But the price tag doesn't have to be that steep — you can experience Antarctica for a fraction of that price without even needing a passport. Australia's most southern capital, Hobart, has long been a gateway to Antarctica. The connection runs so deep that there's even a saying that every native Hobartian is related to someone who has been to Antarctica. In fact, the city has been a port for many expeditions to Antarctica dating back to the early s, and even today tour company Chimu Adventures operates an annual expedition from Hobart to Cape Denison, a journey that takes travellers km south of Australia.
See Also Hobart travel guide But there's no need to set foot outside of Hobart to get that icy, cold Antarctica experience. The city will this year host its first ever Antarctica Festival, running from eight to 11 September. The four-day festival will be an immersion into Hobart's surprisingly deep-rooted Antarctic history. It'll be a deep dive into the drama, tragedy and triumphs surrounding Australia's territorial claim over Antarctica and into the man who started it all — Sir Douglas Mawson — the Aussie geologist and explorer who claimed almost half 42 per cent of Antarctica for Australia.
The most beautiful destinations on the planet The best point to start the Antarctica experience is at Mawson's Huts Replica Museum, just around the corner from Lark Distillery; and that's where our tour begins. The replica is a true-to-size copy of Mawson's Hut, erected on Antarctica by Mawson and his 17 men in No detail has been missed in the construction of the replica — a pyramid-roofed hut consisting of two sections — the living quarters and the workshop.
You only need to glance around the hut to know that those 18 men, no more than 30 years old, lived simply — tinned foods line the shelves, novels can be found among a collection of leather bound encyclopaedias and a gramophone sits next to a typewriter.
Even their beds, made with wool blankets, striped pillow and embellished with a couple of pictures stuck to the wall, illustrates that this hut was designed purely for scientists to work. David Jensen, Chairman Mawson's Huts Foundation, retells stories of how the men use to rub cocaine into their eyes for medicinal purposes to combat the elements.
The story is a stark reminder of the bleak environment the men endured for country and for science, and begs the thought, what must they have endured over many hundreds of days and nights on that barren icy landscape. Despite some rather horrid tales of death, frostbite and skin peeling, I leave fascinated by all the drama of the expedition, so much so that I'm almost tempted to visit the real thing.
And wow, I am just amazed at the size of her — 94 metres long. They call her a working ship, tough as nails they say, and you can see this from her chipped paint and her rusty edges. She can break ice up to 1. We're not given any special treatment when we board the vessel at Princes Wharf; there's no leisurely stroll across a bridge like boarding a passenger cruise ship. We observe some interesting innovations, like the way tables and chairs are chained to the floor to prevent them sliding while at sea.
We take a peek into crew's tiny cabin which sleeps four; it's definitely not a balcony suite, we all conclude as we shuffle out one by one. But the highlight of the ship tour has to be seeing the Bridge — the command area where the captain steers the ship. The view from here was incredible, but more intimidating was the abundance of button and gears that stretch from one side of the room to the other, all of which served to keep this working lady running.
The Aurora Australis is nearing the end of her predicted service life, reported to be May