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any pointers to tours meeting my criteria?

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  • any pointers to tours meeting my criteria?

    My wife and I are considering an Antarctic cruise in Jan/Feb 2006. We'd prefer departing from New Zealand if possible. We'd like the package to include a helo, a science station visit, camping on the continent and going within the Antarctic circle. We can't go for more than two weeks though, and don't want to spend more than $10k/person. Any suggestions as to where I could find info on a tour like this? Or something close?


  • #2
    Hi Chewie

    This is a tough ask - and I don't think that all your criteria can be met!

    Jan / Feb is a good time of year to go, but to depart from NZ to the Antarctic continent is a 5-6 day sail in each direction, so if your 2 week max trip length can't be extended then I would suggest a cruise to the Peninsula from Ushuaia rather than NZ, which is only 2-3 day's sail across the (often rough) Drake Passage.

    Camping on the continent isn't offered by any cruise companies that I know of, and may well only be possible on a private charter (yachting?) expedition. [If you are seriously contemplating this, then proper survival equipment etc would be required - and please take care to ensure that no adverse environmental impact on wildlife etc is caused...]

    Visits to science stations certainly can be undertaken, but only by advance permit / negotiation, and most of the larger Antarctic cruise specialists are able to make the necessary arrangements.

    Your wish for helo flights does narrow down your cruise options considerably, as only a very few ships carry them. These are generally the ice-breakers (rather than just ice-strengthened vessels) operated by companies such as Quark Expeditions, and tend to be used on longer (eg 4 week) trips - which of course take you some way over your $10k budget.

    But don't let any of this put you off - Antarctica is well worth the effort (and cost) to get there, and even a voyage just to see the scenery and wildlife of the sub-antarctic islands such as Macquarie would still be a fantastic experience! :grin:

    Hope this helps...


    • #3
      Hi Chewie,

      Like Mike said, you can get some of your requirements but not all together. Trips departing from New Zealand and Australia are 3-4 weeks and start from about $15K-$20K. It's like that because of the distances involved and the liklihood of encountering heavy ice.

      If you go for a Peninsula trip though, you should be able to stick within your budget, visit a scientific station, cross the circle and possibly spend a night or two under canvas. Whatever trip you take it'll be one to remember forever though. Helicopter trips unlikely as it's usually only the ice-breakers that carry those and they are used on the Australian / NZ side of the continent - which is where this started.

      There are some trips started recently where you can fly/camp to Antarctica from Chile. Once you're there though you don't get to travel about so much as you would on a ship.

      Try here