The Antarctic must be on many bucket lists. Unfortunately a cruise will cost you at least £4000 and even worse involve many sea days. Sea days for me are the penance you do for taking a cruise. I have no wish to learn how to fold napkins or make animals out of towels and I just can’t concentrate on Bingo.

A serious alternative at the top of my list is a 2000 AUD flight from Sydney, Perth or Melbourne to the Polar ice cap. This 12 hour flight doesn’t land but promises unrivalled views and photo opportunities. Maybe one day.

The Antarctic Experience

crouch in igloo

But until then The Antarctic Experience next to Christchurch airport is a fun half day trip. We wondered if it might be just suitable for kids but the free shuttle bus from town, complete with model penguins on the roof, swung it. The Hagglund ride is included in your ticket and takes you for a ten minute ride in an all terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle through an outdoor adventure course. Put your seatbelt on tightly you really need it as you descend into water at 45 degrees.


arantarctic storm


You get a timed ticket for an Antarctic “storm” you wear overshoes and a warm jacket and wait nervously  for it to get colder, darker and  windier.

The wind chill machines make the temperature drop to -18 and you keep your head down until it dies down. Great fun when you know it is only going to last a few minutes.


wind chill chart

After this excitement you can visit the penguins and see them swimming underwater through a glass panel.  Then watch the 4D movie Ice Voyage. This is standard stuff – moving seats, air blasts and the inevitable water spray with 3D penguin beaks in your face.

snow jacket



Finish your visit with something from the cafe. Plenty of choice of fresh food all standard NZ

stuff including meat pies with cheese on top – why do they do that?