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Antarctica travel guide

Antarctica, the White Continent, is the most pristine place left in the planet, a land of sculptural icebergs, breaching whales and a lot of penguins

Stunning icebergs of myriad sizes, shapes and colours. Pristine snowscapes. Leopard seals chasing penguins. Antarctica is everything you expect but much more too. This is a destination that certainly lives up to the hype. And Antarctica’s haunting beauty will stick with you forever.

A growing number of visitors are making it to Terra Incognito, usually on an expedition cruise. However, you should still be able to avoid other people, other than your fellow passengers, and get to appreciate the solitude. A trip here isn't for those who like a fixed itinerary: Antarctica’s weather is unpredictable and a salutary reminder of the power of nature.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Get off the ship – some trips offer the opportunity to hike, camp overnight on the ice, or go sea kayaking.
  2. South Shetland Islands – this archipelago of 20 islands extends for more than 500km, and is home to enormous penguin rookeries.
  3. Whale watching – humpback, Antarctic minke and orca are frequently seen in Antarctic waters
  4. Ross Sea – accessed from New Zealand rather than Argentina, this is the even wilder side of Antarctica (and the more expensive to visit)

Wanderlust tips

This will be a trip of a lifetime – so make sure you choose the right ship and with no more than 100 passengers. If you’re going all that way consider a trip that all takes in South Georgia and the Falklands.

Give a lot of thought to what to pack. You’ll want as many layers as possible but you need to be able to fit it in your bag. Ensure that your jacket is windproof, waterproof and roomy, and that it covers your lower back. Bright colours, such as red, look better in photos. You’ll need a hat that covers your ears and that won’t fly off on a speeding Zodiac.

Camera batteries run down faster in the cold, so take spares, and allow for much more memory than you would normally expect to use. It’s worth investing in a decent pair of binoculars too.

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