Travel to Antarctica From China and South East Asia

Cruise in Antarctica, Adventure Travels With Cool Antarctica and Antarctica Travels

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Regions: Antarctic Peninsula | South Georgia | South Shetland Islands | Falkland Islands | Arctic


Antarctica is a trip like no other, there are landscapes and wildlife like nowhere else, the air is the cleanest in the world.

The approach to Antarctica is either via ports in the south of Australia and New Zealand or via the tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego. China is closer to Australia and New Zealand than it is to South America, though South America is closer to Antarctica with a greater range of trips available and shorter travelling times leading to lower prices and longer in Antarctica. It is possible to fly from South America to join a cruise ship in Antarctica. The journey to Eastern Antarctica is by ship only, it is not possible for tourists to fly to Antarctica from Australia or New Zealand.

Distances km / miles / flight hrs.
Beijing - Ushuaia, Argentina 18,350 / 11,400 / 40
Beijing  - Hobart, Australia 9,930 / 6,040 / 20
Beijing  - Invercargill, NZ 10,900 / 6780 / 26
Hong Kong - Ushuaia, Argentina 16,410 / 10,200 / 50
Hong Kong - Hobart, Australia 8,010 / 4,980 / 15
Hong Kong - Invercargill, NZ 9,390 / 5,830 / 21

China to Antarctica

Fig 1. Access to Antarctica
1 - Beijing, China,  2 - Hong Kong, China
3 - Ushuaia, Argentina,  4 - Antarctic Peninsula
5 - Hobart, Australia, 
6 - Invercargill, New Zealand
7 - Commonwealth Bay,  8 - McMurdo


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The world's cleanest air

Antarctica is used to set a pollution base-line for the planet, there is less air pollution there than anywhere. The WHO guideline for PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter in the air) is an average of 25 micrograms per cubic metre over 24 hours, levels in Antarctica sometimes peak at 0.4, in heavily polluted cities, the figure frequently exceeds 150 and sometimes reaches 400+. (refs: 1  2)


The great majority of trips that leave for Antarctica are ship based cruises or fly-cruise trips leaving from the Argentinean port of Ushuaia or Punta Arenas in Chile. On a fly-cruise trips you fly across the Drake's Passage from South America to join your ship in Antarctica. These trips visit the Antarctic Peninsula and sometimes sub Antarctic islands too, fig.2. Peninsula trips typically take 10-12 days with 6-16 day trips available, taking in the Falkland Islands and/or South Georgia as well takes from 15-24 days.

A smaller number of cruises depart from Australia or New Zealand visiting the opposite side of the continent to Eastern Antarctica. These trips are longer and therefore more expensive with a sailing time of 6-7 days there and the same back again in a total trip duration of 26-30 days. They usually leave from Hobart, Australia or Invercargill, New Zealand, frequently leaving from one and returning to the other.

Antarctica is a relatively expensive niche destination, cold and clean, voyages focus the wilderness and aesthetic experience. A coast-line rich in wildlife backed by snow covered mountains and glaciers with an extreme climate make this a truly magical place to visit unlike any other on the planet. The remoteness and experiences make it the ultimate destination for many adventurous travellers.

  Travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula

The majority of tourist trips visit the Peninsula 6 and nearby islands such as the South Shetlands 5 (where the Chinese Great Wall scientific station is located). Longer trips may also take in the Falkland Islands 3 and / or the wildlife rich island of South Georgia 4, described as the "Alps in Mid-Ocean".

Ships almost always cruise along the western side of the Peninsula, the eastern side and Weddell Sea frequently have much heavier sea ice which is potentially problematic for shipping.

Distances km / miles
Ushuaia - Falklands 770 / 480
Ushuaia - South Georgia 2,020 / 1,255
Ushuaia - South Shetlands 980 / 610
Ushuaia - Peninsula tip 1,165 / 724
Punta Arenas - Peninsula tip 1,395 / 870
Peninsula top to bottom 1,230 / 765
Peninsula top to Antarctic Circle  450 / 280


Fig 2. Trips to the Antarctic Peninsula.
1 - Ushuaia, Argentina, 2 - Punta Arenas, Chile
3 - Falkland Islands, 4 - South Georgia
5 - South Shetland Islands, 6 - Antarctic Peninsula

  Travel to the Ross Sea / Commonwealth Bay Region - Eastern Antarctica

These cruises (and they are always cruises) depart from Australia or New Zealand, Hobart, Australia 1, Invercargill / Port of Bluff in New Zealand 2, Invercargill has the airport, Bluff, 30km away by road has a deep-water port. Less commonly trips may leave/return from or other ports in New Zealand such as Dunedin or Lyttleton.

Trips may depart and return to the same port though often leave from one and return to another alternating between cruises. It takes about seven days to sail to Antarctica, the journey there and back is broken up with visits to the wildlife rich islands such as Macquarie 3 and other island groups such as Snares, Auckland and Campbell that lie between Macquarie and New Zealand.

Once in Antarctica trips spend their time either in the Commonwealth Bay area 4 or the Ross Sea region between Cape Adare 5 and McMurdo 6 with possibly a short trip along the front of the Ross Ice Shelf R

Distances km / miles
Hobart - Commonwealth Bay 2640 / 1640
Invercargill - Commonwealth Bay  2760 / 1720
Hobart - Macquarie Island 1500 / 940
Invercargill - Macquarie Island 1110 / 690
Commonwealth Bay - Cape Adare 1300 / 805
Cape Adare - McMurdo 760 / 470


Fig.3 the remote and less visited Eastern side of Antarctica
R - Ross Ice Shelf, 1 - Hobart - Australia
2 - Invercargill / Port of Bluff - New Zealand
3 - Macquarie Island, 4 - Commonwealth Bay
5 - Cape Adare, 6 - McMurdo / Scott bases


Antarctic Peninsula
Sample Cruises - 2024 / 2025

Trip Highlights Prices USD*
Classic Antarctic Peninsula Expedition

10 - 12 days
South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, Penguin Rookeries, Lemaire Channel. $4,860 -
$32,695

typically
$10K-12K
Antarctica Peninsula Basecamp

13 days
Antarctic Peninsula trip with inclusive activities on offer such as hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, and camping out under the South Polar skies. $9,100 -
$11,750
Crossing the Circle

11 - 23 days
typically 12 - 14

Sail down the Antarctic Peninsula and cross the Antarctic Circle, South Shetland Islands, Wildlife, Scenery. $7,700 - $66,367
Fly-Cruise to Antarctica

Air-Cruise, Fly the Drake
Sample Cruises - 2024 / 2025

Trip Highlights Prices USD*
Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands. Fly across the Drake Passage

6 - 14 days
typically 8
Fly across the Drake Passage in 2 hours to join your ship, cruise the South Shetland Islands and western Antarctic Peninsula. Spectacular scenery, glaciers, icebergs, penguins, seals and whale sightings. Limited number of sail one way, fly the other trips. $4,995 - $36,495

typically
$12K-14K
South Georgia with the Falkland Islands and / or the Antarctic Peninsula

South Georgia with the Falkland Islands and / or Antarctic Peninsula
Sample Cruises - 2024 / 2025

Trip Highlights Prices USD*
South Georgia, Antarctic Peninsula and Falkland Islands

17 - 23 days

Sub-Antarctic South Georgia has some of the most unique and abundant wildlife on earth including the world's biggest King Penguin colony, one of the world's largest concentration of Southern Elephant Seals, and many other  penguins, whales, seabirds and seals all with a background of the Alps dropped in mid-ocean.

Falklands Islands - a British colony in the South Atlantic with wild places and diverse abundant wildlife.

The Antarctic Peninsula is Antarctica proper with icebergs, glaciers and wildlife.
$11,556 - $48,191
South Georgia and Falkland Islands

17 or 21 days

$9,995 - $25,990
South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula

15 or 20 days
$13,200 - $37,116
Notes

* Prices are per person. the lowest price is usually for triple occupancy in a basic cabin, the highest for double occupancy in the best available suite.

Options such as kayaking are usually booked when the cruise is booked, they may be at additional cost and have limited availability - it may be too late once the cruise has started.

Contact me about my trip to Antarctica!

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Departures from late October to late March

Our partner company, Antarctica Travels, passionately help people to reach their ultimate destination.

All enquiries will be answered from our office in Patagonia, Argentina.

Dozens of trips - unique combinations of ship + itinerary

Choice of ships - 67 to 199 passenger capacity

Prices from $5,900 per person

6 to 28 days

Please note - we cannot help directly to find employment in Antarctica, please do not use this form to request any other information than for Antarctic tourist trips

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