If you weren’t one of the 280, 000 Australians who venture deep into Canada’s pristine wilderness last year, here’s a little reminder of why our Canadian buddies are so smug about their vastly beautiful country. Sure, there’s the stance on gun control and gay marriage (since 2005!), and Justin Trudeau as their prime minister (grrrr…) but there’s also the fact that 54% of Canada is covered in forests. Forests just waiting for you to explore, filled with bears, elk, hare, lynx, bobcats, deer…. And the best way to get to know a small pocket of this incredible land? By staying at one of these five remote wilderness lodges so you can hike, kayak and ski the backcountry.
Tin Cup Lodge, Yukon Territory (pictured above)
Just outside of Kluane National Park in the Yukon you’ll find the secluded Tin Cup Lodge on the banks of the Tincup Lake. The lodge is limited to just 8-10 people a week, and you’ll need to float plane in, but once you get here, you’ll probably start to forget your friends and family back home. It’s incredibly remote and beautiful, and surrounded by a huge number of easy to challenging hikes. Our tip is to hike overnight to Dogpack Lake Camp (above) where you can watch the sunset from your own personal rustic paradise.
Parc Adventures Cap Jaseux, Quebec
It doesn’t get more ‘wilderness’ than Parc Adventures Cap Jaseux. These guys take the concept of eco-lodges very seriously… and within minutes of arriving you’ll never want to leave your private treehouse suspended eight metres above the ground in the canopy. Or perhaps you’ll decide to stay in the futuristic silver domes hanging in the forest (above). These fantastic tree dwellings are cosy, light and offer birds’ eye views of the Fjord du Saguenay. To break a sweat while you’re there, you could chose to strap into a zipline adventure, go hiking with the Via Ferrata and explore the river system on a kayak.
Algonquin Eco-Lodge, Ontario
If you’re looking to get off the grid, this place is for you. Algonquin Eco-Lodge only 3 hours’ drive from Toronto and Ottowa, yet it’s so remote that electricity poles can’t reach it. Luckily, they have set up their own micro-hydro generator installed in a nearby waterfall to run the lodge, including hot showers, an outdoor wood-fired sauna, and even a carbon neutral hot tub. There’s over 40km of hiking/ ski trails in the area, horse-riding, kayaking and a huge array of wildlife to stalk. You’ll also hear wolves at night, and see moose during the day.
Skoki Lodge, Alberta
High in the alpines of Banff National Park, at the end of an eleven-kilometre trail (above) from Lake Louise, Skoki Lodge is surrounded by mountain ridges, valleys and deep lakes. This backcountry lodge, whose main building dates back to 1931, is only accessible by hiking or skiing, and has an elevation of 2,164 metres. Chef, Katie Mitzel, hovers over the wood-fired creating hearty meals from local ingredients for your stay. Think seafood chowder, ‘Alberta’ beef, and Canmore coffee. It’s not cheap to stay here, but it’s very much worth the coin. Start saving now.
Nimmo Bay Resort, British Columbia
Warning… you may have to rob a bank to stay here, as the only way to reach the luxury Nimmo Bay Resort in British Columbia is by helicopter, float plane or boat. Once there, your private heli-guide will escort you to glaciers, mountain tops, old growth forests, white sand beaches, pristine lakes, hot springs and isolated rivers. Or you could decide to go heli-hiking, swimming, rafting, drifting, fishing, or wildlife stalking. Then again, you also might choose to just chill out and look at that ridiculous view.
Getting there: Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver, connecting through to the eastern provinces. Check out their Canada travel deals and packages here.