Fall In Love With One Of Earths Last Wild Places
Remote and wild are the first words that come to mind when you think of Nunavut. With todays vacationers seeking the worlds wild places more than ever, Nunavut might well be the next travel craze.
Nunavut is Canadas youngest, largest, and northernmost territory. A huge expanse of wilderness, Nunavut is more than a destination – its a raw form of living. Populated by only a handful of indigenous Inuit people, the ancient local culture is rooted deeply in the stark, frozen landscapes that surround it. If youre wondering What is Nunavut famous for?, youve come to the right place. Read the Top Things to Do in Nunavut and find out why this far-flung destination deserves a spot on your bucket list.
Explore Auyuittuq National Park On Baffin Island
Photo: Ed Dods/Shutterstock
This enormous park is accessible by boat from Pangnirtung in the summer. Its home to Mt. Thor, the worlds highest sheer cliff. Nearby is the thematically-named Mt. Asgard, a double-peaked, flat-topped mountain thats considered to be one of the most technical flat-wall climbs in the north.
If you arent interested in climbing but you still want to explore, hike to more welcoming Ulu Peak with a local guide that you can hire via Parks Canada, or backpack, ski, or snowshoe through Akshayuk Pass with an outfitter like Inukpak Outfitting. The park can be dangerously remote and there is a risk of encountering polar bears, especially along the eastern coast of the park, but the scenery is magnificent the parks waterways are home to packs of narwhals and ringed seals, and arctic foxes are everywhere.
Be aware that you need permits to enter the park, as well as a safety briefing from Parks Canada. If youre traveling independently, you must organize these for yourself in Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq.
Drive An Rv Across The Yukon
Few landscapes will leave you as humbled and inspired as the vast expanses of Canadas Yukon.
The ancient peaks and glaciated valleys are as wild as you can get, yet accessing them is surprisingly easy with a fantastic highway system navigating between the main towns.
The best way to explore the territory is by renting an RV and taking your time on a road trip, using the capital of Whitehorse as the launch point.
Once youve collected your motorhome its time to hit the road, with most travellers taking the Golden Circle Route to dive into some of Yukons most spectacular destinations.
This road trip itinerary takes you to Haines Junction and Kluane National Park, the location of the planets largest non-polar icefield.
Spend the night at Mount Logan Lodge then continue on your way to Haines in Alaska, where you can see grizzlies feasting on salmon in the Chilkoot River.
Afterwards take the ferry to Skagway then drive north to Carcross before finishing off back in Whitehorse.
Travelling the route in an RV allows you to park up at the edge of stunning emerald lakes and venture off-the-beaten-path for a few nights sleeping under the stars, all while having the comforts of home with you at all times.
Alternatively, you can take you your motorhome as far north as Dawson City and to the fabled Tombstone National Park, with its ethereal rock formations.
Give yourself at least 10 days to truly enjoy all that these road trip itineraries have to offer.
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Distant Early Warning Line
Iqaluit was home to a US military base after World War II. Built in the 1950s, the Distant Early Warning Line was a radar system aimed at detecting a Russian air attack before it reached the United States. The system has long been dismantled, however it is still possible to drive up to it. From here you get an awesome view of Iqaluit and Frobisher Bay.
When To Visit Nunavut
Nunavut is best enjoyed in the summer. Being an Arctic region, the summers are short and cool. The climate is arctic and the terrain is characterized by perennial frost and endless tundra, so visitors will require winter wear regardless of the time of the year.
Tourists are not recommended to visit during the winter due to the extremely low temperatures. Almost none of the usual activities take place as the locals hunker down to survive the cold.
Between the months of October and April, the northern lights illuminate the night skies. Motivated visitors with the right equipment and skills can make the trip, given that weather conditions allow it.
It’s important to note that during the summers, many of the northern islands experience 24 hours of sunlight, while in the winter, the same islands are plunged into perpetual darkness. For a while in between, twilight reigns, so be prepared for unusual circadian conditions.
- The town of Alert, in Nunavut, is the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited area
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Map Of Things To Do In Iqaluit
All of the activities listed in the blog post can be found on the following map. In addition, Ive included the airport, hotels, grocery stores and other points of interest. Iqaluit is a pretty small place, so most things can be accessed on foot. Otherwise, all taxis in the city are $7 per person, regardless of where in the city you are going .
There Are No Roads To Nunavut And No Roads Connecting Communities
The 25 different communities of Nunavut are not connected to each other via highway or railroad. This means that if you hope to visit, you better be okay with jumping on multiple planes to get to your destination! Once you arrive in Nunavut, traveling within the province isnt as difficult as flight times are much shorter. Locals travel between communities by air, boat, and in winter, snow mobiles, but visitors are encouraged to travel around Nunavut by air.
Unlike other places you may have flown around, flying around Nunavut is pretty easy and straightforward. There are not long lines for TSA and security and you dont have to fight all the people to board quickly. Things are much more relaxed and you will be able to board quickly and easily. Everyone is friendly and you most likely wont have to show up to the airport 2-3 hours early because many community airports arent even open this early before a flight. Traveling through Nunavut by air is a unique and interesting experience that we know you will love.
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Things To Know Before Traveling To Nunavut
This article originally written and published on Follow Me Away.
Have you ever considered traveling to Nunavut? This Arctic Canadian territory occupies 1/5 of Canada and is where you are going to want to go when you are ready to take your adventure travel to the next level, when you are tired of the norm, when you want a beautiful destination that is unspoiled by commercialism, when you want to learn about Inuit culture, and of course, when you want to see tons of wildlife! Nunavut is where you are going to want to travel to when you want to truly visit the ends of the earth. Before you travel to Nunavut, there are a few things to know to prepare you for such a life changing trip!
The Air Is Clearer And The Water Is Purer
We had heard from the Nunavut Tourism Board that the air is going to be more clear than we had experienced in the past. We werent sure what that meant, but when we arrived, we knew! This meant that there were less particles of pollution and that the light was ever-so-perfect. Even though pollution in the air is very fine, it makes a huge difference in the quality of the air when it is suddenly removed! Water in Nunavut is about as pure as water can get and is collected from freshwater lakes. You can even drink straight out of a floating iceberg!
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Travel North To The Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Canadas Northwest Passage is an infamous stretch of sea that navigates through the remote reaches of the Arctic, and while most people who travel here do so onboard an expedition ship, you can now stay on the ground in the northernmost fly-in lodge on the planet.
Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is located 800km north of the Arctic Circle and provides 16 private cabins for guests to use as a base for exploring this unique part of Canada.
This is a destination for true adventure-seekers, with Arctic Watch offering the opportunity to go kayaking, paddle boarding, rafting, hiking, fishing and mountain biking beneath the Midnight Sun.
Its not just the activities that will take your breath away though the wildlife encounters are as incredible as youll find almost anywhere else in the world.
This far north youre in the heart of polar bear country, and if youre lucky you wont just catch a glimpse of these huge predators, but may also spot Arctic foxes, muskox and even beluga whales.
Top Sights In Nunavut
Adventure lovers head to Nunavut for sights they will never witness anywhere else. Some of Nunavut’s most unique attractions include the iconic Auyuittuq National Park, marvelous Thor Peak, scenic Quttinirpaaq National Park, magical Sirmilik National Park, and many others. Furthermore, the province is home to the vast natural area of Ukkusiksalik National Park, which is known for its varied and rich wildlife. Nunavut is also home to the twin-peaked Mount Asgard, featuring rock towers. Other unique attractions in this beautiful Canadian province include Beechey Island, Qausuittuq National Park, Barbeau Peak, Akshayuk Pass, Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, and the landmark peak Mount Odin.
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Become A Dog Musher In The Yukon
When winter arrives in Canada an entire new playground emerges, with previously impassable terrain suddenly becoming epic thanks to blankets of fresh snow and solid ice.
This is when hordes of people descend on the ski resorts to carve up the runs, but if youre looking for a different type of winter experience why not try something a little more traditional?
Dog mushing has been used as a means of transport by Canadas remote northern communities for centuries, and while no longer as popular as it once was thanks to inventions like snowmobiles, tourism and recreation has kept the dog sledding industry alive.
Whistler, Banff and Mont Tremblant are some of the more common destinations to try dog sledding on short tours, but if you want to really learn about this historic activity head to the Yukon and take part in a multi-day mushing expedition.
Just an hour from Whitehorse the family-owned Sky High Wilderness Ranch offers highly engaging dog sledding tours that can help take a complete novice to a confident musher in no time.
Their 4-day Taste of Mushing adventure is designed for people who like their holidays a little bit more hands-on.
After a safety and operations briefing on the first day you are assigned 5 huskies as part of your team, and these pups will become your best friends over the next few days.
You are trained up on how to rig up the sled, how to provide care for your dogs and skills on sledding, and then you hit the trails for hours of heart-racing fun.
Stay In The Most Northerly Fly
Photo: Weber Arctic
Weber Arctic is based out of Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge, Nunavuts only green-energy powered lodge, which is a 434-mile flight from Yellowknife, NWT. A second lodge, located on Somerset Island on the shore of the Northwest Passages, is the most northerly fly-in lodge in the world that houses an Arctic Library and Interpretive Center with local artifacts and 42-million-year-old fossils. The two locations offer a variety of packages, as well as the opportunity to create your own tours based on your interests, such as wildlife and nature sightseeing, fishing and boating, hiking, heli-skiing, and more.
The existing packages include activities like kayaking with beluga whales, snowshoeing to wolverines hotspots, and unique Arctic dinner experiences the in-house chef prepares fusion cuisine using local ingredients, such as Arctic char sashimi and tundra blueberry compote. Guests are invited to view the tundras changing seasons by helicopter and watch wild caribou herds migrating past the lodges windows. Both lodges are so far north that you are guaranteed almost 24 hours of sunlight in the summer, and total darkness filled with eerie northern lights in the winter.
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Go Diving Under The Arctic Ice On Baffin Island
Photo: Arctic Kingdom
The last thing you might consider doing in a place where the water temperature never goes above zero is going diving, but thats exactly what a few intrepid divers and snorkelers are doing. Local clam divers hit the waters year round, even in the winter when holes through the ice must be cut with a chainsaw. Arctic Kingdom is well-known for its extreme outdoors adventures in Nunavut, and offers a weeklong dive safari on Baffin Island. All Arctic diving equipment is supplied, and Arctic Kingdom can also provide drysuits if you dont have them. Highlights include diving through seal holes or cracks in glaciers, and it culminates in diving inside an iceberg. If a week seems too long, a dive weekend in Frobisher Bay is also on offer. Guests can enjoy drift diving, river diving, and a tour of Iqaluit.
Things To Do In Nunavut
Canada’s Nunavut territory is a vast place with rich history and culture, incredible natural spots, countless attractions, and iconic places to visit. The Arctic territory has an area that exceeds 1.9 million square kilometers and is frequented by adventure lovers who come to live an experience they would never find somewhere else.
They come to see the breathtaking landscape of Baffin Island and learn about the Inuit culture and history. People also come to visit Auyuittuq National Park, home to remnants of Ice Age glaciations, such as the Penny Ice Cap. Iqaluit is the town where people can find the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre.
Also in Nunavut is Ellesmere Island, home to Quttinirpaaq National Park and the small community of Grise Fiord, where people can practice hunting like the Inuit and enjoy breathtaking Arctic landscape. Sirmilik National Park is another place that people enjoy visiting in Nunavut.
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How To Get To Nunavut
Nunavut is the only part of Canada that is not connected to the rest of the continent by road or highway. It’s not an easy place to reach, so travelers will have to get there via plane or boat. The area is almost the size of Mexico and is largely comprised of islands separated by freezing water. Traveling within Nunavut is therefore accomplished by dog sleds, boats, and charter planes.
There are around 40 airports in Nunavut. Travelers planning on flying there will probably land in Iqaluit, the capital city, which is also the largest and most popular point of entry.
- A flight from Toronto to Iqaluit will cost anywhere between $400 and $1000, depending on the time of the year
- The total direct flight time is around 3 hours and 30 minutes
You Definitely Need To Hire An Experienced Local Guide Or Outfitter
We urge you to take heed on this point! Unless you are from the aboriginal Arctic, you are not going to be experienced enough to take this trip alone. No, visiting Iceland or Arctic Norway certainly does not count in your Arctic preparedness so please listen carefully! During our time in the community of Naujaat and the surrounding areas, we were guided by Solomon, the owner, and operator of Arctic Wilderness Outfitters. He is also a school counselor and the mayor of Naujaat, so you can be sure you are in great hands.
Our guide Solomon was able to provide us with meals, sleeping bags, safety information, Mustang safety suits to wear on the water, and expert first-hand knowledge on local life and the Nunavut landscape. There really isnt a way to do such an adventurous trip alone, so hiring an experienced and trustworthy guide is essential to having a safe and fun trip. If you want to travel to the community of Naujaat, we highly recommend Solomon and Arctic Wilderness Outfitters. This was the first time we had ever worked with a guide during our travels and it was great!
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What To Pack For Nunavut
Pack for Nunavut like you would if you were going to any other cold-weather destination. Visiting Iceland? Hiking in the Rocky Mountains during the winter? Visiting a cold city in January? Pack as if you would be visiting these places, depending on what it is you want to be doing in Nunavut. Of course, things will be much different if you are looking to visit one of the larger towns in Nunavut versus if you are looking to go camping out on the land and exploring with a local guide for a few days as you sleep in the elements.
No matter what you choose to do, here are five things we recommend packing for your trip to Nunavut!