When tourists think of travelling, one place that doesn’t make their list that often is Antarctica. The seventh continent is the most forgotten one, and rightfully so, because temperatures can dip to extreme lows, ice and snow cover every place, and there is no human life other than scientists and tourists, so you have to bring everything with you. But that doesn’t mean that Antarctica doesn’t have some amazing views and beautiful things to look at and let’s not forget the penguins on the massive ice shelf, which are cute birds that people only get to see in zoos.
Antarctica is the last frontier for most travellers and there are plenty of opportunities to travel there on one of the cruises and tours that exist. As this list will show, people go there for fun, for sport and for science, but everyone who goes will agree that Antarctica, while barren, is very beautiful. Sure, it can be dark at times, as the South Pole doesn’t get much sunlight during the winter months, but that only makes it the best place on Earth to look at the stars. And when it’s summer and a little warmer, chances are you can travel around the ice shelf and see some amazing sights. So take a look at these stunning photos from Antarctica and perhaps consider your next trip way down south.
This photo is a cool sunset photo over Halley Research Station, which is located on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The station is controlled by the British Antarctic Survey and was established in 1956. According to the British Antarctic Survey, this station led the discovery of the ozone hole in 1985. As this photo shows, one of the main modes of transportation is by dog sled, as it is located on an ice shelf, which in 2017 and 2018, left the base unmanned over worry about cracks in the ice shelf.
This man stands beside a massive iceberg in Antarctica, which gives you a good impression of just how big the icebergs can be. But the real question is, how can this man stand beside an iceberg, which is generally in the water. That’s because, according to Cool Antarctica, these icebergs float around the Southern Ocean and are carried into the sea-ice of Antarctica, and when the temperature drops, they are basically frozen in place until the spring when the ice finally breaks up.
This photo shows the Aurora Australis over the Halley 6 Base in Antarctica, which according to the Australian Government, is light emitted when the upper atmosphere is hit by energetic charged particles. It’s the Antarctic equivalent of the Northern Lights and can take on many different colors, depending on the type of charge in the atmosphere. This green version really makes the blue and red of the Halley 6 Base pop out in this nighttime photo, giving the snow a green hue as well.
When someone asks you to take a canoe trip, this isn’t probably what you have in mind. During the spring and summer months on Antarctica, the water can be warm enough that it melts the ice around the main ice shelf and allows tourist to row right up close. And it also allows them to row right up to icebergs, giant chunks of ice that are made entirely of fresh water and float around in the ocean. At least with these icebergs, there is no chance your canoe is going to sink if you get a little to close, but they are amazing to look at close up, especially when canoeing.
Another amazing image of Antarctica at night shows of everything the Milky Way Galaxy has to offer. It makes for an amazing and breathtaking view when sitting in one of the coldest places on Earth. Due to Antarctica’s position on the globe, there are times in Antarctica where night lasts for the entire day. According to Oceanwide Expeditions, this happens during the Winter solstice, and of course, the opposite happens during the summer, when Antarctica is completely light for 24 hours.
Two scientists set up flares on Antarctica to help guide their way. Due to the fact that there is no natural light source or a man-made one, it is possible to get lost on the ice shelf if you don’t know your way and wander off. In fact, people have got stranded on Antarctica for multiple reasons and had to be rescued. According to the Smithsonian, the largest reason for people to get stranded is due to blizzards, which can be made worse by the extreme cold. So stay close to shelter and keep a light on if you dare walk away from camp.
Aurora isn’t the only cool phenomena you can see in the school when you travel to Antarctica, as a Solar Halo is another common occurrence and frequently seen by those who travel way down south. According to Cool Antarctica, solar halos happen as a result of scattering of light by ice particles suspended in the air. If any place is going to be able to suspend ice particles in the air, it’s the cold temperatures of the Antarctic. These solar halos generally happen in the winter, when the temperature makes it happen more often.
These clouds over Antarctica make look pretty with their orange hue, but they are actually responsible for the destruction of the atmospheric ozone, according to Cool Antarctica. What happens is, they create conditions that release chlorine which reacts with and destroys ozone throughout the Antarctic winter. They are maintained by the polar vortex that isolates the weather in the region from the rest of the world. It means it stays longer and has a lot longer to affect the trapped ozone. So, this is one case where something beautiful in Antarctica, can be very harmful.
This photo is on the coast of Antarctica and is more than likely during the spring or summer months when the water isn’t frozen solid from cold temperatures. Remember that the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite those in the United States, so spring is actually in November and December, while summer happens in January and February. During the summer, according to Wildland Adventures, the temperature can reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is also 24 hours of daylight, which can make for some amazing looking photos from the Antarctic coast.
This swimmer isn’t swimming next to a large jellyfish, but rather, is swimming under Antarctica. According to National Geographic, those tendrils you see in this photo are not there to snatch up any drifting swimmers, but rather, are ice-covered brine. This photo is taken near the French scientific base on the Adélie Coast of East Antarctica and shows an entirely different world below the ice, where sea life, such as penguins and seals can thrive in the icy cold waters under the South Pole.
This photo shows a man making a solo trek across Antarctica. It’s actually an endurance race that takes over a month to complete and requires, as this photo shows, for the person to take everything with them in sleds. According to USA Today, Colin O’Brady became the first person to traverse Antarctica without assistance. It took him 54 days and it was over 930 miles from start to finish, which he finished just after Christmas in 2018, starting back in November. At least he picked the spring and summer months, which gave warmer temperatures.
A familiar sight for anyone travelling to Antarctica will be penguins. They are probably the main reason most people want to go to the South Pole, in order to see these birds there. According to Global, there are 17 species of penguins in the world but only seven of them are found on Antarctica, which include the Adelie penguins, which are pictured here, the Emperor penguin, which is the largest, the chinstrap, Gentoo, King, Macaroni and Rockhopper. With thousands of penguins on Antarctica, it will be hard to not stumble upon one of them.
This photo is from a facility that is part of SALSA Antarctica, which stands for Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access. According to SALSA, we actually know more about Mars than we do about Antarctica, so they set up scientific posts to study the ice, what is below it, and everything about Antarctica. They have made discoveries, such as the thought that over 379 lakes exist beneath the ice sheet. Camps, such as these, will be home to over 50 scientists in the coming year.
This photo looks stunning for it being a frozen ice sheet, but Antarctica does have some of the bluest water in the world, except it may be just a tad bit cold to go swimming in. According to Live Science, the water is so cold it can freeze fish blood, but fish don’t freeze because they have a natural antifreeze in their system. The water can be as cold as 28.8 degrees Fahrenheit, but that hasn’t stopped humans from jumping in, even without much protection on.
These penguins are waiting for their new visitors to stop on by as the cruise ships get closer to the Antarctic shore. It won’t be hard for anyone heading to Antarctica to spot penguins, as according to USA Today, the penguin population in Antarctica is over 12 million. Someone has actually counted the penguins to keep track of their population numbers and to see if they are declining in numbers. Unfortunately, they are declining, so photos like this one might not be around forever if the penguin population doesn’t increase.
Cruise ships bring tourists as close as they want to Antarctica, leaving off the coast of Argentina and taking 10 nights or more to cruise around the ice shelf. According to Oceanwide Expeditions, they offer multiple types of cruises that take people around the ice continent or even land them on it. But they can be prices trips, ranging from $4,000 to $6,000, depending on the person and what kind of accommodations they are after. It for sure will be an experience they soon won’t forget
To bring supplies to Antarctica for researchers, they are often flown in on some pretty big planes. The Hercules plane, which has four engines, can land on the thick ice and take off. With plenty of ice shelf to land on, there is plenty of space for the planes to come in. According to the National Science Foundation, the Hercules airplanes are the backbone of the United States transportation within Antarctica and come with ski-equipped landing gear. They are operated by the U.S. Air National Guard.
Well hello, penguin! This person got to get up close and personal with the penguins, something very few people get to do outside of zoos. With over 12 million of them in Antarctica, it’s no surprise that scientists and tourists are able to walk up to them and get as close a view of the flightless birds as possible. This penguin is the Emperor penguin, which according to the Australian Government, is the largest of the penguin species and can weight up to 40 kilograms and they live to be more than 40 years old.
This photo shows a group of penguins most likely during their migration, as they look to mate, and they head back to the water to feed. According to the Independent, emperor penguins begin their march when Antarctica is almost entirely sunlight. This lets the sea-ice break-up, meaning the journey back to the ocean waters is a lot shorter. They can make a crossing over nearly 60 to 100 miles of sea ice to their breeding spot where the female lays a single egg. It’s an amazing sight to see in their environment.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon was started by the Polar Running Adventures to allow marathon runners to compete on all seven continents on Earth. By doing so, it is said that the runners complete the grand slam of marathon running, doing so on every possible continent. The race first started in January 2006, and has gone on every single year since then. It has included a men’s and women’s marathon, plus a men’s 100K and women’s 100k four other times. Petr Vabroušek won both the marathon and 100K in 2013, while Richard Donovan from Ireland has won the 100K three times.
What a way to spend your Christmas holidays, on the ice shelf of Antarctica with some penguins around you. These two ladies are sending a Christmas message back to everyone in what would be the summer in Antarctica, as December is the start of the warm months there. According to the Weather Network, the highest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole was 9.9-degree Fahrenheit, while at the edges, it was 59 degrees. So, for these two during Christmas, it would just feel like a mild day if the temperatures reached that.
You only get these kinds of photos from Antarctica because there is zero light pollution from any human-made light sources. So every star in the night sky can be seen from Antarctica without much interference. According to Nature.com, Antarctica is deemed perfect for stargazing for this very reason, as the calm air part makes it the best place on Earth for astronomy. It’s why scientists want to build a telescope there because there is little interference from human-made or natural interference.
This photo is of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which is a United States scientific research station at the South Pole. It is located on the high plateau of Antarctica at an elevation of 9,301 feet above sea level. It is as close as you can get to the South Pole, and gets some amazing views from the bottom of the world. According to researchers on the station, they experience one very long day and one very long night, which lasts six months each.
Even when on Antarctica, there is some time to have some fun and make snow angels in the snow. These two are taking in as much fun as they can in a place on few drew of going to. According to Global News, about 5,000 people each year visited in the early 1990s, but it has drastically increased, as in 2018, over 46,000 people visited the continent, with 14,000 of them coming from the United States. It’s the last vacation on most people’s bucket list, so it only makes sense that it’s growing.
If you want to do Antarctica, but don’t want to step out of the warm cabin, you can hop on one of the many luxury cruises that tour Antarctica. According to Global News, over 100 companies have contracts to take tours to Antarctica, but it is being regulated by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, who monitors how many people actually visit and regulates the number of people. It’s the last all-natural place on Earth, and they are trying to keep it that way.