Things to see and do
Hop in a helicopter for a bird’s eye view
If you’ve got the cash then hire a chopper and get a bird’s eye view of polar animals (including penguins and albatrosses) in their natural environment. Though unaffordable for most Antarctic explorers, helicopters offer the best access to the continent’s emperor penguin colonies.
Kick back on an Antarctic cruise
Explore this icy continent the lazy way, by taking a cruise around some of the most dramatic scenery in the world. Most trips depart from Ushuaia (in Argentina) or Punta Arenas (in Chile), and the passage from South America to the Antarctic Peninsula takes approximately two days.
Run the Antarctica Marathon
Hardcore runners can test their mettle in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, by signing up to the Antarctica Marathon on King George Island. Participants must brave sub-zero temperatures and biting winds as they complete the course. For those less brave, there’s also a half-marathon.
View the night sky in all its glory
Unspoiled by light pollution, Antarctica puts on one of the greatest cosmos displays in the world. Gaze up at night and delight in an exceptionally clear sky full of stars.
Climb Observation Hill
Observation Hill, a 30-minute ascent from nearby McMurdo, awards intrepid travellers with magnificent views of Mount Erebus and the Ross Ice Shelf, plus the ‘Royal Societies’ range across the ice. You will also find here the Memorial Cross erected in honour of Captain Robert Scott and his polar party.
Brush up on your Antarctic history
Antarctica was the scene of intense rivalry between some of the world’s greatest polar explorers such as Earnest Shackleton and Robert Scott. Brave visitors can follow in their footsteps in Antarctica, though reading about their endeavours from aboard your boat is a far more comfortable way to learn about these great men.
Send a postcard from Port Lockroy
Impress your friends by sending them a postcard from the only post office in Antarctica, at Port Lockroy, which used to be a British station and is now a museum to early Antarctic exploration. It is one of Antarctica’s most popular attractions, designated as Historic Site Number 61 under the Antarctic Treaty.
Admire the hardy wildlife
Come to Antarctica and you can take advantage of some of the best wildlife viewing in the world. Elephant and Weddell seals, emperor, chinstrap and Adelié penguins and humpback and minke whales are just a few of the regulars spotted in these chilly waters.
Kayak around icebergs
For an even closer view of the glistening blue-tinted ice of Antarctica, hop in a kayak and go for a paddle. If the weather permits you may even be able to camp on the ice. Kayaking and camping trips are offered as part of some expedition voyages.
Deceive your senses on Deception Island
Living up to its name, Deception Island is revered for its thermal springs, but don’t be fooled: the water here is nowhere near as warm as some might have you believe. Located in the South Shetland archipelago, the island was a former whaling station and the rusting remains of this bloody industry litter the island – along with decaying whalebones.