Antarctica Travel Guide
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Shackleton's original voyage
Imagine taking nearly two months off to sail some of the most exotic seas on the earth. If you're picturing a cruise, with its midnight buffets and tinkling atrium piano and sunning on the Lido deck, then STOP. What we're talking about is a serious voyage, one that requires a bit more preparation than having the post office hold your mail and a bit more clothing than tank tops and flip flops.
We're talking about sailing the route of Sir Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica, on the T.S. Pelican tall ship that's nearly the twin of his original ship, the Endurance, while shadowing a team of 6 who'll complete the second portion of Shackleton's journey in a replica 22.5' whaler boat.
It's been four years of planning for the journeyfrom Punta Arenas, Chile to Elephant Island, then 800 nautical miles on to South Georgia Island and Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken, before ending in Rio de Janeiro. In alliance with Intrepid Travel, the Pelican has made 10 berths available for regular travelers to join the trip, provided you're willing and able to embark on a 56-day epic and shell out $30,000 for the opportunity.
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For those jet-setters who've ticked off a healthy slew of bucket list destinations, we applaud you. It is quite the accomplishment to have been almost everywhere. Still, we just added a new destination to our own list and we think you may want in. You see, for the first time in 33 years, commercial trips from New Zealand to Antarctica have, once again, become a possibility.
There's a reason they ended in the first place, however; a tourist flight crashed in 1979 and proved fatal for all aboard. It's been long enough for airplanes and navigation and all sorts of other technology to improve and so, this upcoming February, sightseeing flights to the polar cap will once again become a normal departure from NZ. The day trip will see a chartered Qantas Boeing 747 take off from Auckland and travel due south to fly over the ice mass.