Destinations

Here’s where you can see the northern lights without freezing your butt off

When we think about witnessing the northern lights, the first thing that comes to mind is sub-zero temperatures and mountainous landscapes covered in blankets of snow.

And as we shiver in our Sydney office we’re currently wincing at the thought of being even a FEW degrees colder.

So the prospect of being able to tick this bucket-list experience off without having to wrap ourselves in a doona is very appealing right now.

Canada’s north-west Yukon Territory is one of the few places in the world where you can watch the spectacular aurora borealis dance across the night sky from late summer all the way through to spring. You may not even need a light jacket at that time of year!

Mackenzie Mountains

Here’s just one example of an aurora adventure before the first snowfall in Yukon:

Head to Yukon’s scenic Southern Lakes Region during the autumn months of late August and September, and combine two of nature’s most colourful marvels.

With autumn in full swing, the Southern Lakes Region transforms from lush green to rich crimson, orange, and sparkling gold, the ultimate backdrop for wildlife viewing.

Drive from the capital city of Whitehorse to the First Nations village of Carcross, just 72 kilometres away. Make a pit-stop at Wheaton River, where crystal waters reflect the majestic mountains ablaze with brilliant autumn hues. Keep the camera poised for grizzly bears, elk and mountain sheep along the way.

Continue on to Carcross, where you’ll soak up the authentic hospitality and stroll the shores of Bennett Lake, following the footsteps of the Klondike gold stampeders who blazed a torturous trail on their way to Dawson more than 120 years ago.

Visit a carving shed to watch genuine First Nations’ artwork come to life, listen to the artist’s stories and be inspired by the magnificent totem poles that tower overhead.

Spend the day hiking or biking Montana Mountain, or simply wander the picturesque landscape, marvelling at the roaming wildlife and hundreds of bird species that call the Southern Lakes home.

As night falls, the autumnal glory makes way for spellbinding auroras splashed across the sky in a mind-blowing kaleidoscope of vibrant jades, reds, yellows, and purples.

Emerald Lake

Check into a wilderness lodge, such as the luxurious Inn on the Lake, the Boreale Ranch at the base of the Seven Sisters mountain range, or Southern Lakes Resort overlooking placid Tagish Lake.

Autumn evenings in the Southern Lakes Region are relatively mild, allowing for active night time adventures.

Meander along the hiking trails to a secluded spot to capture the very best aurora photographs. Listen for the call of the loon, and enjoy some nocturnal wildlife encounters while the night sky ripples with ribbons of colour overhead.

Soak in a hot tub with a glass of wine and watch the spectacle unfold, or roast s’mores around a crackling fire with the locals and find out why those who come to this rugged, wild part of Canada never want to leave.

Getting there

Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane. Additionally, Air Canada commenced year-round direct flights from Melbourne to Vancouver from June 2018. Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas. Connecting flights to Whitehorse are available on Air Canada and Air North.

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