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A single penguin on Antarctica.

East Antarctica: In the Wake of Mawson

Example 25 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Shokalskiy
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Board the 50-passenger small ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, to explore the remote shores of East Antarctica on this 25-day itinerary that follows in the footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson. Many consider Sir Douglas Mawson the grandfather of Antarctic Science. The Australian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914 is distinguished for its achievements and Mawson's almost superhuman trek to safety. Mawson's hut at Cape Denison still remains and is one of the very few ice-free and readily accessible areas along the East Antarctic coastline.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Invercargill, New Zealand
Day 2 : Embark in Port of Bluff
Day 3 : The Snares
Day 4 : At Sea
Days 5-6 : Macquarie Island
Days 7-10 : At Sea
Days 11-17 : Commonwealth Bay
Days 18-21 : At Sea
Day 22 : Auckland Island, Carnley Harbor
Day 23 : Auckland Islands, Enderby Island
Day 24 : At Sea
Day 25 : Invercargill | Disembark


  • Explore remote East Antarctica, including Commonwealth Bay
  • Experience Mawson's Hut and other relics from the 1911-14 expedition
  • See beautiful royal penguins and their breeding grounds on Macquarie Island
  • Zodiac cruise the rugged coastlines of Subantarctic Islands
  • Pass the Antarctic Circle into 24-hour daylight


Akademik Shokalskiy

Places Visited

  • Antarctica
  • New Zealand
  • South Pacific
  • Auckland Islands
  • Carnley Harbor
  • Commonwealth Bay
  • Commonwealth Bay Antarctica
  • Enderby Island
  • Invercargill
  • Macquarie Island
  • Port of Bluff
  • The Snares


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Travelers trek across the arctic landscape. Visitors hike up to Mawson's Huts at at Cape Denison. A single penguin on Antarctica. Soak in the scenery on Campbell Island Albatrosses squack at the sky.

Day 1 Invercargill, New Zealand

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive at Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city. Established by Scottish settlers, the area’s wealth of rich farmland is well suited to the sheep and dairy farms that dot the landscape. Passengers should make their way to the Ascot Park Hotel where the group will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of your expedition team.

Day 2 Embark in Port of Bluff

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant and explore some of the local Southland scenery and attractions before heading to the Port of Bluff to embark the Akademik Shokalskiy. Settle into your cabin and join your expedition team and the captain for a welcome on board.

Day 3 The Snares

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
It has been claimed that the closest of the Subantarctic Islands to New Zealand, The Snares, are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. Uninhabited and protected, the only mammals are marine; New Zealand fur seals and sea lions found at the base of the imposing cliffs. Zodiac cruising the jagged coast, learn how the islands got their name, and in the sheltered bays we should see endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Snares Island Fernbird plus Sooty Shearwater and returning-to-nest Buller’s Albatross. From the water you can view the unique large tree daisies Olearia lyallii and Brachyglottis stewartiae which dominate much of the island, draping the hills and creating a forest canopy.

Day 4 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take the chance to learn more about the biology and history of these islands and the tempestuous Southern Ocean through informal lectures with experts. This particular stretch of ocean is rich in seabirds, including five or six kinds of albatross and numerous species of petrel.

Day 5-6 Macquarie Island

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
This remote, rocky outpost which endures roaring westerly winds supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Four species of penguin, king, royal, rockhopper and gentoo, breed here. Never forget your first experience in a ceaselessly active ‘penguin city’, where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors. Also meet with the park rangers, visit the Australian Antarctic Base, and observe the hundreds of southern elephant seals along the beaches.

Day 7-10 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Soaring albatross and petrels circle the vessel as the ship steams ever southward through the Southern Ocean. Lectures now concentrate on the Antarctic region and beyond the bow of the ship; drifting icebergs of extraordinary shapes begin to appear. Maneuvering in close for your first ice photographs, pass the Antarctic Circle and into the continent’s realm of 24-hour daylight. Relax in the ship’s bar and catch up with some reading in the library. If you have brought your laptop, you can download and edit photos while they are fresh in your mind.

Day 11-17 Commonwealth Bay

  • Ship
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
Due to the unpredictable nature of ice and weather conditions, a day-by-day itinerary is not possible. The captain and Expedition Leader will assess daily conditions and take advantage of every opportunity to make landings and enjoy Zodiac cruises during the long daylight hours. Our program emphasises wildlife viewing, key scientific bases and historic sites, as well as the spectacular scenery of the coastal terrain, the glaciers and icebergs of East Antarctica. Whilst specific landings cannot be guaranteed, we hope to visit the following as well as seek out new, perhaps previously unvisited areas:

Commonwealth Bay
Your first explorations on the remote East Antarctic coastline will be at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, it is notoriously known as the ‘home of the blizzard’ due to the strong Katabatic winds that frequently blow here. If a lull in the weather allows we hope to see, and experience Mawson’s Hut.

Dumont d’Urville, Port-Martin
West from Cape Denison is the French Research Base, Dumont d’Urville, which you will visit if permission is granted and ice conditions permit. The base’s main area of study is wildlife, notably the Emperor Penguin. In summer, the rocks near the base are also home to an Adelie Penguin rookery, as well as skua, Snow Petrel, Giant Petrel and Cape Petrel.

McKellar Islands
This group of approximately 30 small islands and rocks lie 3 kilometres north of Cape Denison and were discovered by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition under Mawson. You will not land at these islets but there may be good opportunities for wildlife sightings close by.

Day 18-21 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Taking time to rest and enjoy shipboard life in the bar or library after the excitement and long daylight hours of the Antarctic, you have time for lectures on the final destination and for some pelagic bird spotting.

Day 22 Auckland Island, Carnley Harbor

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Carnley Harbor, once the caldera of the Carnley volcano. The walls of the caldera have been breached on both the eastern and western sides, separating Adams Island to the south. The eastern entrance is navigable for smaller vessels such as yours. The extensive harbor is rich in history and in opportunities. The activities are totally weather dependent as the wind often funnels down the harbor making anchoring and some landings impossible. Drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour, an occasional refuge for southern right whales who come here to calve. Walk to the nesting site of the southern royal albatross and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge wild flowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions have unusual colorings and weirdly-shaped leaves. Also seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island shags, light-mantled sooty albatross, and sea lions.

Day 23 Auckland Islands, Enderby Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enderby Island is a wildlife rich island with no equal in the Southern Ocean, considered one of the most beautiful of the Subantarctic Islands. Enderby Island’s landscape is a mix of regenerating rata forest – playing host to native songbirds, the Tui and Bellbird, and chatterbox Red-fronted Parakeets – and megaherbs with languorous names; Bulbinella rossii and Anisotome latifolia, and vivid pink and white gentians.

Day 24 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
While at sea en route to the Port of Bluff, take the opportunity to recap the many experiences you have had on this expedition. This is also a good opportunity to download and edit any remaining photos while they are fresh in your mind and you have the experience of your expedition team on board for questions. There will also be some good pelagic birding opportunities. Tonight, enjoy a farewell and celebratory dinner with new found friends with time to reflect on a wealth of new experiences.

Day 25 Invercargill | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Early this morning you will arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast and completing Custom formalities, bid farewell to your fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point or to the airport.

In case of unexpected delays due to weather and/or port operations, please do not book any onward travel until after midday today.

Akademik Shokalskiy

Per person starting at
Twin Cabin
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Main Deck
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private washbasin. Nearby shower and toilet facilities are shared with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.
Superior Room
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One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Twin Private Cabin
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Superior Plus
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Superior Cabin
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Mini Suite
Separate bedroom with a double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows.
Select a Date
Heritage Suite
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows allow great views.


- Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
-Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a minimum of US$100,000 per person required. Contact us for details on arranging travel insurance.

Note: During our voyage, circumstance may make it necessary, or desirable, to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and making the most of opportunities for unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Landings are subject to government regulated authorizations and appropriate permits being issued. No landings are permitted at The Snares.

Price Includes:
-Landing fees
- Pre & Post cruise transfers
- One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (includes dinner and breakfast)
- All on board ship accommodation with meals
- All expedition shore excursions

Price Excludes:
- All items of a personal nature: laundry, drinks, and gratuities
- International/domestic flights
- Visas
- Travel insurance
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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