Antarctic Photography

The Ultimate Antarctica To Do List

With plenty of blue ice, an abundance of wildlife, and the remote stark wilderness, what exactly is there to do in Antarctica?

Though a pricey destination unless you’re sponsored to go, Antarctica is the trip of a lifetime. In 2014, my family and I set sail to this dream destination and marked our seventh continent. I’ve compiled the following list of the ultimate things to do at the ends of the earth!

Read on for the top things to do in Antarctica!

antarctica to do list

Visit the Falkland Islands

Make a pit stop by Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, and spend a few hours exploring. Take a historical tour and learn about the island’s wartime history, or walk around town to buy souvenirs and send a postcard.

Be sure to visit Bluff Cove, which features the Sea Cabbage Cafe for some coffee and scones with clotted cream and jam! Also see the resident gentoo and king penguins along the white sand beach that stretches along the storefront.

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See penguins, penguins, and more penguins!

What would a trip to Antarctica be without an abundance of penguins? At South Georgia Island, witness the sight of a lifetime – the equivalent of Africa’s great herds in another form. It was a Merry Christmas in 2014 from me and a colony of 250,000 king penguins!

Stops at South Georgia Island include: Salisbury Plain, St. Andrew Bay, Gold Harbor, Elsehul, Grytviken.

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Things to do in antarctica

Witness elephant seals fighting

These fierce creatures are extremely powerful, and you’ll undoubtedly hear them grunting as the males fight. Watch as much as you like, but beware and keep your distance as they are dangerous if provoked and can cause serious injury!

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See baby fur seal pups

Spot these adorable baby fur seal pups as they nurse and play. The little ones are infinitely curious as human interaction is a rarity in Antarctica, and they will often come up close. Just keep your eye out for the mother, as fur seals are actually extremely territorial despite their cute appearance!

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Cruise past beautiful icebergs

Antarctica has no shortage of gorgeous, interesting ice bergs to photograph. If you’re lucky, you may even see or hear an avalanche!

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Stop at a whaling station

Visit the remnants of old whaling stations and learn about the history of the industry.

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Then go whale watching

Following that, go whale watching in the zodiacs and see the graceful giants up close. You’ll be in awe at their presence, and wonder how anyone could slaughter such beautiful animals.

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Visit Ernest Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken

“Never for me the lowered banner, never the lost endeavor.” – Ernest Shackleton

For you history buffs, Grytviken is an unmissable stop! A settlement on South Georgia Island, this is the grave site of renowned Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. The little harbored area is famed for its history in Antarctic exploration, where Shackleton organized a crew operation to rescue his men who were marooned on the other side of South Georgia. Shackleton remains interred at Grytviken along with his right hand man, Frank Wild. Make sure to visit the museum to learn more about their adventures.

"Never for me the lowered banner, never the lost endeavor." Saluting my favorite Antarctic explorer.

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Followed by Point Wild, Elephant Island

If weather permits (which it luckily did for us!) make a landing at Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. The place is named for Frank Wild, the leader of the party from Shackleton’s shipwrecked expedition which camped and survived on the point for four months until rescue. The area was one of the most beautiful locales we visited in Antarctica, and had many types of penguins around – particularly chinstraps and macaronis!

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Do the polar plunge at Deception Island

Join the club and brave the cold – not many can say they’ve gone swimming in Antarctica!

Cross the Lemaire Channel

One of the most gorgeous tourist destinations in Antarctica, this is an iceberg-filled passage with lots of chances to see whales and Antarctic animals. Truly a place to have both a wide-angle lens for landscapes, and a zoom lens for wildlife!

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Set foot on mainland Antarctica

Finally, land on the Antarctic peninsula, and officially on the Antarctic continent! On the Le Boreal expedition, we climbed up a hill to catch the stunning views of the bay below, and sled down back to the ship.

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End your trip in Ushuaia, Argentina

As the southernmost city in the world, end your voyage to Antarctica with a night out in Ushuaia. I recommend The Dublin – a rowdy, crowded bar with tons of fun!

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26 Comments

  • Reply 8 Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos - Pier's Great Perhaps August 15, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    […] example, when doing photography in Antarctica there are numerous factors to consider. Low light, sea spray, salt and wind necessitate specific […]

  • Reply Alli Smith August 16, 2016 at 1:52 am

    I actually feel like I’ve been to Antarctica after looking at your stunning photos. The blue ice is amazing and the penguins – well, who doesn’t love penguins? I’ve never been whale watching and a visit to Antarctica would definitely be a trip of a lifetime.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 16, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Definitely the trip of a lifetime – thank you for reading!

  • Reply amanda -runtothefinish August 16, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Which cruise did you take? Seabourn? I actually write about this for work and love seeing what everyone does! Your photos are incredible!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 16, 2016 at 10:07 am

      I took the Le Boreal cruise with Abercrombie & Kent – a review of it is coming up soon! 🙂

  • Reply jmanandmillerbug August 16, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I wish I could go there! I love to travel and be so cool to check out Antarctica! Those pictures are absolutely outstanding.

  • Reply lisa galuna (@LisaGaluna) August 16, 2016 at 8:42 am

    It Is So Beautiful I Love The Adorable Penguins, Would Love To Visit Some Day Soon!1

  • Reply lisa August 16, 2016 at 8:42 am

    What an amazing trip! I would love to go on an adventure like this one. What a trip of a lifetime!

  • Reply Jenn @ EngineerMommy August 16, 2016 at 9:38 am

    I would love to visit Antarctica! Seeing all the wildlife in their natural habitat would be the coolest part to me. I would really enjoy taking a ton of pictures of all the scenery!

  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger August 16, 2016 at 11:57 am

    My husband wants to visit Antarctica. I think those fur seal pups are just so cute. It would be cool to see penguins in their natural habitat.

  • Reply Michele d August 16, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Your pictures are unbelievable. I feel like I am there with you. Such a beautiful place to visit.

  • Reply Dee August 16, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Antarctica was never on my list of places to go see, but after seeing your beautiful pictures I feel like I need to add it to my travel list. You took some wonderful Wildlife pictures and I really want to see the penguins.

  • Reply Valerie Gray (@valmg) August 16, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    I have never been to Antarctica but it is on my travel bucket list (the world). Those baby seals and penguins are so cute!

  • Reply Liz Mays August 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Oh my gosh you could get such a raw wildlife experience there. I’d love to see the beautiful icebergs too.

  • Reply Sarah August 16, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Wow I love how Antarctica looks, really seems like a wonderful place to visit. I love the photos of penguins, adorable!

  • Reply mimicutelips August 16, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Gorge! I was just talking to Babe about going last night. We’ve never been but I want to go so bad. I used to watch the show Whale Wars and it got me hooked on the Antarctic. I would love to do every single thing you mentioned.

  • Reply Eileen Mendoza Loya August 16, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Awesome, awesome experience! I’d love to do all those things you did and have a great time with my camera. I’d be taking tons of photographs. Everything is so beautiful!

  • Reply CourtneyLynne August 16, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Omg!!!!!! You are the first person I have seen do this cruise!!! I have been eyeing this cruise for years now!!!! It’s on my travel bucket list!!!! So jealous you went to Antarctica!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 31, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      It’s honestly so amazing! I wrote a full review of it too if you want to take a look, specifically regarding the cruise itself 🙂 Let me know if you end up going!

  • Reply Farrah Less G. August 17, 2016 at 6:48 am

    I love Penguin I think they are very smart and sweet creature. Our recent trip to State of Oregon we went to Sea Lion watching and we had a blast. Thanks for you great review on my travel blog I do really appreciate it. I’m your new follower I love meeting traveler across the world.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 31, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Lovely e-meeting you, Farrah! Thank you for reading along 🙂 I still haven’t been to Oregon yet, but it’s definitely on my list!

  • Reply Robin Rue August 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Penguins have got to be one of the cutest animals. I would love to visit Antarctica at one point in my life.

  • Reply Alyssa Perez August 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I am seriously loving your photos, especially because penguins are my favorite animal! I would love to travel to Antarctica!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Ahhhh thank you so much for the kind comments, Alyssa! ❤️

  • Reply kendall August 31, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Those penguins are sooo cute!! Wow Antarctica – I can’t imagine! It’s one of those once in a lifetime things – definitely seems amazing!

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