Alaska - Frontier Wildlife Adventure
Denali Wilderness, Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island
Inside Passage Voyage
HIGHLIGHTS: Floatplane Tours, Alaska Railroad GoldStar Journey, Alaska Nature Guides, Six days’ Kenai Peninsula Adventures, Glacier Boat Cruises, Kodiak Island Bears, Inside Passage Voyage, Photographic Workshops
| Trip duration: 26 Days
||Tour Code: 1AK15
||Date: 27 May - 21 June 2015
|Cost: US$8950 Twin Share + Airfares
||Included Extras: All meals + Itinerary activities.
Australia / Alaska USA
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Depart Sydney (SYD) 13:40 on Virgin flight VA1 arrive Los Angeles (LAX) at 10:30
Depart LAX 13:50 on Alaskan Airlines flight AS465 arrive Seattle (SEA) at 16:28
Depart SEA 18:00 on Alaskan Airlines flight AS129 arrive Fairbanks (FAI) Alaska at 20:26
We will be transferred to the Bridgewater Hotel where we will enjoy some of the famous Alaskan cuisine, before retiring for a great night’s, well-earned sleep.
Thursday 28th May 2015: Fairbanks
After a leisurely breakfast we will travel to the dock and board the genuine paddle wheeler “Discover 111” at 13:00 for a three-hour, very highly recommended cruise and cultural tour along the Fairbanks River
Friday 29th May 2015: Fairbanks to Denali State Park (B)
After an early breakfast this morning we will walk the 400 metres to the Fairbanks’ Railway Station where we will board the Alaskan Railroads “Denali Star” departing Fairbanks at 08:15 for a stunning, scenic, journey to Denali State Park, Arriving at Talkeetna in the late afternoon.
We will be enjoying GoldStar First Class Service for the entire three legs of our Denali Star train journey. We will be travelling in exclusive double-deck dome cars on the Denali Star. GoldStar guests ride in the first passenger cars for the best views on the train.
The upper-level dome enhances your experience with forward-facing seats that rotate to accommodate families, a private bar, and an exclusive viewing deck – the only one of its kind in the world!
GoldStar Service features:
- Confirmed seat in the upper-level dome car
- Complimentary coffee, soda, or tea served at your seat
- Priority seating in the lower-level 36 seat dining room, showcasing original Alaska artwork
- Private outdoor viewing deck - the only one of its kind and just great for photography
- A full-time bar attendant is available to those looking for libations
Friday 29th May to Tuesday 2nd June 2015: Denali State Park
We will be met at Talkeetna and transferred to our accommodation for the next four nights, Friday 29th thru 1st June, in the spectacularly located Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. We will set out each day from here on our exploration of Denali State Park.
We will be accompanied by Alaska Nature Guides over the next three days. Our time will be spent outside and south of the Denali National Park in the Denali State Park. We will enjoy one half plus two full and day adventure tours with our guides. Alaska Nature Guides have decades of experience as Rangers & Naturalists working within the Denali National Park; they choose to conduct their guided adventures in the Denali State Park, in areas that are prolific with wildlife and far less prolific with human visitors. There are no fences around the National Park; the wildlife wanders freely, especially into the area where we will be on safari.
We will have the opportunity to observe and photograph the wildlife whilst on safari, our guides are also accomplished photographers in their own right and they are only too happy to share their expertise with us.
We will also be able to marvel at and photograph the spectacular Alaskan scenery including Mt McKinley, which at 6,200 metres towers majestically in the surrounding mountain range.
Enjoy a flight to the Mt McKinley Base Camp with a (weather permitting) Glacier Landing. There are six major glaciers on the south side, and so much to explore. This flight encompasses the south, east & west faces of Mt. McKinley, winding through the three major peaks: Mt. McKinley, Foraker, and Hunter and the climber base camp.
The Grand Denali with Glacier Landing air-tour goes all the way around Mt. McKinley so that you can see both the south and north sides of the mountain, as well as the Wickersham wall—one of the highest vertical rises on the planet. The total trip time is 2 hours
Tuesday 2nd June 2015: Talkeetna to Anchorage
We will bid farewell to our naturalist and photographic guides at Talkeetna Railway Station where we will board the Alaskan Railroads “Denali Star” departing at 16:40 for another stunning, three hour journey to Anchorage arriving in the evening. We will walk the 400 metres to the Grand Hotel check-in and enjoy dinner before retiring for a well-earned sleep.
Wed. 3rd June 2015: Anchorage to Seward via Whittier on the Kenai Peninsula (B)
We will be travelling in mini buses for the next ten days whilst we explore the frontier Alaskan wilderness that is the Kenai Peninsular
This morning after breakfast, we will depart Anchorage around 09:00 and travel south on the Seward Highway. We will turn eastward off the highway and travel a short distance to the Porterage Glacier and the associated interpretive centre. After around one hour we will depart the Glacier and proceed to the Homer road and rail Tunnel (we will need to time this, as the tunnel is one way alternating with road traffic as well as trains. We will exit the tunnel at the seaside port of Whittier, and then enjoy a stroll around the town and have lunch on the waterfront.
We will travel back through the Homer Tunnel to the highway and travel around four hours, including stops for photography, to the seaport of Seward.
We will check-in to the beautiful Hotel Seward overlooking the waterfront; this will be our home for the next two nights.
Thursday 4th June 2015: Seward Wildlife and Glacier Boat Cruise (B,L)
We have booked an exclusive small ship cruise for just our group. This is a custom Alaska wildlife photography trip to suit our particular interests. We will take extra time for viewing and photographing whales, sea lions, bird rookeries and other abundant wildlife of Kenai Fjords National Park.
The captain will tailor the route to match the desires of the group and wildlife concentration for the given day. We will be spending more time out on the water than the normal 200 person cruisers, allowing us the chance to see more of what we've come to see. Continental Breakfast and Lunch is included onboard
The route for our birding and wildlife photography cruise varies, often including destinations such as Aialik Glacier and Northwestern Fjord. Because of the limited group size, our captain will match the specific route to the desires of the group.
Photographers, birders and nature enthusiasts love the intimate experience that the small ships provide as we explore the pristine waters of the Chiswell Islands in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.
We will depart the Seward waterfront on our small ship at 08:30 returning some 9 hours later at 17:30, we will stroll back to our hotel, freshen up before dinner, then afterwards return to our hotel for the night.
Friday 5th June 2015: Seward to Soldotna via Coopers Landing
We will depart Seward around 09:00 retracing our path back-up the Seward Highway and then turn-off to the west arriving shortly after at the Exit Glacier, where we will enjoy a leisurely guided walk right up to within metres of the Glacier.
We will depart the Exit Glacier and continue our drive northward arriving at Cooper’s Landing in time for lunch, then we will continue our journey to Soldotna, arriving there in the afternoon.
We will check-in at Soldotna to the stunningly located Soldotna B&B Lodge, which will be our home for the next three nights as well as being one of our bases for further exploration and adventure on the Kenai Peninsula. Soldotna B & B owner & his pet “budgie”
Monday 8th to Friday 12th June 2015
We will depart Soldotna this morning for the leisurely two-hour drive to Homer, where we will be staying on a 17-acre property overlooking the Kenai coast and glacier. Herewe will stay for four nights in the unique, quirky and beautifulAlaska Adventure Cabins
We will use the largest cabin, the “Bear’s Den” as our common meeting area. Evening drinks and nibbles will be rotated amongst the other four cabins.
This property will be our home base for many of the adventure and sightseeing activities on the Kenai Peninsula.
The views from each cabin will be superb, so I suspect that there will be a bit of “kicking back” here and just enjoying it all.
The Alaska Adventure Cabins are located high on the hill on the approaches to Homer.
We will have the opportunity to spend a night or two “out on the town” in Homer, as well as time in the comfort of our own cabins. Everyone will be spoilt for choice.
Saturday 6th to Thursday 11th June 2015: Six days of Adventure on the Kenai (B)
Some of the activities we will be enjoying are:
- Guided “drift boating” wildlifephotography tour down the upper reaches of the Kenai River
- Guided Swanson River wildlife canoeing tour.
- Guided one-hour leisurely walk to the Russian River Falls to hopefully observe bears fishing.
- Visit the Kenai Wildlife Visitors Centre, then enjoy a guided tour of the Kenai Wildlife Refuge.
- Halibut fishing day out of Anchor Point or another drift boat wildlife tour.
- From Homer, the southernmost point of the Kenai Peninsula, and thence a 90 minute boat wildlife cruise down a picturesque chain of islands to the quaint, fishing village of Soldovia.
Rainbow Tours a 7-hour fully narrated tour to the community of Soldovia. We will depart at 10:30 with our first stop at Gull Island seabird rookery, home to 15,000 seabirds. This island features eight pelagic seabird species thatcome there every year to nest. Bald eagles and other species of birds can also be seen frequently throughout the summer months. Truly a birder's paradise!
Then we will venture towards the Eldred Passage where many sea otters, bald eaglesand ducks can be seen. Throughout your tour the sights and sounds of Kachemak Bay will surround you. Your captain and crew continuously narrate to you the history, geography and wildlife biology pertaining to Kachemak Bay.
The trained and educated crew will be there to provide information and do their best to ensure your questions and curiosities are fulfilled. The Rainbow Tours family pride themselves by providing you with the highest level of comfort during your voyage. From the passage we then head to the community of Soldovia.
The tour can take about 1.5 hours. Humpback and Orca sightings can be seen, however; this is time dependent due to the presence of their food resource. When we arrive in Soldovia we will open up 3 hours to explore this beautiful and quaint Alaskan community. You'll find restaurants and cafes for lunch, trails to hike, boardwalks to stroll and always shopping. You may even catch a salmon from the slough. Departure will be at 4 pm to Homer with an arrival time of 5:30. If we see Whales on the way back we may be delayed.
Friday 12th June 2015: Homer to Anchorage via Hope then to Kodiak (B)
We will travel back to Anchorage on the Seward Highway, calling in the tiny community and town of Hope where we will have morning tea. We will then travel to Anchorage arriving at the airport around 13:00, where you will unload with our entire luggage whilst your guides return the two hire vans.
Friday 12th June 2015: Anchorage to Kodiak
We will be flying from Anchorage to Kodiak this afternoon, during the flight, if weather permits we will enjoy magnificent views of thechain of volcanoes “The Thousand Smokes” from the starboard side of the aircraft, whilst on the port side equally fabulous views of the Kenai Peninsula will be available.
Depart ANC 15:05 on AK49 16:05 arrive Kodiak (ADQ)
We will be transferred to our accommodationfor the next three nights, the Best Western Hotel
Saturday 12th & Sunday 14th June 2015: Kodiak Floatplane Bear Tours (B)
We will be picked up from our hotel and transferred to the seaplane base. Today we will embark on the first of our seaplane wildlife tours, a half-day adventure and bear spotting tour. These tours are usually focused on area with the most bear activity, and at this time of the year this will be on the Katmai coast
On our second day we will view Kodiak Bears and other wildlife on a guided half-day floatplane trip, once again on the Katmai coast. Both days we will be flying over the Alaskan untamed wilderness, with plenty ofphotographic opportunities from the high-winged aircraft during the flights
Kodiak Island Wildlife
Sea, land and bird life are abundant on the Kodiak Island Archipelago and the Katmai Coast. Animals you may see include bear, red fox, short-tailed weasel (ermine), little brown bats, tundra vole and river otters. Introduced species include snowshoe hare, mountain goat, Sitka black-tailed deer, arctic ground squirrel, Roosevelt elk, muskrat, red squirrel and beaver.
If you are a bird watcher, Kodiak is the place for you! Common birds include fox sparrows, golden-crowned kinglets, winter wrens, pine siskin, water pipits, and rock willow ptarmigan. Large numbers of eagles can be spotted along the Kodiak waterfront in fall and winter. Sea birds, ducks and geese are everywhere; including Steller's and King Eider, Old Squaw and Harlequin Ducks, Horned and Tufted Puffins, and Black-Legged Kittiwakes. Marine mammals include Steller Sea Lions and Sea Otters. Fin, Minke, Humpback, Killer, and Gray whales can be found in the waters of Kodiak.
Enjoy this YouTube video from Andrews Aviation Kodiak Bear Tours by clicking link below
Monday 15th June 2015: Kodiak via Anchorage to Juneau
We will have a free morning on Kodiak Island, a chance to relax or enjoy a walk around the waterfront. A late lunch is in order before we fly out this afternoon
Depart Kodiak (ADQ) 16:50 on AK40 17:44 arrive ANC depart 18:45 on AK74 arrive 20:24 Juneau (JNU)
Tuesday 16th June 2015: Juneau to Bellingham Washington via the Inside Passage
We will transfer from the airport to near the ferry terminal, and here enjoy our last great meal on Alaskan soil. We have a late and not too rowdy night tonight, no point in getting a hotel as we have very early start this morning, we will need to check onto our home for the next four days and three nights, the Alaskan Ferry “M.V. Columbia” at 00:15 (just after midnight), as she sets sail at 02:15.
"M.V. Columbia" Schedule:
- Tue. 16/06: Depart Juneau 02:15 arrive 11:45 Sitka.
- Tue. 16/06: Depart Sitka 14:15.
- Wed. 17/06 arrive 00:45 Petersburg, depart 02:45, arrive 05:45
- Wed. 17/06 depart 05:45 Wrangell arrive 12:45 Ketchikan, depart 17:00
We will have a good 5-hours to explore Ketchikan before re-boarding for the beautiful voyage southward taking the “Inside Passage” all theway to Bellingham.
- Fri. 19/06 arrive 08:00 Bellingham
The "M.V. Columbia" is the flagship, and the largest of the Alaska Ferries fleet. She is 130 metres long and carries 600 passengers.
The "M.V. Columbia" is not a cruise ship, she is operated by the State of Alaska, and provides a vital link in the transport system of Alaska, as she plies the waters of the AlaskanMarine Highway.
However, she does traverse the normal "Cruise Ship" route plus so much more, and the viewing opportunities are the same or even better as she visits ports off the normal tourist routes.
Our cabins are outfitted with double bunk bed style berths and include private bathroom facilities and external window.
There is a full-service dining room that features entrees of fresh Alaskan Seafood. There is also a self-service dining area, which has Alaskan seafood, salads, sandwiches and beverage available.
There are plenty of viewing areas available for observing the wildlife and magnificent scenery of the Inside Passage. Naturalists will be onboard to acquaint travellers with Alaska’s natural and cultural history through onboard programs.
We will travel a sea journey east & southward down the entire length of Alaska’s famous “Inside Passage”. We travel inside Prince Rupert and Vancouver Islands, this has to be one of the great voyages on our planet
Friday 19th June 2015: Bellingham – Portland – Los Angeles - Sydney
Bellingham 14:00 AK2361 14:58 Portland (PDX) 17:30 AK562 17:30 LAX 20:10 VA2 06:15 SYD 21st June
Small Group Tour, maximum 18 plus 2 guides
Accommodation based on double/twin
2 nights’ accom. Bridgewater Hotel Fairbanks
Paddlewheel Riverboat Cultural Cruise
Alaskan Railroad Denali Star GoldStar Journey
4 nights’ accom. Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Aircraft Sightseeing and Glacier Landing Tour
3 days Denali State Park Photographic Safaris
1 night’s accom. Grand Hotel, Anchorage
9 days Road transport on Kenai Peninsula
2 nights’ accom. Hotel Seward
3 nights’ accom. Soldotna B&B Lodge
4 nights’ accom. Alaska Adventure Cabins, Homer
Drift Boat and Canoe Tours
Two full day Glacier & Wildlife Boat Cruises
Russian River Falls Tour
Halibut Fishing Day (or extra Drift Boat Tour)
3 night’s accom. Best Western Hotel, Kodiak
Kodiak Island Grizzly Bear Floatplane Tours
4 days Inside Passage Voyage on MV “Columbia”
Meals as per itinerary
|COST NOT INCLUDED:
ESTA - US Visa fees
Alaska Fishing Licence (Required if you’re fishing)
International / Domestic airfares
Meals & drinks other than specified
Gratuities and Personal Travel Insurance