Antarctica Cruises Leaving from Australia and New Zealand
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Regions: Antarctic Peninsula | South Georgia | South Shetland Islands | Falkland Islands
30 to 35 day cruises leaving Australia or New Zealand from
10-24 day Peninsula trips leaving South America
Travel to the Ross Sea / Commonwealth Bay Region - Eastern Antarctica
Cruises to Eastern Antarctica from Australia and New Zealand usually leave from Invercargill / Port of Bluff in New Zealand (2 - map below) Invercargill has an airport, Bluff, 30km away by road has a deep-water port. Less frequently trips may leave from Hobart in Australia 1. They may also leave/return from Dunedin in New Zealand which is about 180 km / 110 miles from Invercargill.
Departure and return may be to the same port or leave from one and return to the other in either direction. It takes about seven days sailing to reach Antarctica from Australia or New Zealand, the journey there and back is usually broken up with visits to the wildlife rich Macquarie Island 3 and others such as Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands that lie between Macquarie and New Zealand.
On reaching Antarctica trips usually 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
1 - Hobart - Australia
2 - Invercargill / Port of Bluff - New Zealand
3 - Macquarie Island
4 - Commonwealth Bay
5 - Cape Adare
6 - McMurdo / Scott bases
R - Ross Ice Shelf
|Distances||km / miles|
|1, Hobart - 4, Commonwealth Bay||2640 / 1640|
|2, Invercargill - 4, Commonwealth Bay||2760 / 1720|
|1, Hobart - 3, Macquarie Island||1500 / 940|
|2, Invercargill - 3, Macquarie Island||1110 / 690|
|4, Commonwealth Bay - 5, Cape Adare||1300 / 805|
|5, Cape Adare - 6, McMurdo||760 / 470|
The distance travelled means that trips to Eastern Antarctica take longer than to the Peninsula region from South America and are also subsequently more expensive. These trips are typically 26-30 days.
There is no quick way of doing this, sailing to Antarctica and back takes around 12 days even if there were no stops at Sub-Antarctic islands along the way.
There are fewer trips departing from this region than there are from South America meaning less choice of dates and ship.
The Eastern side of Antarctica is entirely within the Antarctic Circle and a different kind of Antarctica, as remote as it's possible to get on the planet. It is colder than a Peninsula trip and with a higher chance of rough seas at some point. Getting to Antarctica and back again is more of an expedition than the traditional kind of cruise. You will probably not see any other ships during your cruise at all and other than visits to research bases, you almost certainly won't see any people apart from those on your ship.
What could you see in the Ross Sea region that you won't see on the Peninsula? You may visit the following places subject to the specific itinerary of your cruise and according to what the weather and sea will allow.
- Mount Erebus -
The world's southernmost active volcano.
- Historic sites
- There are historic huts in this region of Antarctica from
the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration from 1897-1922.
Scott, Shackleton and Mawson all left huts behind which
are preserved as historic relics and time capsules that
can be visited.
- The Ross Ice Shelf
- A 600 km long wall of ice between 15m and 50m high.
- Isolated scientific bases
- including the largest in the Antarctic, the American base
at McMurdo Sound.
- Emperor Penguins
- The birds of the deep south that rear their young in the
depths of the Antarctic winter, the largest of all penguins.
- Sub-Antarctic Islands - On the way south and on the return journey back north. These islands are oases of wildlife, especially birdlife which nest here in their almost countless thousands.
Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements
Travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula
If you live in or near Australia or New Zealand it is well worth considering travelling to South America and visiting the Peninsula Region of Antarctica, especially if you can extend the trip. Once you have travelled to South America, there is about half the world in between you and home again with a whole wealth of opportunity to visit many other counties on your outward or return journey, you're travelling anyway, so make the most of it.
A trip to the Antarctic Peninsula is a much shorter trip than those to the Ross Sea region due to the reduced distance and therefore the length of time spent at sea. If this is your first trip to Antarctica then it may be better to visit the Peninsula where the trips start at 6 days and are less expensive, it is also possible to fly from South America to Antarctica and join your ship there, an option that is not available in Eastern Antarctica. Wildlife is also much more plentiful around the Peninsula so for the majority wanting to see the beautiful scenery, penguins, whales etc. the Peninsula is the best option.
Cruises usually leave from Ushuaia in Argentina, Flights usually leave from Punta Arenas in Chile.
Shorter trips visit the Peninsula 6 and nearby islands such as the South Shetlands 5. Longer trips may also take in the Falkland Islands 3 and / or South Georgia 4 and possibly some other landings en route.
Cruises most commonly go down the western side of the Peninsula as they are less likely to encounter problematic sea ice that is more often found on the Eastern side in the Weddell Sea.
|Distances||miles / km|
|1, Ushuaia - 3, Falklands||480 / 770|
|1, Ushuaia - 4, South Georgia||1,255 / 2,020|
|1, Ushuaia - 5, South Shetlands||610 / 980|
|1, Ushuaia - Peninsula tip||724 / 1,165|
|2, Punta Arenas - Peninsula tip||870 / 1,395|
|Peninsula top to bottom||765 / 1,230|
|Peninsula top to Antarctic Circle||280 / 450|
1 - Ushuaia, Argentina
2 - Punta Arenas, Chile
3 - Falkland Islands 4 - South Georgia
5 - South Shetland Islands 6 - Antarctic Peninsula
Eastern Antarctica, Ross Sea Region v Antarctic Peninsula Cruises
- Remoteness - You will see little if any other shipping
and get a greater feeling of isolation and being at the end of the world,
this is a rarely visited part of the planet. You are going where the world's biggest icebergs
are and the most extreme weather conditions.
- Greater chance of rough seas due to longer
spent crossing the open ocean which can take 6-7 days in each
direction, no flights available.
- See Emperor Penguins, the birds of the deep south
that rear their young in the depths of the Antarctic winter, the largest
of all penguins.
- See Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost active
volcano and the Ross Ice Shelf, a 600km long wall of
ice between 15m and 50m high.
- Visit the huts of Mawson, Scott and Shackleton
depending on where your particular cruise goes. This is the area where
much of the early exploratory history of Antarctica was played out and
where historical remains still stand.
- Exclusivity - of the people who go to
Antarctica, only a small proportion visit regions other than the
Peninsula, there are relatively few trips here and they are often
fully booked up well in advance.
- Trip length of 26-30 days, sometimes there may be the possibility of a semi-circumnavigation over a similar time period from the Ross Sea to the Peninsula.
- It takes 2 days to cross the Drake Passage to reach the
Antarctic Peninsula, rough seas are possible though
short-lived, you can also fly across it in 2 hours on a fly-cruise
- Varied mountainous scenery with glaciers and icebergs,
some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.
- The most wildlife rich area, with huge penguin colonies
and many other breeding birds, seals are common and whales may be
seen. The sub-Antarctic islands you may visit en route are
particularly wildlife rich,
especially South Georgia.
- Historic preserved British Base, now a working post
office at Port Lockroy,
you may also visit other research bases and historic sites.
- Easier to reach, The closeness of the peninsula
to the tip of South America means that travel time to reach
Antarctica here is much less than in the East. It also
means that a greater portion of the trip is spent in Antarctica
rather than travelling there and back.
- A larger number and variety of trips available, duration from 6-24 days, a wide range of ships and choice of travel dates and itineraries.
Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements
Antarctic Peninsula - Sample Cruises - 2021 - 2022
|Antarctic Peninsula Expedition||South Shetlands, Antarctic Peninsula, Penguin Rookeries, Lemaire Channel.||$8,050 -
|Antarctica Basecamp||Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp cruise offers hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, and camping out under the Southern Polar skies free of charge.||$8,050 -
|Antarctic Circle Quest||Sail down the Antarctic Peninsula and cross the Antarctic Circle, South Shetland Islands, Wildlife, Scenery.||$8,995 - $45,995||10-14|
Antarctica Ross Sea Region - Sample Cruises - 2021 / 2022
|Ross Sea and Historic Huts||Explore the Ross Sea, Historic Huts, Ross Ice Shelf, McMurdo base, Auckland Islands, Macquarie and Campbell Islands.||$23,000 -
|Ross Sea region and the Peninsula with helicopters||Semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica from the Peninsula to the Ross Sea, Ross Island, Scott and Shackleton's huts, Mt. Erebus and Terror, Dry Valleys, huge penguin colonies, sub-Antarctic wildlife rich islands.||$27,400 - $39,500||33|
South Georgia / Falkland Islands / Antarctica - Sample Cruises - 2021 / 2022
|Shackleton's Final Quest||Vast Colonies of King Penguins, Breathtaking Scenery, Historic sites, 100 years after the death of Shackleton at South Georgia signaling the close of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. Optional 5 day pre voyage historical extension to Montevideo.||$17,995 -
|Epic Antarctica, South Shetlands, Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands||All the major Antarctic highlights, anticipate penguins, whales, seabirds and seals as well as magnificent scenery.||$18,545 - $129,592||23|
|Antarctica, South Shetlands, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands||All the major Antarctic highlights, anticipate penguins, whales, seabirds and seals as well as magnificent scenery.||$12,600 - $31,495||19|
|South Georgia in depth with the Falkland Islands||A spring trip to South Georgia and Falklands when breeding and inwards migration are at a height, South Georgia hosts the most wildlife per square meter in the world.||$15,446 - $27,596||17|
* Prices are based 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 may be at additional cost and are usually booked when the cruise is booked - it may be too late once the cruise has started.
Contact me about my trip to Antarctica!
Our partner company, Ice Tracks, UK based and ATOL protected, will help you find the perfect trip to Antarctica, all enquiries will be answered from our office in Warwickshire, England.
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Please note - we cannot help directly to find employment in Antarctica, please do not use this form to request information other than for Antarctic tourist trips
Departures from late October to early March
Dozens of trips - unique combinations of ship + itinerary
Choice of ships - 108 to 139 passenger capacity
$8,050 to $40,000
10 to 33 days