Summary : Churchill is a pilgrimage for wildlife photographers yearning to capture close-up images of polar bears. This custom photo adventure puts you in the very best spot to get those shots! From the Tundra Lodge, situated outside town on the open tundra, photograph bears from a unique "rolling hotel." Outdoor observation decks grant intimate access to the bears, which often approach directly. With exclusive use of this facility, there's plenty of room to set up your gear for the best possible images. An on-site Polar Rover vehicle offers daily excursions to see polar bears and other wildlife farther afield. Your Expedition Leaders, all professional photographers and naturalists, are eager to share tips from their extensive experience to help you get those once-in-a-lifetime shots.
Activities : Culture, Hiking, Photography
Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the historic Fort Garry Hotel. This French-style chateau is a National Historic Site, built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and still the grande dame of Winnipeg, offering first-class hospitality. Meet for an orientation dinner this evening.
Fly to Churchill, a remote small town on Hudson Bay that was originally a Northwest Company fur-trading post. On arrival, transfer to the Tundra Lodge via Polar Rover, with your first chance to photograph polar bears and other wildlife along the way. Here on the edge of Hudson Bay, where boreal forest meets Arctic tundra, animals abound, even in the harsh climate that envelops this environment much of the year. You may see caribou, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, ptarmigan and snowy owls, as well as the undisputed lord of the North, the polar bear. Your Photo Expedition Leaders, intimately acquainted with polar bear behavior, interpret all you see. At the lodge later this evening, your guides share tips for capturing the best shots of Arctic wildlife and landscapes, drawing on their extensive experience in these environs.
The Tundra Lodge is strategically positioned at the beginning of each season in the best area for bear viewing. Every fall, some 300 polar bears congregate around Churchill, waiting for the ice to freeze on Hudson Bay to begin the winter seal-hunting season—and the small spit of land where the Tundra Lodge is located often attracts the most bears in the entire area. Staying directly on the tundra, enjoy ideal early-morning and late-afternoon photo opportunities. And since the lodge has plenty of common areas—a lounge with sofas and chairs as well as a dining car, each with sliding windows—photographers have plenty of space to shoot at will.
Inquisitive bears often approach the lodge at close range, and it features rows of windows and secure observation decks to accommodate your own curiosity. Watch the bears interact, delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. You may see mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, and solitary individuals wandering over the tundra. Observation from the Tundra Lodge is also combined with excursions in special all-terrain tundra vehicles called Polar Rovers, which affords lodge guests the best possible wildlife encounters in the region. The guide and entire group may opt to take a full-day excursion together or split time between a half-day trip and viewing bears from the lodge.
At the end of each exhilarating day, come together for dinner and presentations. On a clear night you may be fortunate to photograph the wondrous phenomenon of the northern lights, which often begin as a faint white glow, then intensify in scope and color as they shimmer across the dark sky.
Reluctantly leave the tundra this morning and head back into Churchill for your flight to Winnipeg. Depending on flight schedules, there may be time for some last-minute exploration of this frontier town, with a chance to pick up native handicrafts and souvenirs. Enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill and a reception in Winnipeg before your adventure concludes.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Departure dates and itinerary subject to change. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
The Tundra Lodge:
This facility is a remarkable rolling hotel that is positioned at the beginning of the season in an area known for having lots of bears around. It has 32 rooms, each being a single compartment similar to a room on a train. There are 3 general toilets and 2 showers. The lounge and dining areas have sliding windows, perfect for bear viewing and photography. The Tundra Lodge provides an extremely comfortable and private northern expedition experience.
Getting There & Getting Home: In case of flight or weather delays, it is recommended that you arrive a day early and either participate in the Extra Day in Winnipeg program or stay on your own. Your trip begins with a 7 pm welcome dinner on Day 1. You are free to depart at any time on the final day.
R/T flight from Winnipeg to Churchill; accommodations; all meals; services of professional Expedition Leaders and assistants; some gratuities; all activities/entrance fees; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; all taxes and service charges; complimentary boots and parka for use during trip.
Travel to and from Winnipeg; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; travel insurance; items of a personal nature (telephone calls, laundry, etc.).
Please contact ExpeditionTrips for rates and details on extending your trip.
Extra Day in Winnipeg (pre-trip):
Includes: Airport transfers; hotel accommodations; breakfast and lunch; guided tour of Winnipeg; guided tour of the Manitoba Museum; entrance fees. From $260 per person.
Northern Helicopter Option:
View the Northís wildlife, scenery, and pre-Dorset tent rings and archaeological sites from a unique aerial perspective. From $560 per person.
Dog Sledding Option: Experience the thrill of gliding through the boreal wilderness behind a team of sled dogs! From $110 per person.
PHOTOS: © Patrick Endres (NHA); © Eric Rock (NHA); © Colin McNulty (NHA); © Glen Delman (NHA); © Donna Passero (NHA)