We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Frontiers North Adventure tour”

The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: An official Tundra Buggy® Adventure is the best and safest way to view the majestic polar bear in its natural environment and is an ideal tour option if you are planning your own travel and accommodations in Churchill. Tundra Buggy Day Tours include expert interpretation in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area about the wildlife and the magnificent ecosystems surrounding the subarctic environment of Churchill. You will have the opportunity to explore the open tundra while your driver discusses the effects of tides, currents and ice formation on the polar bear. Wildlife you spot may include polar bears, arctic hare, arctic and red fox, gyrfalcon, ptarmigan and much more. Please note that Tundra Buggy Day Tours take place on a 40-passenger Tundra Buggy® and during peak seasons have a tendency to sell to capacity. We highly recommend booking your Tundra Buggy Day Tour(s) as early as possible.
Westfield, in
Level Contributor
109 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Frontiers North Adventure tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 November 2013

Our trip was organized by the Indianapolis Zoo and used Frontiers North as the tour operator (as I understand it). We had two full days out in the buggies and saw plenty of bears, 4-5 were within twenty feet of the buggy. Our guide Richard has been coming up here for thirteen years & was a wealth of knowledge, especially on the fine points of photography ( how to get whitish bears against snow to show up well). The buggies are well-heated with a propane stove, but it gets cold pretty quick when the bears show up as everyone's windows come down to get good pictures - dress warm - use layers. Between bear encounters it does warm back up. The bathroom is a chemical toilet I believe and the buggies bounce around pretty vigorously when in motion (splash hazard - enough said), so plan your "pit stops" for when the buggy is stopped for pictures or lunch.

For us, this was the trip of a lifetime in this sort of environment. Hopefully, the sea ice will remain so the bears don't vanish. Unfortunately, every year the ice leaves earlier and forms later.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank OurDailyPastry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tundra12, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Thank you for your review.

We're glad to hear that you had such success on your trip to Churchill and that Richard was able to provide you with his photography expertise.

You've given a great description of a Tundra Buggy - it does get cold when the windows go down, so we encourage our guests to dress in layers for their comfort. As for the toilets, we're happy to say that we've spent our summer updating our Tundra Buggies and this year each Buggy has been outfit with an RV-style flushing toilets to offer a higher level of comfort for our guests - no more splash hazard (although we never do allow guests to use the washroom while the Buggy is moving as the terrain is far too bumpy).

Thank you again and we hope you can visit us again in the future!

Sincerely,
Brandi
Frontiers North Adventures/Tundra Buggy Adventures
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

89 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    74
    10
    3
    0
    2
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
17 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Things I wish I had known before the trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2013

Great Canadian Tours flew us into Churchill from Calgary on a one day tour. We left Calgary at 6 am and arriving at Churchill, old school buses met and transported us to the tundra buggy loading site. Climbing the school bus stairs and the 6-8 steps up to the tundra buggy loading site are the only stairs you climb during the day.
Things that I did not know before the trip.
1. There are no guarantees that you will see bears. I am told that they have a superior record for finding them, so this should not be a concern. We saw 4-6 bears. Why the range? Some bears do not remain in one place, so- Is this the same bear we saw at site A or not? Be aware that you may not see bears for a long time, hours even. Then the last hour makes up for it. Or vice versa.
2. Polar bears can be hard to spot. I have added 4 photos to prove to you that they can be tricky. You can play "Spot the Polar Bear". It will let you know what to scan for when you are on the buggy. Yes, each photo has a bear in it.
3. You go out for the whole day of approximately 8 hours (maybe this is negotiable, it was not for us.). Our buggy held 40 passengers, but did not feel at all crowded. Two abreast bench seating with an eight foot center aisle. See photo.
3a. There is a toilet on board.
3b They serve hot soup and sandwiches for lunch. There were also soda, water, coffee, tea, bakery treats, cookies, crackers and candy (our trip was the day after Halloween). You won't starve. One note of caution. I am medically required gluten free, As you can tell, there was not a lot there for me. So if you have dietary restrictions bring your own food to be on the safe side. This is definitely not a deal breaker.
4. The buggy is very warm with a stove on board. There were times, people lowered the windows to get cool. Of course you can go out to the observation platform and get cool there too..
5. There were professional wildlife photographers with camera equipment costing thousands on the tour. Bring your point and shot and forget to be competitive. Having said that, my spousal unit recommends zoom lens as the buggy cannot approach the bears as close as you might like..
6. Once you see a bear, everyone on the bear side of the bus opens the windows to get clear shots. Folks share 'their' windows. There is always the observation deck. Which brings us to the next point.
7. The bears have not eaten in a long time and are waiting for the ice to form so they can go out and catch food. So THEY TEND TO LAY AROUND conserving energy. A lot of my shots are of bears laying alternatively on warm rocks or in the snow. And yes, a couple of the bears walked from rock to snow so I did get some of the classic 'rear end' shots.
8. While weather is at the whim of the gods, I was surprised that there was not a lot of snow on the ground. Where is my 'white bear on the absolute white snow background' shot? And the weather changes constantly. We landed in blowing snow and on the tundra it varied from sunny blue sky to overcast.
9. Terrain. Ever watch Ice Road Truckers? Ever see outback 4 wheeling? Combine the two and you have the experience. Even though the driver WARNED that the road was rough and how to prepare for it, there was one event so unexpected that 5 (yep 5) people hit the floor from their seats. No one was hurt. One clever woman wore a motion sickness patch just to be on the safe side. No complaint on our tour about motion sickness. The buggy moves a little faster than walking speed. But the unexpected deep holes hidden by ice can make it a wild ride.
10. Safety. No one is allowed to stand while the vehicle is in motion. No one can be on the deck while the buggy moves. When our driver started up the engine, it was the clue to return to their seats, so we could move on. The driver will stop if you ask, so you can take photos at any time.
11. More safety. No feeding or baiting of the bears. If you do drop food off the buggy even accidentally, the tour ends immediately. Everyone pays the price for even accidental behavior.
Of course, no food or drinks are allowed on the observation deck. The most recent early return was caused by someone knocking a grape soda can off the deck. Adios amigos. No more bear watching for the day and no refunds.
12. You should be quiet when you see bears. Some bears hate noise and will exit stage left and there you are bear less.
13. Nothing should dangle from the buggy. Bears at times make a grab for these items and they are gone. If you are fortunate, it is not your long scarf with you attached to it that are taken. Things that are dropped like cameras are not usually recovered.
13. We were under the impression that the bear viewing tundra was immediately adjacent to the town. In reality it was approximately 5 miles from town. However, bears do visit the town. There had been a rare bear attack in town the night before. However, you will be safe staying with the tour and certainly on the buggy itself.
14. We were fortunate to have a naturalist on board. Learned a lot about the bears and learned a lot about the town of Churchill too.

Should you think this review is a warning of sorts to stay home, nope. If I had know these things I would have changed my expectations. Not lowered them, changed them.
We returned to Calgary late that night. It was well worth it. We are looking forward to coming back in the summer to see the Beluga whales that come here in the hundreds.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
23 Thank tonka922
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tundra12, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Hi tonka922,

Thank you for your incredible and thorough review! A lot of our guests aren't quite sure what to expect when they come to Churchill for the first time and especially aren'y sure what's in store for them on a Tundra Buggy. You've laid all the information out quite nicely and you are spot on!

We hope to see you this summer for beluga season.

Sincerely,
Brandi
Frontiers North Adventures/Tundra Buggy Adventures
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Anchorage, Alaska, United States
Level Contributor
343 reviews
112 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Polar Bear Express”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2013

Jim was the driver for the adventure of a lifetime. He was very knowledgeable about the terrain and had an uncanny ability to find the spots were the polar bears were resting. Each day we saw at least 4 polar bears in their terrain. One bear even came up to the tundra buggy and swatted at the vehicle. Everyone inside the vehicle was able to get wonderful photos. We saw a polar beat test the ice on a lake to see if it would support his weight. Simply amazing. It was an amazing adventure and well worth the price. We were there in mid October 2013. I was pleased withe food offered as we were on the buggy from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. I would highly recommend this adventure to everyone.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Dianne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tundra12, Communications & Marketing Coordinator at The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours, responded to this review, 29 October 2013
Hi Dianne,

Thanks so much for your recent review. We're glad to hear that you had such a wonderful Tundra Buggy Adventure and that Jim showed you a good time!

That is great that you had such a successful Churchill trip - it sounds like you saw a lot of bears during your stay.

Feel free to come back to visit us and the bears in Churchill anytime!

Tundra Buggy Adventures
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Pas, Canada
Level Contributor
58 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Fabulous day out on the Tundra!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2013

Neil our driver was so accommodating, informative and entertaining we had a wonderful day out on the tundra. Even though it was mid August, Neil found us a beautiful polar bear and got us close enough to get some amazing photos. So friendly, so knowledgeable about the area - wildlife and environment, can't say enough about how happy this tour made my husband and I. You can't miss it!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank sunlover6588
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tundra12, Communications & Marketing Coordinator at The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours, responded to this review, 29 October 2013
Hi there!

Thanks so much for your review of the Tundra Buggy Adventure. We'll be sure to pass your compliments and thanks onto Neil. He is definitely great at his job - as are all of our buggy drivers and guides - and we're very lucky to have him.

Glad to hear you got to see a summer bear! Thanks for visiting us in Churchill and feel free to come back to see us anytime!

Tundra Buggy Adventures
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sault Ste. Marie, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fulfilling Adventure in October & November 2001”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2013

In 2001 last week of October and first of November I enjoyed the complete vacation package. I travelled by train (return) from Wlinnipeg to Churchill. This was a satisfying adventure in itself. We saw fox, caribou and a variety of birds. I plan on returning to Thompson and Las Pas. The taxi tour guide was well acquainted with the area and the two young people from Japan and I shared an experience with the guide that was a first for her, and she had been guiding for 15 years. Driving past a bear trap, round roof, extending to ground. The guide stopped, saying,, "What is that bear doing," A large bear was pounding the sides, trying to shake the structure. We could see that the door was closed. The guide explained that a bear must be inside. When they enter to get the bait the door closes when they pull on the bait. The guide radioed the Ministry of Natural Resources, which also was received by all touring buses. They arrived in three vehicles and 6-8 men. They pursued the large bear (mother) when she ran from the bear trap, they had shot her with a stun gun and carried her on a stretcher to be placed on the back of a truck. The bear trap was placed on a second truck. The third truck were Japanese tourists. The guide said that they pay big bucks to be able to be involvled. lOur guide followed the trucks to the Bear Jail where the bears would be housed for a few weeks and then airlifted out of the area. It is great to be able to say "I got to see it first." The complete outing - two days on the tundra buggy with 20 other viewers, dog sledding (11 dogs pulling a sleigh on wheels on the road. Transportation is not on the tundra. The museum and the research centre were remarkable. I have two other tales I could share about viewing polar bears, for another time. In Churchill downtown their civic centre housisng a pool, bowling alley, school, library and administration offices. A wonderful complex. On day two we enjoyed travelling about in the tundra buggy while a small blizzard was blowing. The guide advised us that we probably wouldn't see anything, but we said we should go out anyway. Well, we saw a sample of a wide variety of local birds and animals. On one of the other tundra buggy a young woman's hat blew off her head while on the outside platform to take picture of a young subadult bear. The hat became an item of interes to the bear. He would throw it up into the air, catch it, then put it under his bottom. He would peek at it a few times and then flip it up, grab it with his mouth and shake it. This last for 20 minutes then he left. The guide retrieved the hat with a long pole. What a suvenir she has!! I could go on and on..... The final evening meal was caribou. I can still remember how I sav ourerd that meal. One last thing....the shopping was extraordinar at the general store. High quality clothing, towels and suvenirs. At the museum they also had a worthwhile selection of books, etc. for sale. Well I have to go now. This year in September I am going to Peru. Take care.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank judithFalkins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tundra12, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours, responded to this review, 6 August 2013
Hi Judith,

Thank you for your review! It certainly sounds like you had quite an adventure! And the chance to see a bear caught for a stay in Polar Bear Jail is a very rare occurrence!

We're glad you had such an exciting time in Churchill and hope that you have the chance to come back one day. In the meantime, enjoy your trip to Peru!

Brandi
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Frontiers North Adventures/Tundra Buggy Adventure
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours also viewed

 

Been to The Tundra Buggy Adventure - Day Tours? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing