The 10 Most Thrilling Antarctic Tour Experiences Ever
The prospect of a voyage to the deep south of the world is an adventure like no other, but you can make your Antarctic tour even more memorable by including an exhilarating experience designed to get your heart racing, adrenaline pumping or simply delight your inner explorer.
Here are 10 of the most sensational polar activities you can upgrade to or choose as part of your once in a lifetime Antarctic tour.
1. Kayaking in Antarctica through Polar waters
Imagine yourself paddling between glaciers, navigating the crystal clear waters of the Southern Ocean and maybe heading past a whale or two by kayaking in Antarctica.
Antarctica Sea Kayaking is one of the most popular add-ons with most polar cruise tours offering this as an option for a surcharge on your cruise price. Most kayaking Antarctic tour programs are geared towards intermediate to advanced levels, as the activity is conducted daily instead of landings on an expedition ship. But Antarctica kayaking places are usually limited and must be pre-booked in advance to guarantee your spot.
You can even take part in a special ‘Overnight Sea Kayaking’ excursion on the ‘Antarctica Off the Beaten Track’ departure on the Ioffe.
2. The Ultimate Camping in Antarctica
Camping in Antarctica is one of the ultimate ways to experience raw natural wilderness of the bottom of the world and waking up there after you’ve slept there overnight is a unique experience you’re unlikely to forget.
Camping in Antarctica is a supervised program, regulated so that you have everything you need to make it through the night, including your equipment and often medical supervision.
Most Antarctica cruises will offer a camping option or upgrade you can purchase on top of your cruise price on select Antarctica trips and dates when the weather is most likely to allow for camping in the deep southern continent. Camping is available on the Plancius, Ortelius, G Expedition & Polar Pioneer Cruises.
Some Antarctic tour cruise programs such as the Ioffe, Vavilov & Resolute cruise make every possible attempt to include camping in your voyage, even including this as part of their cruise price. (So no extra is payable.)
3. Crossing the Antarctic Circle as part of your Antarctic tour
Not many travellers make it to Antarctica. Even less make it beyond the peninsula to reach the Antarctic Circle.
The Polar (Antarctic) Circle is the line of latitude that defines the southernmost point from which to view the sun and offers the possibility of witnessing a day of 24 hours worth of sunlight.
Only select voyages will attempt to cross the Antarctic circle, and those that do, are blessed with an extra day or two of sailing through the abundance of glacier spotting and wildlife opportunities.
Not all Antarctic Circle voyage necessarily reach 66 degrees south of the equator, it all depends on weather and navigation conditions of course, but if you have the chance, why wouldn’t you?
Check out Antarctic tour voyages to the Antarctic Circle here
4. Taking a helicopter trip in Antarctica
A helicopter ride is usually thrilling in its own right, but taking a helicopter flight over Antarctica is simply out of this world.
One of the most unique of all Antarctica tours is the ‘Weddell Sea – In Search Of The Emperor Penguin’ journey. Not only is this one of the few ships to even venture and try to find the reclusive colony of emperor penguins near Snow Hill Island, weather permitting, it uses helicopters to search for individual emperor penguins, make scenic flights or land in places otherwise inaccessible by ship alone.
The In Search of The Emperor Penguin incl. Helicopters voyage is operated exclusively on the Ortelius.
5. Losing yourself in the abundance of wildlife in South Georgia
If wildlife spotting is what draws you to Antarctica, then a trip to the Sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia must be considered.
South Georgia is a wildlife mecca, home to colonies of king penguins, albatrosses and fur seals in their hundreds and even thousands.
In South Georgia you will get lost in the plethora of surrounding natural activity, observe the courting, nesting and mating rituals and is guaranteed to be better than any documentary.
Check out the range of South Georgia antarctica tours here
6. Stepping onto the white continent itself – Landing in Antarctica
There are many ways to visit Antarctica, but one of the best ways is to make sure you land on the white continent itself. You want to feel the antarctic snow beneath your feet, walk amongst the penguin packs and feel the immensity of untouched nature around you.
Whilst some of the larger cruises (500+) are focused on sightseeing and you never disembark, expedition cruises are focussed around you landing in Antarctica and experiencing it firsthand as much as possible.
You will take daily excursions off your ship and into the attractions, often using zodiacs – small motorised dinghies to transport you to and from your vessel.
There are strict regulations around landing in Antarctica with only specific ships having permission to do so and in certain numbers and you must follow guidelines in order to protect this fragile environment. For a full range of expedition ships, click here
7. Viewing Antarctica from under the water – Scuba Diving & Polar Snorkelling
With the water such a significant aspect of the Antarctic environment, experiencing what goes on beneath can add another dimension to your Antarctica tour.
Scuba diving in Antarctica is led in small groups and by an experienced guide so you can experience dive sites like nowhere else on earth and witness the beautiful sea stars, corals and sea spiders down below. Diving experience is required.
Snorkeling in Antarctica is open to everyone and you can see the beauty of what lies below the surface of glaciers, watch penguins and seals getting in and gliding through the crystal clear Antarctica waters as well as seeing other marine life such as crustaceans.
You can choose Scuba Diving & or Polar Snorkelling as optional activities (with additional surcharges) onboard selected voyages of the Polar Pioneer Antarctica cruise.
The Ortelius offers special diving themed departures and also includes it as part of their ‘Basecamp’ program.
8. Add an Antarctica Photography Expedition
There’s no better place to dust the cobwebs off your trusty SLR than Antarctica, With dazzling glaciers, gorgeous birds and landscapes, and so many animals to capture, Antarctic is a haven for photographers, amateurs and professionals alike.
But if you want to get serious about the shots you take and perfect your hobby, you can add a photography workshop held by an acclaimed shutterbug or even go on a specific ‘photography themed’ departure.
You can choose a photography symposium voyage on the Ioffe on 03 November 2018 where a team of 5 photographers are onboard to answer questions and offer special workshops on light. Or you can take special field photography excursions on the ‘Off the Beaten Track’ departures on the Ioffe.
The Polar Pioneer includes Photography Classes on select departures for 2018 & 2019.
9. Skiing as part of your Antarctica Tour
If the slopes are your wintertime playground, skiing in Antarctica is a must do.
There are some equipment and technical differences to technique you will need to adapt to and learn, but once you do, your ultimate ski-touring dreams can become reality.
You can spend 2 -5 hours on your skiing outings in Antarctica and previous experience and an adequate physical fitness level is required.
Ski touring in Antarctica is led by experienced specialist guides who will conduct safety trainings and briefings.
You can add Ski-Touring to select departures on the Polar Pioneer.
Ski Touring is also possible on ‘Antarctica Off the Beaten Track’ voyages on Ioffe, & Resolute ships.
10. Expedition Hiking or Mountaineering in Antarctica
Most Antarctic cruise tours included shorter hike and snowshoeing options as part of their landing programs in Antarctica.
For adventure junkies not content with staying on ground, the mountains in Antarctica can be some of the most challenging and rewarding to attempt to conquer.
Some Antarctic tours offer mountaineering to experienced climbers to ascend majestic peaks or to scale icebergs.
You can also relive the famed expedition by Sir Ernest Shackleton through the optional 3 Day South Georgia Alpine Crossing Add On.