DISPATCHES FROM EXOTIC LANDS
No one can deny that the Aussie summer Christmas isn’t particularly Christmassy. Don’t get us wrong, our sunny season provides plenty of joy, but Santa Claus does look rather overdressed in those red furs!
If you’re dreaming of a glittering winter wonderland filled with sleigh bells and polar bears then you’re going to need to head north – very far north – to embark on an voyage into the Arctic Circle. Or you could go south to Antarctica to find colonies of penguins and ice-encrusted landscapes glittering under the pale sun.
Whichever Pole you choose, our luxury expedition cruises provide voyages into unimaginable snow-hushed wildernesses, sure to scratch that festive itch for a lifetime to come. Explore our polar destinations or read on for inspiration…
THE ARCTIC CIRCLE
The Arctic Circle is the ‘Kingdom of the Polar Bear’ – a spectacular wilderness of glaciers, mountains, fjords and breathtaking icebergs. Sitting north of an ever-shifting latitudinal line of roughly 66º30’N, the Arctic is home to beluga whales, walruses and reindeers, as well as the rich and unique culture of the Inuit people, who have survived in this harsh landscape for over 9,000 years.
Here are three of our favourite exploratory Arctic Cruises:
SVALBARD IN DEPTH – 15 DAYS
This journey showcases a world of near-endless summer daylight, where polar bear sightings quicken your pulse, arctic foxes play among wildflowers, and beluga whales rise from the sea. With extra time for exploration you’ll have time to linger longer at wildlife encounters and reach remote locations. See itinerary.
NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPLORER – 22 DAYS
Shorter days in the high latitudes means darkening evening skies, so this voyage stays close to the coastlines of the Arctic Circle, skirting around the Norwegian and Greenland seas, and exploring remote islands and villages. As night falls, look skywards to catch the magical northern lights dancing. See itinerary.
JEWELS OF THE ARCTIC – 15 DAYS
Discover Svalbard and the east coast of Greenland, before concluding your voyage in Iceland. Zodiac-cruise among spectacular icebergs, spotting seabirds and keeping watch for walrus and polar bears. Visit fascinating Palaeolithic sites, and Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the remotest settlements on Earth. See itinerary.
ANTARCTICA & THE SOUTH POLE
Owned by no one, and visited by very few, Antarctica is the world’s coldest, windiest and wildest frontier on Earth. It’s hard to believe that the world’s largest desert could host such an abundance of life! Barnacled humpback whales breach the glassy surface of the ocean and busybody penguins chatter in their thousands, while abandoned relics of polar exploration stand as a ghostly reminders of past human endeavours.
Here are three of our favourite exploratory cruises to Antarctica and the South Pole:
ACROSS THE ANTARCTIC CIRCLE – 12 DAYS
A rare opportunity to cross the Antarctic Circle at a latitude 66°33′ South. Venturing this far down is about more than just earning bragging rights – it is the chance to enter an entirely different world, seen only by the fortunate few. See itinerary.
SPIRIT OF ANTARCTICA – 12 DAYS
Discover Antarctica as the explorers of old did: by sea. You’ll Zodiac cruise through pack ice, camp under pastel skies and take the polar plunge if you dare. This is the quintessential Antarctic voyage for adventurous types. See itinerary.
WILD ANTARCTICA – 12 DAYS
This nature-focussed itinerary takes in the astonishing array of wildlife that plays and hunts in the Antarctic Sound, studying fossils and volcanoes with a palaeontologist and following in the footsteps of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. See itinerary.
Most Antarctic adventures leap off from the southern most tip of South America, so if you are looking to extend your adventure, you could combine your voyage with a stay in a luxury wilderness lodge or horse riding holiday in Patagonia.
“Going to the Polar regions throws you into a world where you have no frame of reference. You’re bombarded by sights and sounds that you don’t find anywhere else in the world and that cocktail is very powerful.”
Greg Mortimer OAM – Mountaineer & Co-founder OF Aurora Expeditions