Antarctic Expedition Vessel - Greg Mortimer

Antarctic Expeditions

Luxury Small-Ship Voyages to the White Continent

Overview

Overview

If you have an adventurer’s soul — that sense of restlessness, yearning and excitement to press beyond where others go — then at least once in your life, whether it’s with us or not (although we’d much prefer you went with us!) you must experience an Antarctica expedition.

Gaze over its icy sweeps. Feel the sharp polar air on your skin. Stand surrounded by thousands of nattering penguins (some of the juveniles tugging at your shoe laces). Glide in a kayak past the long, sleek form of a leopard seal watching you with its snaky smile. Smell the fish breath of a humpback whale as it surfaces — beautifully, and a little frighteningly — only a few feet from your boat. You will never forget the beauty and awesomeness (and we mean awesome in the epic, biblical way) of the Great White Continent.


We place you in the path of magic, aboard our state-of-the-art expedition vessels, Greg Mortimer, Hebridean Sky and Island Sky. Not only are they  the most capable and comfortable ship in the Antarctic fleet, but they also have the most experienced, competent crews and renowned naturalist guides. Many other outfitters use aging Russian research vessels which are very spartan and not well-suited for adventure tourism.

 


Try something different! We offer an unusual variety of activities including: snorkeling, diving, kayaking, stand-up paddling, skiing, snow-shoeing and camping.

The emphasis is on adventure, but we don’t skimp on luxury. Our vessels feature 5-star cuisine, elegant lounges, extensive libraries and spacious staterooms — which are actually suites — with portholes/windows and places to curl up with a good book. Come along, and have your mind (and Instagram feed) blown. In comfort.


Our Ships

The Best Expedition Vessels in Antarctica

We have carefully evaluated and chosen a group of three small ships for our guests going to Antarctica. All of them are state of the art vessels and purpose built for adventure voyages in polar regions. They are comfortable, safe and are run by highly experienced and professional crews.

Please note that many other outfitters use aging Russian research vessels which are very spartan and not designed to comfortably accommodate adventure tours. Please keep this in mind when planning your once in a lifetime Antarctic experience.

FIRST CHOICE: THE GREG MORTIMER

A ground-breaking, new state-of-the-art vessel and one of the most advanced expedition ships in the world.

Why we like this ship:

1. Low Environmental Impact

80% lower emissions into the air and sea with advanced ‘Tier 3’ engines with lower energy consumption, high fuel efficiency. The ship uses state-of-the-art virtual anchoring technology, meaning the ship can hold its position using its own propellers and thrusters while launching Zodiacs and kayaks without disturbing the seafloor and the organisms living there. The design also reduces light pollution for minimal wildlife disruption and there is a policy in place to minimize the use of plastics.

2. Safety

The most up-to-date safety technology. This starts with the ‘return-to-port’ equipment – not compulsory on a ship of this size – which duplicates the propulsion system. This enables the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. Furthermore, the Greg Mortimer is ice-strengthened (Ice Class 1A and Polar Code 6 compliant),  holds Bureau Veritas classification and is fully compliant with the latest SOLAS requirements. It’s also built with a Rolls Royce stabiliser system.  If there’s an incident or accident during your adventure, the ship has an onboard, fully-stocked medical centre – where our trained medical team can provide necessary treatment in a timely fashion.

3. Seaworthiness

Polar expeditions face some of the worst Mother Nature can throw at us. However, this won’t be problem on the Greg Mortimer with it’s sci-fi style bow.  It’s a patented X-BOW™, created by Norwegian ship designer ULSTEIN. This bow concept that’s been built on over 100 vessels in the shipping industry and allows for more gentle sea crossings, improved comfort and reduced emissions. The Greg Mortimer  is the first expedition vessel to utilise this technology.

4. Custom Platforms for Wildlife Viewing and Transferring to Zodiacs and Kayaks.

With the use of hydraulics, parts of the hull magically transform into platforms that make it easy to get into attendant boats and to view wildlife.

CUSTOM-BUILT ACTIVITY PLATFORM

Regardless of your destination, we offer a number of additional activities to allow you to see more of the environment. From kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, it’s these optional activities that often leave the biggest impression on your trip as a whole. Onboard the Greg Mortimer, there is a spacious activity prep and loading platform for these activities and more – designed in consultation with our expert activity guides.

HYDRAULIC VIEWING PLATFORMS

To ensure you get the best views possible, the new ship features unique viewing platforms, custom-built for the Greg Mortimer. Accessed from Deck 5, the two platforms fold out hydraulically for unobstructed views of passing marine life and seabirds – make sure your camera is locked and loaded!

ZODIAC LAUNCHING PLATFORM

Zodiacs are a vital part of getting up close and personal on your adventure – sneaking into areas that the Greg Mortimer can’t reach. On this new ship, there are specially designed launching platforms that enables us to load Zodiacs easily and quickly, allowing you to spend more time exploring on the two to three daily landings.

4. Accommodation

Creature comforts and well-being are a big consideration of the overall design. All staterooms have private bathrooms, personal storage options, twin and double-bed configuration options, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service, as well as all the basic amenities that you’ll need onboard.

Of course, the prospect of unexpected wildlife encounters is always on the table so your accommodation needs to have a view as well! Across four of the five stateroom categories, you’ll find large floor to ceiling windows that offer prime observation opportunities around the clock. Additionally, there are private balconies in roughly 80% of the staterooms, allowing you to watch the world float past and take in the salty air of the open ocean. We have introduced three cabin categories to our Balcony Stateroom category. These have been classified into category A, B or C depending on the cabin size and deck location.

Another great feature of the accommodation on the Greg Mortimer are the interconnecting staterooms. If you’re part of a family or group who want some privacy, but still want to be close to each other, these staterooms are the perfect option.

BALCONY SUITES AND STATEROOMS

Located on Deck 4, the Balcony Suites feature private balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area and seating areas.

 

STATEROOM TWINS AND TRIPLES

The Greg Mortimer features eight Aurora Stateroom Twin cabins  and six triples all featuring portholes and private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they’re close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that’s close to the action.

 

5. Other Perks

ONBOARD OBSERVATION POINTS

Let’s face it – you don’t want windowless rooms when travelling around some of the most beautiful locations around the world. This is why the Greg Mortimer is designed with plenty of dedicated observation spaces – more-so than any other expedition vessel we’ve been on.

From the indoor 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck, both on deck 8, to the 270-degree open sundeck on level 7, there are plenty of observation points to share around the ship! If these are full, then you can take up a spot on one of the two hydraulic viewing platforms on deck 5.

Also, the Greg Mortimer also has an open bridge policy, which means at any point you can come up to the bridge and check out what the captain and officers are up to. From watching navigational practices to observing mapping techniques, you can get a firsthand look at the inner workings of the Greg Mortimer.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

Time is of the essence in these wild locations, so the Greg Mortimer has been designed with more Zodiacs (15) than any other Aurora ship, which means you can maximise your time on shore. From four dedicated sea level launching platforms, transfers are quicker, safer and enable you to get closer to the action for a longer period of time. Just remember to charge your camera before you step onto the Zodiac!

ACTIVITY OPTIONS

One of the great benefits of travelling with Aurora Expeditions is the number of optional activities that you can participate in. From kayaking and skiing to diving and climbing, these are one-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you need to take advantage of.

Aboard the Greg Mortimer there is a specially designed launching platform for all activities, a concept overseen by our activity experts. This area also includes individual lockers in the expansive mudroom and rapid drying areas for wetsuits so you can quickly get warm after exploring in the elements!

DINING

From the moment you step onto the Greg Mortimer, you get the best hospitality service possible. Starting with the official Captain’s Welcome, as our guests, you’re welcome to 24 hours complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities in addition to a range of different menu options and courses for each meal.

Meals are served in a large restaurant with family style dining, perfect to swap stories with your new expedition family. Additionally, a private dining area will also be available on request. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild, preparing yourself for another exciting day to follow.

On the last day of your trip, the team on the Greg Mortimer put on a special farewell four-course dinner and cocktails – a perfect way to reflect on your time on the ship and consolidate lifelong friendships with the people you’ve met on-board.

ON-BOARD ENTERTAINMENT

When you’re relaxing during a sea day or you have a little downtime on the ship between excursions, what is there to do onboard the Greg Mortimer? Plenty!

On all our expeditions, there are experts who lead presentations in the spacious lecture room so you can understand the region a little better. These often include topics as broad as history and culture to biology and climate change, these presentations aim to educate and entertain.

If you’re keen to just watch the surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, you have access to two bars/lounges where the stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a special perspective on the landscape.

The Greg Mortimer is also decked out with other facilities for your enjoyment. There is a library on Deck 7 with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Feeling a little sore after walking around all day? Treat yourself to a massage at the Wellness Centre and feels the aches disappear! Keen photographers and artists will revel in the multimedia room on Deck 7.

Itineraries

The Classic:  Antarctic Peninsula Expedition

The Antarctic Peninsula is the part of White Continent that comes closest to the rest of the world. We explore this otherworldly landscape at the best time of the astral summer, when conditions are usually calm and mild — ideal for exploration and photography. Our route takes us to astonishing places such as Petermann Island, Wilhelmina Bay or Deception Bay, a dramatic sunken volcano caldera with hot springs. In zodiacs, paddle boards or kayaks, we view calving glaciers, get close to nesting seabirds and see whales breach close by. Ashore, we observe penguin rookeries, hike up volcanic slopes for astounding views and visit scientific research stations. The hardiest adventurers among us have the chance to take a dip in the freezing (literally) ocean or camp out on the ice overnight. And there’s skiing, snow-shoeing, mountaineering, scuba diving…

All expeditions begin and end in Ushuaia, Argentina and are between 10 and 15 days long.

NEW!


CROSSING THE ANTARCTIC CIRCLE

If you are the type who wants to go further than others, if you crave a unique adventure that few others have experienced, we highly recommend this expedition. In February when the sea ice has receded, we will chart a course through the Drake Passage and along the Antarctic Peninsula with the ambition of crossing the Antarctic Circle.  The farther south we go, the more sea ice we are likely to encounter. Our aim is to cross the Circle before getting stopped by this ice. Should we arrive at 66°33’S, we will become members of very small band of explorers and adventurous travelers who have made it this far south. The big difference to the “Exploring the Antarctic Circle” is that you spend proportionally more time on the Great White Continent and are part of a true an exploratory adventure.


THE LONG TRIP: SOUTH GEORGIA, ANTARCTICA  AND THE FALKLANDS,

This is the ultimate polar experience. It encompasses three diverse destinations, each with distinctly different ecosystems and wildlife spectacles. The Falkands and South Georgia are home to albatrosses, fur and elephant seals and huge colonies of penguins. Both have a fascinating human history as well, and South Georgia is where one of the most heroic stories of exploration unfolded: Ernest Shackleton’s crossing of the island in a bid to save his shipwrecked crew. As a grand finale we visit the Antarctic Peninsula, marvelling at its frozen splendor and the myriad species thriving on the ice and in the water.


Specialty Expeditions

WHALE SCIENCE VOYAGE

Join renowned marine mammal scientists and special guests for a unique expedition focusing on Marine Mammals.

As the Antarctic summer comes to a close, migratory whale species like the Humpback whales are very active, socializing and feeding in preparation for the long journey ahead. Resident whale species like the Minke and Orca are abundant, and we stand a good chance of encountering Southern Right whales and some of the larger pelagic species. Leopard seals are also very busy in March, hunting na.ve penguin chicks as they mature and make their first journeys to the sea.

We’ll see all this action close-up; from Zodiacs, on shore landings, and from the deck and observation platform of Island Sky. Photographers and videographers will have ample opportunities to capture stunning images, and those of us with scientific interests will be thrilled to work with the Citizen Science team, contributing data and images to a variety of active marine mammal research projects.

Activities

We offer amazing new ways to get under the skin of the Great White Continent: 

Stand-UP Paddleboarding

We’re among the first to offer this activity on select departures in the Antarctic aboard the Greg Mortimer. Intimate groups of experienced paddlers a chance to take SUP paddling to the next level, in this amazing environment. We supply dry suits and cold-water equipment along with high quality and stable boards. Weather permitting, we will offer daily outings with a support Zodiac. We provide waterproof day-packs to carry our cameras and spare clothing to make the most of our excursions above the water and on shore.

Each group of 3 to 9 paddlers generally visit the same wildlife sites as our fellow expeditioners. However, our smaller craft (SUP) and manoeuvrability often means that we also have the opportunity to access areas that are often not accessible by Zodiacs. We will also make time to do some shore landings with the rest of the group.

If your experience is limited, we would encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. Paddlers should be aged 16 or over.

EQUIPMENT INCLUDED

  • SUP board, leash & paddle
  • Neoprene boots
  • Safety gear
  • A dry bag
  • PFD (Life jacket)
  • Dry suits
  • Insulated gloves

OUR GUIDES

Our guides have many years of stand-up paddleboarding experience in the destinations we visit. The paddleboarding guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we come across.

BOOKING

Book early! The few places available sell out quickly.
Additional fees apply. Please inquire!

Sea Kayaking

One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica

Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.

Led by experienced guides, paddling in small groups allows us the opportunity to paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes as well as allowing easy and intimate access to beautiful coastlines.

What’s involved?

Rather than travelling large distances, our aim is to see as much as possible. We paddle anywhere between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, sometimes taking a snack and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy on our excursion.

Each group of 4 to 12 kayakers generally visit the same wildlife sites as our fellow expeditioners, however our smaller craft often means that we also have the opportunity to access areas that are often not accessible by Zodiacs. We will also make time to do some shore landings with the rest of the group.

In polar regions, the elements play a particularly important role. It is important that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our kayaking time will be affected by the weather that we experience.

Even if your experience is limited, we’d encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. Kayakers should be aged 14 or over.

Equipment Included

  • Kayak & Paddle
  • Neoprene boots
  • Safety gear
  • A 15-litre dry bag
  • Life jackets
  • Dry suits
  • Pogies (insulated mittens that attach to your paddle)

Our Guides

Our guides have years of kayaking experience in our destinations. The sea kayaking guide will instruct you on safety and lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across.

How to Book

This activity is available at an additional cost. It’s important to book this activity early as it usually sells out quickly. Please let us know when you reserve a place on the expedition.

Scuba Diving

The icy waters of Antarctic and the Arctic guarantee amazing new experiences.

Antarctic and reveals a world of ice, where glaciers, gigantic icebergs and a unique blend of marine life greet us, making for a very special experience. With numerous diving opportunities along your voyage, no two days will be alike – a truly inspiring and unforgettable experience awaits.

 

Required Experience

To participate in our polar diving activity, all divers must be a trained, certified scuba divers with proof of certification beyond entry level, i.e. Advanced Diver certification or equivalent rating issued by a recognised scuba training organisation.

In addition to this, it is extremely important that adequate training and experience is gained in dry-suit diving, and in the use of other new and unfamiliar equipment to be used in polar waters. To ensure your safety and enjoyment and to avoid any unnecessary problems on the trip, recent diving experience and proof of a minimum of 20 logged dives using a dry-suit is required prior to joining the voyage.

Our Guides

Our team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years’ polar diving experience and provide divers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe diving experience. Your dive master will ensure Standard Safety Diving Practices are adhered to at all times.

How to Book

This activity is available at an additional cost. It’s important to book early as it usually sells out quickly, so please let us know when you reserve a place on the expedition.

Snorkelling

Discover the underwater world of Antarctica and the Arctic!

Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!

With a longstanding tradition of pushing the boundaries, Aurora Expeditions launched our Antarctic snorkelling adventures in 2014. In 2016 the activity has also been added to a range of our Arctic expeditions. This unique experience will allow passengers to see both destinations in a completely new dimension, witnessing wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth.

This latest innovative activity option is led by our expert polar diving guides, and utilises state of the art equipment including drysuits, gloves, hood, fins, mask, and snorkel. Passengers will be provided with all of the training and equipment they need to experience Antarctica from this truly unique angle.

Passengers who take part will enjoy the opportunity to snorkel daily (weather dependent), taking delight in sheltered bays, off shore islands and secluded ship wrecks which make for spectacular wildlife viewing.

Our Guides

Our team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years’ polar diving experience and provide snorkellers and divers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkelling and diving experience.

Group Size

Polar snorkelling requires at least 6 snorkellers for the activity to proceed. Please ask our team for numbers at time of booking.

How to Book

Simply inform us at time of booking that you would like to include the optional snorkelling activity to your expedition. Addition fees apply. Book early as places are limited.

Camping

One of our most popular activities, camping offers you the unique opportunity to roll out your sleeping mat and wriggle into your thermal sleeping bag for a night out on the ice – no camping experience necessary! Once you’ve settled in, prepare to witness the stunning beauty of the Antarctic night sky, as well as the sounds of ice cracking in the distance and wildlife carrying on their busy schedule around you. This is the activity for the ultimate bragging rights! AND IT’S FREE!

FAQ’s

How will I stay warm?

Your expedition team will advise you on the appropriate clothing to wear ashore and will provide you with a mat and thermal sleeping bag for your night out on the ice.

Is it safe?

Yes, we’ve taken hundreds of adventurous souls out overnight and our expert expedition team know where to find the best spots for your camping experience.

Will I sleep much?

Possibly not! Many passengers don’t camp out to sleep – they’re there to soak in the amazing surrounds, witness incredible vistas and enjoy the sounds of nearby penguin colonies and possibly even a calving glacier. We’ll do our best to make sure you get the chance for a cat nap the next day.

Will I get the chance to sleep under the stars?

Our camping trips take place in the middle of the Austral summer, and on the Antarctic Peninsula we’ll be experiencing almost 24 hours of daylight. This means that instead of a starry night, you’ll instead be treated to an extended sunset and sunrise as the sun briefly dips below the horizon, filling the sky with an endless palette of colours.

What should I bring?

Aurora Expeditions provides all the necessary equipment including a camping mat and thermal sleeping bag, so you only need to bring yourself. Please note: we don’t use tents for our camping experience. We believe that the experience is best enjoyed without blocking the amazing surrounds we’ve come to admire.

How do I book?

Camping is complimentary and is subject to weather, time and operational conditions. Places are limited to 40 campers on a first-come first-served basis, so early booking is encouraged.

How to Book

This activity is complimentary and it’s available on a first-come-first-serve basis for 40 campers. Simply inform us at time of booking that you would like to include the  activity to your expedition.

Photography

Our remote and wild destinations are a photographer’s dream! 

All our voyages offer fantastic opportunities for photography and videography. On selected expeditions, a photography expert will offer lectures and presentations to help improve your skills. Whether a beginner or experienced photographer, you will find the presentations and informal tuitions, while either on board or during landings and excursions, will help you capture those memorable moments.

Our Guides

Scott Portelli

Scott is an international award-winning wildlife, nature and underwater photographer. A member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), Scott has spent over a decade working in the polar regions with a focus on Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic areas.

Peter Eastway

Peter is an AIPP Grand Master of Photography, Fellow and Honoury Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography, and author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Landscape Photography. Peter is also featured in the Tales By Light documentary (available on Netflix).

Richard I’Anson

Richard is a Canon Master who has published 12 books including five editions of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography, featured in the television documentary Tales By Light (available on Netflix) and is a Travel Photography Scholarship Mentor for World Nomads.

How to Book

If you are interested in joining in one of our specialised photography programs, please advise let us know at the time of booking.

Ski/Snowboard Touring

Ski/Snowboard Touring offers keen adventurers a chance to take on some of the world’s most remote slopes. Experienced participants will have the chance to enjoy day-trips to traverse across remote, snow-capped peaks to descend into pristine bays filled with floating bergs, penguin rookeries or even a breaching whale! Those interested in a multi-day ski adventure can opt to attempt Shackleton’s route across South Georgia.

From alpine bowls and crevassed glaciers, to long open slopes, join us to summit and ski a range of Antarctic landscapes, venturing to some amazing wild and remote corners. A spirit of adventure is a must. After all, when you strap on your skis, you’ll be exploring places where few have ever skied before!

Required Experience

Our Ski/Snowboard Touring program requires a reasonable level of fitness and previous experience. The snow conditions will be varied and the terrain can be challenging at times. While you don’t need to be a back-country athlete to participate, and there are opportunities to develop skills during the expedition.

Below are the minimum ability requirements:

  • Advanced level of skiing or snowboarding ability (ability to ski/ride in advanced terrain-black run resorts runs is required)
  • Off-piste experience in a variety of snow conditions
  • Previous touring experience is an advantage, but not essential (depending on your off-piste experience and overall ability)

Our guides can teach you the required touring skills from day one, as well as important mountaineering skills including ice axe and crampon use, roped glacier travel, constructing snow and ice anchors, assessing and moving in avalanche terrain, personal avalanche equipment and rescue, constructing emergency shelters, navigation and interpreting weather.

Fitness Requirements

You can expect to tour from two to six hours each day, some of which will include an ascent of a small peak or two. Participants must be fit and prepared for this activity. Ideally, you will have trained with outdoor carry packs, however uphill walks or riding bikes is also ideal for backcountry training.

You will enjoy your touring much more if you have prepared adequately. If you have any queries regarding your suitability or fitness please don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our mountain guides will be able to assess your ability and offer advice on training and preparation.

Age Limit

The minimum age for this activity is 14.

Group Size

Group size is limited to 10 skiers in Antarctica and 8 skiers on the South Georgia Crossing, plus two guides.

Ski/Snowboard Touring Outings

While we aim to get out as often as possible, the number of outings will be dependent on weather and other factors. The average number of outings is usually six or more per voyage – depending on your itinerary. Every voyage is different but some of our typical landings spots have been:

  • Tour up and ski off Mt Tennant, Ronge Island – 700m descent
  • Mt Hoegh down to Andvord Bay – 800m descent
  • Mt Pond to Whalers Bay – 540m descent
  • Port Lockroy from Doumer Peak – 550m descent

Our Guides

Our highly-qualified guides have many years of climbing, ski and snowboard touring experience. Most of our guides have an extensive knowledge of the areas we plan to ski or snowboard. They aim to provide a personalised and unique experience for every participant whilst managing safety to the highest standards. Group sizes are limited to ten, with the average group size between 4 and 10.

Wind, Ice and Weather in Antarctica & South Georgia

You can expect to experience a variety of weather, from blue skies and sunshine through to snow, rain and grey clouds. The weather in some places can change extremely fast, ranging from sunshine to gale force winds. We usually begin our tours from sheltered landings, however wind and ice build up at higher altitudes may disrupt, change or cancel planned outings.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is mandatory on all Aurora Expeditions voyages. You will need to ensure that your insurance policy covers you for Ski Touring activity and related equipment. An additional policy or premium may be required to ensure you have adequate coverage. Please contact Aurora Expeditions if you need assistance with your insurance policy.

Activity Surcharge

Touring is available for an additional surcharge and includes your guide, permits, outings and some equipment.

How to Book

This activity is available at an additional cost. It’s important to book early as it usually sells out quickly, so please let us know when you reserve a place on the expedition.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarctica’s soft, powdery snow a breeze, allowing you to explore places others struggle to reach in boots alone. Armed with your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, you’ll be led by our expert guides who will provide all the instruction you need. Snowshoeing is an excellent way to ascend to some of Antarctica’s best vantage points, stretch the legs and take in the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Snowshoeing is the perfect activity for everyone, with no previous experience required. Join in on the fun and discover a different slice of Antarctica!

Required Experience & Fitness

This popular alpine activity is easy to learn. No experience is necessary – all you need is a willingness to try. All training is provided and our team of guides will have you trained and ready to go in no more than half an hour.

Participants should be confident in their footing and have an average level of fitness – outings may be up to three hours in duration. Those who enjoy hiking trails or taking long walks at home will possess enough fitness to enjoy this activity. As with any other activity, you will get more enjoyment out of it with some preparation in advance, such as long walks with uphill sections or bike riding.

The minimum age for this activity is 14.

Our guides

Our highly-qualified guides have many years of climbing, skiing and snowshoeing experience and all hold relevant mountain instruction and safety certificates . They aim to provide a personalised and unique experience for every customer whilst maintaining safety to the highest standards. We have one snow shoeing guide for every 10 guests.

Our Outings

While we aim to get out as often as possible, the number of outings will be dependent on weather and our itinerary’s landing points. The average number of outings is usually six or more per voyage, lasting up to three hours per outing. Every voyage is different but some of our typical landings spots have been:

  • Ronge Island – Georges Point
  • Neko Harbour
  • Almirante Brown Base – Paradise Harbour
  • Port Lockeroy
  • Brown Bluff
  • Jougla Point

Equipment and clothing requirements

Aurora Expeditions will supply all snowshoes and ski poles for all participants. As well as the general packing list provided by Aurora Expeditions, we also recommend:

  • Breathable fabric outerwear as you will be exercising
  • Thick pair of socks and sheep wool inner soles
  • Snow gaiters are optional

You should also ensure your insurance policy covers snowshoeing. An additional policy or premium may be required to ensure you have adequate coverage. Travel insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is mandatory on all Aurora Expeditions voyages. Please contact Aurora Expeditions if you need assistance with your insurance policy.

How to Book

This activity is available at an additional cost. It’s important to book early as it usually sells out quickly, so please let us know when you reserve a place on the expedition.

Alpine Trekking/Climbing

Along the Antarctic Peninsula coastline, hundreds of peaks rise several thousand feet, snow-clad and beckoning eager adventure seekers. From ascents of alpine peaks to ice climbing, our program aims to give participants a taste of the region’s fantastic climbing opportunities.

During the voyage we offer climbs for the moderately fit, from easy ascents to more technical routes, ranging from 4 to 10 hours. We hope to make at least two one-day alpine ascents and attempt some ice climbing. Previous experience with crampons and ice axe is necessary and a surcharge applies.

Required Experience

Our alpine trekking/climbing program is suitable for a wide range of experience levels. Most of the alpine peaks we climb are non-technical and can usually be attempted by people with limited experience. However, it is not an instructional climbing class for beginners and is therefore unsuitable for complete novices. Ideally participants would have the following experience as a minimum;

  • Walking or climbing on snow including the use of ice axe and crampons (required)
  • Some trekking or hiking experience
  • Rock climbing or abseiling experience is an advantage as ropes are used

Please note: Your guide will assess your ability on the initial climb, and if you have insufficient experience he or she reserves the right to restrict your participation in tougher conditions.

Fitness requirements

A reasonable level of fitness is required and participants should be able to walk or climb with a moderate pack of approximately 10kgs for up to 8 to 10 hours on ascent days. If you have any queries regarding your suitability regarding experience or fitness then please don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our climbing guides will be more than happy to talk through the experience with you. Climbers should be aged 14 or over.

Our guides

Our guides have many years of climbing experience in our destinations and all hold relevant mountain instruction and safety certificates. The guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights as we come across them. We have one climbing guide for every 4-6 climbers.

Number of Climbs

We aim to climb two peaks and/or complete a glacier traverse as well as undertake two or more ice climbing sessions, each lasting somewhere between 4 to 10 hours. Our actual number of outings is highly weather dependent and dictated by our voyage itinerary.

Wind, Ice and Weather

During summer the air temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula is generally above freezing but can range from -4°C to +5°C. The water however, is close to freezing, and combined with winds which sweep off the glaciers, make the wind chill much cooler. If the weather changes during our outing we will head back to the ship or to the shore. The ship’s captain, expedition leader and climbing guide always maintain close contact to ensure a safe climbing experience.

Required Footwear and Clothing

  • Leather or synthetic climbing boots that have a ¾ shank and are crampon compatible. Hiking boots are unsuitable. Ensure your boots fit correctly and are well worn in before your voyage. If you are unsure of boots suitability then please contact us.
  • Warm socks are essential! Bring enough spares to allow for used pairs to dry.
  • Water proof jacket and pants: Designed for alpine environments, made from quality breathable material, such as Goretex, is required. Light weight nylon gear and some ski clothing is not suitable
  • Thermal synthetic or wool long johns and top, and fleece or woolen jacket or vest are all ideal for layering.
  • Gaiters that are compatible with your boot and are designed for use in snow
  • Gloves with removable inners (x 2 pairs)
  • Sunglasses with a high UV rating and wrap around the face
  • Snow goggles should also be carried for poor weather conditions
  • A neck gaiter
  • A peaked cap or similar
  • A silk or cotton scarf to protect your face from the sun
  • Good quality sunscreen and lip balm

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is mandatory on all Aurora Expeditions voyages. You will need to ensure that your insurance policy covers you for your Climbing activity. An additional policy or premium may be required to ensure you have adequate coverage. Please contact Aurora Expeditions if you need assistance with your insurance policy.

 

How to Book

This activity is available at an additional cost. It’s important to book early as it usually sells out quickly, so please let us know when you reserve a place on the expedition.

Shackleton Crossing on South Georgia Island

South Georgia offers a spectacular yet extreme mountain environment, which must be approached with great caution. Although the crossing does not involve any actual technical climbing, there is a steep ground crossing from the Tridents down to the Crean Glacier, as well as potential risks with crevasses.

For the more experienced hiker or climber, our South Georgia Alpine Crossing offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the chance to delve deep into some of the world’s most rugged and remote terrain.

Example Alpine Crossing Itinerary

Day 1
Ascend to Murray Snowfield, traverse up and over Trident Pass. Descend to Crean Camp.

Day 2
Pre-dawn start. Ascend Crean Glacier to Great Nunatak. Cross Fortuna Glacier and descend to Fortuna Bay. Overnight on the ship.

Day 3
Walk Fortuna Bay to Stromness, accompanied by fit passengers. Sail to Grytviken and Shackleton’s grave.

Please note: Itinerary is subject to departure time, weather and ice conditions. Crossing length, route and time will vary.

Crossing Length and Time

The crossing distance can vary from 35 to 50 kilometres depending on the route we take and involves crossing large, heavily crevassed glaciers and alpine passes. In good weather, the crossing could take only two days, but we allow three days in case of bad weather.

Our Guides

Our guides have many years of climbing experience in our destinations and hold relevant mountain instruction and safety certifications. The guide will lead the group adhering to strict safety practices as well as explain facts about the wildlife and other highlights as we come across them. We have one Alpine Crossing guide for every 4-6 guests.

How to Book

How to Book

Simply inform us at time of booking that you would like to include the optional snorkelling activity to your expedition. Addition fees apply. Book early as places are limited.

Trip Details

Antarctic Peninsula

Cost: from US $ 8,995

Length: 11 – 15 days (depending on departure)

Departure dates: Nov. through Mar.
inquire for exact dates



Crossing the Antarctic Circle

Cost: from US $10,995

Length: 13 – 15 days (depending on departure)

Departures: February
inquire for exact dates



South Georgia, Antarctica and the Falklands

Cost: from US $16,995

Length: 20 – 22 days (depending on departure)

Departures: Nov. through Mar.
(please inquire for exact dates)



Whale Science Voyage

Cost: from US $9,995

Length: 14 days

Departures: March
inquire for exact dates


 

Christmas in Antarctica

Cost: from US $11,900

Length: 13 – 21 days (depending on departure)

Departures: December
inquire for exact dates


What our guests say:

  • My voyage to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula exceeded all my expectations: the ship and the crew were fantastic, we had great weather and landings and we saw an unbelievable amount of wildlife. The onboard lectures were really interesting, with a strong focus on science and history. The trip was awesome!

    Anne M. Victoria, Canada
  • "Kayaking south of the Antarctic Circle, seeing marine life up close and personal, camping in a bivy sac on Horseshoe Island were all magical and my soul will never be the same. This was my fourth trip with Hidden Places, and I can't recommend them highly enough."

    Nola R. Toronto, Canada
  • The trip of a lifetime!  Utterly breathtaking and amazing!  Thank you for creating such an extraordinary journey!

    Sheryle R. Sedona, USA
  • If you want a travel experience where the owners have walked (or kayaked) the same paths before you, where the guides you meet know them personally, and the places you go are like none other, then choose Hidden Places. Hidden Places put me in a kayak in Croatia, in Kerala in south India, and amongst the seals, penguins and whales in Antarctica. Where to next?

    Don B. Calgary, Canada
  • It is hard to find words to describe our amazing Crossing the Antarctic Circle voyage. Our whole group is raving about the trip – for all of us the trip exceeded our high expectations. Thanks again for offering such a fantastic experience of a lifetime. 

    Kerry D. Calgary, Canada
  • "It was an incredible trip, maybe our best ever. Your advice was spot on about which voyage and suite to choose, when to go and to do the the kayaking."

    Lauren and Jim F. Harvard, USA

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