Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of stepping on the ice for the first time. Hearing the crunch underfoot and feeling the timelessness of this remarkable white continent. Your trip to Antarctica begins here.
Gaze into the iridescent blue heart of an iceberg. Feel the thrill of a leopard seal turning to meet your gaze. Sit quietly on a beach and be entranced by a chorus of penguin calls as they waddle from nest to shore. Your Antarctica cruise is no longer a dream, but a vibrant experience you’ll treasure forever.
Embark on a small ship expedition cruise with a friendly group of like-minded travellers. We believe that expedition cruising is about true adventure and camaraderie, and with an average of 132 passengers across our voyages, ours are some of the smallest Antarctic expedition cruises you’ll find.
Your Antarctic adventure begins in the delightful port town of Ushuaia or Punta Arenas*. Transit through the vibrant South American hubs of Santiago or Buenos Aires and enjoy the delicious local cuisine and culture before joining your expedition team and embarking on your Antarctic cruise of a lifetime.
*Departure port varies depending on whether you choose to sail, fly/sail or fly/fly to the Antarctic Peninsula. Take a look at our itineraries below to find out more and explore the real world.
Aurora Expeditions have run many expeditions to Greater/East Antarctica including the Ross Sea in our 29 year history. Sign-up to our waitlist below and we will contact you if we launch new itineraries to Greater/East Antarctica.
Frequently asked questions about Antarctica
If you have any questions about Antarctica or joining one of our expeditions, please check out our FAQ’s below or give us a call.
During the summer months (when we visit) the temperature can range from -2°C (28°F) to 8°C (46°F). Big storms are rare, but if one comes through the temperature could drop to -8°C (17°F). Read more
Shipboard clothing is informal and casual; jeans, jumpers, long sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes are ideal in our polar regions. However, be sure to keep your jacket close for unexpected sightings! Some people like to take a nice outfit or something a bit special for the Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks, but formal clothing is not necessary. Read more
To make the most of our voyages, you should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, sometimes over uneven terrain. However, if you have problems walking on rough ground, you can enjoy the scenery closer to shore. Should you have any physical limitations please notify us well in advance of your departure, but this should not discourage you from participating.
Although you cannot swim in Antarctica, most of our voyages stop for a ‘Polar Plunge’, where all willing passengers can take the ultimate dip into the icy Antarctic waters. You do have the option to take up our Polar Snorkelling activity, or experienced scuba divers have the option to dive, on selected voyages. Additional charges may apply.
Antarctica is the southernmost continent on Earth. The South Geographic Pole is in Antarctica, and most of the continent lies within the Antarctic Circle, at 66.5 degrees south of the Equator.
Antarctica is so far south that most of the continent receives 24 hours of daylight during summer, and 24 hours of darkness during winter.
Antarctica lies to the south of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean (also known as the Antarctic Ocean). Most visitors access Antarctica via ship or aircraft from an Antarctic ‘gateway city’. The five official Antarctic gateway cities are Ushuaia (Argentina), Hobart (Australia), Punta Arenas (Chile), Christchurch (New Zealand), and Cape Town (South Africa).
The name ‘Antarctica’ comes from ‘Antarktos’, meaning ‘opposite the Arctic’. Antarctica and the Arctic are indeed opposites in many ways, and they lie at the polar extremes of the globe: the Arctic to the north and Antarctica to the south.
Antarctica doesn’t belong to anyone. There is no single country that owns Antarctica. Instead, Antarctica is governed by a group of nations in a unique international partnership. The Antarctic Treaty, first signed on December 1, 1959, designates Antarctica as a continent devoted to peace and science. Since then, 54 nations have acceded to (signed) the Antarctic Treaty, taking part in this unprecedented example of international diplomacy. Read more
Antarctica is home to a hardy community of wonderful wildlife, which has adapted to the cold, windy and icy Antarctic environment.
There are four species of penguins in Antarctica. They are the emperor, Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap. The emperor and Adélie penguins are found only in Antarctica.
There are six species of Antarctic seals: Ross seals, Weddell seals, crabeater seals, leopard seals, southern fur seals and southern elephant seals. They all live in the ocean surrounding Antarctica, hauling out on ice or land to rest and pup.
Many whales visit Antarctic waters during the summer feeding season between late October and early April. The whales that commonly visit Antarctic waters include humpback whales, killer whales, minke whales, fin whales, sei whales and even the enormous blue whale!
In addition to these charismatic creatures we see on the ocean’s surface, the Antarctic ocean is filled with a rich variety of sea life, from single-celled algae, which form the foundation of the Antarctic food web, to krill, a tiny crustacean which is a keystone species in the Antarctic ecosystem, providing sustenance for seals, whales, penguins and many other seabirds.
Most animals that thrive in Antarctica are marine animals. This means that they rely on the ocean and marine ecosystems to survive and thrive. However, there are a few Antarctic animals that live entirely on land. These include the microscopic springtails, nematodes and tardigrades, which live amongst moss and lichen in areas which are not permanently snow-covered.
Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth. The average temperature in the interior throughout the year is about -57°C, with the minimum temperature being -90°C during the winter season. Although the coast is warmer and temperatures can reach a maximum of between -2°C and 8°C during the summer. It is, on average, the coldest, windiest, and driest of all the continents on Earth. Read more
Tourists visit Antarctica during the summer, between early October and late March. The Antarctic winter is cold and dark, and the continent is surrounded by an enormous fringe of sea ice, which almost doubles its size. Many animals migrate north and the Antarctic Peninsula is inaccessible.
As summer arrives the sun returns to Antarctica, and with it comes rafts of penguins, pods of whales and herds of seals. Sea ice drifts or melts away from the Antarctic Peninsula coastline, allowing expedition vessels access into many sheltered bays and harbours to marvel at the splendour of the Antarctic summer. Read more
Aurora Expeditions are absolutely thrilled to have received one of the highest honours in global travel and tourism, named “The …
As a group, penguins are one of the two most threatened seabird species in the world. According to Birdlife International, …
Do polar bears live in Antarctica? Polar bears live in the Arctic, but not Antarctica. Down south in Antarctica you’ll …