Experience

Alaska & Hawaii: An Ice & Fire Adventure

One of the greatest joys of traveling through the United States is the variety of landscapes you encounter along the way – and the pace at which they change. We’ve traveled from north to south and east to west to take in each and every state but one journey we can’t get enough of is that across the outliers of Alaska and Hawaii. Think Alaska – and the mind conjures up images of sweeping landscapes where people are few and far between. Then – consider Hawaii and tropical hues seep in to give everything the iridescent glow of island life. Think of the two together and you have a contrast which defies explanation. So much so, it can only really be experienced. Spend twelve nights between these two naturally beautiful states as you discover hole up in remote luxury in the wilds of Alaska before watching the sunrise from atop a volcano and snorkelling through hidden lava caves in Hawaii.

Into the Wild

After a quick overnight in Anchorage on arrival, it’s straight out into the wilderness as you pull up in the small town of Talkeetna to board a helicopter to your home for the next three nights. Tucked deep within the Alaska Range at a towering 6,000ft above sea level and ensconced amid peaks and glaciers, Sheldon Chalet is as unique as it comes. Home to just five suites, each with a view that you’ll never tire of, spend the next three days alongside like-minded travelers as you discover the majesty of Denali. Whether trekking across a glacier, rappelling down a rock face or trekking into the historic mountain house – no day here is the same as another and with a helicopter on permanent standby, Denali truly is at your fingertips.

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The Sound of Alaska

After a few days of crisp mountain air and star-strewn night skies, you’ll leave Sheldon Chalet behind as you head south to Alyeska Resort. Swapping the peaks of Denali for the lush valleys of the Chugach Mountains, Alyeska is a luxurious take on Alaska’s wild nature. Settle in, perhaps taking a dip in the saltwater pool or enjoying a trip to the spa, before setting off the next morning on a private tour of Prince William Sound. Alongside your personal captain, explore the shorelines, bird rookeries, marine wildlife and carving glaciers of this stretch of Alaskan coast as you sail through the Harriman Fjord and into the heart of the Sound in search of humpback and killer whales. Sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions and more, you’ll discover that the Sound is bursting with wildlife. For an added touch, the captain will then pull up on a remote beach where you’ll have some time for tide pooling or a short hike into the rainforest.

From Ice to Fire

The next morning, it’s off to the airport as you board your flight out of the wilds of Alaska and into the tropics of Hawaii. Touch down in Honolulu and check in at the iconic Royal Hawaiian hotel for the next two nights. Get to know Oahu the following day as you join a private guide to stroll through the history of Honolulu before visiting Pearl Harbor and stepping onboard USS Missouri where the Terms of Surender were signed to end World War II. After this dose of history, tomorrow will see you uncover Hawaii’s natural side as you fly onto the island of Maui. From your base at the intimate Hotel Wailea, Maui seems to unfold before you with unobstructed views across the ocean and the archipelago that speckles its waters. From the lush tropical gardens that surround the suites, there is a sense of total serenity here as you look into the distance hoping to catch a glimpse of breaching whales in season.

Volcanic Luxury

Spend a day simply soaking in the luxury of Hotel Wailea before an early start the next morning as you start the day in the darkness at Haleakala National Park. Hiking slowly through this stunning park with endangered wildlife to keep you company, you’ll come to the summit of the dormant Haleakala volcano from where you’ll settle in before one of the world’s most fiery sunrises burns through the sky in a streak of pink and orange hues. Warmed by a cup of coffee, there’s no more magical a start to the day. From on top of the world to down beneath it, the afternoon will then see you plunge into Hawaii’s crystal clear waters as you snorkel through the hidden sea caves and lava caverns that dot the coastline in search of sea turtles, spinner dolphins and schools of tropical fish.

Your final day will see you capping off this adventure with a private hiking tour of the Iao Valley where you’ll weave your way through the luakini heiau ruins to descend deep into the valley. Carved out by years of erosion to be the deepest on the island, the valley is lined by dense rainforest with a hike along the stream revealing tropical fauna and the heady scent of guava. A truly enchanting place, you’ll eventually reach the base of the Iao needle where you can bathe in the river’s healing waters for one last touch of tropical bliss before heading home the next morning.

A trip that starts in deepest Alaska and finishes in the iridescent waters of Hawaii; that is bit by the chill of the mountains but then warmed by the lava of the island – it’s proof that opposites really do attract.