Is Paul Kelly Playing the Most Unique Gig Ever?

Explore Antarctica with Paul Kelly on our ‘Songs in the South’ 2021 Expedition.

We’re not embarrassed to admit we cranked ‘Before Too Long‘ on the stereo and did a bit of a dorky dance in the Chimu office when Paul Kelly, Australia’s iconic singer-songwriter, agreed to join us on our fundraising Antarctica expedition that’s set to cast off in March, 2021.

On our 21-day Songs in the South Antarctic Expedition, our very special guest will offer three intimate performances to a small group of very lucky guests.

Promotional poster for Songs in the South with Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly & Antarctica – The ultimate double-act

Kelly and Antarctica go hand in hand, if you ask us. Throughout his decorated career, Paul Kelly has been renowned for his unique capacity to tell stories from many points of view, and his songs are now lodged deep in the Australian psyche.  Antarctica also leaves its mark. It changes people. It is a place where the fragility of our planet is never more present, an area steeped in history, a location with its own unique stories.

From Cockatoo Island and the Jenolan Caves to winery concerts and even gigs on tropical islands, we have seen a proliferation of alluring musical experiences in recent years. But we would hasten to bet, experiencing Paul Kelly’s songs amongst the spectacular, emotive wilderness of Antarctica may be the most unique and intimate setting of them all. Imagine seeing Paul Kelly perform not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions, with the land of icebergs and penguins as your backdrop, and less than 200 people in the audience.

It will be a profoundly moving, and truly once in a lifetime experience.

A person in a red jacket explores the waters of Antarctica by zodiac.

Exploring the majesty of Antarctica by zodiac. Photo: Shutterstock

What will the ‘Songs in the South’ Antarctica expedition entail?

Aside from the amazing performances by Kelly (there will be no karaoke from us, rest assured) you will enjoy a breathtaking journey that’ll take in the most revered destinations in Antarctica. This is, above anything else, a magnificent expedition for nature-lovers.

In-depth explorations of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, which normally comprise a ‘classic Antarctic route’, will be coupled with visits to the Falklands and South Georgia, the latter regarded as the most wildlife-enriched island in the entire Antarctic region. This magnificent but remote island can only be reached by expedition ship a few months a year and is home to one of the largest colonies of King Penguins ever discovered. The sheer concentration of Antarctic wildlife here is extraordinary, making this the single most-coveted destination for anyone planning a south-bound expedition. The beaches in South Georgia are literally blanketed with animals in summer, a wildlife spectacle that is simply unequalled, anywhere on earth.

See our full Songs in the South Itinerary to learn about all the cool places we’ll visit.

hundreds of King Penguins line a rocky beach shore in South Georgia.

The concentration of wildlife on the beaches of South Georgia is breathtaking. Photo: Shutterstock

What’s it like to be on an Antarctic expedition?

By their very nature, Antarctic expeditions are unlike any other cruises offered around the world: they are educational, interactive, immersive and no-frills, although you can expect an excellent level of comfort aboard the Ocean Endeavour, our special chartered ship. It’s just that the glamour and glitz of your run-of-the-mill cruise are replaced by bonafide adventures and much more profound experiences. Everyone is there to soak up the wonders of the most astonishing and fragile continent on earth and to learn more about the unique wilderness and wildlife that can be found here.

The day-to-day life on an Antarctica expedition is a collection of on-shore excursions (including kayaking trips) constant whale and wildlife spotting from the ship’s bridges and evening presentations by expert scientists. Weather permitting, you’ll take daily Zodiac excursions to prominent landing sites, visiting wildlife colonies or important historical sites. You’ll paddle close to icebergs and be amazed by their shapes and sizes – you’ll come face to face with Weddell seals, Chinstrap, Adelie and Gentoo penguins and, if you’re lucky enough, the wonderfully colourful Macaronis too. You’ll be blown away by the jaw-dropping landscapes and will get the thrill of a lifetime seeing all the outstanding Antarctic animals, whales and dolphins included, frolic about in their natural environment. Learn more about the astonishing wildlife of Antarctica before you go.

Antarctic expeditions are also revered for their social camaraderie. There’s something quite special and unique about experiencing a journey to such an extreme place with a small group of like-minded adventurers. Firm friendships blossom on these journeys, a consequence of sharing such intense and unforgettable experiences. It’s for this precise reason that Antarctic expeditions are becoming increasingly popular with solo travellers as well.

Passengers stand on the deck of a ship and look out to Antarctica.

Passengers aboard a ship look on as they approach Antarctica. Photo: Shutterstock

About the Ocean Endeavour

The Ocean Endeavour is an ice-strengthened vessel that we believe offers about the best value that money can buy in Antarctica. It carries only 200 guests (intimacy is an incredible benefit, down here) and 120-odd crew members. Among the crew are historians, marine biologists, geologists and naturalist guides, every member an expert in his/her field. The ship is gorgeous, with spacious cabins, a saltwater pool, sauna and well-equipped gym where daily yoga classes will help keep you supple and ready for another day of explorations. There are 10 cabin categories to choose from, which means you can choose to pay for more space and comfort (or not) depending on your desires.

The Ocean Endeavour sailing past penguins in Antarctica

The Ocean Endeavour.

Costs and departures of Antarctica cruises

For this 21-day expedition on the Ocean Endeavour, prices for available cabins start at AUD 17,995 (Cat 2) although the ship offers a myriad of other journeys of varying durations throughout the cruising season.  The shortest journey is a 10-day Antarctic Whale Tour, from AUD 11,390, which includes the South Shetlands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctic cruising season runs from late October until March, and we have a wealth of expeditions to suit varying budgets and levels of desired luxury. Keep abreast of the latest offers on our Special Deals page (for both early-bird and last-minute deals) and do note that, generally speaking, we always have at least one deal that starts from around AUD 7,000.

Lastly, do read our comprehensive Antarctica Travel Guide to discover all there is to know about travelling to the southernmost end of our planet, including all the various departure points, the best time to visit, the best cruises and ships on offer and the most unmissable highlights of all.

Join us on this incredible adventure, and you too can experience the most awe-inspiring place on earth, in the company of one of Australia’s truly inspiring artists.

Head to our Antarctica hub or contact us to find out more.


Author: Laura Pattara

“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 15 years. She’s tour-guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and has completed a 6-year motorbike trip from Europe to Australia. What ticks her fancy most? Animal encounters in remote wilderness, authentic experiences off the beaten trail and spectacular Autumn colours in Patagonia.”