out in the city at that time of the morning.

Once at Union Station we walked down Front St to catch the Porter airport shuttle bus. This part of Front St had been under construction since before we arrived, but now that the PanAm games are on, it’s all complete and looking pretty nice.

The shuttle bus was waiting for us when we arrived and we soon got to Billy Bishop airport for our last Porter flight out of Toronto. Even though the airline doesn’t go to all the places we want to visit, it’s an easy(ish) airport to get to and the experience is nicer than having to schlep out to Toronto Pearson. Unfortunately the underwater bridge hadn’t yet opened so we took the short ferry ride over.

We made the most of our last chance to eat free cookies and peanuts at the Porter lounge before our flight departed, going via Ottawa to Moncton. We landed in Moncton at about 1pm, collected the hire car and head off to Hopewell Cape to check out the rocks.

First impressions of New Brunswick were very favourable. Because it’s summer, everything is green and the lupins–in purple, pink and white–are in bloom everywhere. When it’s not summer, New Brunswick is covered in about 8 feet of snow so we lucked out with this weekend, especially with the sun shining.

We stopped in Moncton for fish and chips at Deluxe Fish and Chips–I really didn’t need fried food–then continued our drive south, stopping at a cafe for a tea/coffee and lemon square, and then arriving at Hopewell a Rocks by about 3:30.

This worked out to be a good time to be there. The tide was heading out so the beach was accessible. When we talked to people about our trip to New Brunswick, they warned us (much as the people in Churchill warned us about polar bears) that the tide comes in very fast and not to get caught out there. New Brunswick is well known for the Bay of Fundy and the world’s largest tides so it’s not something to be taken lightly.

We walked down to the beach and onto the sand, joining the rest of New Brunswick on this public holiday as we walked around the ‘flowerpots’ (standing rocks with trees and other vegetation on them). I put my feet in the chilly water and we walked around, taking photos of rocks. The best part, I found, was not going the same way as everyone else, which is south down the beach, but to head north where there are a couple of very attractive flowerpots. One looks like a head. And the best part is that there are far fewer people.

After our stroll we headed back up, had an early dinner at the cafe, watched the tide go out a lot more, and then got in the car and drove to St Andrews by the Sea. The drive was very pretty, lots of green trees everywhere and multi-coloured meadows (due to the flowers). We had been warned about moose, and as we were getting into dusk, I thought perhaps our luck might change and we’d see one.

Alas, no. No moose this entire trip. Or deer either. Thanks for nothing.

We arrived at St Andrews by the Sea at about 8:30pm and checked into The Algonquin Resort. Vincent had to,d us about this hotel, one of the more upmarket resorts in the province, and he told us that it was the inspiration for the hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining. I can see a resemblance though I’ve not watched the film or read the book so can’t comment too much. The hotel actually looks a lot like the Del Coronado, which we stayed at in San Diego.

We went for dinner in the hotel restaurant. The service was painfully slow, though I think that probably had a lot to do with staff having the public holiday off, or just not coming in. We ate our food, listened to the popping of the local fireworks while eating our dinner and then headed up to our room for bed. I was a bit knackered after all that driving.

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