Considered one of Canada’s three “Maritime Provinces”, Nova Scotia is simple to navigate when you have your personal set of wheels. However there are many transport choices so as to add spice to your journey, together with scenic ferry rides, once-in-a-lifetime helicopter charters, and world-class bicycle routes. Right here’s our information to traversing this glorious, wild area on Canada’s east coast.
Halifax, recognized to the native Mi’kmaq folks as “Ok’jipuktuk” (Nice Harbor), is the biggest Canadian metropolis east of Montreal, with each day flight connections to main cities throughout Canada and the jap United States, in addition to direct companies to Europe (London is roughly 5 hours away.) The primary air hub, Halifax Stanfield Worldwide Airport (YHZ), is a big, full-service airport with automobile rental services, eating places, accommodations and a well-stocked vacationer info desk.
It’s simple to get from the airport to downtown Halifax in case you don’t have a automobile. There’s a floor transportation desk situated simply after the arrivals space, the place you may ask for assist.
Your decisions are a taxi or airport limousine (whether or not you’re taking a cab or a limo, it’s the identical normal flat price); a public bus (Metro X Route 320), Driver Dave’s (a dependable door-to-door ride-sharing service widespread with college students and finances vacationers), and Uber.
Personal air constitution
It sounds extravagant (and it’s) however when you have a gaggle of associates and some bucks to spend, a helicopter experience is an unforgettable technique to expertise Nova Scotia’s oceans and islands. Halifax airport-based Imaginative and prescient Air Companies presents a heli-picnic island escape bundle (C$500 per particular person) along with non-public charters, whereas Breton Air, based mostly at J.A. Douglas McCurdy airport in Sydney, gives non-public charters and transport to Cape Breton Island’s most unique lodges, retreats, and golf programs.
Take care to not confuse Sydney, Nova Scotia (YQY) with Sydney Australia (SYD) – a mix-up that happens with shocking regularity (though it’s typically vacationers who’re hoping to get to Australia that find yourself in Cape Breton, not the opposite means round!)
One of many nicest methods to reach, or bid farewell to Nova Scotia is by sea. Massive, snug automobile ferries function between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Maine (3.5 hours); Digby, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick (2 hours, quarter-hour); and Caribou, Nova Scotia to Wooden Islands, which kind a part of Prince Edward Island (1 hour, quarter-hour) – all occasions approximate, and depending on climate.
There’s additionally a ferry service between Sydney, Cape Breton and two ports in Newfoundland: Port Aux Basques (7 hours) and Argentia (16 hours.)
Inside Nova Scotia, there are small automobile ferries, established for native use in locations the place a ferry is extra economical than constructing a bridge or causeway. These charming, blue, flat-decked ferries replenish shortly and take only some minutes to finish their crossing, and the fare is free. There are seven provincial automobile ferries all through Nova Scotia – search them out so as to add some additional maritime taste to your journey.
Elsewhere, the 15-minute ferry experience between Halifax and Dartmouth is the oldest saltwater ferry in North America, costing not more than a bus fare for a return journey. Seize a entrance seat on the higher deck and take within the views. In case you are adventurous, contemplate returning on foot throughout the MacDonald Bridge.
For individuals who love touring off the overwhelmed monitor, North West Arm Boat Excursions runs an inexpensive McNab’s Island ferry service utilizing a RHIB (inflexible hulled inflatable boat) and is an exhilarating technique to discover Halifax Harbor and the Northwest Arm.
When is the perfect time to go to Nova Scotia?
There is just one technique to get to or from Nova Scotia by practice: a VIA Rail Halifax-Montréal service, named The Ocean which takes roughly 21 hours. Most of the former rail beds in Maritime Canada have been changed as a part of a “rails to trails” challenge. Strolling or biking alongside these trails is among the finest free issues to do in Nova Scotia.
Automotive or Motorbike
An in depth freeway system hyperlinks most cities and cities in Nova Scotia, making vehicles and bikes probably the most handy means of getting across the province.
Bigger Nova Scotia highways are known as “100-series” highways (101, 103, and so forth.), circumnavigating, and at occasions crossing, the province. However as a sightseer, chances are you’ll want to take the “previous street” (for instance, Freeway 1, or Freeway 3). You by no means know what you’ll discover alongside the best way, from seashores and coves to yard gross sales to vintage retailers. You would possibly even see some fruit and vegetable stands that use an “honesty field” system for cost (it’s a good suggestion to maintain some change helpful.)
Conveniently, Tourism Nova Scotia has created names for among the finest scenic routes in Nova Scotia, such because the Lighthouse Route, or the Glooscap Path, each with distinct signage. These will be reliably adopted utilizing the Nova Scotia Tourism Areas Map. You will get free paper copies of this map on the airport, and Nova Scotia vacationer info facilities.
Should you’re winter driving in Nova Scotia, it’s advisable to have winter tires, and in case you hear a forecast for freezing rain, keep off the roads altogether. The provincial authorities publishes a helpful real-time freeway report that exhibits development and roads made impassable by snow or ice.
Six superb street journeys in Nova Scotia
Maritime Bus is a coach service with over 50 areas all through the Maritimes, favored by college students, finances vacationers, and utilized by locals as a technique to ship giant packages at a less expensive price than the submit workplace. In Halifax, the Maritime Bus station is situated adjoining to the VIA rail practice station, steps away from the Halifax waterfront.
Inside Halifax, Halifax Transit has bus routes across the metropolis – fares are paid by money, and you will need to have the right change.
Finest locations to go to in Nova Scotia
Taxi and Experience Shares
Halifax has a wide selection of taxi operators who use an old school meter system and settle for credit score, debit, and money. Though ride-sharing companies are widespread in different world cities, closely regulated Halifax was gradual to embrace the pattern. Lastly, in November 2020, ride-sharing companies have been permitted to function, regardless of protests from conventional taxi corporations. You might discover that “grabbing an Uber” doesn’t fairly roll off the tongue in Halifax as simply as in different cities.
There are numerous methods to get round Nova Scotia on two wheels: the rails to trails system has created cycle routes such because the Rum Runners Path (Lunenburg to Halifax), The Harvest Moon Trailway (Annapolis Royal to Grand-Pré), and the Celtic Shores Coastal Path (Port Hastings to Inverness).
Whether or not you’re taking a guided tour, or a solo journey, Cycle Nova Scotia may help with journey planning, assets and GPS downloads. In Halifax, you may hire bikes and e-bikes from I Coronary heart Bikes on the Halifax waterfront.
In case you are visiting Nova Scotia in September, you may be a part of over a thousand cyclists collaborating within the Grand Fondo, Baie Sainte Marie, a monumental experience via the Municipality of Clare in southwest Nova Scotia that ends with a lobster dinner for members.
Accessible transportation in Nova Scotia
Like many cities, Nova Scotia nonetheless has an extended technique to go when it comes to accessibility, with few choices for accessible lodging in rural Nova Scotia. In Halifax, the waterfront boardwalk is accessible, however its downtown streets, main as much as the Halifax Citadel, are steep.
Most taxi firms in Halifax have wheelchair-accessible vans, bookable prematurely, and Halifax Transit buses have areas for wheelchair customers (the motive force will decrease the bus for entry/exit and safe the chair utilizing straps.)
Considered one of Nova Scotia’s most up-to-date accessible “wins” was to put in a viewing deck at Peggy’s Cove, in order that wheelchair customers can get pleasure from a close-up view of the lighthouse and rocks, In Cape Breton, Inverness Seashore is aiming to turn out to be probably the most accessible seashore in Nova Scotia, with two seashore wheelchairs, floating chairs and sand mats that make it simpler to stroll on the sand.
Parasport Nova Scotia has an excellent checklist of accessible parks, seashores and barrier-free fishing websites in Nova Scotia, whereas native Youtube channel, Accessible Adventurers gives no-nonsense (and generally up shut and private) video accounts documenting the challenges of getting round in Nova Scotia as a quadriplegic.
For extra info, obtain Lonely Planet’s free Accessible Journey information.