When considering your travel to the port town where you will board your expedition to Antarctica, you will first need to understand which country your voyage arrives and departs from.
Our expeditions operate in two very distinct regions of Antarctica;
- The Antarctica Peninsula (beneath South America)
- The Ross Sea & Commonwealth Bay (beneath Australian & New Zealand)
Voyages travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula will almost always start and finish in South America. This is because the Antarctic Peninsula sweeps northward to almost reach out and touch the southern tip of South America. Voyages to the Ross Sea & Commonwealth Bay depart from the most southerly ports of New Zealand and Australia, however, you are still going to need 5-6 days sailing to arrive in Antarctica on these voyages.
ANTARCTIC PENINSULA CRUISES
Our Antarctic Peninsula cruises are the most popular, primarily as they’re the most affordable and time efficient, the dramatic decline in flight prices to South America over recent years, has also opened up access for Australians and New Zealanders to travel to South America.
Getting There: Voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula can start and finish in three countries, the most common being Argentina, followed by Chile and Uruguay. It is important to differentiate voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula as being ‘cruise only’ or ‘Fly / Cruise’, as this directly affects the regions the expedition start and finish.
From Melbourne or the east coast of Australia, Qantas and LATAM service both Santiago and Buenos Aires, while Air New Zealand services just Buenos Aires. It is important to consider if your voyage will utilise a Chilean port, as using Air New Zealand’s service departing Buenos Aires, Argentina is difficult unless you are travelling overland around your voyage.
From Adelaide or the west coast of Australia, you may like to consider Qatar or Emirates. Often these routes can be well priced, however, with extended stopovers, these routes are rarely more efficient than flying to the east coast to begin your travel. Qantas, LATAM and Air New Zealand all have services that will get you to your voyage. From Adelaide and Perth often the Air New Zealand connections are really good, these flights are into Buenos Aires though. So you should consider if your voyage starts/finishes in Ushuaia, Argentina or Punta Arenas, Chile.
Upon arrival in South America, you can utilise LATAM or Aerolineas Argentina’s local services to connect through to your embarkation and disembarkation ports. You may also like to consider travelling overland to arrive at your embarkation point.
Cruise only voyages: Cruise only Antarctic Peninsula cruises generally utilise ports in Argentina and Uruguay, however, there is a small number that depart from Punta Arenas, Chile. You will need to make sure that you arrive in your embarkation port town the day prior to your embarkation. A number of our expeditions will include Day 1 as an arrival day, to gather the group. Please check your itinerary, if Day 1 is an arrival day or embarkation day and plan accordingly.
When departing a cruise only voyage, you can do so on the day of your disembarkation, you must not book a flight departing any earlier than 11am.
Ports utilised include;
- Ushuaia, Argentina
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Puerto Madryn, Argentina
- Montevideo, Uruguay
- Punta Arenas, Chile
Fly / Cruise voyages: All Fly / Cruise voyages utilise the airport of Punta Arenas, Chile. However, from Punta Arenas your flight may take you to Stanley in the Falkland Islands or King George Island, Antarctica to begin your expedition.
You will need to be very clear on checking your embarkation and disembarkation details around Fly / Cruise voyages. Often they operate in combination, where they will fly to Antarctica and cruise back to South America or vice versa. This means that your embarkation and disembarkation ports can often be different on these voyages.
You must always arrive 1 day prior to your embarkation day for fly /cruise voyages. For voyages that return to Chile by flight, we recommend overnighting in Punta Arenas, before travelling on the following day.
Ports utilised include:
- Punta Arenas, Chile
- Puerto Williams, Chile
- King George Island, Antarctica
- Stanley, Falkland Islands
- Qantas (QF) – Code shares with LATAM daily to Santiago via Auckland and has direct flights between Sydney and Santiago departing on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.
- LATAM (LA) – Has daily services to Santiago via Auckland and direct services Melbourne to Santiago on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays.
- Air New Zealand (NZ) – Has direct services between Auckland and Buenos Aires departing on Wednesday, Friday and Sundays.
- Aerlineas Argentina (AR) – Offer numerous services between all Argentina airports, as well as Chile and Uruguay. Aerolineas Argentina offers an Airpass for flights inside Argentina when booking 3 or more flights.
- LATAM (LA) – Offer the widest selection of internal flight routes inside South America. LATAM offer the South America-wide LATAM Airpass to package your internal flights, available when arriving on an LA ticket.
If you are planning on travelling inside Argentina or South America-wide than both of these Airpass’ will help to greatly reduce the cost of your flight package. If you are visiting countries outside of Argentina and travelling around it will make more sense to use a Qantas or LATAM ticket as you can arrive in Buenos Aires and depart from Santiago or vice versa.
ROSS SEA & COMMONWEALTH BAY CRUISES
Voyages to the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay certainly require an extra commitment, these voyages venture to some of the most remote territories accessible by tourists so require 26-35 days at sea.
Getting there: While the travel to this region of Antarctica is more difficult, fortunately for Australians and New Zealanders these voyages depart from our backyards. The majority of The Ross Sea & Commonwealth Bay voyages will depart from Bluff, New Zealand, which is a small port town just outside the town of Invercargill, New Zealand. A small number of voyages may departure Hobart, Australia, although they do not always depart every year.
Voyages departing Bluff, New Zealand; from Auckland or Christchurch connect on a flight to Invercargill (IVC). It is important that you arrive in town the night prior to your embarkation and the Kelvin Hotel is often used as a base. On disembarkation, you can depart after 12 pm.
Voyages departing Hobart, Australia; from almost all Australian Capital cities you can connect directly to Hobart or via Sydney/Melbourne. It is important, to arrive 1 day prior to embarkation again. On disembarkation, you can depart after 12 pm.
Ports utilised include:
- Bluff, New Zealand
- Hobart, Australia
At iExpedition, we are experts in getting you to and from your voyage, through our partners we assist you with all your flight and hotel bookings, ensuring that you arrive safely and on time at your embarkation port.
iExpedition is Australia’s only dedicated expedition specialist. We deliver an advanced, search and booking site for Australian travellers interested in expedition travel. With a selection of more than 600 Antarctic and Arctic expedition departures, across close to 40 expedition vessels, we make it easy for you to search, compare, save and reserve or book your next expedition. We are here to help, so please feel free to Contact Us via email or on 1800 960 577. Ready for adventure? Your expedition begins here.