A forgotten land of ice, rock, and underwater giants, Antarctica is an adventurer’s paradise. Untouched by the ravages of humans, Antarctica is a virginal landscape where tourists can experience the true definition of wilderness.
For people wanting to experience something truly different and unique, Antarctica is one of the few options left in the world.
Forget standard cruises with cinemas and shops, Antarctic expedition cruises offer a far more visceral adventure. For real adventure lovers, there are also plenty of added activities on offer here such as kayaking and camping.
So, to help you understand why Antarctica should be your next adventure destination, I’ve written my top 5 things about visiting this epic continent!
5 Things Everyone Visiting Antarctica Should See
#1 The Drake Passage
For centuries, the Drake Passage has been infamous among sailors for its rough seas and unpredictable weather. The bad news is you need to cross the Passage for 2 days to reach Antarctica by ship. The good news is that it feels like a real adventure!
Most visitors to Antarctica see the crossing as a rite-of-passage for travellers wanting to experience the windiest, coldest, and driest region on earth.
Luckily, you’ll be travelling in summer when the Drake Passage is rarely rough. In fact, it is often referred to as the ‘Drake Lake’ thanks to its dead-calm waters. Regardless of the weather, keep a sharp eye out for whales and seabirds.
#2 The Wildlife
Even the most hardcore adventurers feel humbled when looking into the eyes of a giant. On several of our zodiac trips, we witnessed curious minke whales approach our small boat. Having a 10-meter whale look me in the eye is something I’m never going to forget.
It’s not just the numerous whale species that’s so impressive here, but also the charismatic penguins and cute seals that laze about on ice floats.
Unafraid of humans, small penguins waddle up to visitors frequently, melting even the toughest of hearts. Although I sadly did not visit, South Georgia Island is firmly established as the best place to see huge amounts of Antarctic wildlife.
Colonies of seals and penguins over a million strong call the island home. Most Antarctic documentaries you see online will have been filmed there.
#3 The Alien Landscape
Antarctica offers travellers one of the most peculiar landscapes on earth. The whole place has a very alien and otherworldly feel about it. Morning mist reveals colossal icebergs that tower above the ship. Broken ice floats gradually turn into thick ice as you sail towards land, and the sun remains ever-present on the horizon at night.
Adventure lovers will love the remote feeling that Antarctica gives them. It’s not often that a destination can make you truly forget the pressures of the outside world, but Antarctica is certainly one place that does this. Photographers will also love the landscape, using the amazing icebergs, snow-peaked hills and cracked ice as their palette.
#4 The Activities
Although the landscape and wildlife are the main drawcards for visitors here, the added activities make the trip even more special, particularly for adventure lovers. It will really depend on who you sail with, but most ships will offer one or two added activities.
The most popular by far is sea kayaking. Because you’ll be on a large ship, a kayak allows you to explore areas inaccessible to your ship such as smaller icebergs and shallow bays.
Other popular activities include camping, skiing, and snowshoeing. Most activities cost extra and will need to be booked prior to departure.
The price can vary significantly, but kayaking will generally set you back between $600-900 per person. This is for multiple outings though! If you love the sound of these, you should definitely consider the ‘Antarctic Basecamp Cruise’ which focuses on activities throughout the visit.
#5 The Polar Plunge
The Polar Plunge is a must for adventure lovers! Not many people can say they’ve plunged (without a wetsuit) into the Antarctic waters. Although heart racing and not particularly pleasant, the feeling you get afterward is lovely.
Luckily, you don’t have to pay extra for this experience – I think the look on your face as you hit the water is enough payment for the crew alone.
It’s certainly a shock, just breathing is difficult as your guide reels you back in on your safety harness. Some jumps are higher than others depending on the ship and your choice of heights.
Have you been to Antarctica? What other activities would you suggest those interested in adventure travel undertake?
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