THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN, JULY 17-18, 2010 www.theaustralian.com.au

Strange and exotic bedfellows

For cosiness, try the Onondaga submarine, now a hotel
of Montreal, close to the border with the US state of Vermont. Lighting is supplied by solar panels and there are comfortable double bunks. When you climb down, you could try a spot of moonlight kayaking or hike the trails in the nearby Park Sutton and Green Mountain Nature Reserve. Not for nothing is this area known as Little Switzerland. More: audiablevert.ca. Guilty, as charged: Spend a night in jail at the Old Prison of TroisRivieres in Quebec; it has been a historic monument since 1978. Your guestroom is a cell and your guides are former inmates. On arrival, guests are greeted by the warden, booked, fingerprinted and photographed before being hauled off to the incarceration wing. The ex-prisoner guides describe what life was like in this jail, which was built in 1822 and, before closing in 1986, was the oldest correctional facility in Canada. Before check-out there’s a typical prison breakfast of toast and porridge and your file will be marked ‘‘released’’. You need to be part of a group of at least 15 guests to spend the night. More: enprison.com.

Canada has a range of delightfully odd places to stay, from igloos to prison cells
STARRY, starry nights: Fall asleep contemplating the stars in a hut on the summit of the world’s first dark-sky reserve in Mont Megantic, Quebec. In an area dedicated to preserving the night sky, peer through outdoor telescopes and giant binoculars at the Astrolab or go on a torchlit night hike on some of the 75km of forest trails. In winter you can snowshoe or cross-country ski to reach the summit, at an altitude of more than 1000m. During summer months, the doors of the research observatory are thrown open on Friday nights for the public to gaze through the most powerful telescope in eastern Canada. The hut at the top of Megantic sleeps eight or, for a cosier experience, the Mont St Joseph hut sleeps two. The Parc National du Mont-Megantic is in the Eastern Townships and is a three-hour drive from either Montreal or Quebec City. More: astrolab-parc-nationalmont-megantic.org. White on: Or how about a hotel made of ice and snow? The hot tub is recommended before crawling into a sleeping bag on your ice bed; temperatures could be as low as -30C. Quebec’s Ice Hotel is popular with couples who marry in the ice chapel; the chief executive, Jacques Desbois, is a snow fanatic and started out building igloos for his kids in their backyard. He is one of a handful of ice-hotel owners across the world whose properties melt just a few months after being rebuilt each year. You might have to unstick your boots from the frozen floor and a hot breakfast, served at the warmer Auberge Duchesnay up the hill, will never be so welcome. Open January-April. More: icehotel-canada.com. Branch out: Sleep with bluejays, chickadees and woodpeckers in a rustic treehouse complete with kitchen, including wood-burning stove and hot-water tank. The Paradise Perch and Eagle’s Nest treehouses can each sleep up to four guests at Au Diable Vert in the Sutton Mountains southeast


The Hotel de Glace in Quebec is built every year and operates from January to April for a genuine sub-zero experience. The hotel even has an ice chapel where wedding ceremonies take place

Fly buy: APT has launched three free flight to Canada offers for bookings made by October 15 on a range of Canada and Alaska products in 2011. There are complimentary return airfares for passengers booking any Majestic Rockies & Alaska cruise and for April packages of 21 days or more. Companions of booked passengers fly free from May to September on holiday deals of 21 days or more. Air taxes of $400 are included. More: 1300 656 985; aptouring.com.au. West is best: Trafalgar has an 11-day Best of Canada’s West escorted coach tour that includes the sites of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the city of Victoria, Banff, the Icefields Parkway, a selection of national parks and Jasper. From $2899 a person, twin-share (land only), covering first-class hotels, sightseeing, luxury coach travel, daily breakfasts and selected meals. There’s also the option of an eight-night Alaskan Glacier Bay Inside Passage Cruise aboard a five-star Holland America cruise ship. This 19-day combination starts at $4447 a person, twinshare (excluding airfares). Valid for travel to September 7. More: trafalgartours.com.au. Legends in the fall: Oceania Cruises is offering two New England and Canada cruises aboard the 684-passenger Regatta that promise beautiful autumn foliage at the most picturesque ports on the eastern seaboard. The 12-day Colours, Coasts & Coves cruise promotes a taste of French culture and cuisine, New England hospitality and Canadian and US history. Port tour highlights include a horse-drawn excursion around Quebec City. From $4460 a person, twin-share; departures are September 30 and October 12, 2011. More: (02) 9959 1370; oceaniacruises.com.au. Luxury ahoy: Silversea is offering an epic 32-day cruise from Stockholm to New York in August 2011, taking in some of the highlights of northern Europe and the Baltic, as well as Canada; shorter sectors are also available from seven to 14 days. The Canadian ports are St Johns in Newfoundland and Sydney and Halifax in Nova Scotia. Allinclusive cruise fare from $17,251 a person, double occupancy. The cruise cost includes airfare credits from $675 to $900, butler service, gourmet dining, fine wines, spirits and champagne, and a program of on-board lectures. More: (02) 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872; silversea.com. Picture this: Keen photographers, listen up. Your picture could be on the cover of the 2011 Conde Nast Canada calendar. There are Flip Ultra video cameras to win and all entrants go into a draw for a Canada holiday; closes July 30. More: cntraveller.com/ promotions/canada.

The hot tub is recommended before crawling into a sleeping bag on your ice bed
Way down under: Experience the life of a submariner by sleeping in the submarine Onondaga, one of the last to protect Canadian waters during the Cold War. Sixty men used to spend three months in these cramped quarters, which measure 90m in length. The Onondaga travelled the equivalent of more than 23 trips around the world during 33 years of service. It now rests at Pointe-au-Pere in Rimouski, in the heart of the stunning Lower Saint Lawrence region of Quebec, known for its lighthouses, islands and whales. Before bed you can take part in simulated activities that include a search for surface vessels, launching of torpedos, a diving drill and an escape after a sinking in deep water. More: shmp.qc.ca. Handyman’s delight: For the complete DIY approach, build your own hotel room out of snow. Igloo-building trips in the Coast Mountain Range of British Columbia take place in a snow

Doing time at the Old Prison of Trois-Rivieres in Quebec
meadow. You begin with a gentle climb using snowshoes and are instructed in the nomadic art of igloo-making. It takes four or five hours to build an igloo and hot drinks are supplied as you cut blocks of snow and build them in a spiral to form sleeping quarters. Then there’s dinner in the snow kitchen under the stars before retiring to one’s own igloo. Westcoast Adventures, which runs the igloo-building trips, claims it’s ‘‘the ultimate Canadian experience’’. More: westcoast-adventures.com. Your yurt or mine: About 32km deep in the wilderness of the Canadian Yukon, travellers can sleep in a luxury yurt and listen to wolves howling in the night at the end of a day of dog-sledding. Inside a mountain hut with a large domed skylight, there’s a cast-iron stove and propane lighting, while solar-powered electric fences make sure you are safe in this great wilderness. There are grizzlies out there, after all. The unpredictable northern lights appear here between April and September and there is a chance to see otters, wolverines and the local wolf pack. Winter trips can bring temperatures of -40C but Uncommon Journeys boasts it keeps all its guests warm with deluxe dog-sledding gear. More: uncommonyukon.com. Into the wild: Go glamping and rediscover the inner you in

Hanging out at Au Diable Verte in the Sutton Mountains
Ontario’s stunning Algonquin Park. Among the thousands of lakes, rocky ridges and hills of maple trees, there are retreats on shamanism, yoga, wilderness arts and canoeing. But there is no roughing it; visitors sleep in a comfortable wood and canvas structure with what is possibly the best outhouse in the Canadian wilds, complete with composting toilet and tiled floor. Meals around the campfire feature organic produce, locally raised meat and organic coffee.
More: northernedgealgonquin.com.

Lighthouse fantastic: Or how about falling asleep to the sound of waves in a lighthouse tower at West Point Lighthouse Museum

on Prince Edward Island? The lighthouse, built in 1875, was restored by a group of volunteers in 1982, which was 19 years after the last lighthouse keeper retired here in Canada’s smallest province. Climb through the tower and stay in the keeper’s quarters on the second floor with its windows built low to view approaching ships. All the rooms in the attached inn have views of the Northumberland Strait. The tower is also a museum and visitors can climb up five floors and 72 steps to the lantern at the top. The lighthouse is such a landmark that it features on the masthead of the island’s newspaper, The Journal Pioneer. More: westpointlighthouse.com.





per person, twin share. Departing 27 April 2011, including return economy airfare.


per person, twin share. Departing 8 May 2011, land/cruise only.


per person, twin share. Departing 4 May 2011, land/cruise only.


2011 Earlybirds Out Now

including air taxes
Travel April to September 2011.

including air taxes
Travel May – September 2011.

including air taxes
Travel May – September 2011.


GOLDLEAF SERVICE Includes: 11 nights world-class accommodation • 7 night Alaskan Inside Passage cruise in a Verandah Stateroom • 39 fine meals, including Freedom of Choice Dining • Tipping for land & cruise staff • Freedom of Choice Touring • Overnight VIA Rail train journey in Sleeper Touring Class.
Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay National Park

Includes: 14 nights world-class accommodation • 7 night Alaskan Inside Passage cruise in a Verandah Stateroom • 42 fine meals, including Freedom of Choice Dining • Tipping for land & cruise staff • Freedom of Choice Touring • 2 day Rocky Mountaineer train journey in GoldLeaf Service.
Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay National Park

Includes: 15 nights world-class accommodation including 2 nights each in Fairbanks and Denali National Park • 7 night Alaskan Inside Passage cruise in a Verandah Stateroom • 48 fine meals • Tipping for land tour and cruise • Freedom of Choice Touring • 2 Day Rocky Mountaineer train journey in GoldLeaf Service.


Juneau Sitka
7 Holland America Line

Juneau Sitka

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Queen Charlotte Islands



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British Columbia
Jasper National Park




7 Holland America Line Vancouver

Queen Charlotte Islands

British Columbia


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VIA Rail





1 Louise
Banff National Park


Jasper Jasper 2 National Park Sun Lake 1 Peaks 2 Louise 1 Kamloops 2 2 Vancouver Banff 2 Victoria Banff National Seattle Whistler 2


2 Vancouver Victoria Seattle


Vancouver Island

Holland America Line




For more information on these and other great deals visit


1 300 655 847

*Conditions apply. Prices are per person twin share and include all taxes and port charges. Available on new bookings only. Payments made by credit card may incur a surcharge. Valid for sale to 15 October 2010, unless sold out prior. Prices valid for UT19JEVS departing 27 April 2011, UT22BWIS departing 8 May 2011 and UHA23 departing 4 May 2011. Prices & information are correct as at 2 July 2010 and subject to availability and change at time of booking. Prices may fluctuate due to changes in charges, taxes and currency. Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf service is a guaranteed inclusion on itineraries that feature the Rocky Mountaineer. FLY FREE TO CANADA OFFER: Fly Free including taxes applies to UT19JEVS – all departures between April to September 2011. A non-refundable deposit of $3000 per person is due within seven days of booking, final payment due by 90 days before departure. Airline, departure and return dates, and routing will be specified at time of booking, changes cannot be made to specified flights. Strictly limited offer on set departures. Fly Offer is based on economy class airfares departing SYD/MEL/BNE/ADL/PER. Offers can be withdrawn at anytime. Not to be combined with any other offers. COMPANION FLY FREE TO CANADA OFFER: Companion fly free including air taxes available on all Canada & Alaska tours of 21 days or more (air inclusive tour duration) between May – September 2011. A non-refundable deposit of $3000 per person is due within 7 days. First passenger must book flights with APT and both passengers must travel on the same flights and tour. Airline and routing will be specified at the time of booking. Changes cannot be made to specified flights. Limited seats on set departures. Applies to genuine quotes from airlines and Australian registered businesses and websites for travel that originates/departs from Australia. Quote must be in writing and must be presented to us prior to booking. Fare must be available and able to be booked by the general public when you bring it to us. Fares available due to membership of a group or corporate entity or subscription to a closed group are excluded. Must be for same dates and flight class. We will beat price by $1.00 and give you a $20 voucher. For full terms and conditions see flightcentre.com.au. FROM MELBOURNE. Flight Centre Limited (ABN 25 003 377 188) trading as Flight Centre. Licence No. 31089. MKT7923