Take a huge step into the wild.
Words Tim McGlone
Travelling to Canada is like taking a huge step into the wild.
Words Tim McGlone
THE WORLD'S SECOND LARGEST COUNTRY IS
when it comes to outdoor adventure, with ten million square kilometres of wild to explore.
It's not just limited to the forests, mountains, islands, beaches and deserts either, there is wilderness to be found in the cities as well.
We’ve discovered seven truly unbelievable experiences to be had right across Canada's vast expanse:
Would you brave these icy waters?
DIVE AN ABANDONED UNDERWATER TOWN
Like the lost city of Atlantis, Minnewanka Landing is a ghost town that sits beneath a picturesque lake in Banff National Park, Alberta.
Those brave enough to take on the icy cold waters are able to dive through a once-thriving town, that was flooded in 1941 following construction of a nearby dam, making for a magical, if a little spooky, diving destination.
CROSS CARCROSS — THE WORLD’S SMALLEST DESERT
Yukon is a place of extremes, and so it comes as only a minor surprise to find that there is a desert located here — the world’s smallest.
An excellent stop on a road trip up the Klondike Highway, the Carcross Desert is where the mountains and desert meet. At just 600 metres wide, it’s hardly the Sahara, but there’s still plenty of space to sandboard and drive an ATV, if that’s your thing.
It sits in the company of a lake and mountains, the latter intercepting northeast winds and therefore any rain that it would otherwise receive.
The unusual sight of a desert backing onto mountains, with Nares Lake just visible on the right hand side for good measure.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Icebergs 'the size of your house' isn't just an expression, but an actual comparison.
CHASE ICEBERGS IN THE FAR-EAST
Iceberg Alley is the appropriately named stretch of water along the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, where icebergs the size of your house float freely in the water.
This extraordinary phenomenon happens every spring, as the island thaws out from a long winter — late May and early June are the best times for berg viewing.
Why picnic when you could heli-picnic instead?
From Halifax in Canada’s eastern province of Nova Scotia, take a chopper over to Sambro Island, which has a population of just one, and that one is a lighthouse.
On a private beach, explore a secluded cove and enjoy a small feast — wine, charcuterie and cheeses all sourced locally, as well as a personal sommelier to talk you through the decadence.
This is likely to be the most extravagant picnic you ever take.
BE A FREE SPIRIT IN A SPHERE
From the far-east to the far-west.
Free Spirit Spheres bill themselves as ‘the most unique accommodation in the world’ and to be honest, it’s hard to argue with them.
The spheres are built from fibreglass and the native spitka spurce tree, and are suspended metres in the air in forests around Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This really is living in the wild.
There are four spheres to choose from.
RIVER SURFING IN THE CITY
Pipeline, Bells Beach, Uluwatu…Calgary?
Surfing is not something you’d usually associate with Canada, but in Calgary, Alberta, river surfing has emerged as an accessible way to get waves. Natural and man-made breaks have sprung up across town, with several a little further out, providing rippable sections for all levels of skill — dust off your wetty and start practicing that shaka.
Who said there's no surf in the city?
Blachford Lake Lodge, Yellowknife is located directly beneath the auroral oval.
THE GREATEST LIGHT SHOW ON EARTH
It is extraordinary to think that as well as being thrilling on the ground, in the water and in its trees, mountains and dunes, Canada’s sky is something to behold as well. Arguably the best place on earth to see the shimmering Northern Lights is at Blachford Lake Lodge in Yellowknife. The lodge is located directly underneath the auroral oval, and is accessible only by bush plane or skis in the winter. This means there's no light pollution from nearby towns, cities, cabins, or road traffic. Sit back at a lakeside cabin and let the magic unfurl in front of you.
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