A voyage south to explore Antarctica’s frozen wastes truly deserves the overused ‘holiday of a lifetime’ description. From the graceful hulks of vast blue-ice tabular icebergs to the wildlife encounters, to the light itself, Antarctica is a life-altering destination, capable of recalibrating the sense of wonder at the world in even the most jaded and weary of travellers.
How to make the special that bit more extra special? Here are some suggestions for ways to make any exploration of Antarctica that little bit extra-extraordinary.
Manoeuvring around the calm, iceberg-strewn waters of the Antarctic might just be the most memorable spot of kayaking you’ll ever do. Paddle through inky black waters near to groaning flotillas of ice, all the while looking out for whales breaching and bobtailing nearby, this is a serene yet thrilling experience, your surroundings utterly absorbing, your senses working overtime to take everything in. Every Zodiac trip you make on Antarctica's waters is bound to be memorable, but navigating the waters under your own steam can be just that bit more incredible.
We blogged about camping in Antarctica in our recent offbeat accommodation article, and it certainly feels pretty off-the-chart offbeat when you’re there, hunkered down in your tent, on an all-but-empty continent, amid landscapes where few humans have ever set foot – now that’s exotic! From the diamond-strewn constellations of the night sky to the quietest night’s sleep you’ll ever have, to waking up in the cleanest, clearest air you’ll ever breathe, this is an unrepeatable adventure, and an unforgettable one too.
You need a good level of fitness for this one, and it’s not for the faint of heart, but mountaineering on the seventh continent is a dream for anyone who likes to add adventure to their holidays. When conditions allow, don crampons and pick up an ice axe, head into the remote reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula and get ready for a testing, draining and exhilarating day – scaling a peak that few have seen, let alone set foot on, traversing vast floes of ice and ridges that afford once-in-a-lifetime views. A day to remember forever.
Forget groomed runs or manicured slopes, this is way, way off piste. You might not get up the pace of a downhill skier, but your heart rate will be just as fast – for the spectacular views of land and sea that surround you, for the untouched wildernesses you move through, for the fact that it is just you, your skis, and the elements. Cross-country skiing really gets you into Antarctica’s wilds and gives a uniquely powerful feeling of being somewhere utterly unique and untamed, where man’s imprint is little more than the tracks you are making.
Take a look at our Antarctic Explorer tour – it’s one of the trips where, conditions allowing, you can get your skis on.
Ice reconnaissance, sightseeing and shore transfers by air are some of the reasons a chopper-equipped icebreaker expedition is the ultimate polar experience, and to take in the Antarctic from this vantage is awe-inspiring stuff. Spotting wildlife, witnessing the full grandeur of ice floes, bergs and massive sheets, and watching your ship ride up and break through from the air is all spellbinding stuff, and the making of memories grand as the continent itself. This is only available on select Antarctic cruises. More specifically, the Ross Sea Centennial Voyage and Antarctica’s Far East aboard the Kapitan Khlebnikov are the ones to go for if want to get airborne at the bottom of the earth.
Take a look here for more information on all our Antarctic adventures. And let us know your extraordinary adventures in incredible places - leave us a comment below or get in touch on Twitter or Facebook.