Wildlife

From the sub-Antarctic islands to the ice-choked continent, Antarctica’s fabled creatures thrive in their unique environment. Whale- and penguin-watch from ship or shore; spy beachmaster elephant seals noisily defending their turf; or sit back and enjoy the seabirds whirling and calling alongside craggy cliffs.

Penguin rookeries Gregarious penguins of all sorts offer some of the most entertaining viewing.

Whale-watching See minkes spout, orcas traveling in pods and, if you’re super lucky, a mammoth blue whale, flukes wide.

Seal-spotting Find dense colonies of Antarctic fur seals and lone leopard or Ross seals.

Seabird colonies Spot albatrosses, petrels, cormorants and more among the millions-strong contingent of seabirds circling the Southern Ocean.

South Georgia Crammed with fauna, especially on the northern coast: elephant and fur seals, penguin colonies and seabirds galore.

History

Follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest explorers; there’s plenty to see from their pioneering expeditions.

Grytviken South Georgia’s whaling station, museum, cemetery (with Shackleton’s grave) and chapel.

Port Lockroy The Antarctic Peninsula’s most visited museum in a restored historic building.

Shackleton’s Hut Perfectly preserved and packed with relics from the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration.

Terra Nova Hut A chilling backdrop, eerily intact, of Scott's doomed expedition.

Mawson’s Hut Australia’s brave Mawson made the most of it on this windswept coast.

Borchgrevink’s Huts Oldest buildings in Antarctica and home to the first overwintering group.

Falkland Islands Museum Stanley's museum sets the stage of the early days of exploration, as do Ushuaia's museums.

Nordenskjöld Hut Oldest building on the Peninsula, and Nordenskjöld’s home for an unplanned two years.

Detaille Island Time capsule of 1950s Antarctic life.

Adventure

Antarctica is a land made for adventure. Even just being there constitutes the experience of a lifetime. But for those looking to skate closer to the edge, there’s more – from inland mountain ranges to daring scuba diving.

Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego Hit the water for a thrilling kayak, under ice, cliffs and sky.

Vinson Massif Antarctica’s highest point is a clear draw, as are myriad remote ranges around the continent or the sub-Antarctic islands.

Dry Valleys A lucky few drop in (via helicopter) on this otherworldly terrain.

South Pole The ultimate adventure destination is, of course, the South Pole. Fly, or cross-country ski it.

Deception Island Want to swim in Antarctica? Stop by the island's volcanic thermal currents to ensure you stay alive.

Ushuaia Expert scuba divers head into the mysterious depths.

Icebergs & Glaciers

Prepare to be wowed by the dazzling array of light-struck ice formations around the Antarctic. Whether a wee floating berg, an enormous tabular iceberg, newly calved, or the crenelated tongue of a glacier, Antarctica has it all.

Paradise Harbor Freshly calved bergs reflect on the sea surface of one of Antarctica’s most stunning bays.

Lemaire Channel It’s hard to choose…photograph the dramatic cliffs or the sparkling bergs?

Lambert Glacier & Amery Ice Shelf One of the world’s largest glaciers and the mother of myriad tabular icebergs.

Ross Ice Shelf Thundering icebergs calve from 'the Barrier,’ as explorers used to call it.

Hope Bay One of the Antarctic Peninsula’s best spots for tabular icebergs.

Ross Sea glaciers Track Shackleton, Amundsen and Scott’s paths to the Pole ascending the Beardmore and Axel Heiberg Glaciers.

Science

Antarctica is a vast, unique landscape reserved for science. Researchers from all over the globe come to study the mysteries of the continent and of the universe. Once in a while you might spot these investigators at work.

Crary Science & Engineering Center Tour the aquariums at McMurdo’s high-tech lab.

South Pole Super sophisticated measurements are taken here: from outer space (telescopes, neutrino detectors) and underground (seismographic equipment).

King George Island Thirteen stations packed on one small island.

Palmer Station One of the Peninsula's busiest bases.

Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station Antarctica’s first zero-emissions base.

Mt Erebus One of only three volcanoes in the world with a permanent convecting magma lake.

Mawson Station Oldest station south of the Antarctic Circle.

Remote Reaches

Even on Antarctica there are places that only the most fortunate or intrepid get to experience. It is a rare day when a non-scientist comes to most East Antarctic bases, and some sub-Antarctic islands are visited just a couple of times a year.

Vostok Station Site of thrilling science and the coldest temperatures on the Ice.

Dome A Highest point on the Plateau; for years the Chinese kept only an unmanned robotic station here.

Dry Valleys Empty but for microscopic life forms, bizarre lakes and wind-sculpted ventifacts.

Cape Denison Mawson’s wind-ravaged coast makes for difficult landings.

Cape Adare Fascinating penguins and historic huts…but hard to reach.

Weddell Sea Ships can’t get very far, so few see its Ronne and Filchner Ice Shelves.

East Antarctica The most remote parts of the continent, as are the surrounding islands.

Pole of Maximum Inaccessibility As its name suggests: furthest point from anywhere.