Russia was the first European nation to stake a claim over the territory of Alaska. However, the Russians never fully realised Alaska’s potential and the European super-power sold the land to the United States for $7.2 million in 1867. Interest in the 49th state blossomed during a gold rush beginning in the 1890s. Today, America benefits from oil and gas deposits, which dominate around 80 per cent of the state’s revenue. The appeal for visitors is the unaffected wilderness and the incredible opportunities to observe endemic wildlife and native flora.
It’s safe to say that Alaska is a summer destination for tourists. Most visitors come between July and August with the shoulder months of May and September still offering mild temperatures to explore the region. In summer the mercury rises to an average of 18 degrees in Juneau and Anchorage. In winter temperatures drop below zero and snow covers the landscape.
The humble dogsled was once a popular method of transportation in the winter months but has now become a popular sport typified by the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a 1850km trail from Anchorage to Nome. Beginning in 1973, the record was set in 2011 with a time of eight days, 19 hours, 46 minutes and 39 seconds.
Anchorage and Juneau have International Airports. There are no direct flights from Australia to Alaska. Most airlines fly via Los Angeles and usually another America city before heading to Alaska. Airlines that fly to Alaska include:
Flights from Sydney to Los Angeles take around 14 hours. Direct flights from LAX to Anchorage take just under six hours.
For a more complete experience, consider an all-inclusive Alaskan cruise.
Alaska’s luxury hotels and resorts provide an oasis amongst thrilling scenery. Warm up in heated rooms, relax in comfortable surroundings and indulge with a dip in the hotel’s heated pool and spas.
A luxury cruise through unspoilt pristine beauty can be the perfect way to begin a life together. Many luxury liners offer special services to honeymooners. View Cruise Honeymoon options
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
Alaska is an adventure and nature paradise that is best explored by boat or hiking. Consider making the trip to the Denali National Park near Anchorage to enjoy views across to Mt McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. The Portage Glacier located adjacent to Turnagain Arm, 50 miles southeast of Anchorage, is a popular boating excursion.
On Jan Mayen Island, naturalists will enjoy spotting the 75 species of vascular plant, 176 species of moss, 66 species of fungi and 140 species of lichen. Ninety-eight bird species have been sighted by the weather station staff, however it’s believed that only 22 species have a significant presence including the fulmar, the black-and-white polar guillemot and the puffin.
Located 19km from Juneau, the famous Mendenhall Glacier makes a great excursion. Also near Juneau, hike up the six-mile, 3,819-foot ascent to the summit of Mount Roberts or give your feet a rest and take the tramway direct to the top for the jaw-dropping views.
In Skagway, admire the incredibly well-preserved buildings from a by-gone era. Meander along the boardwalks, take in some window shopping and admire the lilacs if you arrive in May. As a day trip take a ride on the turn of the century White Pass & Yukon railroad in an historic parlour car, climbing from sea level to 2,865 feet in just 20 miles.
Don't leave home without...
The largest city in the region is Anchorage with a population of almost 300,000. While basic amenities are available, luxury and speciality items may not be easily found. So whatever you need to make your holiday comfortable, you will need to bring from home.
A camera to capture those magical Alaskan moments is essential.
When exploring the region the only thing you should leave are footprints and the only thing you should take with you are memories. Needless to say, never leave rubbish behind and do not pick the native flora, regardless of how beautiful it is.
Things to be careful of…
Alaska’s weather is highly volatile. If you do embark on a trek ensure that you have all the necessary supplies and a good map. Always notify the authorities of longer expeditions.
While most people are aware that bears can be dangerous, moose can be equally aggressive.