Travel to Antarctica is still limited to cruise ships visiting the continent, along with ski equipped aircraft offering very exclusive (with prices to match) programmes from Argentina, or Cape Town.
In addition there are the famous 'Antarctic Flights' departing from Melbourne Australia - our home town - at certain times of the year! This 'web master' has experienced one such flight, which not only viewed Antarctica, 'nice and close', but intercepted a total eclipse of the sun! This event only happens once every 18 years in this region, and we were the first people to witness such an event! In addition, we also made the record books! How, why? Upon landing back at Melbourne the Captain announced that we had just made the 'Longest Domestic Flight' in history!
Click here to see some of my pictures and notes.
Tourism to Antarctica was always inevitable. What we need to ensure is that it is controlled, adheres to stringent ecological controls and contained to small numbers.
Its tourism potential was realised on Scots expedition.
" It is strange to think that there may be a season in the year when the enterprising tourist steamer may show its passengers the lofty smoke-capped form of Mt Erebus as easily as it does now the fine scenery of Spitzbergen" Captain Robert Scott - Terra Nova 1910-13.
" Those tourists will proceed in the comfortable steamers of the Antarctic Exploitation Company to the chalets of Beardmore. Here start the summer motor trips to the South Pole" Griffith Taylor geologist on Scott's 1910-13 Terra Nova expedition.
The cruise boats depart from a select number of southern ports, with Australia and New Zealand featuring as major embarkation points. We can, subject to request, send you information on travel to this wild and wonderful land.
Click to read more about cruises
There are some possibilities.
1)Firstly the Qantas 747 'Overflys' from Australia. These are private charters organised by Phil Asker. These flights DO NOT LAND. More information.
2) Special group departures, with private jet charter, from Cape Town. You do stay (for several days) in a special camp. Only enquire if you are willing to pay in the region of Euro30,000 per person - yes, correct number of zero's.
3) Special departures from South America to the South pole in chartered Russian aircraft. Only enquire if you are willing to pay in the vicinity of US$26,000 per person.
The 'Virtual Antarctic Experience'.
|Christchurch New Zealand must rate as 'the' gateway to Antarctica having
been connected with this continent since the days of the ill fated Scott expeditions.
Whilst Amundsden used Hobart as his port of call after sailing from Norway direct to
Antarctica and then walking to the pole, Scott chose Christchurch on both the outbound and
return journeys of both his expeditions. In fact, he remained for long periods, enough so
that several of his crew married local women.
Christchurch continued its connection. Along with New Zealand's own Antarctic programme America decided to use the cities airport as its advance base for the 'Deep Freeze' project. This base relationship has continued for something like 40 plus years.
This writer can remember, as a child, lying in his back yard looking up at giant 'Globemasters' and counting the wheels as they came over the house on finals - if we had north westerly winds. I used to pedal out to the base, wander around, explore the aircraft and watch the freight being loaded. One time a friend and I simply walked up into a Canadian Orion aircraft, which upon being sighted and promptly escorted off, realised this was a more sensitive long range submarine surveillance aircraft! American families stationed at the base rented the house at the back of our house and so we learnt 'Grid Iron' at an early age, and they were introduced to the more refined game of Rugby Union!
A new 'Terminal' was built and Christchurch is really the only place in the world where you can go through a passport control to board an aircraft to Antarctica - that is if you are lucky enough to be invited! One day I am sure this terminal will be the point where fee paying guests will be able to make the journey.
The Antarctic Centre is right next to this base and walking distance from the actual main air terminals of Christchurch airport. You can walk, but there is also a free shuttle. So if you have some connection time, or decide to return the rental car a little earlier you can check you bags in and wander over to the centre and get as close to Antarctica as possible.
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