Drawn to natural beauty in Canada’s Yukon

by Friday, August 17, 2018

Greetings from Dawson City, in the heart of The Yukon, Canada.

If anyone’s heard of Jack London, the adventurer not the designer, you’ll know exactly where I am. This is seriously out there, true wilderness country, that tests one’s strength of character, where the temps reach -40 degrees and the shoe of choice is insulated Mutluks. I’m loving meeting the locals here, who are drawn to an energy provided by the extraordinary natural beauty.

I came to Dawson to do a story on an old gold mining town and have discovered so much more. A tiny place at the base of the mountains, settled on The Yukon river, that is rich beyond belief. Where between 1896-1899 Dawson made around $29 million dollars, by fortune seekers from around the world who had no idea how harsh the climate here was.

This tiny town has kept its old buildings, treasured it’s past and is reaping the rewards now of curious travellers like myself. Dawson City is built on a layer of permafrost, where the old buildings fold in on themselves when the ground heats up too much and all goes to mush. New buildings are now all built on stilts to survive the ever-moving frozen base. Gold mining is still the number one industry here, tourism a close second, but I’ve found there’s also a thriving music industry, a wonderful creative community and seriously good food.

I’ll be taking you, for the next few weeks, on my last cruise for the year, through Canada and Alaska as we make our way to the Arctic Circle. To those who’ve followed my many cruises this year as I write my book, thank you for your patience in sticking with me. I’ve reached the homeward stretch of writing and I’m thrilled you’ll also be seeing this story on “Getaway” as we join this Scenic cruise.

Heading to The Arctic is seriously popular as travellers have become cultural explorers. They want more than perfectly placed hotels amongst sanitised wilderness and yearn for authenticity, a certain quietness and I’ve found this is a really popular cruise for solo travellers who’ll be amongst like-minded souls.

If you love your wildlife, you may have seen on my Instagram (catrionarowntree & journeystocome) the beautiful creatures I literally came face to face with at the 1000-acre Yukon Wildlife Preserve. I was fascinated by these animals’ remarkable feet! So unusual, yet built to withstand this famously frozen terrain. Is that weird to say?

You my have also heard my story, of filming my final piece in Whitehorse, out on this beautiful bluff overlooking the raging Yukon, when three bears (a mummy and her cubs) literally tumbled out of the woods to where we were standing. Truly, I had just been talking about the kind of traveller loon for an authentically wild experience when on cue those wild bears came towards me. I hope you don’t mind that my cameraman made a hasty retreat. Our amazing Guide Teena, from Who What Where travel, insisted we head off immediately as, “Those Mumma’s are the worst kind, protecting their babies!”. I understood. Respect to the Mummas.

So, if you’re up for adventure and great stories, stick with me kid!

Happy travels to you, too.


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ASK THE CONCIERGE: Nicolas Avril, Peninsula Paris 

Concierge Nicolas Avril was born in a town in western France where he lived until he was 20 years old. Before joining The Peninsula Paris one and a half years ago, he had worked for a couple of international hotel chains in Paris and also worked for a couple of years in Switzerland. What a privilege to take a tour of the highlights of this wonderful city, with someone who knows it inside out… READ MORE

COME FLY WITH ME: La La Land, with Donna Demaio

“One of my favourite travel destinations is Los Angeles. I have visited every year for eight years for the G’day USA event that celebrates Aussies in America. But LA is so much more than Hollywood. I relax there. I eat there. I shop there. I connect with people. I believe LA can be misunderstood by many who perhaps haven’t taken the time or had the inclination to discover the fun and beauty of La La Land.” READ MORE

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“I’m watching your ‘Getaway’ trip to Egpyt and Jordan on 9 now … We have just booked a 13-day tour of Egypt in March to celebrate my husband’s 65th birthday. I have to tell you, I am loving your travel wardrobe on these episodes, gorgeous as usual, and would appreciate not only some advice on where you got some of your dresses from but some hints and tips on what to pack.” READ MORE

PODCAST: Put in some earbuds & transport yourself 

Need some travel inspiration? Feel like taking a trip but need to batten down the hatches at the moment? Put in your earbuds and take a journey, with us… We have criss-crossed Asia and the Middle East in our podcasts so, if you missed an episode, take a moment to play catch-up before our next series of unmissable podcasts heads your way! LISTEN HERE


Bon Voyage,


P.S. Catriona’s Scoopon Deal o’ the Week – Hit the slopes of the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere with a two or three-night stay at The Station with two Perisher lift passes per person, 50% off ski and board hire and 30% off ski and snowboard lessons.
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