PLEASE NOTE THIS DEPARTURE IS NO LONGER RUNNING please contact us for alternate Antarctic Itineraries.
Join us on this exclusive, 28 day expedition to Commonwealth Bay, a remote location rarely visited by tourists, if conditions permit we may even visit Mawson's Huts.
A true Australian hero, Douglas Mawson's initial interest in Antarctica was scientific. Whilst others were racing for polar records, Mawson was studying Antarctica and leading the charge on claiming a large chunk of the continent for Australia. On his quest Mawson along with Xavier Mertz and Belgrave Ninnis set out to explore and study east of the Mawson's Huts. On what began as a journey of discovery and science ended in Mertz and Ninnis perishing and Mawson surviving extreme conditions against all odds, with next to no food or supplies in the bitter cold of Antarctica.
Chimu Adventures in collaboration with the Mawsons Huts Foundation have access to berths on the only tourist cruise departing Hobart, Australia, in the 2018/19 season, which is scheduled to visit the historic Commonwealth Bay, where the Mawson story truly began. This exciting adventure cruise will visit Macquarie Island, Campbell Island, the Auckland Islands, the rugged East Antarctic coast, the impressive Commonwealth Bay and if we are really lucky, Mawson's Huts, before making its way back to Bluff, New Zealand. This is truly a cruise for those that love adventure travel and a must tick bucket list item for avid travellers.
Mawson’s Huts Foundation
The Mawson's Huts Foundation was established in 1997 with the support of the Federal Government expressly to conserve Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison. Since then it has funded and organized 10 major expeditions to the historic site: it’s Australia’s gift to Antarctic Heritage.
‘Sir Douglas Mawson is arguably the grandfather of Antarctic science. The Australian Antarctic Expedition 1911 - 1914 is notable for its achievements and sadly its tragedies.’
Travel with us on an extraordinary journey and explore this fascinating part of Antarctica, full of breath-taking nature and exciting history.
Arrive in Hobart, a city rich in colonial heritage, picturesque waterways, gourmet experiences and natural charms. Please make your own way to Hadley’s Orient Hotel. This evening we will have a private tour and reception at the Mawson’s Huts replica in Hobart. This will prove an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers and some of our expedition team.
As we make our way through an area known as the roaring ‘40s, we will have a series of video supported lectures on the biology and history of the Sub Antarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean. Great birding opportunities may include the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Blackbrowed Albatross and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross as well as the opportunity to spot the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion.
Macquarie Island supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Ocean and is home to millions of penguins of four different species; King, Rockhopper, Gentoo and the endemic Royal. We plan to spend our time between Sandy Bay and Buckles Bay, enjoying a guided tour of the Australian Antarctic Division Base and the opportunity to witness large groups of South Elephant Seals in slumber on the beaches.
Soaring albatross and petrels circle the vessel as we steam ever southward through the Southern Ocean. The captain will manoeuvre the ship between drifting icebergs and in close for your first ice photography while he announces a special celebration when we pass into Antarctica’s realm of 24- hour daylight.
Our first landing on the remote East Antarctic coastline will hopefully be at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay (subject to weather and ice conditions) where you will see Adelie Penguins and experience Mawson’s Huts and its environs. The region is notoriously known as the ‘home of the blizzard’ largely on account of the strong Katabatic winds that frequently blow here. We will wait for a lull in the weather then land. Due to the conservation efforts of The Mawson’s Huts Foundation it is now possible to enter the historical huts and be connected to the men and achievements of the remarkable 1911 – 1914 expedition. We explore the coast and hope to land at an Emperor Penguin colony, as well as see firsthand the majestic glaciers, icebergs and rugged east Antarctica coastline.
West from Cape Denison is the French Antarctic Research Base, Dumont D’Urville which we will visit if permission is granted and ice conditions permit. There is also an Emperor Penguin colony nearby. Breeding season will be over but birds could possibly still be around. Other landings could include Port Martin (abandoned French Base) and the McKellar Islands. We will also cruise the icebergs and coastline in the Zodiacs looking for wildlife.
East from Cape Denison we can follow the ice edge towards the Balleny Islands. It is a very productive area for cetaceans; large numbers of Humpbacks have been recorded here.
Other potential sites in the Northern Ross Sea that we could land if ice and weather conditions permit include the Possession Islands and Cape Hallett. From Cape Hallett we can get amazing views of the northern transantarctic mountains.
When we depart from the spectacular icebound majesty of Antarctica, you will have some quieter time at sea to recover from the extensive daylight hours of the Antarctic. En route to Campbell Island, take part in a series of lectures designed to prepare you for your visit the next day.
You will have plenty of time to explore Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost Sub Antarctic territory. We will offer a number of options which will enable you to explore the island on foot from Perseverance Harbour, a long inlet cutting into the undulating landscape. Campbell Island is a truly magnificent place of rugged scenery, unique flora and abundant wildlife.
Perseverance Harbour where we drop anchor is an occasional refuge for Southern Right Whales who come here to calve.
North East Island is the largest of The Snares and it is claimed that this one island is home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together. We will arrive early in the morning and cruise (landings are not permitted) along the sheltered eastern side of the rugged coastline by Zodiac.
Early this morning you will arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast you will bid farewell to your fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point or to the airport.
During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Landings at the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at The Snares.
Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.
Chimu Adventures is passionate and dedicated to sustainbility measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.
A trip to the Antarctic is a completely different experience and quite unlike any other trip you have probably been on. We use a highly regulated, licensed vessel which is well equipped to operate in this vulnerable ecosystem. We are fully compliant with all rules set down by the IAATO and all activities are governed by the Antarctic Treaty System. We carefully select all ships we work with and choose them for their small size as this creates far less impact on shore landings with wildlife. We view the voyage to the Antarctic as an expedition, not a sightseeing trip. Smaller boats such as ours can navigate narrow waterways and are far less polluting than the larger ships in Antarctic waters. By carrying less passengers, we have far less waste, and all waste is carried back to the home port to allow for environmentally conscious waste management and disposal, unlike some of the larger ships which do not facilitate this. The specific ship this voyage takes place on is the Akademik Shokalskiy, a key contributor to the development of environmental guidelines for ships travelling to the Antarctic. Aligned with The Mawson’s Huts Foundation, established in 1997, the foundation is aimed at the conservation of Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison, funding and organising 10 expeditions to the site. This trip begins in Hobart where you will have time to sample local food and shop at local boutiques which we encourage individuals to take part in for experience and in supporting of the local community. We also stay in a National Trust listed venue whilst located in Hobart. We discourage the buying of souvenirs made from endangered species or wrongfully taken from the environment i.e. shells. Our pre-departure pack provides you with all the information required for your tour, from what to take with you to practical advice about how to minimise your impact on the Antarctic environment. This pack highlights initiatives such as waste reduction, and how to appropriately engage with wildlife and the environment around you.