Beluga Whales Churchill Zodiac. Credit BuildFilms
Summer adventures in Churchill, located in Canada’s central province of Manitoba, serve up unforgettable experiences that you simply can’t find anywhere else. From encountering polar bears (from a safe distance!) to witnessing friendly beluga whales in their pristine paradise, one thing is certain. You’ll come home with bragging rights to last you a lifetime.
Read on for six of the best summer adventures in Churchill.
1. Frolicking with beluga whales
CoPilot Collective Belugas. Credit CoPilot Collective Manitoba
Hearing the beluga whales sing their sweet ‘canary’ chirps and whistles is a spine-tingling moment. Thousands of white beluga whales congregate each summer in the mouths of the northern Churchill and Seal Rivers that empty into Hudson Bay.
The new Conservation Journey: Beluga Whales tour by Frontiers North Adventures combines authentic field education and adventure for a unique opportunity to experience Churchill’s coastal waters with leading beluga whale researcher and marine mammal scientist, Dr Valeria Vergara. Learn about beluga whale biology, ocean health and beluga behaviour as you come face-to-face with these friendly mammals in their natural habitat.
Independent travellers can jump in a Zodiac for a closer look, kayak with the belugas, or even take to the water on a stand-up-paddleboard with Sea North Tours. The belugas may laugh at your balance, but a little hurt pride is a small price to pay for an unforgettable experience.
2. Encounters of the polar bear kind
Polar Bears. Credit DennisFast Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Join an exclusive Birds, Bears and Belugas tour with Churchill Wild during the beautiful Arctic summer to witness snow-white bears coming home from the ice. During this special experience, you’ll spend five nights at the Seal River Lodge enjoying guided tundra treks and tundra vehicle tours to view polar bears and other Arctic wildlife, up-close-and-personal, in their natural habitat.
Alternatively, head into the Hudson Bay on the Sam Hearne customised vessel for a Lazy Bear Expedition, where the polar bears can be seen after leaving the melting sea ice.
During the summer season, Polar Bears can be seen swimming, exploring around the rocks and wildflowers, as well as sunbathing along the shore. Weather and wildlife permitting, you’ll have the chance to disembark the boat to walk where polar bears roam.
This five-day adventure is a rare immersion into beautiful, wild places that offer the best opportunities to see not only polar bears, but also beluga whales, Arctic creatures and over 200 bird species.
3. Hike the coast and tundra
Travel Manitoba Churchill Mushing. Credit Travel Manitoba
Explore this remote, breathtaking region of Canada and its rich history on a Discover Churchill Ithaka Shipwreck Hike. This incredible low tide hike takes you out to the MV Ithaka shipwreck, a freighter that ran aground in 1960 half a mile off the coast in the middle of polar bear country.
Discover Prince of Wales Fort’s harbour on the Parks Canada Sloop Cove hike. Zip in a Zodiac to Sloop Cove where you’ll be introduced to Hudson’s Bay Company men through their signatures – 18th century graffiti – engraved into stones. Hike in their footsteps across tundra ablaze with wildflowers, four kilometres along the shores of Hudson’s Bay, watching for seabirds, beluga whales and fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years.
4. Summer dog carting
Churchill Inukshuk. Credit BuildFilms
Who says you can’t dog sled in summer? Indigenous owned Wapusk Adventures offers a very special dog carting tour – no snow required. Join Dave Daley and his team for an educational talk about these gorgeous canines, Métis culture and life in Churchill Manitoba, followed by an exhilarating dog cart ride through the boreal forest.
5. Romance the rails
Sometimes the journey is more life-changing than the destination. When you board VIA Rail in Winnipeg, the only dry land connection to the remarkable community of Churchill, don’t be surprised if you disembark as a new person at the other end.
This two-day, two-night rail journey covers 1697 kilometres of incredible northern landscape and abundant wildlife easily viewed through comfortable carriages. The breathtaking topography changes from prairieland to boreal forest and glittering lakes, until finally the tundra dominates as you approach the shores of Hudson Bay. Expect impeccable gourmet cuisine throughout this remarkable rail journey.
6. Explore Churchill
The tiny town of Churchill is brimming with history and an eclectic local culture that will make you fall in love with this colourful community. Take a cultural tour of the township so you don’t miss any of the highlights, including the ‘Polar Bear Jail’ on the outskirts of town. Once a military morgue, this special building is now a holding station for ‘troublesome’ bears who wander into town, before they are relocated back into the wild.
Cape Merry, overlooking the Churchill River, offers sweeping views of the town, Hudson Bay and the Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site. Visit the Itsanitaq Museum to see some of the world’s finest collections of Inuit carvings and artifacts, dating back as far as 1700 BC. Discover the inspirational street art of Churchill, called SeaWalls CHURCHILL, led by celebrated local artist Kal Barteski. These colourful murals are designed to educate on the need to protect the world’s oceans.
Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney. From 6 June to 5 September (Monday, Thursday and Saturday) Air Canada will increase its service to twice daily from Sydney to Vancouver. From 3 July 2022, Air Canada’s Brisbane – Vancouver direct flights will resume four times per week. Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas. Daily connecting flights are available from Vancouver to Winnipeg, in addition to the VIA Rail train service.
El Questro Western Australia. Image by Walk into Luxury
Walk into Luxury’s new Kimberley Walk is a Luxury Lodge based adventure allowing guests to discover the best of the Kimberley by air and on foot over four exceptional days. Featuring day hikes and swimming opportunities at Mitchell Falls to the gorges of the El Questro Wilderness Area, guests return each day to the luxury comfort of El Questro Homestead on this all-inclusive experience.
The Kimberley Walk is the fourth in Walk into Luxury’s collection of Signature Walks, which includes the Cape to Cape Walk in Margaret River (one of the Great Walks of Australia). Consistent with the brand’s Signature Walk format, the Kimberley Walk combines exceptional accommodation, food and wine and luxury touches with the best day walks in the remote Kimberley region.
El Questro Homestead Western Australia. Image by Walk into Luxury
Over four days specialist guides lead guests on a series of Kimberley hikes including Emma Gorge and the more challenging El Questro Gorge walk, ending with a cooling swim under a spectacular waterfall. The Mitchell Falls is experienced by air before a guided walk past Aboriginal rock art and Little Mertens Falls on the way to the top. A swim and picnic lunch at the natural pools overlooking Mitchell Falls is quite the reward. A morning bird walk on day four, and an after-hours visit to Zebedee Thermal Springs round out the activities on this immersive four-day Kimberley experience. Guests are otherwise free to relax by the pool and soak up the views from the Homestead; considered one of Australia’s best luxury lodges.
All dining is included on the Kimberley Walk, with evening meals under the Kimberley night sky sure to be a highlight. A sunset drinks excursion to a stunning lookout above Chamberlain Gorge offers the chance for that Kimberley photograph as the colours change over the landscape. On return from each day’s adventures, guests are greeted warmly by the exceptional Homestead team with a favourite drink; an open bar is also part of the experience.
El Questro Homestead Western Australia. Image by Walk into Luxury
El Questro. Image courtesy of Walk into Luxury
Accessed from Kununurra in Western Australia’s East Kimberley, Walk into Luxury’s Kimberley Walk is available to book now for the April-September 2023 dry season with regular Saturday departures. Limited to just 12 guests, this is the ultimate Kimberley adventure with private charter and helicopter flights, and specialist guides, ensuring guests get the most out of their time in the Kimberley.
More about the Kimberley Walk
Your personal travel manager can give you a price for the 4-day Kimberley Walk which includes:
For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book an incredible holiday, contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager.