Part of a huge complex built for the administration of the NZ, US and Italian Antarctic programs, this centre gives visitors the opportunity to see penguins and learn about the icy continent. Attractions include the Antarctic Storm chamber, where you can get a taste of -18°C wind chill.

A free shuttle departs from outside the Canterbury Museum on the hour from 10am to 4pm, and from the Antarctic Centre on the half-hour.

Cultural & Theme Tours activity

Lord of the Rings - Journey to Edoras

$185

The 'Xtreme Pass' (adult/child $59/29) includes the '4D theatre' (a 3D film with moving seats and a water spray) and rides on a Hägglund all-terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle. An optional extra is the Penguin Backstage Pass (adult/child $25/15), which allows visitors behind the scenes of the Penguin Encounter.