Climate: Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent on earth. The world’s
lowest ever temperature ever recorded was minus 89.2°C at Vostok, in the Australian
Antarctic Territory, in 1983. The amount of moisture received by the polar plateau
is comparable to that falling on the world's hot deserts and the Katabatic winds
can reach 327km per hour.
The best times for visiting the Antarctic Peninsula are in the summer months between
mid-November and early March when the days are long, the temperatures are milder,
and there is less ice and more visible wildlife.
Interesting Facts about Antarctica
* Antarctica is the highest continent on earth with an average elevation of 2500
m (average elevation of Australia is only 340 m)
* The ice that covers the Antarctic land mass can be up to 4km thick and the highest
point on the ice cap is in the Australian Antarctic Territory, at 4100 m, (at 82°
20'S, 56° 30'E)
* Macquarie Island is home to an estimated 850,000 Royal Penguins and 100,000 breeding
pairs of King Penguins
* The Australian Antarctic Territory is 5,896,500 square kilometres (42% of Antarctica)
* The height of the South Pole is 2835 m
* The whole of Antarctica with all islands and ice shelves included, is nearly twice
the size of Australia
* The highest mountain in Antarctica is Vinson Massif at 4897 m
* World Heritage listed Macquarie Island is a subantarctic island 1,500 kilometres
south east of Tasmania (approximately half way between Australia and Antarctica).
* Macquarie Island is officially it is part of the Australian state of Tasmania
Most visitors reach Antarctica by ship. These voyages last from 10 days to several
weeks, with ships ranging from basic to luxurious. Most ships (those with under 500
passengers) offer the chance to go ashore.
The majority of ships which visit Antarctica leave from the Southern most tip of
South America where it is around 2 days sailing across the Drake Passage to reach
the Antarctic Peninsula.
It is also possible to visit East Antarctica on voyages which leave from Hobart (Tasmania)
or the South Island of New Zealand. These trips are often longer, taking 10 days
to reach the Antarctic Peninsula, but they stop at the Subantarctic Islands such
as Macquarie Island on the way.
It is also possible to just to visit the Subantarctic Island of Macquarie, Campbell
and the Auckland Islands on shorter trips (two-weeks) which leave from Hobart or
New Zealand’s South Island.
Some tourists also fly to Antarctica from South America and then set off from a base
camp to go mountain climbing or skiing, or join a cruise from the ice edge. It's
also possible to do a 12-hour round trip over Antarctica in a jumbo jet from Melbourne
or Sydney. This form of "flightseeing" is the quickest and cheapest option to see