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How much does it cost to visit Antarctica from Australia?

UsThe cost of a cruise to Antarctica is arguably the primary concern for potential adventurers. There are many ways to travel to Antarctica, which we will outline later, but expedition cruises departing from South America are the cheapest option for Australian travellers. 

Antarctica may not be the cheapest place you could visit from Australia but there are actually a few ways you can mitigate costs, with the help of some forward planning. In order to answer the question, how much does it cost to visit Antarctica, we’ll take a look at the mot popular options available to Australian travellers.

They are:

  • Cruises departing directly from New Zealand
  • Cruises departing from South America

We’ll also share a few of our insider tips for mitigating costs, so read on to learn all there is to know about exploring the southernmost continent on earth from Australia.

Direct cruises from New Zealand to Antarctica

Many potential sailors don’t know that every year, a few select Antarctica expedition cruises depart directly from Australia and New Zealand. The main departure points are Invercargill or Bluff (New Zealand). These exclusive charters offer perhaps the most distinctive Antarctic journey of all, one that cruises the longest and arrives at the remotest side of Antarctica, the eastern seaboard.

Direct cruises from Australia (New Zealand) deliver an all-encompassing adventure, given the greatest distance from Antarctica. These are the longest and most expensive cruises of all yet also the ones that deliver the spectacle of larger icebergs, historic sites dating back to the Age of Polar Exploration and the least-visited landing sites of all.

Bonafide expedition adventures, direct cruises from Australia and our easterly neighbour deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences and, price notwithstanding, are among the most coveted of all. Only a few depart each year with cabins selling out, at times, over a year in advance.

front deck of Antarctica expedition ship

How much do Antarctica cruises departing from Australia or New Zealand cost?

Three-week cruises cost around AUD 35,000 - 50,000 for a cruise that usually includes the Sub Antarctic Islands like Macquarie Island. Read more about the Ross Sea and Sub Antarctic Islands. All of these cruises tend to be of a much longer duration than the 10-11 day Antarctic Peninsula cruises, making the cost higher, but they really do offer an unbelievable experience of a lifetime, taking you where few have ever ventured. 

Emperor Penguins

Cruises to Antarctica from South America

Cruises are cheaper from South America due to the sheer number of ships and operators, as well as shorter cruising times. Ushuaia is the unrivalled hub of Antarctica cruising and it is here that you’ll find the greatest choice of ships, itineraries, comfort levels and expedition prices.

How much does an Antarctica cruise departing from South America cost?

Although we can occasionally offer really amazing special deals on Antarctica cruises the most affordable Antarctica cruise departing South America comes in at around AUD $10,000 - $15,000 (for an 11-day jaunt) which is unparalleled value-for-money.

As cruises range in duration (between 10 and 20 days), comfort and luxury levels (ex-research vessels to luxury ships), prices can likewise vary considerably, which offers a great array of budget choice. The longer the cruise and the greater the inclusions (like a visit to the Falklands or South Georgia) the higher the price, naturally. The most expensive option from South America, a 3-week jaunt that includes the above-mentioned wildlife-enriched islands, will set you back around AUD $20,000, as a starting point. 

What to consider

You can find some fantastic flight deals between Australia and South America, so even the longest and most expensive cruise from South America will still save you a lot of cash, despite the need for an international flight. See our article on Flying to South America from Australia to get an idea of your airline options.

evening in Ushuaia, Argentina


How To Mitigate Costs of visiting Antarctica from Australia

Flight purchase

If you’re an avid traveller you will know that flight prices fluctuate greatly throughout the year and that, usually, the optimal time to get the best flight deal is about three months before travelling.

A cruise to Antarctica is a considerable travel investment. Having peace of mind, and booking your entire journey well in advance, is certainly recommended in this case. The protracted stress of ‘what if flights sell out?’ is certainly not worth a couple of hundred dollars’ savings, when one spends thousands.

Not only that! Antarctica cruising season is also high tourist-season in Patagonia: planning and booking ahead, and having only excitement to look forward to, simply makes the most sense. Generally, if you travel in the Antarctic early season of November or later into late February or March, you'll find the best deals on both cruises and international flights. 

Early bird deals

Booking your flights way ahead becomes all the more enticing when you score an early-bird deal on your Antarctica cruise.  Special Deal cruises can save you up to 30% and are offered across a wide range of ships and trips. 

Last minute deals

Along with early bird deals, last-minute deals can also be a sight for sore eyes and certainly a brilliant option if it is, well, your only option. The upside of last-minute deals? On a particularly ‘slow’ season, you can score cruises at half their retail price, which is just sensational! The downsides of last-minute deals? Firstly, there aren’t nearly as many as you imagine, when it comes to Antarctica, the ‘hottest’ and most coveted travel destination in the world, nowadays.

If you're searching for last minute deals, or are someone who loves to plan ahead, the Chimu team is always here to help. 

Travel Insurance

An absolute must when cruising to Antarctica (or anywhere really), travel insurance will cover the cost of evacuation by plane or boat, and transfer to a larger hospital asap. When budgeting for your trip, it's essential to include an insurance policy, if you don't already have one. Check out our insurance for Antarctica blog for more info.

Need more help deciding which option is best for you? We’re here to help. Here at Chimu Adventures, we’ve scoured Antarctica on various vessels and from various ports, and can offer recommendation and advice to help you on your way. We understand what a big decision and big journey this is to plan and are more than happy to assist. Check out our Antarctica Cruise page and contact us for any further info. 

Written By chimu
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