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The benefits of live yoghurt
23.03.2017

Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.

All-Star Yum Cha
22.03.2017

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017

Single-source honey putting community and sustainability next to sweetness.

Vermouth is having a moment
21.03.2017

More and more adventurous local winemakers are embracing Vermouth's botanicals, writes Max Allen.

Exploring Indonesia's Komodo National Park
21.03.2017

Indonesia's Komodo National Park is home to staggering scenery and biodiversity. Michael Harden sets sail in a handcrafted yacht to explore its remote islands in pared-back luxury.

The new cruises on the horizon in 2017
21.03.2017

Cue the Champagne.

Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Where Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best Chefs
20.03.2017

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Eyes to the Sky: Canada's Northern Lights

It’s often called Mother Nature’s light show; a natural phenomenon that lights up the night sky with spectacular colours.

The Northern Lights can be seen from Newfoundland to Nunavut, and from the heart of Yukon to the farthest northern reaches of Québec.

 

Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, seems magical, like something conjured up by playful fairies waving sparkling wands in the night. The scientific explanation for the unforgettable light show, however, is electrons and protons colliding with gases as far up as 500 kilometres above the Earth's surface creating flashes of colourful light that span the spectrum from green to blue to purple and yellow. Billions of flashes can occur in rapid succession, and so it seems the lights are dancing across the sky.

 

Best seen in the far northern hemisphere, Aurora-spotting is a great excuse to plan a trip to Canada since northern parts of the vast country have the highest probability of seeing the lights. Experienced tour operators in Yukon's Whitehorse and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories even boast a 90 per cent light-peeping success rate.

 

Prime Aurora season coincides with the winter months - experts say the best time to visit is from late-September to late-March - and the cooler weather opens the door to unforgettable experiences. Rug up and enjoy the lights in the great outdoors: fly-fishing under the starry sky in far northern Québec is certainly worth writing home about. Or let the Aurora light your way on a cross-country ski adventure in Yukon. You need darkness to see the lights, and here, miles from the nearest big city, you'll find it.

 

The Northern Lights can shine so bright, they have lit the way for dog-sledders and snowmobilers in remote northern regions of Canada for generations. For many indigenous Inuit, the connection to the Aurora is spiritual and profound. They believe that if you listen carefully, the lights sing to you, a song as old as time. Listen with them in silence in Nunavut and you'll walk away with a new appreciation for the mysteries of nature.

 

If you crave creature comforts with your adventure, cosy up in a charming lodge in the Northwest Territories and light-peep through the windows, or stare up at the sky, whiskey in hand, from the warmth of an outdoor hot tub.

 

While the temptation will be great to snap a million pictures, the fast-moving and often quite subtle Northern Lights demand your full attention. But if you're serious about taking photos, professional photographers recommend an SLR camera, good-quality film and a slow shutter speed. A tripod is a good idea.

 

Mother Nature being an unpredictable dame, it's not easy to know in advance when the lights will be at their best and brightest. Give yourself at least a few days on the ground in northern Canada and keep an eye on auroraforecast.com and aurorawatch.ca for up-to-the-minute tracking of the lights' progress.

 

Accommodation options range from Yukon wilderness cabins near Whitehorse, such as Sundog Retreat, to upscale lodges such as Inn on the Lake, which has featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine. The cabins at Tagish Wilderness Lodge in Yukon are accessible only by boat, floatplane, skiplane or dog-sled, and at luxury Yellowknife eco-lodge, Blachford Lake Lodge, a true wilderness immersion experience awaits.

 

 

Presented by Destination Canada.

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