The Arc­tic north

Best for: Inuit cul­ture, wildlife, river raft­ing, kayaking, fish­ing and the north­ern lights

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Canada / Trip Planner - ■ North­west Ter­ri­to­ries & Nu­navut

ROUTE: There is no ‘route’ here. Itin­er­ar­ies in the two least-vis­ited north­ern prov­inces of­ten rely heav­ily on lo­cal op­er­a­tors for safety, and travel is lim­ited to those places with tourist fa­cil­i­ties, such as Iqaluit (Nu­navut) or Inu­vik and Yel­lowknife (North­west Ter­ri­to­ries). WHY DO IT? Nat­u­ral ex­pe­ri­ences dom­i­nate vis­its to the Arc­tic reaches of Nu­navut and the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, par­tic­u­larly the for­mer where 35,000 peo­ple live in an area roughly the size of western Europe. Cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties can also be found that of­fer an in­sight into its indige­nous Inuit peo­ple.

This is a re­gion where lo­cal know-how is in­dis­pens­able. Eco-tourism op­er­a­tors of­fer hik­ing, dogsled­ding, kayaking, ca­noe­ing and snow­mo­bil­ing, with some ex­pe­di­tions in­clud­ing the op­tion of spend­ing a night in an igloo. In Nu­navut, boat or floeedge trips from Qik­iq­tar­juaq op­er­ate in May/ June, let­ting you take in the sight of drift­ing ’bergs as well as sight­ing po­lar bears, bel­uga whales, seals, wal­ruses and nar­whals.

The North­west Ter­ri­to­ries’ main lures are dogsled­ding and raft­ing through the canyons of the Na­hanni River and its wild, epony­mous na­tional park. The cap­i­tal at Yel­lowknife, on Great Slave Lake, has an ‘old’ town – Wild­cat Café dates from 1937 – and mu­se­ums/cen­tres of­fer in­sights into the First Na­tions cul­ture of the Dene peo­ple. The great­est wildlife sight here is when thou­sands of rein­deer mi­grate in spring, with tours (Mar/apr) let­ting you join the herders en route to the calv­ing grounds.

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