Antarctica

How to Get to Antarctica from New Zealand

Rachel Williams

Rachel Williams  |  27 February 2018

Have dreams of visiting the white continent but unsure how to get to Antarctica from New Zealand? Read on and I will tell you all of the ways to travel to Antarctica from New Zealand. 

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1. Cruise to Antarctica from Ushuaia, Argentina

The majority of Antarctic cruises depart from Ushuaia at the southern rip of South America.  You can fly direct from Auckland to Buenos Aires in Argentina and then take a connecting flight South to Ushuaia. Once you board your cruise it is a 2-day journey to reach the Antarctic continent where you will find protected bays teeming with wildlife as well as scientific research bases, remote military out posts and remnants of the polar pioneers.  If you dream of kayaking, SCUBA diving, hiking, camping on ice and endless wildlife watching expeditions in Antarctica, then this is the option for you.
Cruise out of Ushuaia generally fall into 2 categories.

(1) Antarctic Peninsula Cruises -  The standard “Classic” cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula will generally take 10-12 days.
(2) Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands – the longer trips will take up to 22 days.  Visiting the sub-Antarctic Islands offers unique wildlife such as King Penguins and Royal Albatross as well as fascinating history.

Pros:

  • Greater choice of vessels, itineraries & activities
  • less sailing time
  • Most affordable cruise options

Cons:

  • Unless you absolutely hate boats and do not want to cross the drake passage then there are not really any cons on a cruise to Antarctica form Ushuaia, it is an excellent option!

 

Antarctica Activities Kayaking 5

 

2. Cruise to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile

You can fly directly from Punta Arenas (Chile) to several Antarctic destinations, including the South Shetland Islands and South Georgia, and cruise Antarctica from there. South Georgia is one of Antarctica’s greatest highlights. The sheer concentration of wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes are truly breathtaking.  There are also options to fly to King George Island and then take an Antarctica cruise from there – this tends to be a more expensive option than an Antarctica cruise departing form Ushuaia but it does have the benefit of avoiding the Drake Passage, known for rough seas.

Pros:

  • If you’re short on time, flight + cruise tours from Punta Arenas are a great option.
  • Avoid the choppy drake passages and sail only in the more sheltered waters of the Antarctic peninsula.

Cons:

  • This is a more expensive option with less variety of vessels and itineraries.
  • Bad weather can cause flight delays which can disrupt the planned itinerary.

 

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3. Cruise to Antarctica from New Zealand

There is a selection of cruises departing each season from Bluff, Invercargill (or Hobart, Tasmania). These voyages tend to be around 3-4 weeks long.

The trip down to the Antarctic continent takes around 7 days which can be broken up with visits to  sub-Antarctic islands such as Macquarie Island, Campbells Island, Auckland Islands and the Snare Islands, which offer excellent wildlife and the opportunity to see King Penguins, Royal Penguins and other unique wildlife. Once having arrived to Antarctica, people will spend their time around Commonwealth Bay or the Ross Sea region.  A trip down to this part of Antarctica is pretty extreme, it’s as remote as it possibly can get and not for the light hearted. It’s colder, windier and with higher chances of rough seas and there is no one else besides the other people on your ship.   But for those intrepid travellers a trip to this side does allow you to visit some fantastic places such as  historic sites from the heroic age of Antarctic Exploration (1897-1922) there are still preserved huts which can be visited, which have been left behind by famous explorer Mawson, Scott and Shackleton, the massive ross ice shelf, Mount Erabus, the world southernmost active volcano, emperor penguins and of course the rich sub Antarctic islands.

Pros:

  • Depart on your cruise directly from New Zealand
  • Visit one of the least visited places on earth
  • Includes New Zealand sub-Antarctic Islands

Cons:

  • Much longer ocean crossing with the chance of rough seas and extreme conditions
  • Higher costs
  • Less wildlife when compared to the Antarctic peninsula.

 

A cruise in Antarctica

 

4. Day trip? Fly to Antarctica for the day. 

Experience the magic of Antarctica from above as you glide over the dazzling great White Continent, the world’s last pristine wilderness and its final frontier. Aboard a privately chartered 747 plane, these one day sightseeing flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth give you a spectacular bird’s-eye view of this vast untamed polar desert with its desolate beauty.

Pros:

  • There is no danger of getting cold or wet and no rough seas to endure - just relax on board, enjoy the in-flight service, absorb your unique view of Antarctica and marvel at the awe-inspiring scenery of the uncharted frozen south that lies beneath you.

Cons:

  • You won’t see any of Antarctica’s magical wildlife.
  • There will be no landings, no opportunity to actually set foot in Antarctica

 

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Dreaming of seeing the world’s last untouched continent with your own eyes? We offer a range of Antarctica cruises and flights to suit all budgets and travel styles and endeavour to match you up with the most suitable expedition option for you. For more information Contact us today, or speak to a Destination Specialist today. 

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