Summary : Enjoy one of the most extraordinary polar bear experiences available. Stay at the Tundra Lodge, situated outside Churchill on the vast expanse of the subarctic tundra itself. From your own private cabin window, the main lounge or the open-air observation platforms, you have constant proximity to polar bears in the area around the clock. As evening falls, remain in the domain of the polar bear to experience sunset across the snow and ice. Safe inside your warm lodge, enjoy surprising comfort, considering the environs. This custom “train” of connected bedrooms, dining room and lounge car is built on wheels, allowing it to be stationed for optimal bear viewing each season. There’s no more thorough immersion in the polar bear's Arctic realm than on this most unique of northern adventures!
Activities : Birding, Culture
Arrive 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 to Churchill and transfer to the Tundra Lodge by Polar Rover, watching for Arctic wildlife against the vast white landscape along the way. A presentation on polar bears by your Expedition Leader provides an enlightening introduction toy our unique northern adventure. Enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers prepared by your professional chef, who resides at the lodge throughout the season. Don’t be surprised, though, if your meal is interrupted by a mad dash to the windows to watch a polar bear lumbering across the snow around the lodge.
The Tundra Lodge is strategically positioned at the beginning of each season in a spot that attracts the greatest number of polar bears in the Churchill area. Inquisitive bears often approach the lodge, which features rows of windows and raised observation decks. Ursus maritimus is even more majestic up close than you could have imagined. Yet these giant bears, the largest land carnivores in the world, can seem charming and whimsical, too. What a rare treasure it is to see them in their wild habitat. As you watch them interact, be delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. You may see mothers protecting and teaching their cubs, young males play-fighting, or massive adults patrolling the shore as they wait for the bay to freeze, which signals the start of their winter seal-hunting season.
The unique location of the Tundra Lodge, combined with excursions in special all-terrain tundra vehicles called Polar Rovers, affords lodge guests the best possible wildlife encounters in the region. The small spit of land where the lodge is located often attracts the greatest number of bears in the entire area. Your guide and group may opt to take a full-day excursion together, or split time between a half-day trip and viewing bears from the lodge. In addition to polar bears, you may see caribou, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, ptarmigan and snowy owls. At the end of each exhilarating day, retire to your cozy accommodations for dinner and presentations. In the light cast by the lodge across the frozen tundra, look for the illuminated eyes of animals. And if you are fortunate to have a clear night, the Northland’s spectacular natural light show may appear as darkness descends—Churchill has some of the world’s most concentrated aurora borealis activity.
This morning board a Polar Rover, leaving the frosty coastline of Hudson Bay in the distance as you make your way back to Churchill. The 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. This rough-and-tumble town was once a historic Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post, and even today it retains much of its frontier character. A special highlight this morning is a traditional dog sled ride. Meet a local musher and his team, spending time with the enthusiastic huskies before taking turns riding behind them on a thrilling excursion through the boreal forest. If time permits, you may be able to pick up a few northern handicrafts and souvenirs or take an optional helicopter tour (fee involved) over the tundra before you depart. Enjoy a farewell lunch together before flying back to Winnipeg, where there is a final reception 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.
Round-trip flights between Winnipeg and Churchill; accommodations and meal as per the itinerary; beer and wine at the Tundra Lodge; services of professional expedition leaders and assistants; dog sledding excursion; some gratuities; activities/entrance fees; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; taxes and service charges; and gear on loan (parka and waterproof boots). Subject to change without notice.
Travel to and from Winnipeg; distilled and alcoholic beverages not mentioned as included; some gratuities; optional helicopter flighseeing excursion; travel insurance; items of a personal nature (telephone calls, laundry, etc.).
PHOTOS: © Eric Rock (NHA); © Colin McNulty (NHA); © Mike Bruscia (NHA); © Henry Holdsworth; © NHA