A Winter Adventure in Churchill, Canada—One of the Best Places to See the Aurora Borealis!
In the same land that hosts the brief, brilliant summer of beluga whales and the polar bears of autumn comes an amazing phenomenon that illumines the dark winter skies. The ethereal northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, meaning “north wind of the dawn,” brighten the night sky in a mystical display of color. Churchill, Manitoba has one of the heaviest concentrations of auroral activity on Earth, making it an ideal destination for a northern lights tour. View the lights from varied heated vantage points including our custom-built Aurora Pod®, offering 360-degree views of the night sky through its glass top and sides. On this exciting Arctic adventure, our days are filled with distinctly northern activities such as dog sledding, and our nights with the potential for the best aurora viewing on the planet.
Experience the northern lights in warmth and comfort from our innovative Aurora Pod® with glass ceiling and sides, and from inside heated circular Aurora Domes
Learn all about the phenomenon of the aurora borealis—plus the natural history and features of the Arctic tundra environs—from our naturalist Expedition Leader
Discover local lifestyles and traditions of northern indigenous peoples on an array of winter activities in and around Churchill, including an authentic dog sled ride
The Best Way to Witness the Wonder of the Aurora!
If you’re planning a trip to see the ethereal northern lights, it only makes sense to go where this phenomenon is most often on view. On our Churchill winter adventure, our mission is to witness the aurora, of course, but we also explore this historic town and tundra environs on the edge of Hudson Bay, with full interpretation from an expert guide to enlighten you about northern nature and culture. Check out the many features that put our northern lights tour heads above the rest:
The Best Place—and the Best Time—to See the Northern Lights Churchill is one of the best places on Earth to maximize your chance of seeing the northern lights at their most active and most vivid. That’s because Churchill is located directly beneath the Van Allen Belt, a layer of energy-charged particles that wraps the earth's polar regions. Originating in solar flares, these particles are carried by solar wind, becoming trapped in Earth’s magnetic field to create the phenomenon of the aurora. And we take you there in midwinter when nights are longest and skies are darkest, maximizing your chances of seeing it.
Watch the Lights from the Warmth of Our Aurora Pod®
Part of understanding the North is experiencing its weather and climate. And nothing is more characteristically Arctic than standing beneath a clear winter sky and watching the artistry of the aurora borealis as it lights up the night in a tableau of color. It can be frigid in Churchill in midwinter, however, so we've created ways to watch the light show in complete comfort. Foremost is our exclusive Aurora Pod®, custom-designed to feature 360-degree views of the sky via innovative glass construction and cushioned seats. Glass half-walls and a glass roof provide an unimpeded view of the heavens overhead.
Two Different Private Settings for Aurora Observation
In addition to outdoor observation unimpeded by anything between us and the night sky, we offer two heated private vantage points on the aurora, located on the dark expanse of the tundra well away from the lights of town. Along with our Aurora Pod®, you'll also look for the lights in complete comfort from the warmth of a Plexiglass-topped Aurora Dome, with a circular view on the night sky.
It's East to Get to Churchill, the “Accessible Arctic”
While Churchill is technically subarctic, lying below the Arctic Circle, its geographic location at the edge of the frozen expanse of Hudson Bay gives it a distinctly Arctic climate and feel. Yet unlike getting to the top of Norway or Russia or into the interior of the Yukon to see the northern lights, Churchill is easy to reach via direct flight or rail from Winnipeg, the capital and largest city in Manitoba.
Travel by Train or Plane—It’s Your Choice
We offer a choice of travel modes to Churchill: On select departures, opt for a convenient flight, or choose the “romance of the rails” aboard the Tundra Train. [Please note: On 2018 departures, due to ongoing major track repair south of Churchill, the train will go only to Thompson, where our group will transfer to an onward flight to Churchill. We anticipate that the full length of the rail line to Churchill will be operational for 2019 departures. A roundtrip flight itinerary is also offered on select departures.] Thoroughly modern yet reminiscent of travel in bygone days, our VIA Rail journey offers a window onto three distinct natural ecosystems as we journey north: the sprawling Canadian prairie, the boreal forest, and, finally, the subarctic tundra. You might even catch the aurora’s glow out the window of your private sleeper compartment. If you prefer the convenience of faster travel, choose the flight option. The inclusions once you reach Churchill are the same. The glass-domed observation car is available on 2019 departures only, offering a direct view of the night sky overhead with a chance to look for the northern lights as we go.
An Exclusive Slate of Northern Adventures Seeing the northern lights may be the top draw, but we’ve added a host of activities for a comprehensive Arctic adventure. From an exhilarating dog sled excursion to local museums and cultural encounters with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples whose presence in the region extends back centuries, you’ll gain wide-ranging insight into the Canadian Northland and its storied history and traditions. Through our more than 25 years of expedition travel to Churchill, we've built relationships that reveal cultural experiences other travelers simply won't get without our exclusive access.
See the Northern Lights with a Stellar Guide While it's possible to travel on your own to Churchill to view the aurora, there is no way to get the quality experience you'll have with our naturalist guide by your side. Our professional Expedition Leader is an expert in Canada’s northern environs, offering in-depth interpretation of the region’s geology, biology, history, cultures, and, of course, the aurora borealis. We take pride in hiring the best guides in the industry—our NHA Expedition Leaders average 15 years’ experience, and with additional training and resources provided by WWF’s top scientists, your trip is sure to be a learning adventure. See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our expert guides.
No Need to Buy Heavy Parka and Boots—We Provide Them! Don’t worry about shelling out for a heavy parka, cumbersome Arctic-weather boots and insulated gloves you may only wear once—we supply this cold-weather gear to use during your time in Churchill.
Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding Arctic Adventure Natural Habitat Adventures offers you our exclusive guarantee that clearly states that we will meet the high expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
Feel Good About the Way You Travel We all care about the planet, and you can travel with us knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset. Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, a feature that is especially critical when considering that polar bears are under substantial threat from our planet’s warming temperatures.
Natural Habitat Adventures Is World Wildlife Fund’s Travel Partner Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our small-group nature adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat its worldwide travel partner—a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
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