Fly/Cruise: fly the Drake passage, get more time to explore
The towering peaks and immense glacial systems of the Antarctic Peninsula are home to a great abundance of wildlife which we observe on shore, from the Zodiacs and the ship. Large penguin rookeries are found at several locations and we encounter seals and whales in the iceberg filled waterways. Opportunities to visit historic huts and active science stations add further interest. We explore on shore through guided walks which may last up to several hours. Or if you prefer to sit and observe the penguins as they come and go from the water - why not? The more active may choose the sea kayaking option and experience a whole new side of Antarctica.
Spectacular South Georgia
Our journey continues as we follow the course taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton whose epic small boat journey, from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia remains one of the greatest feats of navigation in history. We explore the northern coastline of South Georgia, home to some of the largest king penguin colonies on Earth. The shores are covered in wildlife – including nesting albatross, fur seals and elephant seals. Rusting relics from the old whaling era sit silent and provide a dramatic contrast to the green tussock grass, and snowy peaks that surround us.
A unique adventure
We then head for the Falkland Islands and aim to spend one final day exploring the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands. Our voyage comes to an end in Stanley – the small capital of the Falkland Islands. This is the classic small-ship expedition to three unique locations.
Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 1. Punta Arenas, Chile
Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile, where our Antarctic journey commences, make your way to our signature hotel for an included pre-voyage stay. This evening, we encourage you to visit the welcome desk set up in the lobby of the hotel to check in with the One Ocean Expeditions' representative and to collect luggage tags for your voyage. Punta Arenas is the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, facilitating easy exploration of the region pre-voyage.
DAY 2. Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, Antarctica - embark RCGS Resolute
Our journey begins this morning with a transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, we embark our ship via Zodiac. After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead. [B,D]
DAYS 3-4. Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula
Take a deep breath and venture out on deck as the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent are laid out before us. This is the moment you have been waiting for. For the next two days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. We may aim for Paradise Harbour and an opportunity to step foot on the continental land mass of Antarctica. For many, this is the fulfillment of a life-long goal. A superb hike here leads up to a high point affording incredible views of the glaciers and mountains. This is a good location to observe nesting imperial cormorants on the cliffs. While Zodiac cruising or paddling the kayaks into nearby Skontorp Cove are other memorable activities – the small cove is surrounded by towering glaciers on all three sides. Our activity program is in full swing by now, and each day we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, andZodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides providing insight and interpretation. We have been exploring this section of Antarctica’s coastline for many years and we have a few special locations in mind. The Errera Channel has several such spots – including Danco Island – a dome-shaped sentinel providing some great hiking options. Cuverville Island is another favourite – with its substantial gentoo penguin rookeries. We may navigate north through the Gerlache Strait towards Spert Island - a little visited rocky outcrop with remarkable geology. The island is criss-crossed by narrow channels which makes for fantastic Zodiac cruising and sea kayaking. The cliffs are home to numerous nesting bird species and we often encounter whales here. Nearby Mikkelson Harbour also allows for another potential off-ship excursion. After several busy days of exploration we head north, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and we expect sightings of humpbacks, or the resident orca group that inhabit this area.[B,L,D]
DAY 5. South Shetland Islands
Having crossed the Bransfield Straight overnight, we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. If the weather conditions allow, we may sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater. [B,L,D]
DAY 6. Antarctic Sound
Situated at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic Sound is about 10 miles wide and separates the Antarctic Peninsula from Joinville Island. Our gateway to the Weddell Sea, Antarctic Sound is also an exciting destination in its own right. Home to science stations, Adelie penguin rookeries and tabular icebergs, we will experience many of the different faces of Antarctica. While visiting Antarctic Sound, we may visit sites such as Brown Bluff, Hope Bay, or Gourdin Island. [B,L,D]
DAYS 7-9. Scotia Sea towards South Georgia
Point Lookout on the southern tip of Elephant Island is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date. Both southern elephant seals and fur seals are hauled out on the rocky beaches. If conditions permit, we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before the six men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat – the 'James Caird'. We then chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. [B,L,D]
DAYS 10-13. Explore South Georgia
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest. Dotted along the coastline are the rusting relics of the early whaling era. The largest of these locations is Grytviken. Here we find a fascinating museum and a beautifully restored Norwegian Lutheran Church. Adjacent to the old whaling station lies a small cemetery. This is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton – who was laid to rest here in 1922. For many onboard, being in the presence of the great explorer is a highlight of the trip. We continue our journey along the coastline, hoping to visit Stromness – another former whaling station – and the final destination of Shackleton and companions Frank Worsley and Tom Crean having made the near impossible traverse across the interior of South Georgia after their epic boat trip from Antarctica a century ago. [B,L,D]
DAYS 14-16. At Sea towards the Falklands
By now we are in sensory overload, our cameras full of images and our journey towards the Falkland Islands commences. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. The onboard educational program continues, and our experts recap our remarkable journey to date. These daysprovide a good opportunity to catch up on journal entries, sort through your images at the multimedia stations and catch some rest after several busy days of activity. [B,L,D]
DAY 17. Falkland Islands
We wake to the sight of landfall in the Falkland Islands. Situated in the Scotia Sea more than 250 nautical miles off the coast of South America, the Falklands Islands are situated in relatively shallow and very rich waters for marine life. As such, the Falklands are host to an amazing array of Antarctic and sub- Antarctic species as well as many species from neighbouring South America. It is entirely possible to see a striated caracara, known locally as a Johnny Rook, stalking gentoo penguin chicks, with black-browed albatross soaring overhead. This amazing juxtaposition of Antarctic and South American wildlife is one of the many great surprises of the Falkland Islands. Our choice of landing sites in the Falkland Islands will depend in many respects on our crossing from South Georgia. Our transit speed will be dependent on the weather systems coming through the Drake Passage, which will in turn dictate our arrival time and place in the Falklands. We may choose to visit the East Falklands or push on to the West Falklands for a day of excursions prior to disembarkation in Port Stanley. Possible excursion sites include Bleaker Island in the East Falklands or West Point Island in the West Falklands. Either offer excellent wildlife opportunities with Magellanic penguins, potentially rockhopper penguins and a number of bird species endemic to the Falkland Islands. In the waters around the islands, we may be fortunate to see Commerson’s and/or Peale’s dolphins. While the wildlife of the Falkland Islands is certainly an attraction for many, there is a vibrant history and an engaging Camp or countryside lifestyle. As we visit the Falkland Islands and are hosted by land owners, we will learn much about life in this isolated outpost of the United Kingdom. [B,L,D]
DAY 18. Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - Santiago, Chile
This morning we find ourselves in the port of Stanley. We say goodbye to our crew and make our way to the airport for our return charter flight to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago our journey comes to an end. Onward regional and international flight connections may be possible this evening. Discuss the options with your booking agent. A transfer is provided to a downtown location for those choosing to stay and explore Santiago and the delights of Chile. [B]
Please Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a ‘guide only’ and may change. The ship’s Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.
We include the use of an expedition gear package free of charge. Containing around $US900 worth of essential equipment, this kit includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants plus insulated rubber boots designed for extended walking. We also include a set of binoculars and a trekking pole for use when on shore. A waterproof backpack completes your package. This kit saves you buying expensive clothing and equipment you may only ever use once, and means more weight allowance for your main luggage.
- Charter flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island
- Charter flight from Stanley to Santiago
- All cruising on board the RCGS Resolute
Accommodation & Meals
- 1 night pre-cruise accommodation in Punta Arenas
- 16 nights on board the RCGS Resolute
- 17 breakfasts, 15 lunches and 16 dinners
- Antarctic gear hire package including waterproof/windproof jacket, bib-pants, insulated comfortable rubber boots, binoculars, trekking pole and waterproof backpack for use on shore
- Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
- Transfers in Punta Arenas to the airport on Day 2. Transfers from the ship to Stanley airport and on arrival in Santiago to a downtown location at the conclusion of the voyage on Day 18
- Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
- 24 hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in cabin tea and coffee making facilities
- Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
- Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
- Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
- Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
- Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
- Resident photography guide available to assist all guests
- Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
- An emergency trained medical Physician onboard every voyage
- Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
- Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer including massage options (charge applies for massage and treatments)
- Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
- End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
- Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
- Any international or local airfares unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary.
- Visa and passport expenses.
- Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
- Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
- Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
- Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
- Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
- Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day
Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices
|Valid From:||This tour does not include flights from Australia to Chile. Please contact our office for the latest special fares to match your independent tour.|
|Other departure cities:|
|Tips:||Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day|
Single Travellers Please Note:
- No single supplement is required if you are happy to share. You would be matched up with a fellow expeditioner of the same gender. If there is no-one suitable to share the cabin you will have sole use of the cabin at no extra cost.
- If you prefer exclusive use of the cabin a single supplement would apply which is 1.5 x the cabin price or 2 x cabin price for suites
- Triple share cabins are also available for single travellers on a limited basis.
Please Note: Cabin upgrades and itinerary length variations may be available, please contact Bunnik Tours for more details.
Fitness to Travel
Let's Talk Fitness
At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.
Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation
In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas
Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats
ON BOARD CRUISE SHIP
Sea kayaking - $795.00pp US
Sea kayaking allows you to experience another side of Antarctica and highly professional guides will introduce you to a slower paced, quieter polar experience. Kayak excursions are offered whenever weather conditions permit and you can expect to get out around six or seven times over the course of your voyage, for periods up to three or four hours. The program is directed at any passenger with an adventurous spirit and a some previous paddling experience.
Please note: This option MUST be reserved at the time of booking and attracts an additional charge of $795 US per participant. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous paddling experience. Ask us for a copy of this document if you are interested in the sea kayaking program.
Accommodation is subject to change and every effort is made to avoid this. However if a change does become necessary, accommodation of a similar standard will be used.
One Ocean RCGS Resolute
NEW: 360 Degree Virtual Ship Tour. With the highest possible ice classification, a proven track record for stability and safety, large indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, and exceptional manoeuvrability, RCGS Resolute is ideally equipped to carry you through the world’s most pristine regions. RCGS Resolute carries a maximum of just 146 passengers in great comfort, with an array of amenities, educational opportunities and all of the well known One Ocean Expeditions activities tailored to guests’ particular interests, as well as personalised service. The ship features two expansive full-view dining areas, a forward observation lounge with 180 degree panoramic windows, bridge access, a fleet of 14 zodiacs, multimedia room, modern gym, and wellness centre with massage therapy, steam room, jacuzzi and Finnish sauna.
Please note, a Reciprocity Fee is payable upon arrival in Chile for Australian passport holders. Please check with your travel agent for further details.
- Australian passport holders
- A Chile Reciprocity Fee of $117pp US is payable upon arrival by cash or credit card.
- Non-Australian passport holders
- Please check with your travel agent on visa requirements.
The following government websites are also a handy source of general information.
Reviews for Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands
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Have you been on this tour? Have your say below:
- Wander around the rusting relics of old whaling stations
- Be amazed at the huge King penguin colony in Salisbury Plain
- Visit the resting place of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton
- Cruise past towering icebergs
- Enjoy time whale spotting
- Explore South Georgia, the “Serengeti of the Southern Ocean”
- Enjoy the rich wildlife of the Falkland Islands
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Polar Expedition ship
Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day
Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The ship's Captain and Expedition Leader will adjust the itinerary to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlifeView Tour Map