Calling all pioneers, history buffs and adventure lovers for an epic adventure across the southern seas. Follow in the footsteps of explorers such as Scott, Ross, Amundsen and Shackleton and embark on a journey very few people on this planet have made. Sail beyond the Antarctic Circle, uncover wonders of the Ross Sea, explore the Peninsula and the incredible sights in between! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the beauty and majesty of this remote and pristine environment.


Highlights


• Skirt rowdy beaches crowded with harems of New Zealand (Hooker’s) sea lions to reach rātā forests where rare yellow-eyed penguins can be found.

• Revel in the richness of the unique Ross Sea ecosystem, part of the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area and a Sylvia Earle Mission Blue “Hope Spot”.

• Navigate through gleaming pack ice alive with Weddell and leopard seals, Adélie and emperor penguins and whales feeding in fathomless leads.

• Reflect on the remarkable achievements of the Heroic Age explorers as we attempt to visit some of their beautifully preserved historic huts (conditions permitting).

 

Arrive in Dunedin, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred with your fellow expeditioners to your assigned pre-voyage hotel. If you are already in Dunedin, we ask you to make your way to your hotel. This afternoon, visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk in the lobby to collect your luggage tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number. Our team will confirm details regarding your embarkation day, answer any questions and provide you with information on where to dine or purchase last minute items.

That evening, enjoy light refreshments as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception and Pre-Embarkation Briefing. Afterwards, enjoy your evening in New Zealand’s southernmost city. You may like to indulge in a meal at one of Dunedin’s fine restaurants, or perhaps enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Otago harbour. 

Assigned accommodation: To be advised

 

This morning, enjoy breakfast and check-out. Please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. By 11.00 am, take your cabin luggage to hotel reception, prior to, or at check-out. Your luggage will be stored and transferred directly to the port for clearance, to be placed in your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.  

Your morning is at leisure to explore Dunedin.    

Settle into your cabin, where each detail was designed with your comfort in mind. This luxurious vessel is yours to explore! As we throw the lines and set sail, join your expedition team on deck before tucking into a delicious dinner, and toast to the voyage ahead.

 

On an expedition such as this, the journey is as significant as the destination. Sea days are a wonderful opportunity to relax, meet your fellow travellers and learn about the history, environment and local wildlife in this fascinating corner of the globe.   

As you acclimatise to life on board, your expedition team is available to answer any questions you may have and offer pro-tips on photography and birdwatching. With decades of collective experience in the region, they love to share their expertise and enthusiasm with fellow travellers. Join them in the lecture room for entertaining talks and presentations to enrich your understanding of the wildlife, landscapes and historic sites we hope to encounter. 

You may like to pamper yourself with a sauna, a visit to the Wellness Centre, or work out at the onboard gym. While away the hours spotting seabirds on deck, curl up with a book in our well-equipped polar library, or chat with your fellow expeditioners at the bar.

 

First visited by Māori navigators centuries ago, these islands are of great significance to Ngāi Tahu, the indigenous peoples of New Zealand’s South Island. Their natural beauty and astonishing biodiversity have now been recognised globally, but few have had the privilege to visit these far-flung shores, which are now yours to explore.

 

As Campbell Island slips over the horizon, keep watch for Campbell, Salvins and white-capped albatross, which may follow the ship to bid us farewell as we continue south.  

Join your expedition team in the lecture room to hear about the fascinating human history of Macquarie Island, and how to identify the unique and charismatic creatures we hope to see in the coming days.

 

“Penguins were in thousands on the uprising cliffs, and from rookeries near and far came an incessant din . . . seabirds of many varieties gave warning of our near approach to their nests” Douglas Mawson, 1911.

As they sailed towards Antarctica, Mawson and his men encountered ‘an exquisite scene’. Macquarie Island (known affectionately as Macca) rises steeply from the Southern Ocean in a series of emerald summits: a beautifully fierce, elemental landscape teeming with life.

Keep your binoculars handy because this subantarctic refuge is home to 3.5 million breeding seabirds, including no less than four species of penguin! Alongside boisterous colonies of tuxedoed kings, charming gentoos, robust rockhoppers and endemic royal penguins, you’ll find three types of fur seals and a large proportion of the world’s elephant seals. Layer up and head out on deck to experience the sound, sight (and smell!) as you approach one of the largest concentrations of life in the Southern Ocean.    

Remember to keep an eye out for Macca’s kelp forests—these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the water’s surface.

In addition to being a globally recognised and protected wildlife refuge, Macquarie Island played an important role in Antarctic history. It was here, in 1911, that five men disembarked Mawson’s Aurora and established a radio relay station which would transmit the first communication from Antarctica to the outside world.

 

As Macquarie Island slips over the horizon, keep watch for wandering, grey-headed, black-browed and light-mantled albatross, which may follow the ship to bid you farewell as you continue south.  

Close observers may notice a subtle change in the character of the sea as we cross the Antarctic Convergence. Beyond this belt where the waters of the north and south mix, the sea surface temperature drops by about 4°C (39°F), signalling our entry into the Antarctic. This transition zone is known for its nutrient-rich waters, so keep watch for porpoising penguins, flocks of fluttering Antarctic petrels, or perhaps the more solitary snow petrel. You’re not far from the Antarctic Circle, so your first iceberg can’t be far away! 

Sea days are a great opportunity for some R & R as you digest your subantarctic experiences and prepare for the next phase of your voyage. Relax and unwind your way, perhaps meeting newfound friends at the bar, treating yourself to a sauna, or editing some images in the comfort of your cabin. And join your expedition team in the lecture room for presentations on the charismatic wildlife and extraordinary adventures that took place along the epic Antarctic coastline you are about to experience.

 

It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in this storied, ice-bound sector of Antarctica. Stepping outside and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience to cherish forever.

The Ross Sea region is a globally significant wildlife sanctuary. Its nutrient-rich waters support an astonishing array of uniquely adapted Antarctic species, including Ross Sea orcas, Antarctic petrels and South Pacific Weddell seals. It is also home to Antarctica’s largest Adélie penguin colony, and many of the largest emperor penguin colonies. The unique biodiversity of the Ross Sea has been protected within the world’s largest marine protected area since 2016.

The human heritage of the Ross Sea coast is equally impressive. Since James Clark Ross discovered the region in 1841, countless expeditions have built base camps on scattered ice-free slivers of land, using them as staging posts for bold forays across the polar plateau. Many of them departed in a hurry, leaving artefacts, scientific equipment and sometimes entire huts behind. Today these sites are preserved as open-air museums and protected under the Antarctic Treaty System.

Embrace the spirit of exploration as your expedition team designs your voyage from day to day, bringing decades of experience to selecting the ideal sites based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

 

As you reach the halfway mark of your voyage, these days at sea offer time and space to reflect on the emotions and special moments you’ve experienced so far. You may like to make some notes in a journal, reminisce with newfound friends at the bar or start editing a backlog of amazing photos.  

For the next week, find your rhythm and settle into life at sea. Your expedition team will offer a daily program of educational activities, entertainment and citizen science programs, which you are welcome to attend. Join them for lectures and daily recaps of your progress, weather and trajectory. Take advantage of the many shared spaces on board: relax in the sauna, work out in the gym or grab a cuppa and peruse the library shelves as the ice shelves guarding the West Antarctic coast slide by.  

There is plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home - especially as you gain a day by crossing the international date line! As always, the best place on the ship is out on deck, where Antarctic prions, snow petrels and great whales await - as long as the seas permit! 

As you skirt the forbidding ice cliffs guarding the Antarctic ice sheet, spare a thought for British explorer James Cook, whose historic circumnavigation of Antarctica in the late 18th century encountered nothing but treacherous ‘ice islands’ and perilous winds that threatened to blow their wooden sailboat into the sea ice. Cook left the region firm in the belief that no Antarctic continent could exist, and if it did it “that the world will derive no benefit from it”. The search for Antarctica, which had been going for hundreds of years, ground to a halt, only resuming when a merchant sailor named William Smith chanced upon the South Shetland Islands in 1819. This discovery sparked visits from the sealers, whalers and scientists who would define the earliest eras of Antarctic exploration.  

Your voyage continues west past the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, towards the southern extremity of the Antarctic Peninsula.

 

While on the Peninsula we generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Rug up and join a Zodiac cruise to view spectacular ice cliffs or explore grounded icebergs, keeping an eye out for whales, seals and penguins, which frequently travel and feed in these waters. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic sites and explore some of our favourite spots along the Peninsula.  

While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to marvel at sculptural icebergs and photograph spectacular scenery. This is a great time to enjoy panoramic views from the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge (open at the Captain’s discretion) for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they break off, calving into the sea. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

 

The South Shetland Islands is a volcanic island group around a day’s sail from the Antarctic Peninsula. We aim to land or Zodiac cruise at one of the many appealing coves, bays and beaches, with the opportunity to see chinstrap and gentoo penguin colonies, fur and elephant seals, and the historic remnants of the sealing and whaling age.

In the afternoon, begin your transit north across the Drake Passage.

As your journey draws to a close, take some time to reflect on the experiences of the past few weeks. Perhaps you’d like to organise your photos, jot some more notes in your journal or simply relax and soak up the ambiance on board as you farewell your travel mates . . . until next time!

We hope you become ambassadors for the great Southern Ocean, advocating for its conservation and preservation, and share your experiences with your loved ones, so they might visit and become ambassadors themselves.

 

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature.  

Upon disembarkation, for those continuing their travels in the region, transportation to the hotel will be arranged exclusively for guests who have booked their accommodations through Aurora or for those staying in downtown areas near the port. Expeditioners departing on flights prior to 12:30 pm will be directly transferred to Ushuaia Airport, those with flights after 12:30 pm will have the opportunity to explore Ushuaia before an afternoon airport transfer, and the transfer procedures and details will be communicated onboard before disembarkation.     

Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays. 

Itineraries are subject to change.

Aurora Stateroom Triple

$42,495 USD pp
Aurora Stateroom Triple
Deck: 3 Cabin size: 22.57m² (242.9ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite Porthole window Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Aurora Stateroom Twin

$43,795 USD pp
Aurora Stateroom Twin
Deck: 3 Cabin size: 15.37m² - 15.97m² (165.4ft² - 171.9ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite Porthole window Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Aurora Stateroom Superior

$46,295 USD pp
Aurora Stateroom Superior
Deck: 7 Cabin size: 13.97m² - 16.17m² (150.4ft² - 174.1ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite French balcony Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Balcony Stateroom Category C

$47,495 USD pp
Balcony Stateroom Category C
Deck: 4 & 6 Cabin and balcony combined size: 21.07m² - 26.77m² (226.8ft² - 288.2ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite Private balcony Full size window Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Balcony Stateroom Category B

$49,995 USD pp
Balcony Stateroom Category B
Deck: 4 & 6 Cabin and balcony combined size: 21.07m² - 26.77m² (226.8ft² - 288.2ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite Private balcony Full size window Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Aurora Stateroom Single

$51,295 USD pp
Aurora Stateroom Single
Deck: 3 Cabin size: 9.85m² (106ft²) Twin beds Private en-suite Porthole window Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Balcony Stateroom Category A

$53,795 USD pp
Balcony Stateroom Category A
Deck: 4 & 6 Cabin and balcony combined size: 21.07m² - 26.77m² (226.8ft² - 288.2ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite Private balcony Full size window Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Aurora Stateroom Superior Single

$56,295 USD pp
Aurora Stateroom Superior Single
Deck: 3 & 7 Cabin size: 10.97m² - 15.18m² (118.1ft² - 163.4ft²) Twin beds Private en-suite Porthole window Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Balcony Stateroom Superior

$58,795 USD pp
Balcony Stateroom Superior
Deck: 4 & 6 Cabin and balcony combined size: 27.77m² - 36.27m² (298.9ft² - 390.4ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite (wheelchair accessible) Private balcony Full size window Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Junior Suite

$73,795 USD pp
Junior Suite
Deck: 7 Cabin and balcony combined size: 41.47m² - 41.87m² (446.4ft² - 450.7ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite Private balcony Full size window Separate lounge area Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Captain's Suite

$87,495 USD pp
Captain's Suite
Deck: 4 Cabin and balcony combined size: 45.22m² (486.7ft²) King bed Twin beds Private en-suite Private balcony Full size window Separate lounge area Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Room safe 42" flat-screen TV Mini bar

Vessel Type: Small Ship Expedition

Passenger Capacity: 154

Lenght: 104.4 m

Built: 2025

Designed for global discovery

Adventure has a new name. Setting sail in 2025, our new state-of-the-art ship, the Douglas Mawson, is the last in a line of purpose-built vessels that have redefined small ship expedition cruising.

Named after the legendary Australian geologist and explorer, our new small ship embodies Mawson’s pioneering spirit and is designed for global discovery. Featuring the revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW® and purpose-built with enhanced sustainability features, it takes on average 154 adventurers to the world’s wildest places in smooth, quiet comfort. It boasts our most extensive range of cabins yet, including a range of single cabins.

The Douglas Mawson features a host of amenities to help you connect with like-minded travellers and elevate your time onboard our floating base camp for adventure. After a long day of exploring, head to the back deck to swim in the heated outdoor swimming pool, find a sun bed to read on, or soak in one of two Jacuzzis. Work up a sweat in the gym before unwinding in the sauna, resolve to learn something new in the Citizen Science Centre, then enjoy a delicious meal with new and old friends in one of two restaurants. Or, with multiple observation areas throughout the ship, simply relax in comfort while you keep watch for wildlife or incredible landscapes unfold before you.

While enjoying the luxurious amenities onboard, you can rest assured that our aim to get you off the ship to explore the natural environment as much as possible through our unique activities program remains unchanged.

Newest Ulstein X-BOW®

The Douglas Mawson features the newest streamlined Ulstein X-BOW®, designed for global discovery. The revolutionary design cuts through the swell, offering unrivalled stability on ocean crossings and helping to reduce fuel consumption. It’s just one of the many sustainability features that helps us travel more responsibly.

Heated Pool, Jacuzzis & Sauna

In between landings, enjoy access to the onboard gym or unwind in the sauna. Or head to the back deck to swim in the heated outdoor pool, enjoy a drink at the pool bar, or soak in one of two Jacuzzis, watching the world go by.

Leading Technology

The Douglas Mawson is at the cutting edge of nautical technology, fitted with industry-leading technology including world-class return-to-port equipment. The ship also features a medical clinic designed for use in remote areas.

Built for Adventure

The Douglas Mawson features Zodiac access points and an activities platform, making boarding the Zodiacs as quick, efficient and safe as possible, minimising wait times and getting you closer to the action for longer. In our mudroom you will have access to lockers to store gear & boots and rapid drying areas for clothing.

More Cabin Choices

The Douglas Mawson features 11 different types of cabins, including a range of spacious single berth cabins – all adorned with elegant Nordic interior design features.

Multiple Observation Areas

As you explore the ship you will find indoor lounge areas with floor-to ceiling windows, and multiple open decks with expansive 270-360 degree views. The Glass Atrium Lounge inside the bow is a fantastic place to sit and watch for wildlife – with a drink in hand. There is no shortage of spaces to take in the majesty of the incredible world outside!

Lecture Theatre

On all expeditions you will meet naturalists and local specialists, who offer presentations on their area of expertise to enhance your appreciation of the destination you are exploring.

Join the team in the lecture theatre for presentations covering a broad range of topics to suit every interest, from history and culture to biology and climate change. Regardless of the topic, they all have one thing in common: they all aim to engage, educate, entertain and turn you into an ambassador for the planet.

Citizen Science Center & Lounge

Learn more about the world and the unique destinations Aurora visits by visiting the onboard naturalist and Expedition Team in the world-class Citizen Science Center. You will be rewarded for your thirst for knowledge with one of the best views on the ship.

Library

With floor-to-ceiling windows, the library is a peaceful sanctuary where you can find non-fiction books to read up on the day’s destinations, use a public laptop to organise your photos or play board games with newfound friends.

Choose from our range of informative non-fiction titles, wildlife guidebooks, travel journals, novels and a selection of children’s books and board games.

Wildlife guides, books and binoculars can also be found on the observation lounge on Deck 7.

Mudroom

No need to take your wet expedition gear back to your cabin to dry. Keep your cabin warm and cosy by leaving your outer jackets and pants in the mudroom.

The mudroom is your launchpad for all shore excursions and activities. Here, you will have access to a locker when you can hang your gear up to dry, and store your boots between excursions.

Swimming Pool & Jacuzzis 

There are two Jacuzzis on the top outside deck which offer amazing views of the world outside, a heated outdoor pool surrounded by sun beds you can relax on after a long day of exploring, and a pool bar.

Gym & Sauna

During your voyage, enjoy complimentary access to the gym or visit our sauna, which we highly recommend after the Polar Plunge!

Restaurants

One of the most important parts of any expedition is the food! Whatever adventures the day holds, you will be fuelled-up with hearty meals and delicious morning/afternoon teas cooked by our onboard chefs.

Meals are a great time to soak up the expedition camaraderie in our open seating dining area. Share stories with your fellow travellers and ask our expedition team questions that may have come up during the day.

Tea, coffee and snacks are available 24 hours a day, and our chefs offer different menu options and courses for each meal. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild.

We also invite you to join your captain and expedition team for informal Captain’s Farewell drinks, with complimentary beverages and cocktail appetisers, followed by a 3 course meal.

Bars & Lounges

Communal meeting areas have always played a major role in fostering the warm camaraderie on board our ships. They are the heart of the expedition, where people meet to share tales from the day, swap photos, keep an eye out for wildlife and watch the sun go down.

The bars and lounges on board are refined yet inviting places to gather, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views, and of course friendly bartenders to shoot the breeze with.

Cabin layout for Douglas Mawson

Sea Kayaking. From (1330.00 USD)

Inclusions


• Accommodation in your chosen stateroom or suite
• All Zodiac excursions
• Shore excursions specified as included in the itinerary
• Entrance fees where applicable
• Experienced expedition team
• On board lectures held by expedition team
• All meals while on board
• House wines, beer and soft drinks included with dinner
• Captain’s Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktail, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
• Rubber boots for use during the voyage
• Complimentary access to our onboard doctor for consultations relating to sea-sickness
• Comprehensive pre-departure material
• Personalised voyage photo book (post-voyage)
• Port fees/taxes

• Suite Benefits - Additional benefits for those who book Balcony, Junior and Captain's Suites:
• One free pair of binoculars per suite
• 1-hour spa treatment (Massage or facial only)
• Free stocked mini bar (Balcony and Junior suites stocked once, not replenished. Captains suite replenished as needed)
• Gratuities/tips for crew included - to the value of USD$15 per person per day~
• 1 free bottle of champagne per suite
• All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
• One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Dunedin on Day 1.

Exclusions


• International or domestic airfares unless specified in the itinerary
• Pre and post voyage accommodation
• Transfers
• Beverages other than those listed in inclusions
• Gratuities
• Any items of a personal nature including medical costs incurred on board
• Passport and visa costs if applicable
• Travel insurance including mandatory medical evacuation cover

• GRATUITIES. A US$15.00 per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your account. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.
Douglas Mawson
Antarctic Peninsula ExpeditionExpedition
34 Days from
$42,495 USD pp

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0800 945 3327

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1800 107 715

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