Summary : When you're standing on the outdoor platform of the Polar Rover, the chill Arctic air feels invigorating. But not as much as the sight of the huge polar bear that wanders up alongside. Safely elevated above him, you’re nonetheless just feet away as you peer down at his shaggy, cream-colored bulk. Noticing you, he stops, sniffs, and turns his face your way, curious. Awed, you draw in a deep breath, respecting the silence. The big bear ambles, then halts again. He rises on his haunches to peer at you more deliberately. You grin like a child, filled with delight. You watch. You wonder. Minutes go by, perhaps an hour, who knows? On the tundra, among the bears, time stands still. Arrive in Churchill for one of nature's most wondrous wildlife encounters!
Activities : Birding, Culture
Your Churchill polar bear tour begins in Winnipeg, once a fur-trading post and boomtown for the Canadian Pacific Railway, today Manitoba’s cultural and commercial capital at the eastern edge of Canada’s vast prairies. Transfer to the historic Fort Garry Hotel, grande dame of Winnipeg hospitality and one of the city’s most prestigious landmarks. Meet your Expedition Leader at an orientation dinner this evening.
Fly by chartered plane to Churchill this morning. This hospitable frontier town, originally a Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post, is your base for adventure. Enjoy an evening presentation on polar bears and the northern environment by your professional naturalist staff.
Custom-built Polar Rovers are your mobile means for spending time among the bears. Though they can accommodate up to 35 passengers, your group will be a maximum of 17, ensuring everyone a window seat and plenty of space. Your Expedition Leaders know the best places to observe polar bears, which congregate in the region each fall as they wait for Hudson Bay to freeze, signaling the start of the winter seal-hunting season. As you watch them interact, be delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. From the warmth of your big vehicle, you may see mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, or a lone bear ambling over the tundra in solitary majesty. Your Expedition Leader interprets all you observe, explaining the bears’ behavior and how they thrive in such a harsh environment. In the evenings, meet for dinner and presentations on wildlife and local cultures.
Tour historic Churchill, then head out to the tundra for evening bear viewing and dinner aboard the Rover. During the day you may explore the coast road on a drive to Cape Merry, often spying Arctic fox and Arctic hare. Keep a close eye out for them, as their winter-white coats offer excellent camouflage later in the season when the ground is white. If the skies are clear, your nighttime tundra excursion might reveal one of nature’s most exhilarating experiences—a chance to view the northern lights away from the glare of town. Though never predictable or promised, the auroral display often starts as a pale glow in the northern sky, then the lights begin to flicker and dance in shimmering curtains of color, most typically green but occasionally red or violet.
Your return flight to Winnipeg is scheduled to depart in the mid- to late afternoon, to offer as much time as possible for exploring Churchill today. A highlight this morning is an authentic dog sled ride. Meet a local musher and his team, spending time with the lively and affectionate dogs before taking turns riding behind them on an exhilarating trot through the boreal forest. If time permits, you may be able to pick up last-minute locally made handicrafts or take an optional helicopter tour (fee involved) over the tundra before you depart. Have a farewell lunch together before flying back to Winnipeg, where a final reception concludes your adventure together.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Departure dates and itinerary are subject to change without notice. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Round-trip flights between Winnipeg and Churchill; accommodations as per itinerary; meals; boots and parkas on loan for use during trip; services of professional expedition leaders and assistants; some gratuities; activities/entrance fees; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; taxes and service charges. Subject to change without notice.
Travel to and from Winnipeg; extensions; optional activities; optional helicopter flightseeing; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities, travel insurance; items of a personal nature (telephone calls, laundry, etc.).
PHOTOS: © Colin McNulty, NHA; © Patrick Endres, NHA; © Eric Rock, NHA; © Henry Holdsworth