There are some travel destinations that boast such startling natural beauty that it difficult to depict them through mere words or images. Darren Christensen, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Victoria’s Narre Warren South, returned from a recent twelve-day Alaskan famil to report that the USA’s largest and least populous state is firmly on his list.
Christensen’s famil was hosted by Travel Alaska, which is the official state tourism body. Delegates were treated to a non-stop buffet of breathtaking hotspots including a glacier landing on the continent’s highest mountain, Mt McKinley (Mt Denali) and cruising the Kenai Fiords.
“There is just endless “wow” factor everywhere you turn,” says Christensen. “The passion I now have for selling Alaska as a destination could never be expressed without having experienced it personally.”
Although the main body of the famil started and ended in Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, the group were also able to spend a day in Honolulu en route from Australia. This added bonus is something that Christensen believes will add to the appeal for many potential clients.
“I love the fact that you can combine two such amazing, contrasting destinations in one fantastic itinerary. The chance to do some shopping or just relax on the beach before or after the icy splendour of Alaska is something that I think will appeal to many different clients, from honeymooners to families.”
The opportunity to get close to reindeer at Running Reindeer Ranch near Fairbanks was just one of manyhighlights of Darren Christensen’s recent Alaskan famil
Christensen and his colleagues were not the only ones to have covered significant miles in order to reach their destination. One of the culinary highlights of his time in Anchorage was at the Glacier Brewhouse, where he sampled their signature, seasonal Copper River salmon.
“This is something everyone should get to have at least once in their lifetime,” Christensen remembers with a smile. “These fish produce extra omega-3 fatty acids in order to make a 290-mile journey to their spawning grounds along the Copper River… it is seriously one of the best dishes you will ever taste.”
Gastronomic sensations seem to be a recurring theme from Christensen’s time in Alaska, who explains that the state is also renowned for both its delicious Alaskan king crab and its many excellent craft breweries.
“We also had an amazing dinner at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant, which boasts the most incredible views from high above Alyeska Resort and is accessible by cable car. The food, wine cellar and artwork (Warhol) in the restaurant is excellent.”
Of course, however spectacular the dining may be, it is Alaska’s incomparable scenery that provides the main drawcard. Christensen spent twelve days discovering just what is on offer, and he says he has returned home eager to plan his next visit.
The spectacular scenery encountered by Darren Christensen from the lower slopes of Mt McKinley/Denali was just one of the factors contributing to his new-found love for this destination
“The glacier landing on Mt McKinley was a great experience, with the flight taking around two hours over the most spectacular, snow-covered mountain ranges, and landing on the glacier was incredible.”
“We took off from the quirky Alaskan town of Talkeetna,” he continues, “where the Talkeetna Lodge has the best views of Mt McKinley. We sat out on the sun deck of the restaurant/bar area under the midnight sun until the early hours of the morning – it was just spectacular.”
No trip to Alaska would be complete without spending some time on the water in search of wildlife. Seward is a small coastal town that serves as a stopping point for road, rail and cruise services.
“From Seward, you can choose from a selection of cruises, the most popular of which are five to six hours long and offer the opportunity to view sea life such as whales and otters, glaciers and floating ice, often complemented by a buffet lunch and a well-stocked bar.”
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the company is extremely supportive of its personal travel managers (PTMs) taking time to invest in their product knowledge by participating in such famils.
Gateway to the Arctic Circle which is southernmost latitude in the Northern Hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours
“Not only do our PTMs return from these famils brimming with fresh destinational knowledge that they are eager to pass on to their clients and colleagues,” explains Gazal, “but we find that their passion and enthusiasm for their businesses and for the travel industry itself has been reinvigorated.”
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.