The Canberra Times

Always dreamed of seeing Antarctica? Now's the time

Get up close to some of the world's most amazing animals. Picture supplied
Get up close to some of the world's most amazing animals. Picture supplied

This is branded content for Hurtigruten Expeditions.

Imagine embarking on a expedition to Antarctica onboard the MS Roald Amundsen, named for the Norwegian explorer etched in history as the first to reach the South Pole. Or maybe standing on the deck of MS Fridtjof Nansen that pays homage to Norway's Nobel prize winning oceanographer and polar explorer?

Travelling to our southernmost continent remains one of the world's greatest adventures. Among the planet's most remote and wild destinations, it's an experience like no other.

But onboard one of these beautifully-named ships from Antarctica specialists Hurtigruten Expeditions dedicated to such giants of exploration, you can feel the extra thrill of following in their footsteps to become part of the story of the isolated destination.

Norwegian-founded Hurtigruten Expeditions is the world's leading expedition cruise line with a focus on exploration, adventure, and science. It's been taking travellers to unique and inspirational destinations off the beaten path since founding expedition cruising in 1896. Hurtigruten Expeditions currently offers more than 150 itineraries across five continents aboard eight custom-built small expedition cruise ships.

One of the most experienced operators in Antarctica, Hurtigruten Expeditions' mission for the destination is to so immerse its modern day adventure travellers in the awe-inspiring beauty of the landscape and wildlife of the continent that they become eco-warriors in its protection.

Rather than passive sail-bys, the small-ship experience voyages include many shore landings where seasoned experts that are part of the team on each voyage accompany guests to help them develop a deeper knowledge about the special destination.

Guided by the Expedition Team, guests actively explore Antarctica on hikes to penguin colonies, with tranquil kayaks amongst awe-inspiring icebergs and glaciers, taking part in Citizen Science projects, and even camping under the stars.

Sustainability is at the heart of Hurtigruten Expeditions' operations. It launched MS Roald Amundsen, the world's first hybrid powered cruise ship in 2019 and since then has added two more including the MS Fridtjof Nansen.

Hopping ashore at Antartica's Damoy Point. Picture supplied
Hopping ashore at Antartica's Damoy Point. Picture supplied

Steadfast in its commitment to becoming the world's most sustainable adventure travel company by investing in technologies and solutions to achieve emission-free travel by 2050, the company recently announced sister brand Hurtigruten Norway's zero-emission ship that will launch in 2030.

In March, the company celebrated five years since it started working with the Polar Collective organisation, offering its ships as platforms of opportunity for research and raising awareness through numerous Citizen Science projects.

The adventure begins

Cruising season starts when it's possible to navigate through the ice, just before the Antarctic summer; the first sailings happen late October, while the last expedition usually takes place in March.

It's a busy time for the wildlife of Antarctica between November and March. Whales begin to arrive in greater numbers by December and January and this is when the first penguin chicks hatch. February and March offer peak whale-watching opportunities, when large amounts of krill lure them to the area.

Hurtigruten Expeditions' wondrous Antarctica expeditions range from 12 days to 23 days, starting and ending in various destinations from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Santiago in Chile.

For just a taste, there's the 12-day Highlights of Antarctica voyages. They begin in Buenos Aires with an overnight stay - time to head to the local parrilas serving authentic Argentine steak and then dance the evening away in the famous hometown of the tango.

Day two your adventure begins with an early morning flight to Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego Province to meet your ship. Set against the magnificent backdrop of the Martial Glacier, Ushuaia vies for the title of the world's southernmost city.

On the two-day crossing through the Drake Passage you'll be equipped with all you need to make the most of your polar expedition. In the ship's Science Centre you'll hear the onboard experts in everything from glaciology and marine biology to photography and ornithology talk passionately about Antarctica's history, the science beneath the ice, and the impact of climate change and plastic pollution.

MS Roald Amundsen in the pristine environment of Antarctica, Picture supplied
MS Roald Amundsen in the pristine environment of Antarctica, Picture supplied

Day five brings your first breathtaking sight of Antarctica's immense, frozen beauty. Surrounded by looming glaciers, and icebergs the size of floating cathedrals, you'll join the adventurers before you who have stood in wonder and been left speechless.

Over five magical days you get to experience the frozen continent, joining the Expedition Team on landings and ice-cruises, kayaking among the icebergs or, in the true style of the early explorers, maybe venturing out to camp overnight on the snow. Throughout the trip you'll be able to absorb the insights of the experts onboard with daily lectures.

You'll then head back north across the Drake Passage to Ushuaia and on to Buenos Aires. And maybe pinch yourself to check that you haven't been dreaming.

Your comfy base camp at sea

Unlike the early explorers your nights will end with a delicious dinner prepared by the onboard chefs and then snuggling in a comfortable cosy bed.

Your base camp at sea features rich and stylish interior design using Scandinavian materials from nature, such as granite, oak, birch and wool.

All cabins are outside cabins, of which 50 per cent have private balconies, and aft suites feature private outdoor hot tubs with spectacular views

One of the most eye-catching exterior design features is the two-level indoor/outdoor Observation Deck. The perfect place to scan the scenery, and watch for the wildlife with your binoculars.

Ready to make your dream come true? To find out more about Hurtigruten Expeditions' Antarctic adventures visit