The fifth largest, the coldest, windiest and driest continent on the planet - if these aren't tempting enough, voyage to Antarctica for the penguins, the whales and the seals.
The mountainous Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of Antarctica which stretches towards South America. The Ice Sheet provides one of the most unique destinations worldwide and visitors can see the vast array of wildife which exists such as penguins in addition to various species of whales and seals. The Antarctic Peninsula offers stunning natural landscape complete with ice capped mountains and icebergs. Due to the relatively mild climate (in summer up to +3 ° C) many research stations are based here.
The Drake Passage is a strait between the southern tip of South America and the northern tip of Antarctica. It connects the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean and was named after the explorer Sir Francis Drake. The Passage is around 1,000 kilometres long. Crossing the Drake Passage is seen as a pivotal moment in making the crossing to Antarctica and offers the perfect opportunity for passengers to test their endurance skills, as the waters here are some of the roughest in the world. Once through the Passage passengers will enjoy the calm waters and incredible natural landscape of Antarctica which make the trip more than worth it.
The South Shetland Islands are a group of islands stretching over 500 kilometres. The islands include Elephant Island, Deception Island, Half Moon Island and many more across Antarctica. On the islands there are volcanoes, some of which are still active. Due to the relatively mild temperature, there are numerous bases throughout the islands for carrying out scientific research, some of which are permanently manned, however the most common inhabitants of the islands are seals and penguins. Each island offers passengers a different perspective on Antarctica.
The island group of South Georgia lies in the South Atlantic, about 1600 km away from the South American mainland. The region is one of the most important breeding areas of king penguins.
The Antarctic Sound is a water mass which received it's name from the 'Sound', a Swedish ship which was the first to successfully pass through the area. The Antarctic Sound divides the Jainville Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. The area is populated by a wide variety of wildlife including the popular gentoo penguins, in addition to a wide variety of seals. The Antarctic Sound is the perfect place to witness the beautiful glaciers and snow-capped peaks of Antarctica.
Elephant Island, is a member of Antarctica's Island chain, referred to as the South Shetland Islands. The name Elephant Island is derived from the shape of the island, which is said to resemble that of an elephant head. Elephant Island is closely associated with Antarctic explorers such as Ernest Shackelford and Tom Crean. Their expedition crew remained stranded on the island for a number of months having had their ship go down in the icy waters of Antarctica before Schackelford made it to Georgia for help. The remains of the ship can still be seen on the island today
Over the years, the Antarctic has developed one of the richest ecosystems on earth. Clear air, seemingly endless, white mountains and amazing wildlife await you.
Saunders is an island in the Falklands, it is located north west of the West Falkland Island and is the fourth largest in the archipelago. The island's terrain varies from rocky hills to sweeping shorelines. Saunders' exceptional wildlife - the island is recognised as an Important Bird Area and is home to all five breeding species of penguin - draws nature lovers from all over the world. Besides that, Saunders is historically significant as it is the first British settlement site on the Falkland Islands.
Ross Island is a volcanic island located in the Ross Sea, near Antarctica. The island is named after its discoverer James Clark Ross. One of the four volcanoes located here - Erebus is still active and is the southernmost active volcano. Ross Island is home to both the US and the New Zealand Antarctic stations, meaning that in the summer the island becomes a hub of activity - scientists are passing through on their way to different field camps and the South Pole. Ross Island is also famous for its penguin rookeries.
Deception island, a former whaling station is part of the South Shetland Islands. The Island is characterized by an active volcano. The presence of this volcano has led many to believe that the waters of Deception Island are amongst Antarctica's warmest, therefore many brave visitors choose the island as the location of their Antarctic swim. The island has also proven to be a popular spot for research, with multiple countries having research bases on the island.
The Balleny Islands are spread over an area of 160 kilometers in the Southern Ocean. The archipelago is uninhabited and is officially part of New Zealand. The islands are made up of volcanic glaciers, projecting from their slopes into the ocean. The group consists of 3 main islands: Young, Buckle and Sturge. Highlights of Balleny Islands: • Spot Adelie penguins on Buckle Island • Admire the unclimbed Brown Peak on the Sturge Island • See the beautiful sea stacks off the coast of Young Island
Nightingale Island is an active volcanic island located in the south atlantic ocean, only 3 square kilometers in size. It is also home to a huge variety of sea birds.
Gough Island is part of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena. It is located in the South Atlantic Ocean and was first discovered by the Portuguese. This rugged volcanic island is inhabited solely by the personnel of the South African weather station, making it one of the most remote places with a constant human presence on the planet. Gough Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a gem for bird lovers - there is a wealth of breeding seabirds both warm- and cold-water.
Terra Nova Bay is a bay in Antarctica in the vicinity of Victoria Land and despite the cold weather is often free of ice.
Antarctica Cruises - The ShipsThere are a surprising number of cruise lines that will sail you to Antarctica. Some of the most experienced operators in these waters are Oceanwide Expeditions, Quark Expeditions, and Holland America Line. Their ships are without fail modern and comfortable. Unlike larger ocean-going cruise ships operating elsewhere in the world, these ships will not come furnished with show venues, waterparks, and twenty different dining rooms. What they do offer is a friendly, intimate atmosphere, cosy bars and dining rooms, and panoramic lounges. If you are looking for a vessel to rival the more mainstream options and transport you in absolute luxury, then you should consider the five-star cruise lines Seabourn and Silversea Cruises. Their ships come with exquisite furnishings (think marble bathrooms) and 24-hour butler service. All vessels cruising these waters have ice-strengthened hulls to ensure absolute safety. Some of the more robust expedition and research cruise ships are actually icebreakers that can cut paths through the ice to reach the more out-the-way destinations. For more information on Antarctica cruises call our cruise experts today on 1300 887 590.
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