Why Canada and Alaska are our Next Holiday Pick
Soaring mountains that stretch from the sea to the clouds, ivory blue-hued glaciers, leaping whales, roaming bears, icefields, jagged, ice-capped peaks, alpine lakes and enthralling food, culture and festivities; Canada and Alaska are places so beautiful that they are hard to describe and impossible to beat. Here are the reasons why you should book to go now.
The experiences are next level
An adventure not to be missed, dog sledding in Juneau. Available as an optional excursion on cruise or tour itineraries, the dog sledding experience in the Juneau Icefield will see you zoom across powdery snow in original Iditarod dogsled gear while also learning about personal racing and mushing experiences from racers. You can even team the excursion up with a helicopter ride that soars over the icy landscape.
Carefully carved over time, the glaciers at The Athabasca Valley and Columbia Icefield are in one word, epic. You can explore the age-old, powerful and constantly shaping Athabasca Glacier on a giant Ice Explorer. The experience is like no other as you'll learn about glaciology - an earth science that studies the natural phenomena of ice and zoom over the ivory sheets of snow and ice like mad max in the desert.
Accommodation options are endless: Lodges, rail journeys, cruise cabins & more
Watch forested peaks pass by while on the iconic Rocky Mountaineer, view cracking ice cliffs tumble into icy waters from a cruise liner or cozy up in a lodge under falling snow: the accommodation options in Canada and Alaska are extraordinary. Canada and Alaska travel specialists, Travelmarvel, offer stays at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Banff National Park. Surrounded by the majestic Victoria Glacier, soaring mountain peaks and cyan waters, the 100-year-old Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a must-stay. Emerald Lake Lodge is another sure pick for the itinerary - home to century-old fireplaces, breathtaking lake balcony views and an oak bar salvaged from an 1890’s Yukon saloon, this is a stay not to be missed.
However, nothing captures the magnitude and magnificence of the Rocky Mountains than the iconic Rocky Mountaineer. Journeys aboard this train will take you to inaccessible alpine lakes and high-altitude ice-peaked passes; the experience is adventure and elegance combined. Travelmarvel journeys include Silverleaf service offering panoramic views and the option to upgrade to Goldleaf where you'll enjoy an even more luxurious experience with bi-level glass-covered carriages, a la carte chef, unlimited drinks and full-domed windows.
Festivities and food
Every year in July locals and visitors gather together to enjoy the Calgary Stampede which celebrates the Old West culture, heritage, and spirit of times past. Experience what it was like to live like a cowboy with midway rides and bucking broncos. There is a variety of entertainment during the 10-day festival including matador shows, the world-famous Rodeo, concerts, chuckwagon races, and nightly evening shows. The arts are also an essential part of Canada's culture with well-known festivals such as the International Fringe Theater Festival in Vancouver, Montréal's Jazz Festival and Toronto's star-studded Film Festival. Local food is a huge part of life; you can feast on wild salmon in Vancouver, poutine (hot chips cloaked in gravy and cheese) in Québec and traditional First Nations food at Squamish Lil’wat in Whistler.
Alaska's Native culture can be experienced at many of the heritage centres and cultural museums; see totem carving, Native dancing, a traditional blanket toss and music in Ketchikan. The local cuisine in Alaska highlights how resourceful Alaskans are. Alaskan salmon, king crabs, and halibut are some of the favourites caught in Alaskan waters while many restaurants serve Moose, bear, elk, caribou, reindeer and even mountain goats. The beer culture is also thriving and there are handcrafted brews popping up in a number of breweries, pubs, and restaurants.
A place of extremes
Canada and Alaska do not do things in half measure. In summer, days are warm and long as the sunbeams dance-off glistening waters, bears fish for salmon in waterfalls and outdoor festivals fill the calendar. You can hike to alpine lakes, enjoy the Canadian vineyards, go river rafting, canoeing, surfing, and paddleboarding and soak in hot springs at The Liard River Hot Spring. While in Alaska, summer is prime cruising season with sailings along the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay, and Juneau. Jump aboard a cruise line from Anchorage or Seattle and sail past the icy impressive glaciers, from the Hubbard Glacier and the Tracy Arm Fjord.
Once winter hits it is a completely different story. Canada drops below freezing and cities such as Quebec are blanketed in white. The winter wonderland looks like something out of a fairytale as great stone walls and cobblestone streets are bleached with snow. Alaska and Canada's North West Territories spend winter underneath a shadow of near-constant darkness, but unknown to many, this is the best time to see one of the top bucket-list-worthy experiences in the world, the Northern Lights. You can catch the vivid green and blue lights dance across the ink-black darkness of the night sky in Yellowknife, home of the Northern Lights. Choose a summer or winter departure to see the grooving Aurora Borealis.
A visual overload
Soaring peaks dusted in ghost-white snow, rich jade forests, reflective Capri-coloured lakes, glistening glaciers, age-old carved valleys, and astounding fjords; the landscapes that create Canada and Alaska take sightseeing to a phenomenal scale and to drive the awe-inspiring roads is impossible as you'll want to stop every five minutes to take photos. The beauty of coach tours means you can sit back and enjoy the never-ending views through panoramic windows while an experienced and knowledgable tour director informs you about the region. The 232 kilometres that link Jasper National Park and glacier-fed Lake Louise - known as the Icefield Parkway - is a stretch of road that is rated as one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller. You won't need any Instagram filters on your images here. Travel with Travelmarvel and guests can enjoy a two-night stay (available on a selection of itineraries), as well as a Western-style BBQ dinner at Jasper Park Stables.
The Seward Highway in Alaska is a vibrant corridor of colour that meanders from the sea to the mountains past blue glaciers, sharp-toothed mountains, and stormy ocean fjords. But this is just the start -- once you reach as high as Denali National Park the landscape's charm will have you enchanted. Home to glacial rivers, wolves, elk, grizzly bears, pristine tundras and deep ravines, the Denali National Park is a must-do. Many of Travelmarvel's itineraries include up-close experiences with the local wildlife.
The wild residents
Canada and Alaska are home to whales, grizzly bears, meadow grazing moose, salmon-catching Kodiak bears, polar bears, orcas, beluga whales, bald eagles and an array of other birdlife. Opportunities to encounter the natural wildlife are as diverse: take a cruise from Anchorage, embark on a hike in Banff National Park or join a guided tour through Jasper National Park. Travelmarvel takes you on a river safari in Grizzly Bear Valley in the Monashee Mountains where you'll head out on zodiac-style boats and search for wandering riverside bears. While a cruise from Anchorage is the perfect way to see humpback whales and orcas.
Travelmarvel began in the 1980s and in 1996 Travelmarvel became part of the APT Travel Group - one of the most consistently awarded touring companies in Australia, and around the globe.
You can fly direct from Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne to Vancouver and onwards to over 120 destinations across Canada with Air Canada. Enjoy the ease of connecting to Air Canada’s vast network with United States customs pre-clearance at our Canadian hubs, bags tagged to your final destination and no terminal transfers required.