This is part of a series of blog entries on how to get to countries and places. Here is a link to the index. I plan to eventually cover every country and some other places. If you have a request for a particular country or place please use the email me link at top right, or leave a comment.
Almost all visitors to Antarctica arrive by ship, whether as scientists and research base support staff or as tourists. All visits are in the height of summer - there are no options in winter. Flight options for tourists are extremely limited:
- Most summers Qantas has a few charter sightseeing flights over the coastline south of Australia, but these do not land. Since they are charter flights, these are not available for purchase as part of any regular fare or as a frequent flyer award.
- There is an extremely expensive charter flight available from Ushuaia which does land
By ship there are a few more options. Several cruise and former research ships operate from southern South America to the Antarctic Peninsula - these are generally rather expensive. Don't forget to allow for the relatively high cost to reach the originating port (unless the cruise commences from Buenos Aires or Santiago).
Some research ships may have one or two cabins available for paying tourists at rates lower than the cruise ships. However the trade off is a less comfortable journey and the itinerary is based on scientific requirements rather than places of interest for tourists.
There are currently no ship options from Australia or New Zealand that go all the way to Antarctica, although there are a limited number (one or two a year) that visit subantarctic islands.