Few people have even heard of these places, let alone travelled here, and yet these islands are home to some of the most remarkable concentrations of marine wildlife on the planet. Antarctic expeditions from Australia and cruises to the subantarctic islands are rare - so if one of these itineraries pique your interest, you should seriously consider booking it, as the cruise line may well not repeat it for several years!
Learn about the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration, encounter weird and wonderful endemic flora and enjoy the thrill of stepping ashore on islands where few other travellers have ever set foot. Perhaps visit family you may have Down Under before an incredible adventure to the White Continent - or end your journey there for some warmer weather? Whatever you choose, here are the best options.
Macquarie Island, Australia
The Best Antarctica Cruises from Australia
Discover the lesser-travelled eastern coast of Antarctica on board the ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse II departing in December 2024 and 2025. Begin among the natural beauty of New Zealand's Queenstown and Milford Sound before following in footsteps of intrepid explorers Mawson and Scott, spotting abundant wildlife in Australia's Macquarie and New Zealand's Balleny Islands, home to multiple species of whale, seal and penguin among gigantic icebergs and glaciers, with the chance to explore further with the two onboard helicopters.
You'll also see the Terra Nova Hut - where Scott sheltered from the elements on the volcanic shore of Cape Evans - and the historic Mawson's Huts before ending in the vibrant city of Hobart in Australia.
Terra Nova Hut, Ross Island
This incredible semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on board Hapag-Lloyd's Hanseatic Inspiration, departing in January 2025, ending in the charming garden city of Christchurch in New Zealand.
Voyage to the spectacular Ross Ice Shelf and New Zealand's subantarctic islands, which are of particular interest to birders, with the opportunity to see rare species of penguin, albatross and other seabirds, while the surrounding waters churn with sea lions, elephant seals and whales.
Northern buller's albatross, subantarctic islands
One of the polar cruise line industry leaders, Lindblad Expeditions have an incredible voyage from Dunedin to Auckland or vice versa in November and December 2024 on Lindblad's most luxurious vessel, National Geographic Orion, designed specifically for expedition travel, with time in New Zealand's most remote subantarctic islands.
After exploring natural wonders like the white-sand shores of Abel Tasman National Park, giant fjords of Milford Sound and Māori culture in Gisborne, guests will set foot on the UNESCO-listed Auckland Islands, protected at the highest level of conservation status by the New Zealand government, as well as Snares Island - home to 99 recorded bird species include albatross, Antarctic terns, and Snares crested penguins.
Crested penguins, Snares Island
Ponant's Ross Sea expedition will see you voyage round-trip from New Zealand in February 2025 on board the elegant Le Soléal.
You'll explore the rarely-visited Ross Sea including Campbell Island - home to the world's largest breeding colony of southern royal albatrosses - and Australia's Macquarie Island, where six species of albatross and thousands of seals reside as well as 100,000 pairs of king penguins - the third-largest colony in the world.
Mount Erebus, Ross Island