Find out some of our favourite Arctic facts!

  1. The Arctic Ocean is the smallest of the earth’s five major oceans, but it still covers 14 million square kilometres – that’s almost twice the size of Australia!
  2. Polar bears are only found in the Arctic and are the largest land predators on Earth. They are classified as hyper carnivores, which means that their diet is more than 70% meat. Polar bear cubs are generally born in dens in the depths of winter. They are a tiny 30-35 centimetres long and weigh little more than half a kilogram. By contrast, the largest polar bear ever recorded was a male that stood almost 3.5 metres high and weighed in at over 1,000 kg!
  3. While 84% of Greenland is an icy wonderland covered by the second largest ice cap on earth, in summer the lower valleys spring colourfully to life. In the lowland valleys you can see some of the 500 delightful flowering plant, fern and grass species to be found in Greenland, including Greenland’s national flower Niviarsiaq, commonly known as broad-leaf fireweed.
  4. In Longyearbyen, the capital of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, it’s not uncommon to find yourself walking down the street alongside wild reindeer. They are quite accustomed to human company and are considered quite gentle.
  5. We love our long summer days in Australia, but the Arctic summer gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘long’! When the sun rises over the Arctic circle in June it doesn’t set for 30 whole days. Witnessing the sun glowing above the horizon at midnight is an unforgettable experience. As you travel further north the long summer day gets longer and longer until you arrive at the North Pole, where the sun doesn’t dip below the horizon for 187 days!
  6. Iceland is a literal hotspot of volcanic and geothermal activity. Known as the land of fire and ice, over the past two centuries 30 post-glacial volcanoes have erupted, and natural hot water supplies most of the population with economical, sustainable heating.
  7. There are approximately 4 million people living across the Arctic, and it’s estimated that on average 10% of these are indigenous. In Greenland however, approximately 89% of the population belongs to one of Greenland’s three indigenous Inuit ethnic groups: the Kalaallit, Tunumiit and Inughuit.
  8. The scientific name for walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, means “tooth walking sea horse”. Walruses are very social animals, with a rigid hierarchy based on tusk length, body size and displays of aggression. In the world of the walrus, power can be fleeting. A walrus that breaks a tooth on the battleground can quickly lose its social standing!
  9. The Arctic is home to scores of seabirds, but not penguins! If you have your heart set on seeing a parade of penguins you need to travel south!
  10. Many keen kayakers know the Arctic as the origin of modern kayaking. Greenland’s skin-on-frame kayaks (qajaks) date back to the 16th century. You can connect with this long tradition by sea kayaking with expert guides in the Arctic and paddling amongst the glaciers and icebergs of Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland.

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