20 February 2012
The coolest places to travel to on earth have just become even cooler, thanks to an Englishman called David Attenborough and a remarkable television series called Frozen Planet.
The acclaimed seven part nature series -shot in the remote Arctic and Antarctic regions and currently screening on TV ONE – has transformed Kiwi living rooms into winter wonderlands of ice and snow this summer season, with viewers throughout the nation enamoured and intrigued by the magical icy worlds and bewitching wildlife depicted on their screens.
For Kiwi fans of all things frozen who are looking to don their thermals and trade their living rooms for a trip to polar planets they’ve seen on TV, leading New Zealand travel company, Adventure World shares their pick of the top four Frozen Planet escapes - the coolest places to visit on the planet, as seen on screen.
1. Nosy at the Narwhal’s of Baffin Island, Northern Canada
Get up close and personal with the weirdly wonderful narwhals – the legendary horned whales aptly named the ‘Unicorns of the Sea’ and the undisputed stars of episode two of the series – with a trip to the barely explored Arctic wilderness of Baffin Island.
Baffin – the fifth largest island on the planet - is the place to spot not only these wacky horn-wielding whales but also an array of other Arctic animals, such as polar bears, caribou, foxes, seals, walruses and lemmings.
Discover this incredible Arctic archipelago and watch out for Narwhals on Adventure World’s epic 11 day / 10 night Arctic Safari Expedition Cruise, priced from $11,387*. Travelling aboard the Clipper Adventurer and around the icy waters of Baffin Island, highlights include marvelling at the breathtaking scenery and endless icy landscapes, spotting the Arctic’s ‘Big 5’ – walrus, seal, muskox, whale and polar bears –meeting the local Inuit residents, and of course, having a nosy at the narwhals.
2. Polar Bear viewing in Churchill, Canada
The town of Churchill, Manitoba, may be tiny and isolated (you can only reach it by rail or air) but it has one thing no other town in the world can lay claim to – polar bears.
Known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” and situated smack-bang in the middle of a polar bear migration route, nearly 1000 of these magnificent furry creatures come through Churchill every year from October through November, quickly outnumbering the 800 or so residents of this teensy Canadian town.
Come eye-to-eye with the incredible ‘Lords of the Arctic’ (from the safety of a Tundra Buggy) as they roam free around charming Churchill awaiting the waters of Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can feast, with Adventure World’s 6 day Polar Bear viewing package, priced from $6,954*.
3. Antarctic Cruise
Scarcely touched by humans, the Great White Continent of Antarctica boasts not only breathtakingly surreal scenery but an extraordinary and unique population of some of the planet’s most impressive wildlife.
From Adelie penguins to humpback whales and leopard seals, to magical towering mountains, gargantuan glaciers and luminous, dreamlike icebergs, a trip to this vast and icy continent will truly transport you to another world.
Embark on an epic journey to explore one of the most remote, pristine and wild places on the face of the earth with Oceanwide Expeditions’ 10 day Antarctica Peninsula Cruise, priced from $7838*.
Setting sail from Ushuaia, Argentina and crossing the Drake Passage, cruisers are treated to icebergs, glaciers, unspoiled islands and abundant birdlife en-route to Antarctica. While at sea, travellers can partake in a programme of lectures by naturalists ahead of expeditions to see gentoo penguins, imperial shags and even humpback whales. There are also scheduled visits to the British research station and the Ukrainian Vernadsky station for an insight into the lives of those living in this frozen wilderness.
4. The Arctic Circle and Barrow, Northern Alaska
David Attenborough may not have dipped his toes into the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean when the programme visited Barrow, Alaska, but you can.
Situated 530 kilometres above the Arctic Circle and plunged into complete darkness for around 65 days of the year, Barrow is one of the northernmost cities in the world - a place so extreme, so remote and so wild, it’s hard to believe anything can survive here – least of all humans.
Yet - as viewers of episode three will recall – the local Inupiaq people have called Barrow home for over 4,000 years, subsisting on seals, caribou, and bowhead whales in order to get by.
Cross the great Arctic Circle to Coldfoot and Prudhoe Bay to discover Alaska’s incredible Arctic Coast with Adventure World’s Arctic Ocean Adventure package, priced from $1,626*.
Discover what life is like in the harsh north and learn of the ceremonies and traditions of the local Inupiaq – including witnessing a demonstration of the traditional blanket toss (a ritual showcased on Frozen Planet that takes place at the end of the annual Spring whaling festival) with Adventure World’s Barrow Extension package, priced from $1,297*.
Fans wanting to follow in Attenborough’s footsteps and embark on a Frozen Planet journey of their own, can contact the experts at Adventure World on 0800 465 432 or visit www.adventureworld.co.nz
* All prices are per person, twin share. Terms and conditions apply.