Many of us dream of visiting Antarctica. We would love to set foot on the White Continent, feel the isolation, the raw, natural, untouched beauty and experience seeing the wildlife up close and in their natural environment. We would love to soak in the remoteness, marvelling at the incredibly brave explorers who first discovered this icy realm. But for many of us, Antarctica is out of reach – whether it is cost prohibitive or the long flights and often tumultuous seas are off-putting.
If Antarctica has been your dream, there is an alternative! The Subantarctic Islands will give you all the feels, with beaches teeming with penguins, rocks littered with seals and sea lions and uninhabited, perfectly pristine islands.
PONANT | Nath Michel
Departing from New Zealand’s southern ports of either Bluff or Dunedin, you’ll leave civilisation behind and venture toward the Antarctic circle, where nature rules supreme and the wildlife are in their element. Because this environment has been so well preserved, with strict rules on who can set foot on the islands and where, the wildlife thrives here. Prolific birdlife, including several endemic species, make this a birder’s paradise and the plant life is fascinating for any gardener.
For those who are keen to set foot on Antarctica, there are also voyages going to the Ross Sea, following the in the footsteps of Scott & Shackleton, where you can visit historic huts and get a true appreciation of the conditions these incredible explorers experienced.
Words just can’t adequately describe the majesty of Antarctica – the serenity in some places and the raucous cacophony of the penguin rookeries in others, the awe that envelops you at every turn, the magical stillness or the swoosh of water as a whale glides by. The sights and experiences will stay with you for a lifetime – there simply is no other place like it.
Main Image: PONANT | Nath Michel