Monday, 27 February 2017

Kamchatka - Land of Fire and Ice

By Brett Goulston

I’m fortunate enough to have visited the “land of fire & ice” on a few occasions. It’s a destination that few people can pronounce and even fewer know where it is. Kamchatka is a peninsula in Russia’s Far East, forming part of Southern Siberia. It lies between the Pacific Coast and the Sea of Okhotsk. Look on a map and you’ll agree it’s remote, which is its main appeal. 

Whilst the occasional expedition and cruise ship pull into the capital’s docks – Petropavlovsk – you really have to spend a few weeks in the region to see the best of what Kamchatka offers. If this was New Zealand, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, there would be heaps of hotels, restaurants and hordes of tourists. But that could not be further from reality. Kamchatka is raw wilderness.  There are just two major towns in the entire region – Yelizovo and Petropavlovsk. There is just one main road that traverses the entire 300,000 square kilometres from south to north. To get around, ex-army helicopters are used to fly you to your destination. Don’t expect friendly flight attendants and definitely don’t expect the regular safety procedure demonstration!

There are dozens of reasons to see this region. You can get close to the Kamchatka brown bears and there is plenty of other bird-life, sea creatures and animals. The scenery is simply stunning – lakes, forests and mountains in every direction and thanks to the numerous helicopter transfers, you get to see it in great detail. There’s peaceful rafting down pristine rivers, picnic lunches with salmon and vegetables, boat trips on the stunningly beautiful Avacha Bay and if a little light trekking is your thing, you will think you have arrived in heaven.  Plus there are 20 active volcanoes on the peninsula, some of which you can trek into! 

Service does not necessarily come with a smile in Kamchatka (nor the rest of Russia for that matter). But that’s okay, you don’t go for the service, you go for the most amazing wilderness experience you can imagine.  

Come join one of our tours to Kamchatka and find out for yourself.  Next tour is in August 2017 - Click here.

Kamchatka flights - via helicopter which is the standard mode of transport

Do you think this hat works for me?

Boiling water from these geysers spurts 20 metres into the air

Caviar is in abundance in North Eastern Russia

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