McMurdo Station (www.usap.gov, www.nsf.gov), Antarctica’s largest encampment, has the feel of a bustling frontier town, but with helicopters and icescapes. Backed by the looming active volcano of Mt Erebus, the sprawling US station is home to more than 1100 people during summer and hosts a multinational assortment of many more researchers in transit to field camps and the Pole. More than 100 buildings blanket the nearly 4 sq km between Hut Point and Observation Hill. Water, sewer, telephone and power lines all run above ground in a crisscrossing array. Called Mac Town (or just ‘Town’) by residents, the station can be an overwhelming sight after Antarctica’s clean white icebergs and lack of human presence. Approximately 250 people winterover at McMurdo to maintain the station and prepare it for the next summer season when the base refills to capacity.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout McMurdo Station.