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6 ways Canada’s Yukon Territory will surprise you

June 27, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Aussie travellers can’t get enough of Yukon, in Canada’s north west. While many go for the wildlife, epic mountains, and the heart-stopping northern lights, every one of them leaves this untamed territory with a sense of wonder at just how much this wilderness gem has to offer. Read on for six ways Yukon will surprise you.  

A culinary adventure? The capital city of Whitehorse might be one of Canada’s more remote townships, but when it comes to food, it’s a culinary epicentre. Stroll the downtown area and expect to find great coffee, gourmet foods and ethnic cuisines. Soak up the buzzing atmosphere at Burnt Toast Café, or for a true gastronomic experience, dine on the waterfront Wheelhouse Restaurant where the Yukon River provides an idyllic backdrop to impeccable cuisine. For some of the best cocktails in the Canada, spend the evening at Woodcutter’s Blanket. This historic log cabin is hard to miss, with two enormous faux moose adorning the exterior since the 1930s. Outside of Whitehorse, check out the Village Bakery & Deli at Haines Junction, home of the sourdough cheese stick, and the rustic Upper Liard Lodge near Watson Lake. Visiting Dawson City? Klondike Kate’s offers beautiful meals created from local flavours in an authentic gold-rush-era building in the heart of Dawson, while the Aurora Inn and The Drunken Goat Taverna serve up fresh seafood and delicious sharing platters on their patios, under a midnight sun.

A desert in Yukon? The Carcross Desert is affectionately known as the world’s smallest desert. The dry climate and wind conditions have created 540 acres of sand dunes and forced special vegetation to adapt to the surroundings.  10,000 years ago, this was the bottom of a large glacial lake. Today, the sand dunes run to the shore of Bennett Lake, known for its beautiful beach covered in fine, white sand. Situated two kilometres from the historic village of Carcross and just 70 kilometres from Whitehorse, it’s an ideal day trip destination.

World’s best rafting trip? Yukon is home to National Geographic’s number one river in the world, the Tatshenshini River, and it has no trouble living up to its reputation. Conquer the famed river on a guided day or multi-day rafting, canoeing or boat expedition, no matter what your ‘skill or thrill’ level, and explore the Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park, the wild heart of one of the largest bio-preserves in the world. Glide past vast glaciers under towering snow-capped mountains, and enormous lakes filled with icebergs. As you approach the Alaska coast, Mount Fairweather towers above you at 4500 metres. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for moose, eagles, salmon, and the elusive blue glacier bear.

Can-can dancers in a gambling hall? A trip to Dawson City might just be the most surprising experience of all. Like a town frozen in time, Dawson City resembles a movie set, with its elaborate dance halls, wooden boardwalks, and historic buildings harking back to the late 1800s, when 100,000 prospectors sought their fortunes during the Klondike Gold Rush. Try your luck in Canada’s oldest casino, the world-famous Diamond Tooth Gertie’s. Complete with cancan dancers and a flamboyant singing master of ceremonies, this non-profit gambling hall is named after an authentic dance hall queen who famously wedged a sparkling diamond between her two front teeth and made her fortune from the lonely prospectors who readily shared their gold in return for her affections.

Woolly mammoths and Ice Age relics? With its challenging hiking trails, mountain bike culture, and vast waterways, you’d be forgiven for thinking Yukon is primarily a hardcore-adventure-seeker’s destination. But you’d be wrong. Families with kids of all ages are pleasantly surprised to find an abundance of experiences perfect for creating precious family memories. For mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers direct from the last Ice Age, visit the Beringia Interpretive Centre, with its impressive full-sized replica of the largest woolly mammoth ever recovered and a reconstruction of the 24,000-year-old Bluefish cave archaeological site. Spend the day horse-riding just outside Whitehorse and go for a splash at the natural Takhini Hot Springs. Best of all? Yukon serves up one of the most iconic family road trips in North America. Hire an RV and make the most of the long summer days as you meander through historic communities, meet the friendly locals (some with four legs), and set up camp along the way.

No peak hour? Enjoy road trips or caravanning in Australia, but not sure about driving an RV in Canada? Yukon is the perfect place to try it out. Known as Canada’s ‘outback’, Yukon features almost 5000 kilometres of roadways with almost NO traffic. In fact, it’s not uncommon to pass fewer than 15 cars on the 600 kilometres of road between Whitehorse and Dawson City. With nearly 50 public campsites, most on a lake or river, and many private RV parks with full hook up services and wifi, Yukon is a road tripper’s dream!

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