Antarctic Cruises from Australia and New Zealand

Antarctic cruises from Australia and New Zealand are not dissimilar to the experience that you would have on a cruise departing from South America. Some say that this eastern side of the continent is more extreme and that the journeys here take longer to complete.  Perhaps they are right but you will still see the same kinds of wildlife and still have some fantastic opportunities to follow in the footsteps of the great explorers in their race to become the first to reach the South Pole.

As with most Antarctic cruises the first few days are spent getting to know your fellow passengers, listening to lectures from the crew and leaning about what you can expect from the different ports of call. (For an introduction to cruising the Antarctic, see our article  Antarctic Cruises – When and What ).

Macquarie Island

On around the fourth day you will reach this regions equivalent of the South Georgia, with its prolific wildlife and beautiful scenery it’s called Macquarie Island.  The island is both a protected wildlife sanctuary and a World Heritage Site as well as an important meteorological and biological research centre.  Zodiac’s land passengers for what could be a ‘wet’ landing; in fact most of the landings will be classed as wet, but with 20,000 breeding pairs of royal, king and rock hopper penguins as well as huge elephant seals, you won’t even notice.

Ross Sea

The Ross Sea region is the southern most part of the Pacific Ocean and only the very strong icebreakers can get to the most southerly parts of the region from January to March. Amongst many of the landing sites are Cape Evans – The home to the largest historical building in the Antarctic; Captain Scott’s Terra Nova hut.  This is the hut he used before setting off to the South Pole and still contains many pieces of his original equipment.  Cape Hallett – with its giant glaciers and mountains reaching 4,000m in height. Inexpressible Island – Known by explorers as ‘Hell with a capital H’, this is a rarely visited site and particularly challenging, but if successful visitors can see two plaques dedicated to members of Scott’s team were forced to over winter here and survived. Cape Royds – The world’s most southerly penguin rookery.

Campbell Islands

After another few days at sea cruises stop at the Campbell Islands, this is where you will see around 8,500 pairs of royal albatross, 74,000 pairs of black browed mollymawk and over 40 other species of breeding birds.  One of the final stops on the trip are the Snares Islands.  These two islands are the closet Antarctic islands to New Zealand and although wind beaten are home to 99 recorded species of birds, including terns, penguins and albatross.

It is simply not possible to do justice in words to such a magnificent adventure as this without using once in a lifetime, magnificent and amazing but these don’t even come close to describing what kind of adventure is possible here.  The thought of the history behind this place let alone the abundance of creatures and birds that we only normally see in their natural habitat on TV is incredible.

The other main area where visitors can cruise in the Antarctic Peninsula is South America , covered in our next article Antarctic Cruises from South America.

Related posts:

  1. Antarctic Cruises from South America
  2. Antarctic Cruises – When and What
  3. Quark Expeditions: Polar Cruises
  4. Kimberley Cruise: An Australian Adventure
  5. Spitsbergen Cruise Holidays – Arctic Adventure

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