Life. Changing. Arctic: Destination of a lifetime

By AG STAFF 20 September 2022
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Exploring the Arctic with Aurora Expeditions will be a life-changing experience, with an A-list of expert guides and two new purpose-built small expedition ships. The only quandary: which of the five Arctic regions will you explore?

The Arctic. Even just saying the words conjures up images of majestic and varied scenery, a kaleidoscope of hues from nature’s pure colour chart. This part of the world is about as far away from the madding crowd as you can get.

Aurora Expeditions can unlock the Arctic on a spectacular journey of discovery and adventure, with 30 years of experience ensuring a heart-warming expedition that will live long in your memory.

The Arctic has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to awe-inspiring landscapes, wildlife and experiences and Aurora Expeditions can take you there. Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, Jan Mayen and the Northwest Passage are all truly magnificent, with sights and sounds that are almost beyond comprehension. Even your camera might not be able to capture all that your eyes can see but that is a good thing, as you need time to just be in the moment, instead of staring through your phone or camera lens.

Image credit: Heidi Krajewsky

The famous five

Iceland is known as the “land of fire and ice”, with hot springs and pools looking over stark landscapes, volcanoes rising up as if to the Gods above, and glaciers adding a timeless presence in the cold sea. Aurora Expeditions has five Iceland expeditions that showcase the natural wonders of this rugged country, with the 11-day Icelandic Circumnavigation allowing for a deeper level of discovery. Highlights include the spectacular Goðafoss waterfall, the glaciers at Vatnajökull National Park, the Hornstrandir peninsula, one of Iceland’s remotest and most pristine regions and Skjálfandi Bay around Húsavik, where 24 species of whale have been spotted.

Governed by Norway, Jan Mayen is a little volcanic island between Norway and Greenland. Once off limits to visitors, one of the star attractions is the world’s northernmost active volcano, Beerenberg, which is visited as part of the new 22-day Northern Lights Explorer expedition and the 15-day Iceland, Jan Mayen and Svalbard itinerary. Another Jan Mayen highlight will be Kvalrossbukta, where guests will visit the local weather station, where the island’s only residents live – all 18 of them. The myriad sealife far outnumbers humans, with a number of whales and harp seals around the sea ice and glaciers.

Image credit: Tyson Mayr

For wildlife, Svalbard is almost out of this world, with Aurora Expeditions’ guides in their element pointing out the melee of birds, walruses, beluga whales, reindeer, Arctic fox and potentially polar bears. Not to mention the fjords, mountains, wildflower rich tundra and polar desert. Svalbard is best explored over multiple days, with Aurora Expeditions’ 12-day Svalbard Odyssey and 15-day Svalbard in Depth itineraries showcasing everything unique about this High Arctic archipelago.

Greenland is a surprising destination with endless opportunities for adventure.

In West Greenland, watch whales cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage icebergs of the Ilulissat Icefjord, while in Nuuk, stroll through the brightly coloured houses in town then visit Greenland’s National Museum.  Hike the trails on Qeqertarsuaq or go bird-watching in Disko Bay. In East Greenland, the landscape dominates, with guests agog while kayaking in Scoresbysund, the world’s largest, longest and deepest fjord, or do it the easy way in the Zodiac.

Another East Greenland highlight includes meeting the Inuit locals at Ittoqqortoormiit.

Last but by no means least, is the Northwest Passage, where life is anything but ordinary. Let Aurora Expeditions introduce you to this Arctic region’s wildlife and connect with the Indigenous locals whose ancestors have hunted and fished for thousands of years. The wildlife is next level, with the elusive narwhal, polar bear, musk oxen, beluga whale and walrus the Arctic’s ‘Big 5’ on this icy safari. Aurora Expeditions’ 17-day Northwest Passage or the 30-day Complete Northwest Passage include hiking on Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, visiting Beechey Island, and marvelling at the incredible fjord landscapes. In autumn, add the possibility of basking under the Northern Lights to the already exciting adventure.

The ships

At Aurora Expeditions, the two expedition ships, the Greg Mortimer (below) and the Sylvia Earle – which will have her inaugural voyage later this year – were purpose-built and designed with the environment in mind, ensuring non-intrusive and low impact voyages. The Greg Mortimer was the first ever passenger ship to feature the revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW. The large observation decks and hydraulic viewing platforms bring expeditioners even closer to the natural environment and these small, ice-strengthened ships can land in more locations than larger vessels.

The two ships take an average of 132 expeditioners per voyage, ensuring a more intimate and relaxed experience as well as smoother embarkations and boardings. This makes a difference as Aurora Expeditions focusses on getting guests off the ship and into the landscape, with multiple landings every day for a range of activities and shore excursions. You can sea kayak, hike, rock climb, ski, snorkel or scuba dive with Aurora’s expert guides, who can safely help you push your boundaries and heighten the experience.

Image credit: Tyson Mayr

Being immersed in a wild, rugged landscape is inspirational, and encourages learning and discovery. Aurora Expeditions are onboard with this, with education and enrichment woven into every day, with programs that feature experts and special guests in the fields of exploration, conservation, science, photography, art, culture and more. There is also the opportunity to take part in its Citizen Science programs, as every small step helps protect environments like the Arctic.

Start planning your Arctic experience with Aurora Expeditions. It is the destination of a lifetime.

For more information contact your preferred travel advisor or Aurora Expeditions on 1800 637 688 or [email protected]