Antarctica Cruises from Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand both act as cruise gateways to visit the incredible sights of East Antarctica. Here you will board your vessel and travel directly to one of this planets most remote and incredible locations.
 
Where: Hobart in Australia and Invercargill in New Zealand both host Antarctic cruise vessels heading south for the summer. A round trip cruise to this part of the world will take about 21 days all up, including 7 days crossing to Antarctica, stopping frequently to visit remote islands such as Macquarie, Snares, Auckland and Campbell.
 
What’s it like:  The cruise to East Antarctica alone is an extraordinary journey in itself. Visiting remote islands along the way offers the traveller an incredible opportunity to witness unique wildlife, history and geology. These islands were frequented and studied by Australia’s own Antarctic Ice man of the heroic age of exploration, Douglas Mawson, and continue to be studied by modern scientists today, many conservation projects have been undertaken here and, as such, some islands became the world leaders in their initiatives.   Reaching the continent of East Antarctica after a week of exploration is a sight to behold, huge ice shelves, vast seas and ice bergs greet travellers like a giant spectacle, a reward for taking the time to get there. Here you have the best chance of seeing the famed Emperor penguin and it is also the base for some of Antarctica’s most incredible historic moments, for it is here that explorers such as Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson embarked on some of the most gruelling explorations in history. If weather conditions allow it is also the place to be to visit Douglas Mawson’s huts and indulge in Australia’s first true link to Antarctica.
 
Getting there: Using your local airlines in Australia should offer great connections through to both Hobart and/or Invercargill where you will meet the vessel for your Antarctic cruise adventure.
 
More information: there are fewer options to visit East Antarctica than there is on the Peninsula, but they are all incredible journeys click below to browse our favourite journeys.
 
If you’re interested in Antarctica cruises out of South America, please visit our main Antarctica Cruise page here
 
Still wondering? Contact us for a chat, we know it’s a big decision to visit the world’s last frontier, we’d rather talk you through the options, so don’t be shy, there are no obligations. 
 

" Antarctica is a special place and is unlike any other destination we have visited, we were not prepared for just how breathtaking the landscape is here. Antarctica is full of amazing wildlife including birds, whales, orcas, seals and penguins..." - Gavin & Gail

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Featured Antarctica Cruises from Australia and New Zealand Trips & Deals

Book by 31 Jul

 Now is the time to tick Antarctica off your bucket list, for a limited period we are offering a number of fantastic specials on Antarctica cruises for the 2017/18 season. Don't miss out!

UNIQUE DEPARTURE  From 24,160

Join us on this exclusive, 26 day expedition to Commonwealth Bay, a remote location rarely visited by tourists, if conditions permit we may even visit Mawson's Huts. 

POPULAR  From 18,050

Cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands on this Exclusive Chimu Adventures departure aboard the luxury Sea Spirit. 

Antarctica Cruises from Australia and New Zealand

Articles On Antarctica Cruises from Australia and New Zealand

Explore the Ross Sea: The Last Pristine Marine Ecosystem Left Standing

Posted on Tue, 19 Jul 2016

The most coveted part of our oceans and a world teeming with invaluable marine wildlife, the Ross Sea is both the richest and most vulnerable ecosystem on earth. Explore the Ross Sea on an Antarctica cruise, and discover why this is considered to be the last pristine marine ecosystem left standing. With the menace of industrial fishing threatening its future, …

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Sir Douglas Mawson – The Legacy That Inspired a Nation

Posted on Tue, 12 Jan 2016

Edited by David Jensen Work is slow, tedious but steady over at Mawson’s Huts. After a wicked blizzard, the quad bikes are buried deep under inches of snow and so the job of unearthing the trusty steeds, and continuing the arduous tasks, begins in earnest just as soon as the sun peeks through the clouds.

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Chimu Adventures & The Mawson’s Huts Foundation: Helping Preserve Australia’s Antarctic Heritage

Posted on Fri, 25 Dec 2015

On the south-eastern tip of a land far, far away, stands an unassuming hut. With its pointy roof and well-worn wooden slats nailed in seemingly random directions, Mawson’s Huts looks like a million other Aussie sheds, seemingly put together as if by haste. If it were anywhere but Antarctica, you may not give it a second glance. But it is …

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Hobart – More than just a gateway

Posted on Wed, 07 Oct 2015

A journey down to East Antarctica may see you stopping by Hobart, Tasmania – Australia’s second oldest city (after Sydney). Travellers to Hobart will discover a small but vibrant harbour city, its history inextricably linked with Antarctica’s; a connection, the city is immensely proud of and that has seen many attractions developed for eager Antarctica enthusiasts (‘Antarctists’, perhaps?) Founded in …

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Antarctica Cruises – Leaving from Australia and New Zealand

Posted on Sun, 15 Mar 2015

Antarctica is a continent that is bursting with remarkable wildlife, awe-inspiring scenery and immense natural landscapes. Seeing it from the Australian side is an experience unlike any other.

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Antarctica Cruises from Australia and New Zealand Cruise Reviews

All Chimu Adventures' clients are given the opportunity to review their trip once they return home. These reviews are administered by a third party and as such are unfiltered by Chimu Adventures.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing trip for a first time overseas traveller The whole trip from start to finish was well organised. Every transfer was on time and the staff on the MV Ushuaia were all skilled and willing to assist in any way possible to ensure our trip was the best it could be. The food that came out of the small galley was well prepared and fresh. Vegetarians were also well looked after. There was only one choice for each meal, but this is to be expected with limited supplies able to be carried on board. I'm still trying to find the right words to explain Antarctica itself. It embodies the true meaning of "awesome" as we were truly in awe of the pristine beauty & wildness.
Date published: 2015-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A trip out of this world 10 days trip to Antarctic Peninsular. A bit shaky across the Drake Passage, as was expected, otherwise a beautiful sailing between the islands and icebergs. Lots of landings to see the native inhabitants with hundreds of Penguins, also Wales, Seals, Birds and Orcas. The staff on board were terrific and so helpful. The food was enough with a good breakfast and two 3 coarse meals (lunch and dinner) with fruit and afternoon snacks available. The cooking was a bit plain at times but still eatable. All in all, a terrific trip, quiet unforgettable.
Date published: 2015-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Voyage of a lifetime This journey was exceptional. All that was arranged just fell into place. Hotel accommodation went smoothly and location perfect. The voyage itself was exceptional from the friendliness and professionalism of the crew to the ships accommodation and facilities, the expedition itinerary could not be faulted. I would highly recommend the MS Expedition and will sail with them again.Also I will not hesitate to use Chimu Adventure for future travel
Date published: 2015-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fab kayaking This was not my choice of holiday, but it has been on my husband's shortlist since he was a boy. He had a great time. It was pretty much as I expected and planned for, but the kayaking was fabulous. I might have gone stir crazy without the opportunity to get away from the crowd and to be almost alone in tne splendour. The trip cost a lot of money, but it was extremely well planned and run, and not expensive. Please not that gender is a social construct and not a biological fact.
Date published: 2015-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Incredible Antarctica Antarctica has been on my bucket list for decades, and I decided early last year that it was time for me to to take the plunge and go on this incredible journey. Having recently lost my wife to cancer, I was thrilled to see this trip with Chimu Adventures raising money for Breast Cancer care. After looking at several companies and many different ships, I called up Chimu and received incredible service from the word go. Nothing was too much effort and the whole process was made very easy. I undertook a 4 week trip with Chimu Adventures including a side visit to Peru and Argentina. Everything was faultless. Antarctica was the crowning glory - simply majestic. I cannot put into words the impact it had on me. Thank you Chimu for a wonderful voyage superbly hosted by Greg Carter. I'll be back when I save some more pennies!
Date published: 2016-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Once in a Lifetime Best adventure ever! The staff were incredible, so helpful and knowledgeable, they went beyond expectations to make our cruise one in a million. Polar Pioneer was the perfect size for what was needed to cruise into the Antarctic Circle. We even did the Polar Plunge and have the T-shirt and certificate to prove it. The BBQ out on deck with Mulled Wine was great fun. Food was plentiful and tasty.
Date published: 2016-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous trip from start to finish! I sailed with GAdventures on the MS Expedition from Montevideo to the Falklands, then to South Georgia and on to the Antarctic Peninsula. It was a wonderful trip. I had high expectations, and they were not just met, but exceeded in every regard. The expedition team were experts in their fields, and their enthusiasm was evident throughout our amazing journey.
Date published: 2015-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest vacation so far We lost one day becouse one of ships engine was broken, so embark was delayed fo 24h, but we get refund, one night at hotel and some trips during those 24h. otherwise tour was excellent. CEO changed intinerary plan so we headed to polar circle first to be sure we can go through in time. if something didnt match itinerary, it was only becouse of weather or danger. Crew and CEO was group of fantastic people and thansk to them, this trip was double so awsome :)
Date published: 2015-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best trip ever! The expedition crew did everything they could to organise landings In a variety of settings and were able to adapt their plans due to any changes in weather. The expedition crew were very knowledgable and all the ships staff were fantastic. We crossed the Antarctic circle and went the furthest south the ship had been thanks to the great skills of the captain. I loved this trip! Penguins, seals, orca whales, wildlife in abundance!!
Date published: 2016-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More than I could have hoped Everything about the trip was fantastic. I have no complaints whatsoever. I would recommend the Sea Adventurer as a perfect ship for adventure/expedition travel because of the two public decks surrounding the ship.
Date published: 2015-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Awesome! We had a wonderful expedition to Antarctica - but have to add that the weather was perfect which made the entire trip ideal. The Drake Passage crossing (both ways) was without incident (noted as the Drake Lake). Landed nine times on the Antarctic continent, which is about the most one could expect. The MS Expedition staff (headed by John) were exceptional and the ship's crew superb. Without a doubt, a trip of a lifetime!!
Date published: 2015-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Antarctica The entire trip was wonderful. It was a joy to see all the different penguins, sea birds, and seals, as well as experience the walking on the ice and snow. The icebergs were spectacular, both in shape and colour.
Date published: 2014-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic South Georgia and Antarctica Brilliant holiday. Budget hotels in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia booked by Chimu were excellent. Weather not all that good but the crew of the Ushuaia were really good and did all they could so that we could have the best in landings that were possible. All travel arranged by ourselves went well and the transfers arranged by Chimu were equally good and drivers were good too! The ship is quite basic so do not expect a cruise ship!
Date published: 2015-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing adventure to the White Continent This was an incredible 11 day 'Images of Antarctica' adventure. Despite the Drake Passage taking it's toll on many, this trip is incredibly worthwhile, if you have the money! The weather was good about half of the time that we were in Antarctica, if it had been miserable weather the whole time it would have been disappointing (not the cruise's fault of course!), but as it was, we got to see the very best (beautiful blue skies, bright white snow and humpback whales) and maybe not quite the worst (-45 degrees with wind chill factor!). Overall I think this enhanced the experience, as we got to see Antarctica for what it really is, completely wild. All of the staff on board were wonderful, funny and warm. I enjoyed the lectures, which gave a greater insight into what we were seeing on land.
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow ! Antarctica was everything we dreamed of and more. We took part in an expedition on the MV Ushuaia, and found the ship perfect for our needs. Plenty of space onboard to see wildlife from the decks, and a very informative guide in Augustin. We hope to go back and explore South Georgia in a few years time. We hear the wildlife is even more spectacular (if possible) there!. Thanks again, and hope this review is of use!
Date published: 2014-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Antarctica with G Adventures G Adventures run ship MS Expedition. All run very smoothly, excellent attention to detail. Flexible destinations regarding weather conditions. Very good attention to environmental issues. Food too rich, could have had less stodgy desserts and meat was always very rare (ie raw); even vegetables were cooked in a stodgy sauce. However always fresh salad and fruit available.
Date published: 2015-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beyond words The most amazing trip from beginning to end. Chimu did a great job of helping me plan my trip & were available with advice & information. The ship (Akademik Ioffe) was fantastic,the One Ocean expedition team were so helpful & knowledgable as well as fun, the ships crew did a fantastic job, & even the weather was perfect!! Everything went smoothly, & the wildlife & scenery was astonishing, so beautiful.
Date published: 2015-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Trip of a Life Time From departure to arriving back home everything Chimu Adventures organised for us ran like clockwork. The Antarctic was fantastic. So quiet! The ship, crew and meals can not be faulted and we managed two landing per day whilst in the area.
Date published: 2016-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Antarctica The trip to Antarctica on board the Sea Explorer was an unique experience I will never forget! The overnight stays in Buenos Aires incl. the transfers to/from the airport as well as the events to attend a Tango Show and to visit the Fireland National park were very well organised by Agnes Schneider of Chimu Adventures!
Date published: 2015-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful trip All went according to plan and was very well organised by the staff and crew on the ship.
Date published: 2015-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from epic antarctica This was the best group tour I have EVER been on. From contact with Staff at Chimu at time of booking to leaving the ship in Ushuaia at the end of our Journey. I travelled on the MV Ushuaia and ALL the Staff and Crew went 'above and beyond' in making sure everyone had the best time possible. Their commitment to customer service is immeasurable and the Expedition Leaders knowledge, insight and love of Antarctica supported their passion for this wondrous land. This is a journey that will stay with me forever! Thank You, Chimu
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Once in a lifetime experience Extremely we'll run cruise, perfect number of passengers and crew
Date published: 2014-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tour!!! The whole trip was well organized an led us to stunning places! We were able to come really close with the wildlife and learnd a lot about our destinations history, fauna and environment. The days were packed with landings, different activities and lectures, so we were always busy!
Date published: 2015-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Pinktartica Journey Trip of a lifetime is only scratching the surface of what I felt after taking this trip. I was on a 12day trip on the Sea Adventurer that was specially chartered by Chimu for a charity foundation, McGrath Foundation. So not only was it going on a dream trip it was also supporting a great cause. Everything about the trip was amazing, we were lucky enough to have brilliant weather and get to see about everything we possibly could in our 12 day trip. Even when there was a minor issue of communication that originally had me off the list of one of the activities I'd signed up for it was fixed right away and I did not miss out on anything. The expedition crew were all very friendly and knowledgeable and could help answer any questions you had on Antarctica. The crew of the ship were also very friendly and very professional and made the trip easy as could be. The only complaint I can have was it was such a great trip that now it seems hard to be excited about going anywhere else, all I want to do is go on this trip again.
Date published: 2015-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Overwhelmed, emotional and speechless I had 8 flights, along with picks ups, hotels, drop offs, a ship to get to - on time and tours. Every single step of the way went flawlessly, thanks to Chimu and in particular Simon who has infinite patience. I am normally an independent traveller, so found it hard to relinquish control and let Chimu sort everything out. Thanks for indulging my many queries. Perfection!
Date published: 2016-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It was an amazing trip, enjoyed everything. The itinery went smoothly we were picked up dropped off at all the correct times. All chimu staff we met were very good polite and very helpful.
Date published: 2016-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Antarctica expidition The prior planning through Chimu was made very easy with more than enough information supplied and regularily updated to make the process as stress free as possible. Vaule for money with the trip down to Antarctica was brilliant.
Date published: 2014-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a Trip! Every part of the trip on the MS Expedition with G Adventures was run in a most professional manner. The ship was excellent including the size of the cabin; the food was superb and the expedition team were all knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The on shore visits were well organised and I couldn't have asked for more.
Date published: 2016-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Enjoyable We had a great trip. Very impressed with all the staff and crew on the Ushuaia. They worked hard to make us feel safe and welcome and I enjoyed the lectures. There is only one disappointment and that is that I am unable to access files on the DVD. Can only see the photos and not the itinerary,, maps etc.
Date published: 2016-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Antarctica - Seeing is Believing ! Smaller ship cruising - MV Ushuaia was the way to go, crew was excellent. Organisation and Itinerary was very well done , Other Expeditioners were good to mix with and enjoy the Fantastic Scenery with ! Only thing left to say -- If you havent been there - Go there . Out of this world !
Date published: 2016-06-16
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Country Information

Geography: East and West Antarctica

Posted on Sat, 12 Nov 2016

Antarctica is the southernmost continent in the world, surrounded by the Southern Ocean. The continent is divided into East and West Antarctica by the Transantarctic Mountains, one of the longest mountain ranges on Earth that extends for 3,500 kilometres. Around 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, the largest single mass of ice on Earth, with an …

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be fit to go to East Antarctica?

A high level of fitness is not necessary for cruises to Antarctica from Australia and New Zealand, but you need to be in good health as although there is generally a doctor on board the ships, you are a long way from any other medical assistance. The majority of activities are focused around shore excursions and zodiac cruising and so you need to be agile and able-bodied enough to climb into and out of the inflatable zodiacs from both the ship and the shore. On shore landings you may need to negotiate uneven and slippery ground. Shore excursions generally involve some walking

Is it safe to travel to East Antarctica and the Ross Sea?

All of our tours are 100% tried and tested to ensure that when you travel with us, you are doing so in a controlled and safe environment with trained experts. We consistently monitor weather conditions and will always provide you with the best possible adventure without risk of injury to you or the vessel. While some landings and activities may need to be rescheduled or cancelled due to weather, every effort is made to have a contingency plan should such conditions become a reality during your expedition. Chimu have been the experts in Antarctic travel for well over 10 years and use our vast experience and knowledge when picking the vessels we sell to provide you with an adventure that is unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Do I need a visa to travel to East Antarctica?

A pre-arranged visa is not required to enter Antarctica from Australia and New Zealand.

How long will it take to reach East Antarctica?

Cruises to Antarctica from Tasmania (Hobart) and to Antarctica from New Zealand (Invercargill or Bluff) can reach East Antarctica in 6 to 7 days, but most voyages break up the days at sea with visits to The Snares, Auckland Islands, Macquarie Island and Campbell Island.

What are the chances of seeing the Mawson’s Huts?

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that you will be able to see Mawson’s Huts. The presence of two immense icebergs had blocked access to Commonwealth Bay for many years. In January 2016, Chimu Adventures operated the first commercial expedition to the site for 5 years, after the two icebergs finally shifted. Although access to Commonwealth Bay was possible, the huts could not be reached due to the ice floe. Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay where the timber huts are located, is known as the “home of the blizzard”, one of the windiest places on Earth, with frequent strong katabatic winds. Your chances of seeing Mawson’s Huts will always depend on the weather and ice conditions and the accessibility of Commonwealth Bay. If you are fortunate enough to gain access to the huts and see some of the relics of Mawson’s infamous 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, it will be an amazing experience that will give you an insight into the harsh conditions that these explorers were subjected to and endured.

What are the chances of getting into Scott’s Hut?

Scott’s Hut is located on Ross Island, on the north shore of Cape Evans. Scott’s Discovery Expedition Hut is located at Hut Point on Ross Island, near to McMurdo Station, the US Antarctic Research Station and Base. Access to the huts is completely dependent on ice and weather conditions, and although every effort will be made to visit the huts, this cannot be guaranteed. In recent years the success rate of visiting Scott’s Hut has been high.