6 Unique Travel Experiences You Didn’t Expect To Do This Summer
It’s official. Australians are all asking themselves, where can I travel this summer?
We have compiled a list of the 6 most exciting, surprising, and unique travel experiences you can do this summer!
From some of the most densely populated wildlife hotspots in the world to a world-first expedition flight to the South Pole, there is a unique travel experience to suit everybody. The best thing? Many of these incredible experiences will take place a long way from your backyard, some even overseas. And yes, you can travel there with the current restrictions.
1. Cruise Through Australia and New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands
Head southeast from Australia towards Antarctica, and you may run into a string of Sub-Antarctic islands. These southernmost Australian and New Zealand territories – most of them mere specks in the Southern Ocean not even shown on most world maps – are some of our greatest yet least renowned wildlife hotspots.
The rarely visited Sub-Antarctic islands are uninhabited by people yet contain some of the densest concentrations of wildlife found anywhere in the world. These picturesque formations jutting out of the Southern Ocean are teeming with hundreds of thousands of penguins, seals, seabirds, whales, and much much more.
Highlights of the Sub-Antarctic islands include.
“This little island is one of the wonder spots of the world.”Sir Douglas Mawson
Macquarie Island is quite possibly Australia’s best-kept secret. This incredible wildlife paradise is home to hundreds of thousands of king penguins, approximately 80,000 southern elephant seals, large colonies of endemic royal penguins (estimated at a mindboggling over 1.7 million!), southern rockhopper penguins, gentoo penguins, Antarctic, Sub-Antarctic, and New Zealand fur seals, migratory whales feed in the surrounding waters, and much more. Even the geology is incredible. This wild place is the only place on earth where the earth’s mantle is actively exposed above sea level.
Macquarie Island is an Australian territory, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located roughly 1500km southeast of Tasmania in the Southern Ocean between Australia and New Zealand.
This small group of uninhabited islands approximately 200km south of New Zealand is another wildlife lovers dream… sensing a theme yet?
The Snares may have got their name from trapping the odd passing ship in days gone by, but we wouldn’t mind being temporarily stuck on an island chain that is home to an astonishing 5 MILLION BIRDS! That is arguably the greatest concentration of birdlife found anywhere in the world.
Endemic penguins? How about the Snares crested penguin, they look pretty cool. Add to those multiple species of petrels, terns, albatross, New Zealand sea lions, fur seals, megaherbs and much more.
Campbell and Auckland Islands
Both of these New Zealand Sub-Antarctic island chains are critical breeding grounds for seabirds such as the southern royal albatross, yellow-eyed penguins, rockhopper penguins, and the elusive wandering albatross. Erect crested penguins New Zealand sea lions, and southern elephant seals can all be found on Campbell Island.
Visit the Auckland Islands during summer and you’ll be lucky enough to witness an incredible scene awash with colour as the endemic plant species and megaherb communities flower.
2. Join a World-First Expedition Flight to the South Pole
This summer the first-ever South Pole scenic flight will take off from Australia. That’s right, you can now travel to the SOUTH POLE!
Departing from Melbourne airport – and not possible from anywhere else in the world due to the distances involved – this incredible experience is designed for the keen adventurer. Approx. 16 hours long, the South Pole Expedition flight will seek to retrace the routes of the great explorers Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen. The flight will feature onboard South Pole experts to help lucky travellers understand the incredible history that took place on the icy landscapes below as the plane travels across the continent of Antarctica in search of the South Pole.
3. Depart Australia or New Zealand on an Expedition Cruise to Antarctica
A truly, once in a lifetime adventure. Antarctic cruises departing from Australia and New Zealand explore the incredible icy world of East Antarctica and the Ross Sea.
Australian travellers can take advantage of their unique global position to travel all the way south to Australia’s remote East Antarctic territory this summer without officially travelling internationally. East Antarctica is nature on an unfathomable scale – home to vast seas, giant ice shelves, incredible icebergs, and historic huts from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. And if you’re lucky, you may even spot an emperor penguin on your journey.
4. Celebrate New Year in Style with a Scenic Flight over Antarctica
Are you looking to kick off the shackles of the past year? There’s no better way to bring in 2022 than to jump on board a dedicated New Year’s Eve Antarctica flight. Departing from Melbourne airport, lucky travellers will gaze upon the incredible icy landscapes, coastlines, and mountain ranges of Antarctica! All whilst sipping on champagne and enjoying live entertainment in the land of the midnight sun. Now that will be a New Year’s Eve to remember.
5. Explore the fjords of New Zealand via a small-ship cruise
Explore New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park – home to the famous Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sound – via a dedicated small-ship cruise. The Fiordland National Park, located in the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, is the largest national park in New Zealand. It is a stunningly beautiful, wild part of the world filled with dramatic glacier-carved valleys and snow-capped mountain ranges.
New Zealand’s fjords, just like their southern cousins the Sub-Antarctic islands, are a nature lover’s paradise, and home to a host of endemic penguin and seal species. For penguin lovers, the Fiordland crested penguin, one of the rarest penguin species in the world, can be found in this area.
The Fiordland National Park is located on a similar latitude to Chile’s fjords. This unique part of the world is just as picturesque as its Patagonian equivalent and offers a similar, breath-taking end of the world experience to lucky travellers.
Several cruises to New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park also include visits to several New Zealand Sub-Antarctic islands in the itinerary. Australian travellers can take advantage of the New Zealand travel bubble to explore this spectacular region of the world this summer.
6. Take an Antarctica Day Flight
Gaze upon stunning landscapes, coastlines, and ancient glaciers of Antarctica on an Antarctica Day Flight. Antarctica Day Flights provide a completely different experience from traditional ship-based expeditions. Flying over the continent, lucky passengers gain an incredible appreciation of Antarctica’s sheer size and scale while a team of onboard experts help explain the landscapes and history below.
There are multiple Antarctica Day Flight departures from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth operating throughout the 2021/22 summer months.
Feeling inspired? It’s time to break off the shackles and get back out there and explore beyond the backyard again. If you’re ready to celebrate and make summer 2021/22 one to remember, head to Beyond the Backyard, or contact your dedicated Destination Specialist today.