Where is it?: Continent mostly south of the Antarctic Circle
Why do people go here?: There is something to be said for a whole continent that no one owns, a location that even the most adventurous travellers will probably not get an opportunity to visit, and a landmass home to perhaps the cutest of animals, the penguin. You’ll have to scrimp and save to go there, but Antarctica is a true, relatively untouched destination. Fortunately for those who have yet to save up the big bucks, it looks as if it will remain that way for some time.
What are the main entry points?: There are various research destinations around the continent, each run by different ‘home’ countries. Cruise ships and research vessels are the most affordable choices, but those will still cost you a pretty penny. Flyovers of the continent from Australia are also offered, but it is very, very difficult to find a flight that lands on the continent.
Currency used: Norwegian Krone, Local currency, US Dollars
Country Code: 672
Population: Varies from 4,000 in summer to 1,000 in winter
Ethnic Breakdown: No indigenous inhabitants, but there are both permanent and summer-only staffed research stations
Government: 45 treaty member nations: 27 consultative and 18 non-consultative
Languages: Varies by research station
Major Cities: No capital
Attractions: Snow, Ice, ‘Last continent’
Accommodation: Must stay on a boat or research station
Tips for Visiting
When to go: During the winter, visits are impossible, however, the warmer months of January-March are great for whale watching, warmer, longer days and penguin viewing.
Specific Events/Holiday: Midwinter Day, June 22
Getting Around: You can’t exactly jump on a bus or train in Antarctica. Zodiacs (inflatable boats) will probably be your means of transport while you’re jetting from one place to another.
Good to know: It’s not going to be sort of cold, it’s going to be fringing major cold.
Cheapest airport to fly into: Christchurch Airport has been the base for all flights to Antarctica
Need more information?: Check out the Antarctica travel guide for more on what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.