What Activities can I do in Antarctica?

Tara Sutherland

Tara Sutherland  |  14 September 2020

Planning a trip to Antarctica? And wondering what is there to do in Antarctica? Will I get to see penguins? Let’s take a look at what activities the magical white continent has to offer.

Zodiac cruising

Imagine sitting almost at water level, pushing through the sea ice, getting close to a leopard seal lounging, or circling around a stunning blue iceberg, or how about exploring close to the front of a magnificent glacier? Magical!

This is made possible in a zodiac exploration cruise. Zodiacs are small rubber boats, that have a shallow draft, they are very safe and dependable, so they can be used to explore just about anywhere! They can land on rocky beaches, or onto ice, so they are used to get you ashore in Antarctica as well. Usually zodiacs fit about 8-12 passengers, plus a zodiac driver/guide to look after you, so don’t worry, you don’t need any experience at all! All small expedition ships to Antarctica come equipped with a fleet of zodiacs, and zodiac excursions will be included in the cost of your voyage.

Activities Zodiac Antarctica

Shore landings

So, you have voyaged all the way to the continent of Antarctica, and amazing mountains of snow and ice are all around, now, you are going to want to get ashore. Your expedition ship will have shore landings included in the voyage, where were will be split into groups (for logistics) and taken ashore by zodiac. Here you will have time to wander and explore the shoreline, perhaps take a walk up a hill for spectacular views, sit and spend time in a penguin colony, capturing amazing photos or just watching their antics! Sometimes there will be the opportunity to visit a scientific research station, an historical site, or perhaps even call in and post a letter home from the post box at Port Lockroy!

Zodiac exploration and shore landings will be on offer each day you are in Antarctica, weather dependent of course, but with all the bays and inlets, your captain is likely to find a sheltered spot.

Shore Antarctica

Step foot on the continent of Antarctica!

Dreaming of setting foot on your 7th Continent? Your shore landings are likely to be on the continent itself…toast to this amazing occasion!

To have the best chance of experiencing this, please ensure you choose a smaller vessel, that does include shore landings, and I would also recommend selecting a voyage of 10 days or more to allow time for this.

Small ship antractica

Now let’s take a look at some Optional activities on offer in Antarctica


How about spending a night sleeping on the white continent itself? Many expeditions offer the chance to spend a night open air camping on the snow. Sleep in a bivouac bag, and watch the sky above, this enchanting night will be something you will always remember! (No prior experience required).

Bivvy bag camping

Kayaking, paddling or stand up paddle boarding (SUPing)

For an extra adventure, and a real close to nature experience, try kayaking in Antarctica. Imagine paddling through the icy waters, with just the sounds of nature, or be amazed when a whale comes to surface nearby!

All gear will be provided; however, it is recommended that you have some kayaking experience before you travel. Or if you do not have any experience, some voyages offer paddling on larger inflatable kayaks for beginners  and there is also SUPing if you are keen!

Kayak Antarctica


Pop on a pair of snowshoes, and follow your expert guide for a few hours, and you will be able to walk a little easier on the snow and ice and get to explore Antarctica some more! No prior experience required, just a little fitness. It is also recommended to go earlier in the season if you would like to do this activity, when there is more snow.

Antartica shore expedition

Polar plunge

You only live once! Dare to take a plunge into the icy polar waters.

Polar plunge


Some landing areas allow for longing walks if you are keen to stretch your legs and get further afield, perhaps trace some Shackleton’s steps on South Georgia.

Hiking Antarctica

Photo workshops

Many expeditions to Antarctica will have an onboard photographer, however they are likely to be pretty busy. If you are really keen on getting the most out of your polar photography, look for photo workshops onboard, in small groups, to give you a more hand on experience.

Antarctica Photography

Snorkelling or Polar Diving

Experience Antarctica from another angle, and witness how the ice and light play below the Antarctic waters!

Polar diving


Extra adventurous and want to get off the beaten track? Try mountaineering, using snowshoes, and when it gets more challenging, don on some crampons, and explore glaciated areas of Antarctica. Good fitness is required, and you will be in great hands with your guide.

Antarctica Mountaineering

Science workshops

Join an Antarctica voyage that has scientist onboard, doing real world research and sign up to lend a hand with their fascinating research!

Science workshops Antarctica

Heli flight seeing

You have walked on Antarctica, now get a stunning view like no other from the air! Perhaps an epic flight over Antarctica’s dry valleys on an Antarctica expedition from New Zealand to South America!

Heli Antarctica

These optional activities are only available on select voyages, and there are limited spaces so please let your destination specialist know what you are interested in when you first enquiry, so they can find the perfect voyage for you!

Ready to start planning? Check out our Antarctica voyages here

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