Everything about Alaska is big.
Often described as a ‘land of superlatives’, with the world's biggest, highest and widest preceding most things, it is a unique destination with amazing sights.
It is also a hot travel destination for Australian tourists and many choose to cruise the Inside Passage, where glaciers come splashing down in huge chunks to the sea.
If you are cruising, try to spend a few extra days inland to discover the many charms of Alaska, which is also known as the last of the final frontiers.
Most cruise ships stop at the well-known historic towns where you can easily spend a day but there’s a lot more to see further inland.
The biggest state in the US, Alaska is 2.3 times the size of Texas and 10 times the size of Georgia or Florida.
It has become a premier destination for adventure and eco-tourists seeking a personal connection with nature, wilderness and the local people.
Flying is a way of life in Alaska and a trip there would not be complete without a flightseeing excursion.
From one end of the state to the other, there’s never a shortage of colourful pilots to take you for a bird’s eye view of this great land.
Circle the largest mountain in North America, majestic Mount McKinley, land on a glacier and go exploring, access backcountry wilderness, visit a remote village or drift peacefully in a floatplane past bears as they feast on summer salmon.
Alaska is a hiker’s paradise and Mount McKinley, in spectacular Denali National Park, offers great experiences for outdoor enthusiasts.
Choose a day hike, mountain bike excursion or a month-long mountaineering expedition to the summit of Mount McKinley.
While visiting the south central region of Alaska you will find at least four mountain ranges within driving distance of Anchorage.
You can go for day hikes in the mountains of Chugach State Park.
Or go for multi-day excursions to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and the Kenai Peninsula - both offer a variety of exciting adventures including camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking, mountain biking, river kayaking, rafting and much more.
Heading west, sea kayaking among the remote and untamed Aleutians will bring lots of wildlife encounters with sea otters and puffins a highlight.
Here you can experience untamed coastal regions, wild rivers, granite peaks and majestic glaciers or explore the rugged beauty of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.
The north country offers a variety of unique Alaskan experiences, enabling you to explore the history and culture of Alaska’s native people, raft down the Yukon river, pan for gold in Fairbanks or cross the Arctic Circle as you head up the Dalton Highway to the tip of Alaska’s far north.
At the opposite end is Alaska’s Inside Passage where you can discover the vast, unspoilt coastline by kayak as brown bears forage for food along the beaches, enjoy diverse mountain ranges, spectacular glaciers and the extensive Alaskan rainforest.
When you’re done, you can sit back and contemplate on the variety of species of birds you saw just in one day.
The pristine wilderness of Alaska is perhaps the last vestige of thriving populations of North American wildlife.
Where else can you see polar bears, Bald eagles, blue and humpback whales, grey wolves, grizzly bears, orcas, lynx, moose and hundreds of other rare and endangered species in their original and undisturbed natural habitats?
Captain George Vancouver, aboard his HMS Discovery, explored south-east Alaska’s coastline in 1794.
Glacier Bay then lay beneath a mile-thick ice sheet extending all the way to its mouth at Icy Strait.
Over the past two centuries, the ice has beaten a hasty retreat leaving a land of massive cliffs of white ice and jagged crevasses. Today, the park, which was declared a national monument in 1925, features 12 tidewater glaciers, some of which calve into the bay.
In 1992 it was listed as a World Heritage site.
You’ll see lots of wildlife in Alaska both on and off shore. Each summer 15 to 20 humpback whales regularly feed in Glacier Park waters. The park is also home to at least 40 species of mammals and 220 species of birds.
Scan the beaches and you may see a bear or two appearing from behind the Sitka spruce forests.
One thing that takes a little getting used to in Alaska is so much daylight - almost 20 hours during the summer season - which leaves plenty of time for sightseeing and enjoying Alaska and all it has to offer.
Published under license from Well Travelled