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Recently created from the Northwest Territories, sparsely populated Nunavut is a land of Inuit, ice and polar bears. Difficult to travel at best, this northern province is best enjoyed from tourist centres such as Iqaluit or Pangnirtung. Advance planning can help visitors to overcome some of the climatic, logistical and cost challenges involved in discovering the province from its capital, Iqaluit.
Car hire in Nunavut is best obtained in Iqaluit, at the airport or in the city, which are linked by a paved road. The capital is served by mostly local suppliers which stock an array of vehicles suited to the surrounding terrain. Get the best rate when you compare car hire.
Travellers to Nunavut must enter the province by air as there are no rail or road links with neighbouring regions. Iqaluit’s airport receives flights from a limited number of Canadian cities outside of Nunavut as well as from provincial locations such as Pangnirtung. Roads in the province are few and far between, spanning around 500 miles in total, so routes need to be planned in advance.
The short summer season is the best time for driving a car rental in Nunavut, with choice of vehicle important during the long winter when road conditions can be dangerous. Four-wheel drives and jeeps are popular. Highways here are not numbered so navigation can be tricky. Make sure you car is in tip-top condition as repair work can be costly and time consuming. Many routes are only open for a few months per year so check ahead.
Before leaving Iqaluit, the arrival point of most visitors, check out the capital’s interesting museums. The province’s second city, Pangnirtung, is the gateway to Baffin Island where hiking on marked trails takes walkers through scenic mountainous terrain. The island is also host to Auyuittuq National Park where the midnight sun, wildlife and sleeping in an igloo can be experienced.
Summer is the best time to visit for temperatures of up to 20°C and extended hours of daylight. The winter darkness and arctic temperatures of as low as -50°C make outdoor activities during the December through March season out of bounds. Spring, when temperatures hover around -7°C, is an increasingly popular time to arrive.