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Sunday 7 May 2017

Getting up close and personal with Canada's icebergs

Newfoundland holds a special place in my heart. 

It was the birthplace of my late father, home to several cousins and one of the quirkiest places on the planet. 

Newfoundland also has many things in common with Tasmania, where I now live, including the fact that both islands have long, cold winters. 

Newfoundland and Labrador have one tourism edge over Tasmania, however: the many icebergs to be found along the famous Iceberg Alley.

The huge iceberg that parked itself off the coast of the tiny seaside town of Ferryland over the Easter weekend was just the beginning of what is shaping as a bumper 'berg season.

The International Ice Patrol (IPP) suggests the increase in icebergs in Newfoundland may be the result of storms earlier in the year, causing more Greenland ice to break off than normal, with strong winds drawing the icebergs south.

Fans of these colossal ice mountains flock to Newfoundland off Canada's north-east between May and August to witness an extraordinary parade. This year, however, the season may well be extended with at least 700 icebergs expected to make their way as far as St John's in southern Newfoundland.

On a sunny day, these 10,000-year-old glacial giants can be viewed along the northern and eastern coasts, with colours ranging from snow-white to deep aquamarine. 

Visitors can get up close with these icy goliaths on a boat tour, or paddle alongside them in a sea kayak.

As the sun sets, they can head back to St John's and sip on Iceberg Vodka, made from what is promoted as "the purest water on the planet" - although Tasmania may dispute that. 

Iceberg hunters harvest the ancient ice, comprised of water frozen long before industrial pollution, creating a uniquely smooth, quintessential Canadian vodka.

Air Canada flies daily to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane with connecting flights through to St John's in Newfoundland and Labrador via Toronto. It's a long trip, but it's worth it. Visit

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