Photography by Govt of Yukon/Dan Barham
20 October 2022
Discover the Yukon Territory in Canada’s north-west, above British Columbia and next to Alaska. Here the long, snowy winters span November to March, creating many an unusual activity to do whilst rugged up in your fave cashmere.
Rich living history, stunningly unique geography and more epic scenes than a Hollywood blockbuster. Home to 14 First Nations peoples, the Yukon is as large as Spain.
The Yukon is unique, capturing the hearts and imaginations of travellers from around the world. From the northern lights and outdoor sports to art, culture and dog sledding with adorable huskies, there’s something for everybody.
Here’s just a sample of things to do and see as advised by the world’s leading travel experts.
The current solar cycle (a periodic 11-year change in the sun’s activity) is set to reach its peak between 2023 and 2026. This increase in solar activity results in more aurora activity here on earth, making it an outstanding time for aurora viewing.
The pitch-black, star-filled skies of the Yukon provide the perfect backdrop for this mystical, enchanting natural phenomenon.
Either stay in a downtown hotel in Whitehorse and book with a northern lights tour operator, such as Arctic Range, who will pick you up each evening and take you to custom-built viewing sites outside the city where you can enjoy a cosy evening sipping hot chocolate around the campfire, swapping stories with your group while you wait for the lights to appear.
Or choose a wilderness lodge stay, such as 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 light show streaks across the night sky.
Newly refurbished Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs is heated by natural geothermal activity, featuring multiple outdoor soaking pools, framed by large boulders, nestled within an enchanting snowy forest, 20 minutes from Whitehorse. Make use of the saunas, steam rooms and fire pits, and enjoy lunch in the new restaurant featuring spa-fusion food, including homemade soups and sandwiches.
The famous Yukon Hair Freezing Contest is back on this winter with patrons invited to soak their hair, allow it to freeze in weird and wacky positions and then pose for an entry photograph. To enter, participants need to visit the Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs when the temperature falls below -20°C.
Named for their thick, oversized tires, fat bikes are designed for easy traction on snow. It’s an exciting way to explore the wilderness and access some areas more easily than you would during summer.
Winter’s iced-over lakes mean you can bike straight across rather than hike around. Once you’re back in the treed trails, keep an eye out for wildlife tracks, like foxes and snowshoe hares.
Head out to Bennett Lake near Carcross, grab a hot coffee and enjoy the view of snow-covered mountains rising from the shoreline. In Whitehorse, the multi-use Millennium Trail is also easy to access with a large stretch running alongside the Yukon River that flows right through town.
For something extra special, book a fat biking tour with Terra Riders for a night cruise under the shimmering northern lights.
The whole of Yukon is a wildlife sanctuary; a place where the moose outnumber the humans two to one. Head to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, where 700 acres of snowy hills, marshes, steep cliffs and flat lands are the perfect ecosystem for 11 species of northern Canadian mammals.
We’re talking bison, moose, mule, deer, woodland caribou, elk, mountain goats, Canada lynx, and foxes, to name a few.
Just 25 minutes from downtown Whitehorse, you can walk, ski, snowshoe or fat-bike the five-kilometre viewing loop, or jump on a bus tour with a knowledgeable interpreter. However you choose to experience it, be prepared for magical encounters of the four-legged kind as the Yukon’s wild creatures show off their incredible northern adaptations.
Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and direct flights between Brisbane and Vancouver four times per week.
Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas. Internal flights to Whitehorse and Dawson City are available on Air North and Air Canada.