"My wife and I decided that we are now of the delicate age to start completing our bucket list! Seeing the Northern Lights was very high up on that list.
A work colleague had told me about her trip with The Aurora Zone and after a lot of research and discussion, we decided to book the full experience of an Aurora Hunting Adventure at the lovely Wilderness Hotel Inari - and what a trip it was.
Being as it was on our bucket list, we opted for our final three nights in a glass-roofed Aurora cabin, overlooking lovely Lake Inari.
The staff at The Aurora Zone made the booking easy and seamless, updating us throughout the build-up to the trip of any items we’d need for the trip and with copies of all paperwork.
We arrived at 14:00 local at Ivalo, as it was just getting dark and was met after arrivals by our bus driver. During our transfer to the Wilderness Hotel, we saw reindeer walking along the side of the main road which we felt was a good omen and after a seamless check-in and unpacking, we met with one of the guides to collect our snow boots, gloves and snowsuit. There were spare socks etc and bits and pieces if you needed them, along with a talk about keeping your kit in top condition to avoid frostbite and cold.
Also, at check-in we were issued a ‘buzzer’, which would alert you to Aurora sightings in the area until 0100. This little tyke worked well and went off twice on our first night, ensuring we redressed and dashed out onto Lake Inari with our cameras and full kit. It became known as the tyke as we’d been up since 02:00 and it was more needy than a newborn!
On night two of our trip, we were still pooped and threw the buzzing ‘tyke’ into a case and shut the lid; our mistake because apparently the lights made a good showing over the lake and other guests gleefully shared their photos whilst we quietly cursed our parenting skills (that was also the last time the ‘tyke’ bothered us that week!).
The Wilderness Hotel Inari is a lovely hotel in a great location. The food is good and plentiful with a great choice for everyone. My wife is a vegetarian and though the choice was limited (mainly vegetables) there was plenty of it and we happily grazed at every meal. The staff are wonderful and do their best to look after you during your stay. They are always friendly and helpful.
The main building serves as the meeting point for all activities, as well as being the bar and restaurant. The accommodation consists of several log cabins, Aurora Cabins and the two long cabins with about twenty rooms in each. The rooms are warm and comfortable. If you do book an Aurora Cabin (do!) there is no internet or little storage for clothes (we took far too much in two cases) but the experience far outweighed the downsides.
Our booked experiences included two snowshoeing expeditions, snowmobiling, husky sled drive, reindeer farm, Aurora chase by car and a sled ride to an Aurora Camp among other things. Inari village is only two miles away and we happily fitted our daily constitutionals around our busy booked schedule to walk into town.
The guides on the planned excursions are fantastic and their passion, knowledge and skills are happily shared with every visitor. They do everything they can to help you see the Auroras, explain about them and share the Finnish culture and countryside with you.
We had seven lovely nights at the Wilderness Hotel and it was the most amazing experience and something we will never forget. The highlights, well there were many. The main one was the gentle snowshoeing to a hut by a frozen lake one night. The fire was lit, we chatted and the Aurora made an appearance. Later, another guide turned up from another hotel with a guest and we all drank ‘gloggi’ and chatted with them, all travellers searching for the elusive lights.
Our woodland walk later in the week showed us the beauty of the Inari forest and rivers and we saw some otters searching for food, all in the most amazing surroundings.
The Finns have amazing outdoor spaces and camps you can just turn up at, light a fire and use, all out in the wilderness. This break showed us how important outside spaces are and how we should all use them.
Other highlights were the husky drive and meeting some mad puppies, all of which scattered as we were introduced to them, cue ten minutes laughing and trying to round the three of them up.
We also loved our visit to a Sámi family-run reindeer park, the culture and history of which was fascinating.
Overall the trip was the most amazing and memorable experience, one that we will never forget. We enjoyed several evenings just playing games over a drink in the main hotel lodge and therefore enjoyed each other’s company away from phones and iPads.
Though the week raced by, most people seemed to be doing 4 to 5-day trips, we came home tired, content and very happy.
The holiday was well planned and organised. There is a regular visit by the rep at the hotel but we never had any complaints at all. This holiday did not just tick off a bucket list point but spray painted the bucket itself. Thank You all!”
For your own bucket list Northern Lights holiday, call our Aurora Travel Experts today on 01670 785 012