With Air Canada and Qantas announcing they intend to restart flights between Sydney and Vancouver from mid-December 2021, it’s time to come out of hibernation and start planning the ultimate winter wonderland adventure in Yukon Territory, hailed as one of the best winter destinations on the planet.
Situated in Canada’s north-west, above British Columbia and next to Alaska, the Yukon’s long, snowy winters span November to March, serving up endless opportunities for intriguing winter activities that you won’t find anywhere else.
Where else can you ski through a nature reserve, dog-mush across a glistening lake, and slowly watch your hair freeze as you soak in a hot spring, all in one day? Read on for three winter experiences in the Yukon that will live on in your heart long after you return home.
Witness a celestial light show
The dark winter sky, free from light pollution, is the perfect backdrop for one of the most amazing natural phenomena in existence – the aurora borealis. Raise your gaze to witness the vibrant greens, purples and pinks, as they embrace in a lightshow that rivals a choreographed intergalactic laser battle. Binoculars and 3D glasses not required!
There’s more than one way to see this majestic lightshow. Take shelter in a prospector-style wall tent once used by gold seekers and trappers with Northern Tales Travel Service, keeping warm by the wood-fired barrel stove. Bundle up and step outside for the grand performance, as vivid, colourful ribbons cascade across the sky.
Alternatively, stay at a wilderness lodge, such as the Northern Lights Resort and Spa, where you can take in the views from your glass-fronted chalet, or soak in an outdoor hot tub while the lightshow streaks across the night sky.
Insider’s tip: The Northern Lights Centre is well worth a visit. Located in Watson Lake, the centre features a domed theatre with a panoramic video and surround-sound system that’s as close to the real thing as you can get. Discover the myths and legends of the Northern Lights and the true science behind them.
Catch a big (icy) one
When you find yourself walking onto a frozen lake with a fishing rod and a drill, you know you’re not in sunny Australia anymore! Ice fishing is a quintessential must-do Yukon tradition, best carried out with a thick parka and sturdy snow boots, available for rent in the capital city of Whitehorse.
It won’t be long before lake trout, northern pike, Arctic grayling, rainbow trout and Arctic char are tugging on your line, as you sip on hot coffee or cocoa and take in the glittering surrounds as the winter sun hits the snow-drenched trees framing the frozen lake.
If you’re lucky, your guide will fillet your catch and grill it right there on the ice for a lunch you’ll never forget.
Learn how to mush your own team of dogs
A classic northern mode of transportation, dogsledding is still hugely popular with Yukon visitors and locals alike. What’s not to love about an outing that begins with meeting an adorable team of friendly dogs in a setting that looks like something straight out of Narnia?
Just 30 minutes from Whitehorse, Sky High Wilderness Lodge offers full and half-day adventures, or even multi-day excursions, where you’ll be assigned your own team of friendly huskies. An experienced musher will teach you about harnesses, tug-lines and brakes, as well as the all-important commands that your trusty dogs will listen for.
Now you’re ready to test out your newly acquired dog mushing skills. As the winter sun sparkles like diamonds on the snow, the only sounds are the sled runners and the occasional dog yip. It’s a chance to step back into a slower pace of life—a reminder of when this was the only means of transport through the vast northern wilderness.
Outdoor adventures during the long, beautiful months of winter in the Yukon serve up an irresistible mix of exhilaration, enchantment and tranquillity that will compel you to return again and again.
For more information about Yukon visit www.travelyukon.com.
Travellers to Canada are encouraged to be fully informed of the pre-entry and on-arrival public health and testing requirements both federally and provincially. This includes the mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app. Travellers should plan for extra time in the lead up, and upon the arrival of their trip. For the latest information on travel to Canada including the updated requirements and restrictions, please visit the Government of Canada website.