Adventure and Wildlife at 74°N
Over 2000 Beluga Whales come to this spot each year
10 Day trips
Spend a week at this unique Canadian Arctic Wilderness Lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site. Situated 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the lodge offers fully-guided opportunities for hiking, kayaking, zodiac cruising and exploring the Arctic tundra in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Observe muskox, polar bears plus more wildlife in their natural habitat while enjoying comfortable accommodations and superb food, all accessible within a short flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories to Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada.
Enjoy an included night in Yellowknife and meeting your fellow travelers.
Your Arctic adventure begins in Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories.
We’ll meet early in the morning to board our private chartered plane to fly the 1,000 miles (1,500 km) to the Arctic Watch lodge. During the four and a half hour flight, we’ll pass over the treeline to the barrens, refueling in the community of Cambridge Bay, and landing in the afternoon on a private airstrip on Somerset Island.
A short walk across the tundra, and an even shorter raft ride across the Cunningham River, will bring us to the lodge. Following a tour of the facilities, you’ll settle into your cabins and meet the Quark staff for a briefing on the activities of the week ahead.
A typical first morning at the lodge may include receiving a hands-on introduction to driving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), which are easy and fun to drive.
Later, we may take a short hike to the Cunningham River estuary to watch beluga whales frolic in the shallow water only a few yards offshore, followed by a wonderful buffet lunch. In the afternoon, there may be an opportunity for a hike to Triple Waterfalls, a five-story torrent of free-falling water. There you can see nesting peregrine falcons and other birds such as loons, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. Exploring the canyon introduces you to the delicate beauty of wild Arctic flowers. Encounters with musk ox are common.
After a hearty dinner, there’s free time to explore in and around the lodge. The library has a broad selection of Arctic and polar titles. The interpretive centre contains collections of local fossils, skeletal remains of Arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia.
After a full breakfast, we’ll travel by ATV, crossing the Cunningham River delta, and driving along the Muskox Ridge Trail, which provides a scenic overview of the entire area. It’s very likely that we’ll see musk ox and pass by an impressive Arctic fox den where you may have the opportunity to watch fox cubs at play.
Following a picnic lunch at our shelter at Inukshuk Lake, we’ll supply gear for those who would like to take the opportunity to “catch-and-release” fish for Arctic char. Returning on ATVs, the tour takes an alternate route via the River Trail so we can view hoodoos (sculptured sand pillars) and local coal deposits. In the evening after dinner, we’ll have an informal lecture.
Today we may attempt to kayak in Cunningham Inlet. All equipment and basic instructions are provided. Paddle among icebergs, looking out for ring and bearded seals as well as beluga whales.
Sightings of sea birds, including Arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. After a lunch served along the shoreline, we’ll take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named “Kayak Falls.” From there we’ll have stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears.
In the afternoon, we’ll return to the Cunningham River estuary to watch the beluga whales. This site is unique the world over because of the density of the whale population and their proximity to our lodge. Standing on the river banks, you’ll be able to see the beluga whales frolic in the shallow water and be close enough to hear their calls.
Guides will use our hydrophones so that you can also hear their underwater calls. In the evening, following a delicious dinner, we’ll have a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet.
Today we’ll set out on ATVs to Cape Anne where we’ll visit five Thule sites all along the coast and look for polar bears. The Thule culture were bowhead whale hunters, ancestors of today’s modern Inuit.
The ride includes scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Inuit campsites and giant prehistoric whale bones. The Cape Anne Thule site is the largest in the area and includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses. Polar bears can often be seen on the shoreline, as they wander the coast, waiting for the ice to return.
The return trip overland via the Red Valley, will give us incredible views of the place we’ve called home this week.
The first leg of today’s journey will be by Mercedes Unimog truck. We’ll get to the Arctic Watch raft and kayak launch on the Cunningham River, 20 km from the lodge. Typically, the final six kilometers require a hike through the Badlands, passing the skeletal remains of two bowhead whales dated from eight thousand years ago.
The voyage includes encounters with musk ox, snow geese, jaegers, Arctic foxes, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. We’ll savour a picnic lunch on the beach beside the river, as the staff and guides prepare the rafts and kayaks. Returning to the lodge, you’ll have the choice of kayaking or traveling by raft. The river has swift-flowing, crystal-clear water with no difficult sections or rapids.
The views are amazing and include steep canyon walls and, at one point, a 180-degree turn. Tonight, we’ll enjoy our final dinner and evening at the Arctic Watch lodge.
Today, you’ll bid a fond farewell to the lodge team and the High Arctic. You may have time to take advantage of one last activity before we depart. In the late afternoon, the plane will arrive for the return flight back to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife you will be transferred to your included hotel.
Today you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some more time in Yellowknife.
IMPORTANT: The itinerary outlined is only a sample of a typical week at Arctic Watch Lodge. Day-to-day activities may vary and are also weather dependent. Please note that during “Adventure Week”, the first week of the season, there is less likelihood of seeing belugas.
Dates & Cost
|5 JULY – 12 JULY||8 Days|
|10 JULY – 19 JULY||10 Days|
|17 JULY – 26 JULY,||10 Days|
|24 JULY – 2 AUGUST||10 Days|
|31 JULY – 9 AUGUST||10 Days|
|7 AUGUST – 14 AUGUST||8 Days|
|8 Days||10 Days|
|5 – 12 July AUD$8100 Twin Share AUD$12,200 Single
7 – 14 August AUD$8900 Twin Share AUD$13,400 Single
|AUD$12,200 Twin Share AUD$18,200 Single|
Note: Baggage allowance on charter flight is 40lbs/18 kilos per passanger including carry-on luggage
Package cost: $2285 Prices are guaranteed against fuel price increases. No fuel surcharge will be applied.
To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice. The Booking Form is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.
Located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 50 miles from the nearest town, Arctic Watch is a permanent wilderness resort that offers hotel-like accommodations in a remote Arctic setting. Our guests experience the beauty and wonder of this fabulous place, while enjoying the comforts of home and delicious meals.
Each cabin has one room with windows and is fit for two guests in either one queen or two single beds. The room also has a marine toilet and sink. The shower house for all guests is nearby.
Each cabin has one room with windows and is fit for three guests in three single beds (Photo shown is configuration with double bed). The room also has a marine toilet and sink. The shower house for all guests is nearby.