THE wilds of Alaska can seem very remote and a far way from the rest of the United States, but that hasn’t stopped travellers wanting to experience this incredible region. We asked TravelManagers’ Bev Edwards her thoughts on Alaska.
Is there much interest among Australians for travel to Alaska?
Yes, it’s consistently a popular destination amongst my clients. As well as lots heading to Alaska for the first time, many are returning for another trip to see more. This last year I’ve had a few that have had at least three weeks there and still want more.
What are the must-see highlight for first-time travellers?
The Arctic Circle, the Inside Passage and Denali National Park I’d say would be your top three. For the Arctic I’d suggest clients fly up and tour back, which allows you to maximise your time, get that iconic photo opportunity at the Arctic Circle and then hear local stories, see the Alaska Pipeline and learn about Alaska’s unique flora and fauna. In Denali make sure to take the time to venture deep into the park, not just a day trip. Stay at a wilderness lodge and do some walks. Alaska is also famous for its sealife, so taking a kayak trip is a great way to experience this.
Is cruising or touring more popular?
Cruising is the first choice for many, however it is good to point out the land options and balance the trip with both. You are travelling a long way, so always add as much time as you can to allow both land and sea to your clients’ itinerary.
Is there any particular time of year that is best or most popular to travel to Alaska?
This really depends on the experience your clients are looking for. Spring and autumn can offer a bit of both, wildlife and the possibility of northern lights. I wouldn’t discount anytime of the year.
Is there an itinerary you recommend?
My philosophy is to work with individual clients rather than one standard suits all. I try to incorporate train through the interior, cruise and the Arctic Circle with a local community visit. And then some time in the Kenai Peninsula for maximum wildlife opportunities.
What do you love about Alaska?
Wilderness, spectacular scenery as far as the eye can see. It has that sense of being “the last frontier”. Wildlife galore, and welcoming locals. Indigenous cultural opportunities and that pioneering spirit in more recent history too. Did I mention the food…salmon, salmon and salmon!