Is Paul Kelly Playing the Most Unique Gig Ever?


Explore Antarctica with Paul Kelly on our ‘Songs in the South’ Jan 2024 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 January, 2024. 

On our 21-day Songs in the South Antarctic Expedition, our very special guest will also be joined by esteemed artist Ben Quilty and media personalities Andrew Denton and Jennifer Byrne. 

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.

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.

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 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.


Songs in the South

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.”


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