Start to plan a trip like this
Beth's Yukon Blog 2017
Day 1 - The Start - Sunday 3rd September, 2017
The check in process with WestJet is incredibly easy at Gatwick, when your waiting in the queue to get to the self service counters the WestJet staff will make sure you have completed your ETA, as we learned if you haven’t completed it they will assist you with this before letting you check in. The check in desks is all self service, you will be able to check in and print your luggage label off with relative ease. Of course when you get to the bag drop there will be someone there to check your bag is at the appropriate weight.
We then went through security with relative ease before making our way to board the flight, it wasn’t till we were on the flight that we discovered Wetjet doesn’t offer free entertainment. To hire a tablet on the flight will be around $6.99 per tablet this will give you the choice of around 12 films, 5 tv shows and a couple of kids programmes to keep you entertained. Alternatively if you download it 48 hours before the flight you can get Westjet connect which will offer you more options.
In terms of food on the flight, you have the option to preselect your food for around $17 per person, this gives you a meal and a snack (complimentary soft drinks are included regardless). The food options were very slim to say the least, a lot of diary based foods options.
The flight staff were all very accommodating and on the long haul flights the seat pitch was big enough that those who were over 6ft on the trip were perfectly happy. We were given an upgrade option on the flight for $325.00 each which we politely declined.
Upon arrival into Vancouver airport we certainly noticed the heat! When we got to the immigration point at Vancouver airport this was all done again self service and then your passport was checked before you were allowed to enter, this system was considerable more efficient than being back in the UK!
After collecting our bags we headed to the hotel for our overnight stay at the Fairmount Vancouver airport , this is a beautiful hotel tucked behind the United check in desks (the floor below). I was given a room looking out at the skytrain and Richmond, however they do have runway views available!
After a quick 15 minute break we were met in the lobby by a representative of the Richmond tourist board.She took us on the skyline train to the outlet mall, two stops on the sky train. I can only draw the comparison on the London Overground. Without stairs very wheelchair friendly and is very clearly sign posted when you go through arrival's. This is around $4 to stay on the island which will get you to the shopping mall or $7 to get to inner city Vancouver.
In the evening we went to Stevenson Pier which has seen an increase in tourism due to the Netflix show Once Upon A Time which is filled here. It is alot a very busy fishing pier, it has many restaurants and shops and is defiantly worth a visit whilst you are in Vancouver and the surrounding area!
Day 2 Monday 4th September, 2017
This morning we left Vancouver airport for Whitehorse, this flight was around two hours and still included the complimentary soft drinks and snacks!
Upon arrival into Whitehorse we were met by Jessica the Europe manger for the Yukon. Jessica gave us a brief tour of Whitehorse before we dropped our bags off and our hotel for the night and then the adventure started. We took a short drive to the Coast High Country Inn which is where we had lunch, during this lunch we had a meet and greet with all of the industry suppliers in the area learning all about the product and services they offer within the Yukon, a truly fascinating couple of hours which absolutely flew by!
After we had finished our lunch we went for a look round the Coast High Country Inn this is where Prince William and The Duchess of Cambridge stayed in 2016 on their tour of the Yukon. Also within the week we had just missed the Canadian Prime Minister and his family who had also stayed in the hotel! The hotel has many different room options available including a suite like William and Kate!
We then left the Coast High Country Inn to see the next hotel in Whitehorse, just a short drive out of the city was the Aurora Hotel and Spa. This complex consists of four cabins and a house, capable of having only eight guests at a time for a more personal experience to see the Northern Lights. The hotel looked like it would be truly spectacular if the Northern lights would be out!
We returned to our hotel briefly before departing for the Sky High Wilderness Ranch, this ranch is around half an hour away from the city and is perfect for clients who wish to get away from it all for a couple of days, the ranch offers dog sledding in the winter and horse riding in the summer. They are currently looking at expanding their activities in the future. We ended the day with dinner in the Yurt which is at the ranch, a truly magical experience for our first night in the Yukon.
Day 3 Tuesday 5th September, 2017
Today, we woke up early for a morning canoe ride down the Yukon River. The company arranged an extra long canoe so that we could all do it together as some of us were definitely more experienced than others! Alternative river options were available to choose from. We were also provided with hot drinks and snacks during the trip, great for when cold wind caught up with us! This
was a truly fantastic experience with beautiful scenery to look at. We stopped to see the train links from the river to Whitehorse.
After the canoe journey, we began our minibus ride to Dawson City. This was a very long drive which took us around seven hours. I personally wouldn't recommend doing this option, because it was quite tiring and we missed out the Silver Trail! We also visited five rapids which were stunning! If you do choose to do this drive, it is well worth a stop.
We took some time to look at the Sundog retreat along the way. This was definitely an ideal location to explore and one I would recommend! The Aurora cabins were built to ensure that visitors could observe the Northern Lights in comfort!
We arrived in Dawson City at roughly 7:30pm local time and dropped our bags off to be out by 8:00pm. This was later followed by dinner at the hotel and an exciting evening to witness Dawson City nightlife!
Day 4 Wednesday 6th September, 2017
Today we left Dawson city for the day to have a day for a Gold Fields tour and trip to Tombstone Territorial Park.
We had done this tour with a company called the, ‘Klondike Experience’. They offered a day tour of Tombstone National Park which also includes a trip to dredge number four and a drive down the Dempster highway, which is one of the oldest highways in Canada. The tour included a stop for lunch and an informative guide. This was truly fabulous for those of you who don't necessarily want to risk damaging their car down the highway as most care hire companies in the Yukon will not offer windscreen insurance, with this being a gravel road this tour would be something I’d recommend.
Having arrived, we continued to Dredge Number 4, which was a site they used to dig for gold back in the day. It still had one of the ships for you to see how this would have been done... it was massive! I took note, that it needed 12ft of water underneath for it to be able to float! Sadly, it wasn't open due to renovations, but I would certainly advise having a look at how the original gold seekers would have found the gold. Apparently in the 1900's, (not entirely sure what year) this ship would have been worth around a million dollars!
Day 5 Thursday 7th September, 2017
Another early start this morning, we left Dawson City at around 7.00am and made our way along the top of the world highway. This is truly a magical drive with lots of beautiful views. Things to consider on this trip, there are no restrooms, no shops and no restaurants until you get to Chicken in Alaska.
When you get to the US border you will need some USA dollars, six per person will cover you for an I-94 which is the USA visa for entering via land. They won’t accept debit or credit card or Canadian Dollars.
A couple of minutes down the road you will get to the most beautiful view and a perfect photo opportunity to stop in front of the Welcome to Alaska sign!
This is also a good opportunity for you to stretch your legs!
From here there is around a four hour car ride to chicken, definitely well worth a stop! Chicken is very small town, the area we stopped had a restaurant, gift shop and a bar and
this is classed as downtown Chicken Alaska!
After an hour in Chicken we then left to carry on our journey, keep your eyes out for wildlife, we were told in June you will see a lot of wildlife!
The Canada and Alaska governments are working hard on improving the
roads, this does cause a slight delay on your driving, but does give perfect opportunity for you to stop and have a good look around.
We were all pleased to get to Beaver Creek (just over the
Canadian border) this town consist of two hotels, a restaurant,
a gift shop and a visitor centre which is well worth a visit. After a quick pit stop we drove on to our evenings accommodation, Yukon Discovery Lodges, this is the place perfect for seeing the Northern Lights and in the right season, Bears.
Day 6 Friday 8th September, 2017
We left early again this morning, after our two hour drive we arrived at Kluane National Park and Reserve.
I’ve been to many places in the world but I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful the park was! We were very lucky to do a Flightseeing trip, small plane with only six seats. The views speak for themselves and it was supposed to be a cloudy day!
Unfortunately the weather was against us to have the Glacier Landing but our pilot insured we saw everything possible. The lake hadn’t completely frozen but with the fall colour and the ice. This is defiantly a must do experience when visiting in the Yukon.
Our guide began telling us about all the opportunities you had to do within the park and the possible wildlife you could see. Whilst midflight he showed us where the glaciologist had set up camp, it was a truly fantastic experience.
We left Klaune National Park a little while after the flight plane experience and heading to Haines Junction.
Whilst in Haines Junction we visited Da Ku Cultural
Centre and Parks Canada Visitor Centre, this museum has First Nation, Parks Canada and Yukon tourism exhibitions in it. If you have time whilst on your trip
you could spend a couple of hours here learning about Canadian history. They also have a short film which shoes you Klaune National Park and the surrounding areas this had been filmed by the same people who filmed Planet Earth for the BBC!
We finished the day with a scenic drive down the Haines Highway and stopped at Kathleen Lake for dinner, a truly lovely spot it was just a shame the British weather caught up with us!
Day 8 Saturday 9th September, 2017
We woke sadly realising this was our last day in the Yukon; everyone on the trip had fallen in love with this beautiful place in the world.
The Morning was started with a continental breakfast at our hotel, The Raven. Before we left for Long Ago People’s Place which is a First Nations sight, this is an experience which
if you have time you should go and visit. Your guide will show you all the
hunting tools they use, clothes they wear, places they used to sleep and
much more! You will end the experience with tea and bannock.
We left the camp to head to Whitehorse airport for our first flight back to the UK; sadly it’s not a direct flight! Whitehorse airport is very small, there is one restaurant and one shop on the landside once your through airside there is nothing, so be prepared!
Once we boarded the flight, silence hit the group as we all looked out of the window taking in the last of this wonderful place.
Please pop us a call on: 01509 618800 to find out more about our Alaska and the Yukon.