Things to do in Manitoba, Canada: Six of the best adventures

FLY-IN FISHING ADVENTURE

Manitoba has more than 110,000 lakes, covering some 16 per cent of its surface area. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, this equates to some of the world's best fishing opportunities. Lodges abound but among the best is Ganglers North Seal River Lodge on the shores of Egenolf Lake, three hours' flight north of Winnipeg. Onsite float planes can whisk you to secret lakes and river inlets where only the local Bald Eagle population will provide competition. The resort is more an all-round adventure destination though, where you can hike along eskers and through Sub-Boreal forest, take a mountain bike for a burn or photograph wild bear, moose, wolves or birds of prey. See ganglers.com

RIVER ICE SKATING, WINNIPEG

Each winter – between January and March – the confluence of the frozen Red and Assiniboine Rivers turns into the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world. Beginning at The Forks (a historic site, meeting place and green space in Downtown Winnipeg), The Red River Mutual Trail sees hundreds gather for extended ice-skating sessions, though it's also a haven for ice-hockey, broomball, snow-shoeing, curling and more. The trail is also home to Art on Ice, a competition where architects around the world bid to design the ultimate warming hut alongside the trail. And then there's RAW, an annual pop-up restaurant featuring top chefs from around the world. See theforks.com

VIEW POLAR BEARS IN THE WILD

Churchill is one of the world's prime spots for spotting polar bears in the wild. Peak viewing season generally runs between October and November as the bears start their move back from their summer habitat to the ice fields over Hudson Bay, where seals are plentiful. But bears can also be seen here throughout the year, including July through August, when they are most likely spotted on the coast from a boat tour or July to October, which is the best period to take a guided hike to see them at ground level. Numerous tour operators now run excursions in this region, and it's best to decide which season works best for you. See everythingchurchillcom

HIKE, BIKE & CAMP A NATIONAL PARK

Boasting 300 square kilometres of wild nature juxtaposing the surrounding prairie farmland, Riding National Park is home to deciduous forests, upland boreal and diverse grasslands. It's a great place to hike; the best trails include George Creek or Bald Hill Trails, while Ominik Marsh is perfect for families. Fat Tyre bikes are now available for rent from Friends of Riding Mountain Visitor Centre and camping spots are plentiful, there's even a very unique selection of cabins (Micro-Cube anyone?) as well as all manner of tents available to rent in the heart of the park. See pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mb/riding

KAYAK WITH BELUGA WHALES

When the arctic summer comes alive between mid-June and September, Northern Manitoba's Hudson Bay coastline is home to the world's largest population of beluga whales. There are many ways to see these majestic creatures up close with a variety of tour operators offering excursions via zodiacs, passenger boats or even helicopters. But the ultimate has to be via a simple kayak, allowing you paddle right among a pod of whales frolicking playfully or trailing behind your craft. During the summer months the waters here are calm so you needn't be an expert paddler. See lazybearlodge.com

SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

Northern Manitoba is a mecca for the aurora borealis; Churchill alone often records about 300 days a year of viewings. It's possible to see this natural phenomenon throughout summer and autumn but peak tour season is February through March in winter, when skies are clearest. Ganglers Lodge and Bakers Narrow Lodge are two great bases, or you can opt for a special event such as RAW: Churchill, a multi-course gourmet dinner hosted inside the 300-year-old Prince of Wales Fort with a modified see-through roof structure, allowing you to enjoy the lights shimmering overhead while sipping a spicy shiraz. See travelmanitoba.com

Guy WIlkinson was a guest of Tourism Manitoba

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