Majesty Of The Northern Lights

18 April 2015

It's the middle of the night and I’m gazing at a sky heavy with stars sparkling like tiny searchlights. I’ve been waiting an hour for the mystical Northern Lights to appear and I’m beginning to fear disappointment when a subtle swirl of silver appears on the horizon.

The colour suddenly shoots across the black, spreading like ink in water, and the northern sky is instantly ablaze with rolling waves of neon green and yellow tipped by bolts of vibrant pink and purple.

This is the Yukon’s famed Aurora Borealis, the aerial show that happens outside the summer months in this remote territory of Canada, when the sun sets to drop a curtain of black and provide the stage for electric shades to illuminate the darkness.

 The Aurora Borealis illuminates the sky in Canada's Yukon province. Picture: Getty Images

There’s no schedule – the Northern Lights appear at random – so those plotting a Yukon adventure should plan a multi-day stay to allow time to linger and wait for the late-night display to commence. But spending time in the Yukon is no hardship, with ample activity to keep those based in Whitehorse and Dawson City entertained as they wait for night to settle.

Ride the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway; dive into Klondike Gold Rush history; join a team of huskies for sledding or hiking; cruise isolated lakes and stay in luxury wilderness lodges; visit national parks and see ancient glaciers; go snowmobiling or snowshoeing; and learn about local culture.

The Northern Lights are reason to visit the Yukon, but there’s more to this corner of Canada than a nocturnal lightshow.


While you're in the region, try an Alaskan cruise: America's Final Frontier

How to tackle these untamed lands: Conquer The Great White North


Consultant Pick

Rebecca Gregory

Senior Consultant at Flight Centre Mt Eliza, Victoria

From snow-capped mountains to colourful lakes and the famed Northern Lights, the Yukon is a destination filled with breathtaking scenery, says Flight Centre Mt Eliza senior consultant Rebecca Gregory.

"My experience in the Yukon was onboard a seven-night Alaska cruise from Vancouver," she says.

"When we arrived into Skagway Port, we had the option of booking a train journey shore excursion into Carcross or renting a car and doing the trip on our own.

"Renting the car not only worked out cheaper but gave us the flexibility to do what we wanted at our own pace.

"The drive from Skagway to Carcross is beautiful and the scenery changes every few minutes. One minute you'll see snow-capped mountains, another minute a beautiful blue lake and then a green lake! It's just magnificent.

 Emerald Lake is a must-see on any visit to the Yukon. Picture: Getty Images

"The hardest part about planning a trip to the Yukon is choosing when to go. Travelling in the summertime (late May to September) is best for wildlife viewing and it's light 24 hours a day, while travelling during winter means you have the chance to take in a viewing of the Northern Lights (October to April).

"The Yukon is great for wildlife viewing, with moose, elk, caribou and grizzly bears all around.

"I would definitely recommend Emerald Lake as a must-do for anyone visiting the Yukon. It is just stunning. And be sure to pop in to the Carcross Railway Station to get a Yukon bear stamp on your passport."

Get in touch with Rebecca:

Phone: 03 9787 4433
Email: rebecca.gregory@flightcentre.com.au
In store: 61 Mt Eliza Way, Mt Eliza VIC 3930

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Visit your local Flight Centre or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to the Yukon.

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Sarah Nicholson

Sarah Nicholson has been a journalist since 1999, combining her passion for writing and travel full time for the past six years, with work adventures taking her from South Africa's Sabi Sand Game Reserve to the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. While she has visited 57 countries on six continents, and snapped thousands of photos during her jaunts around the globe, Sarah's heart belongs to Asia with Vietnam topping her list of favourite destinations.