As the floodgates open to international travel in 2022 and Australians plan their Canadian adventure, one thing is certain: they want to make it count.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that every travel experience is special and some moments in time have the ability to change your perspective forever.
From a Canadian Rockies white Christmas to witnessing monolith icebergs and encountering polar bears in the wild, read on for three breathtaking adventures best experienced in Canada.
1. White Christmas magic
A quintessential white Christmas holds a special place near the top of the bucket list for most Australian travellers.
The Canadian Rocky Mountain province of Alberta is an idyllic winter wonderland that will trigger heart-warming nostalgia in anyone who’s ever watched a winter Christmas movie on a steaming hot Australian Christmas Day.
Spend the festive season at the picturesque Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, surely the intended subject of ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’, where sleigh rides adorned with jingle bells cruise the shores of frozen Lake Louise between snow-drenched fir trees, and the castle is adorned with Christmas trees whose baubles shine as brightly as the blazing hearths.
The nearby township of Banff celebrates six weeks of festivities over Christmas, including a Hot Chocolate Trail and the Banff Christmas Markets. An afternoon snowshoe, fondue lunch, or an ice-walk adventure through Johnston Canyon will make this a Christmas you’ll never forget.
But don’t take our word for it. Join Brian Johnston as he tumbles into the Sugar Plum Fairy’s boudoir during an enchanting Christmas in the Rockies.
2. Come face-to-face with a polar bear
It’s one thing to see a polar bear on Instagram, it’s quite another to encounter one in the wild (from a safe distance!) and Canada is one of the few places on Earth where this once-in-a-lifetime dream comes true.
Fall in love with the awesome beauty of the sub-Arctic landscapes of Churchill, Manitoba, known as ‘polar bear capital of the world’, and feel that sharp quiver of excitement as you stand in proximity to the mighty polar bear.
Churchill is the only place in the world that offers a polar bear walking tour. Fly in by bush plane to one of Churchill Wild’s three exclusive wilderness lodges, each one ideally placed in remote areas for the ultimate polar bear safari experience.
Take a daily, guided hike across the tundra to view polar bears and other Arctic wildlife up close and personal, in their natural habitat.
Read on to discover what it feels like to witness the apex predator of the Arctic sans barriers.
3. Chase the ‘bergs
Time stands still as you witness the breathtaking spectacle of colossal ice mountains parade along ‘Iceberg Alley’.
Here you are, standing on the most easterly point of Canada in the untamed, mystical Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where puffins adorn the cliffs, wild blueberries carpet the rolling hills and ancient glacial giants make an annual procession from the Arctic like a moving showcase of Mother Nature’s finest work.
In fact, it was an iceberg just like one of these 10,000-year-old monoliths that sunk the Titanic in 1912, just over 600 kilometres from the Newfoundland coast. Today, the locals put icebergs to good use, harvesting the pristine ice to make vodka, beer, gin and rum.
Visit between May and August for the best chance to witness this extraordinary phenomenon.
Paddle alongside the ‘bergs in a sea kayak and experience the rugged beauty of sea caves, inlets and jaw-dropping fjords, or take a hike along the coastline and witness the sparkling ice sculptures as they drift down Iceberg Alley against a soundtrack of boreal songbirds.
From whale watching to icebergs, the natural spectacles of Newfoundland are as alluring as the living cultures and traditions of its communities, coloured by Irish, English, French and Indigenous influences.
Read on to immerse yourself in the old-world charm of L’Anse aux Meadows, with its rich Vikings history, wild, craggy coastline and salt-of-the-earth characters who make you feel like you never want to leave.