Thanks to its splendid isolation Churchill is a wonderfully
idiosyncratic place - a true frontier town on the edge of the
Arctic Circle and with a fascinating history as a major trading
post. This is a place where the temperature can plummet to -50
degrees C and the trees grow no higher than seven foot tall; where
the frogs seem to have antifreeze running through their blood, and
where polar bears roam the streets at night before being swiftly
locked up in Churchill's polar bear jail!
During October and November you can head out into the tundra on
specially adapted tundra buggies, which offer the opportunity to
see the congregating polar bears up close in their natural
environment. You may even find them peering in through your window.
Being able to spend hours on end with these majestic animals is
unforgettable but there are also Arctic hare, Arctic fox,
camouflaged ptarmigan, and - if you're really lucky - snowy owl and
gyrfalcon to spot as well. Other activities include dog-sledding,
helicopter rides over Hudson Bay, historical tours and lectures and
trips to that Polar Bear Jail to see the latest miscreants.
In July and August you can also see polar bears - albeit in
fewer numbers - they normally found further up the Hudson Bay
coastline, so you are most likely to see them on a boat trip, and
may even see them hunting. And if this wasn't attraction enough,
this time sees the arrival of Beluga whales who migrate into Hudson
Bay. These incredible creatures are so at ease with humans that
it's possible to kayak and even snorkel with them (in a dry suit -
this is as still the Arctic, after all).
Churchill is also a twitcher's paradise from May to August when
a large number of bird species are in residence in the region, and
in the second half of August you might be lucky enough to see the
Northern Lights. As before, you can also enjoy helicopter and
seaplane flights and dog-sledding (but this time on carts not
sledges!) and specialist botanist tours. The only draw back to
travelling in the summer months are the mosquitoes and bugs.
Unfortunately, they just come with the territory and as a reminder
you are well and truly in the wilderness.