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Canada Northern Lights Short Break
5 days
Canada - Trip code NNL

Canada Northern Lights Short Break

At the edge of the Arctic, Yellowknife is a remote hub in Canada's white north. Only 400km south of the Arctic Circle, and with predominantly clear skies, this is one of the best places in the world for spotting the Aurora Borealis - the famous Northern Lights. With three nights of Aurora hunting in cabins off the Great Slave Lake, we have an excellent chance of spotting the lights dancing across the sky on this trip.

Yellowknife is so far north that the Northern Lights appear in late summer to early autumn as well as through the winter, so you have two different itineraries to choose from - perfect if you love winter activities, or if you prefer to explore Canada's beautiful autumn colours before an evening spent looking for the Northern Lights.

Trip highlights

  • Northern Lights - Spend three nights hunting them out from private viewing cabins
  • Yellowknife - Explore this pretty city situated on the vast Great Slave Lake
  • Winter and Autumn - Different seasons cater to different tastes, with snowmobiling and ice fishing or hiking and boat trips
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Relaxed
You can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences on these Relaxed pace tours, with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings, but still come home feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Group Size:
8 - 12
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Yellowknife

The trip starts today in Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories. In an area originally settled by First Nations peoples, the city has a small-town feel. Since the discovery of diamonds in 1991, Yellowknife has become a mining hub, with much of the town's economy revolving around the mining industry.

Accommodation: Explorer Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Boat trip on Great Slave Lake; Aurora chasing from overnight cabins

We'll get our bearings in this small city today, exploring both the old town and the downtown districts on foot. Full of prospecting history and set on the banks of the enormous Great Slave Lake, wandering the old town is a fascinating glimpse into the remote Canadian lifestyle.

In the afternoon we'll take a motorboat trip on the Great Slave Lake, exploring the harbour and the colourful house boats that are a quirk of the area. There are often seaplanes dotted around that act as transport for the house boat dwellers, and hopefully we might see one of these taking off or landing. Our knowledgeable boatman will tell us more about the history of the region including its indigenous roots and the many First Nations communities still living in the area today. We'll be treated to a fish fry for dinner, with fresh fish from the lake itself - usually delicious trout, pike or pickerel.

Directly from here we're taking a boat to our overnight aurora spotting cabins (our leader will ask us to pack an overnight bag this morning). While most of the trip we only head out to wilderness cabins for approximately four hours before returning to the hotel, tonight we will be staying overnight to get a better taste of the remote Northwest Territories. The cabins are simple, with outdoor toilets and bunkbeds - approximately 4-6 people in a room. There is a separate outhouse with two hot showers for washing. They have log burning fires, a small kitchen, comfy seats and an outdoor decking area that looks over the Great Slave Lake. Although we'll drive to the cabins with other people that are not from our group, our cabin will be private for our use only.

Accommodation: Wilderness Cabin(or similar)

Simple Cabins
Meals Provided: None
Day 3 - Return to Yellowknife; evening Aurora chasing

Hopefully the spectacle of the Northern Lights will have kept us up late last night, so we'll have a little lie-in before breakfast at the cabin. This will be a simple breakfast prepared by our leader. From our cabin, we'll drive back to our hotel in Yellowknife and we have the rest of the day to relax or explore the city, perhaps visiting one of the historical museums or spending time in the many small local coffee shops that are springing up around the city.

Tonight we drive down to the lake to take our 30 minute boat ride to the wilderness cabins. We'll spend a good four hours here staying up to await the Northern Lights, returning to Yellowknife at approximately 1-2am. You'll have hot drinks, snacks and biscuits to keep you going - and if you like, bring a book or cards for entertainment as you wait for the light show!

Accommodation: Explorer Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Hike to Cameron Falls; evening Aurora chasing

Late summer and autumn in Yellowknife is perfect for exploring some of the many surrounding parks and trails on foot, and today we intend to do just that. 45kms east of Yellowknife is the Hidden Lake Territorial Park, a mass of waterways, evergreen forest and undulating outcrops. We'll be taking a 20 minute easy trail across boardwalks through the forest that leads us to a spectacular vantage point overlooking the waterfall, with the Cameron River tumbling down in front of us. From here we can go further upstream where a bridge gives us access to the far side of the falls with excellent picnic opportunities and (on hot days) the potential for a swim.

This evening we head out again to the lakeside cabins for our final chance at aurora chasing. Hopefully it will be the third time we'll have seen the Northern Lights during our trip.

Accommodation: Explorer Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 5 - Trip ends in Yellowknife

Our trip ends today in Yellowknife, after breakfast.

Meals Provided: None
Winter map
Winter map

Combine your trip

Our autumn departures can be combined with some of our trips in the Rockies (for example, our Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast trip) or the Yukon. For a total Canadian experience, why not add this 5 day Northern Lights extension onto the back of a longer trip?

Click here to see all of our Canadian trips. Our sales team can help you discuss departure dates that will combine well with the Northern Lights.

Why book this trip

Yellowknife is widely regarded (no more so than by Canadians!) as one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. Its small size means that there is less light pollution, and it's possible to see the lights dancing over the city itself - on this trip, however, you'll be going nightly to private cabins on the banks of the Great Slave Lake, meaning that you'll be surrounded by pitch black with a great chance of seeing the Aurora. Late summer and early autumn departures also link with our trips in the Rockies, giving you the possibility to make this Northern Lights experience an amazing extension to your trip to Canada.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 1
Transport
  • Boat
  • Minibus
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader / Driver
  • Activity Guide(s)
  • Boat Crew
Accommodation
  • 1 nights simple cabins
  • 3 nights standard hotel
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

Canada

Climate

May-Sep is the best time to visit, when the weather is usually warm, dry and pleasant. Temperatures can be a little cooler on the coast and in the mountains; rain can be expected at any time. Early in the season, there can be snow in some areas which may limit walking possibilities.

Time difference to GMT

-7

Plugs

2 Pin Flat

Religion

Roman Catholic, Protestant

Language

English and French

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


All activities are included within the tour.

Clothing

During the winter departures (December to March), temperatures can sometimes get as low as -40 degrees centigrade at night so winter gear will be provided, which covers a thick parka, insulated snow pants, winter boots, mitts, hat and a thick buff/neck warmer.

In autumn, no specialist gear is provided but during the aurora watching nights it will be cold outside so we recommend a warm wind and waterproof jacket, thermal layers, jumper, hat, gloves, thick socks and scarf or snood. Weather is usually crisp and sunny in the daytime, so bring layers for cold autumn days, and especially warm layers for your boat trip on the Great Slave Lake.

Footwear

Winter snow boots will be provided for our winter departures, but you may also wish to bring some thick boots or hiking boots just for walking around Yellowknife. For autumn departures we also recommend hiking shoes or boots and warm socks.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

You will need a day pack for personal items. You could also use this as a small overnight bag for taking over to the cabins.

Equipment

For all departures, we recommend that you bring a small torch/headtorch, water bottle, sunglasses and a medical kit. We also recommend taking your camera and to get the best pictures of the Northern Lights it is advisable to take a tripod and use a camera with a long-exposure setting.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
In North America tipping 15%-20% is a recognised part of life across the service industry, including restaurants, activity suppliers, taxis and guides. Local staff will look to you for personal recognition of particular services provided.

Unlike other Explore trips, during our trips in North America our Explore leaders will not operate a tips kitty. However, they will be more than happy to provide guidance throughout the trip on who to tip when and to suggest appropriate amounts.
Country Information

Canada

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£13.00
Dinner price
£20.00
Beer price
£3.00
Water price
£1.10
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Canadian Dollars.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Bring your money in Canadian Dollars or US Dollars cash which can be used almost everywhere, although local stores are not keen to change anything over $50.
Where To Exchange
Banks or 'Forex' offices in main towns/cities. Your tour leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
There are ATMs in the towns.
Credit Card Acceptance
Widely accepted just about everywhere.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Boat, Minibus

Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.


You'll spend one night in an overnight cabin overlooking the Great Slave Lake, a perfect remote location for viewing the Northern Lights. These are simple - no running water (although gallon jugs of water are provided for washing and cooking), outdoor toilets and bunkbeds. During Autumn departures there is a separate shower building open, which has two shower stalls with hot water. The rest of the trip you will go up to the cabins for around 4 hours to hunker down and wait for the aurora, before returning to the hotel in Yellowknife.

Essential Information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

When travelling to Canada, you will need the following:

ETA - Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ETA here - http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp - other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

ESTA - only if transiting via the USA
Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ESTA here - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov - you must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information. If you have visited Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen since March 2011, or dual national of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA. In this case you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US embassy or consulate.

I94 - The I94 is a history of entries and exits to the US. You can get this online here for $6
- https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home - as each i94 accessed is only valid for border crossings for 7 days, it is best to apply for this when in country - your Explore Leader will assist you with this.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Included activities

Please check that your travel insurance fully covers you for medical and repatriation expenses if you intend to go snowmobiling. The snow mobile operator reserves the right to charge you for any damage you cause to the snowmobile. An excess may be payable in the event of any damage to your snowmobile; this excess, together with any third party liability (damage to someone else or someone else's property whilst driving a snowmobile) may not be to covered by your travel insurance policy.

For this tour, you should be over 18 years of age to take part in the snowmobiling.

Canada

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option
Wednesday 13 March 2019 - Monday 18 March 2019
This departure is guaranteed
NNL_2019 Winter
From £2975
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Saturday 31 August 2019 - Thursday 5 September 2019
NNL_2019 Autumn
From £3055
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Saturday 14 September 2019 - Thursday 19 September 2019
NNL_2019 Autumn
From £3055
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Saturday 28 September 2019 - Thursday 3 October 2019
NNL_2019 Autumn
From £3055
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Date
Price from
Single room option
Wednesday 13 March 2019 - Sunday 17 March 2019
This departure is guaranteed
NNL_2019 Winter
From £2175
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Saturday 31 August 2019 - Wednesday 4 September 2019
NNL_2019 Autumn
From £2175
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Saturday 14 September 2019 - Wednesday 18 September 2019
NNL_2019 Autumn
From £2175
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Saturday 28 September 2019 - Wednesday 2 October 2019
NNL_2019 Autumn
From £2175
Single room option +£270
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time and place
21:00 at Hotel Reception
Ending Point
Town
Yellowknife
Time
09:00
Information
Important information about ending your tour

Please note that the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes

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