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elephant island, antarctica

Antarctica Travel Guide

Antarctica, the icy and pristine continent at the bottom of the world, offers a travel experience like no other. This remote and untouched wilderness is a paradise for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. Embark on an expedition cruise, navigating through ice-filled waters and witnessing towering glaciers calving into the sea. Feel the thrill of stepping foot on the seventh continent, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes of snow-capped mountains, immense icebergs, and vast expanses of ice. Encounter incredible wildlife, including penguins, seals, and whales, in their natural habitat, creating unforgettable memories.

In addition to its natural wonders, Antarctica offers unique activities that make the journey truly remarkable. Take part in kayaking excursions, paddling through icy channels and getting up close to marine life. For the ultimate adventure, try polar plunges, where you can dip into the freezing Antarctic waters for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Immerse yourself in the serenity of this isolated environment, far from the hustle and bustle of civilization, and gain a profound appreciation for the Earth's last true wilderness. Antarctica is a destination that captivates the imagination and provides an extraordinary travel experience that will leave you in awe of its raw beauty.


Key Facts

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  • Bucket list wildlife encounters. With blue whales leaping out the water and meeting friendly penguins up close, animal lovers will be in their element. 
  • Tackle unique adventures. Hike icy terrain, unlike any you have trekked before, and enjoy new experiences as you kayak or even take the polar plunge into the Antarctic water. 
  • Learn more about our world and fall in love with nature as the Great White Continent captivates you. Antarctica is full of scientific research opportunities and is an amazing location to gain real-world experience. 
  • Breathtaking photograph opportunities. Those who love to challenge themselves and their camera skills will be endlessly snapping away as they explore these spectacular landscapes. 
  • Feel like you’ve been everywhere and are ready to tick off the 7th continent? Antarctica is many people’s final destination so they can say they truly have travelled the world.

One of the many unique things about Antarctica is that it doesn’t have a capital city, nor does it have a native human population with cities and towns like other continents you may have visited.

  • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula: Take a cruise or expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula where you can marvel at the stunning ice formations, ranging from small icebergs to towering structures, each with it's unique shape and colour. 
  • The Drake Passage: Soak up unique landscapes as you cruise through the famed Drake Passage, undertaken by explorers for centuries. 
  • Spot unique wildlife: Observe the animals of Antarctica up close, including multiple colonies of penguins, seals and blue whales 
  • Zodiac cruise: Zodiac boats are ideal for weaving around icebergs, getting closer to wildlife-rich areas and landing on the shore, where you can walk on the Great White Continent itself!
  • Kayaking: Paddle the icy waters to get unique vantage points of the landscapes surrounding you! 
  • The midnight sun or the Southern Lights: Depending on the time of year, visitors to Antarctica may have the opportunity to witness either the midnight sun during the summer months or the mesmerizing Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) during the winter months, adding more magic to the Antarctic experience.

When travelling on an Antarctica expedition, you will most likely be staying on board an expedition ship. The food you eat will depend on the tour you embark on. Most trips to Antarctica are able to cater to different dietary needs and provide delicious and nutritious meals.

Antarctica has an extremely cold and dry climate. In coastal areas, winter temperatures tend to range from -10°c to -30°C, whilst summer temperatures hover around 0°C and can reach up to 9°C. In the mountainous regions, temperatures drop below -60°C in winter and -20°C in summer. Precipitation in Antarctica is difficult to measure, but it falls as snow. As one of the driest deserts in the world, the interior receives only 50 to 100 millimetres of water (in the form of snow) annually. 


No visa is required due to the Antarctica Treaty but there is a permit that needs to be obtained. If you are travelling by a cruise ship, it is likely your operator will obtain this permit. It is advised you check this with your operator prior to departure.


You will need to present a valid passport upon boarding a cruise ship or plane to Antarctica. 

English is the most commonly spoken language in Antarctica. You may hear other languages spoken among the diverse group of countries present as a result of the global scientific exploration and tourism in the region.

Most expedition ships and research stations have their own power generation systems, which typically run on diesel fuel or other renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power. These systems ensure a reliable supply of electricity for scientific research, accommodations and other operational needs. 

Check the power requirements and availability in your specific accommodation as adaptors or converters may be needed to match the voltage and plug types used in your home country. 

Antarctica is governed by a unique legal framework established through international agreements and treaties. The primary treaty governing the region is the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), which sets out regulations and guidelines for the preservation and peaceful use of Antarctica for scientific research and international cooperation. 

Minimise environmental impact. Visitors are expected to adhere to strict guidelines regarding wildlife conservation, waste management and protection of historic sites. 

  • Leave No Trace. Refrain from disturbing wildlife, littering and adhering to designated paths and areas to minimise human impact. 
  • Photography and filming guidelines. It is advisable to seek permission or guidance when capturing images or recording videos to avoid disturbing wildlife and for the privacy of other visitors. 
  • Commercial activities, such as fishing and mineral resource extraction, are strictly regulated or prohibited. 
  • Specific expedition/ research station rules and regulations. Visitors must comply with instructions provided by the expedition organisers or station authorities to ensure safety and environmental preservation. 


  • Medical Facilities. Antarctica is a remote and isolated region with limited medical facilities. Research stations or expedition cruises usually have basic medical facilities to handle minor injuries or illnesses. 
  • Medical clearance. It is advisable to undergo a thorough medical evaluation and obtain medical clearance from a healthcare professional. This ensures you are physically fit to withstand the demands of the trip and any potential health risks associated with extreme climate. 
  • Vaccinations. Check with your healthcare provider regarding recommended vaccinations for travelling to Antarctica.


  • Safety Briefings. When joining an expedition or visiting a research station, safety briefings are typically provided to familiarise visitors with specific safety protocols, emergency procedures and guidelines for activities in Antarctica. 
  • Extreme Weather Conditions. Antarctica’s weather can be extremely harsh, with serve cold, strong winds, and rapid weather changes. It is essential to have the proper clothing, including thermal layers, waterproof outerwear, insulated boots, and headgear. 
  • Travel Insurance. It is highly recommended to obtain comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, evacuations, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen circumstances. Confirm that your insurance policy specifically includes coverage for activities in Antarctica.