After arriving in Alaska the previous day, wake up in Anchorage with a strong cup of coffee and an indulgent breakfast (perhaps pancakes topped with bacon and maple syrup), before flying to Homer in a small private plane. Sit back and take in the sights of the vast sapphire waters and magnificent mountain ranges around you. You’ll touch down in the tiny Homer Airport where you’ll be greeted by our local expert and taken to Homer Harbour.
No trip to Homer would be complete without going to the Salty Dawg Saloon and trying their famous Duck Fart (it’s not what you think, and is definitely delicious). The building has been a witness to the evolution of Homer as a town site since the late 19th century, first built as a post office, railroad station, grocery store and then coal mining office. It’s been a saloon since the ‘50s and is a favourite of locals and tourists alike with dollar bills signed by global visitors covering the walls.
Tutka Bay Lodge awaits you, so hop aboard a water taxi and head to your lodgings for the next two nights. The Lodge sits on an eleven-acre property and is nestled between deep inlets, stunning coastlines, glorious mountains, thick forests and pristine beaches. From the moment you catch sight of it as the water taxi pulls in, you’ll know that you’ve arrived somewhere extraordinary.
You’ll be welcomed by the warm and friendly hands-on team who will guide you across the weaving boardwalks connecting the main lodge to the sauna, hot tub, boat house, and most importantly, your cabin. After settling in, head back to the main lodge where you’ll enjoy a simple but delicious corn beef sandwich - just the fuel you’ll need for the afternoon ahead.
Time to grab a sea kayak and get back out onto Kachemak Bay. You and your personal guide will paddle around the bay as you soak in the endless expanses of water and the looming mountain ranges towering above you. Seals frolic, otters dive for oysters and orcas swim alongside your kayak, popping up as if out of nowhere less than a metre from you, this is a totally surreal experience.
When you return back to the main lodge, you’ll be greeted by a mug of hot chocolate to warm up after an afternoon out on the water. As the sun begins to set, take part in some relaxing catch-and-release fishing off the dock before heading back to the cabin to get ready for dinner.
One of the co-owners of the lodge, Kirsten Dixon is an acclaimed chef herself and is passionate about cooking delicious meals with fresh local produce. The three course meals are a blend of sophisticated gastronomy and homely flavours. A true family-style meal, you’ll enjoy dinner with your fellow lodgers at the main cabin before retiring for the night.
Wake up and take a fresh cup of coffee out on to your balcony. A morning of deep-sea fishing awaits you. Come aboard Jim’s fisherman’s boat and head out on the water to the perfect spot for catching halibut (only Jim knows exactly where that is). This is an exhilarating day, full of great stories of Homer’s history, fishing ‘whale tales’ and legends of the local area. Plus, of course, plenty of active fishing on the rolling swells of the open sea.
Once back at your lodge, freshen up and re-fuel with some afternoon tea. Afterwards, why not hop on the water taxi back into town. Stop at the bustling docks where you can watch the fishing boats coming in and see the fisherman going about their daily duties. Known as the ‘Halibut Fishing Capital of the World’, Homer’s dock feels like the very pulse of the city itself. Be sure to visit The Homer Museum to discover the region’s fascinating past.
Enjoy your final evening here by treating yourself to a log sauna and long soak in the wooden hot tub on the deck. When you’re ready, head to the main lodge for a final three-course dinner before your unforgettable night-time experience.
Grab your warmest layers – it’s time to get back on the midnight-blue water to go humpback whale watching. You’ll hear them before you see them – the hypnotic and powerful sound of the whales breathing alongside you is indescribable.
Make the most of your last few hours at Tutka Bay by taking a long walk around the property. The maze of wooden boardwalks provide the perfect guide to take you around the space with several lookout points to take in the views.
Before embarking to your next destination, head inside a three-storey restored crabbing boat, Widgeon II, to find the acclaimed Tutka Bay Cooking School. This uniquely situated school will teach you the best cooking methods to celebrate local Kachemak Bay cuisine, offering three-course menus that champion local seafood such as halibut, salmon, crab and Kachemak Bay oysters.
Depart Tutka Bay by seaplane and travel to a nearby lake with a surface so placid, you won’t be able to help but question if it is in fact water or land. Your personal guide will take you on a pontoon boat to traverse down the river and watch the bears. Another breathtaking window into the wonders of nature, watch as families frolic along the waterside, play in the water and teach their cubs to fish.
After a fresh salmon lunch, your sea plane will take you to your accommodation for the next two nights, Winter Lake Lodge. A northern haven of incredible scenery, Winter Lake Lodge is surrounded by mountains and glaciers and is nestled along Alaska’s famous Iditarod Trail making it the perfect spot from which to embark on wildlife viewing adventures. The cabins are all hand built from pine and offer a wonderful balance of comfort and adventure – the ideal dwellings to relax in after a long day of exploring. After your brief orientation, get settled into your cosy cabin and treat yourself to a reinvigorating massage before dinner. Tuck in to a three-course family style dinner prepared with fresh local Alaskan produce. After your meal, take a stroll back to your cabin and enjoy a nightcap out on your private balcony, enjoying the serenity of Winter Lake at night time.
After a hearty home-cooked breakfast, prepare for a morning of exploring. Layer up with warm clothes and don your hiking boots ready for a day of walking. The Gordillo Mountain area is bursting with local fauna and flora all of which your local guide will know like the back of their hand. Follow them on the walk and let them intrigue and educate you with fascinating facts about the surrounding areas.
Salmon fishing is a widely popular activity in Alaska and so it wouldn’t be a true Alaskan Adventure without trying it. We’ll pick you up by helicopter and take you to Canyon Creek; teeming with these famously strong fish, it’s the perfect spot to practice your fly fishing technique.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch on the waterside. The bubbling creek and sounds of nature around you will provide an ambient soundtrack for you to lose yourself in the sheer majesty of your surroundings.
The afternoon is yours. Take a soak in the outdoor hot tub, take out a canoe for a gentle ride or head to the dock for some meditative catch and release fishing – whatever you decide, this is your time to really soak it all up. After dinner, enjoy drinks with your fellow lodgers before retiring back to bed for a long and restful sleep.
After breakfast, it’s time to head for the skies again and board your helicopter to take you up to otherworldly glaciers. On your flight, your pilot will act as your guide, telling you all about the formation of the moon-like landscape from above.
Once you land on the glacier, you’ll feel the temperature drop dramatically so be sure to bundle up. Put on your cleats and take your first steps onto this out-of-this-world terrain.
Your guide will take you on a two-hour glacier walk, showing and explaining to you the formation of the crevices, dirt cones and glacial pools along the way. Stop and fill up your water bottle in the streams of the purest, freshest and coldest water to have touched your lips.
After the walk is over, like a scene out of a James Bond movie, watch as the helicopter beats down to pick you up and give you an airborne tour of the glacier allowing you to see it from above, an epic and wholly unique experience in itself.
It’s time to say goodbye to Winter Lake Lodge. Enjoy your last delicious breakfast before hopping onto the seaplane and journeying back to Anchorage for a final taste of Alaskan life. As you fly over the wonderful scenery, take it all in as it’s the last view from above that you’ll have before the end of your trip.
For an early dinner, treat yourself to deliciously fresh oysters at The Bubbly Mermaid, a hole-in-the-wall champagne and oyster bar that seats about twenty people. They offer a huge selection of champagne and oysters prepared in all the ways you can imagine. Sit back, enjoy and savour the last moments of your trip before flying home – you just may have to pinch yourself to remember that the past week wasn’t just a surreal and beautiful dream.