Top ChoiceBase in South Pole

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

The South Pole station was built in phases, so the first group of occupants was able to take up residence in January 2003, and it was officially inaugurated in January 2008. Full summer operations began in...

Top ChoiceLandmark in South Pole

Ceremonial South Pole

The resplendent flags of the original 12 Antarctic Treaty signatories surround this red-and-white-striped ‘barber’ pole, capped by a chromium globe, so it offers the perfect photo op. But it’s just for show.

Research Center in South Pole

Science Facilities

Most of the scientific facilities at the Pole are off-limits to visitors, to avoid disrupting research. Other laboratories are off-limits because their instrumentation could be contaminated or decalibrated by...

Base in Schirmacher Hills

Novolazarevskaya Station

Located at the southeastern tip of the Schirmacher oasis and on the shores of Lake Stantsionnoye, Russia’s Novolazarevskaya Station is named for Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev, who was second-in-command of Fabian von...

Base in Vestfold Hills

Davis Station

Named after Captain John King Davis, master of ships used on expeditions led by Shackleton and Mawson, Australia’s Davis Station is a colorful collection of buildings overlooking the sea and numerous islands....

Landmark in South Pole

Geographic South Pole

The Geographic South Pole (Geodetic Pole) marks the spot at one end of the Earth’s axis of rotation (the other being the North Pole). It is indicated by a 4m steel pole topped by a medallion designed by the...

Historic Site in Commonwealth Bay & Cape Denison

Mawson's Main Hut

Mawson intended to have two separate huts, one housing 12 men, the other six. But it was decided to join the two, creating an accommodation area and a workshop. The larger building, about 53 sq meters, was rimmed...

Observatory in Dome Argus (Dome A)

Plateau Observatory

In early 2008 a six-tractor caravan left China’s Zhongshan Station, covering the 1300km traverse to Dome A in three weeks to set up the PLATO Observatory. This automated facility is designed to take advantage of...

Base in East Antarctica

Mawson Station

Australia's Mawson Station was established in February 1954. Named for Douglas Mawson, an Australian Antarctic explorer, it is the oldest continuously occupied station south of the Antarctic Circle. Mawson is...

Base in Schirmacher Hills

Maitri Station

Maitri, Hindi for friendship, is a long, U-shaped, tan-colored building with a large Indian flag over the entrance. Maitri’s winter and summer complement is 25 and 65, respectively. Built in 1989 on adjustable...

Base in Dome Argus (Dome A)

Kunlun Station

Dome A was first visited in January 2005, by a Chinese team that installed an automatic weather station. In 2009 China opened its third Antarctic outpost, Kunlun Station here. Astronomy is a major focus, but the...

Landmark in Scullin & Murray Monoliths

Murray Monolith

Murray Monolith, sometimes described as resembling an enormous loaf of bread, rises from the sea at an angle of more than 70 degrees to a height of 243m. Mawson named it for George Murray, chief justice of South...

Landmark in Scullin & Murray Monoliths

Scullin Monolith

Scullin Monolith, 160km east of Mawson, harbors Antarctica’s highest concentration of breeding Antarctic petrels (160,000 pairs). Some 50,000 pairs of Adélie penguins nest on the monolith’s lower slopes. Mawson,...

Base in Larsemann Hills

Zhongshan Station

China’s Zhongshan Station, founded in 1989, accommodates about 60 people in summer and 22 winterovers. A quiet room in Zhongshan features a bust of Sun Yat-sen, first president of the Chinese republic, for whom...

Base in Larsemann Hills

Law-Racoviţă Base

Romania’s first Antarctic base, summer-only Law-Racoviţă, was originally an Australian base named for Phillip Law and established in 1986–87. It was handed over to Romania in February 2006, and the moniker...

Base in Larsemann Hills

Progress Base

Russia’s Progress base opened in 1989 and accommodates 80 people in summer, 20 in winter. Earlier Progress bases nearby are now abandoned. Two Caterpillar traverses each summer resupply inland Vostok Station,...

Historic Site in Commonwealth Bay & Cape Denison

Magnetograph House & Magnetic Absolute Hut

Cape Denison’s location close to the South Magnetic Pole makes it an ideal place to observe Earth’s magnetic field. Magnetograph House and Magnetic Absolute Hut, northeast of the Main Hut, were where this work...

Rookery in Casey Station

Penguin Colony

A large emperor-penguin colony was sighted in late 1994 among the maze of icebergs grounded on offshore Petersen Bank. Despite more than 40 years of operations, including helicopter overflights during station...

Museum in Dumont d'Urville Station

Original Accommodation Building

The station’s original accommodation building is preserved as a small museum. It has been restored with authentic radio equipment and portraits of the eight men who first overwintered here in 1953 in what had...

Sports in Mawson Station

Australia Day Regatta

Local traditions include an Australia Day regatta of homemade wind-powered boats, held every summer when the sea ice breaks out. Station members in inflatable boats retrieve those that sink, capsize or take off...