The World’s Most Unique Day Tour is almost unbelievable: In 12 hours, passengers depart Australia to fly over Antarctica and return. But this is no standard return flight – this is a masterclass in efficient travel, an opportunity for education, a presentation of mind-blowing natural scenery, and a bucket list-busting trip of a lifetime. Susan Elliott, Producer on Channel 7’s Sydney Weekender and travel writer, has taken this incredible day journey three times. Find out what exactly this exceptional experience is really like from Susan herself.
"Twelve hours. One flight. Two continents. No passport. Zero baggage.
There is no tour like it on Planet Earth. Antarctica Scenic Tours is celebrating 25 years of flying passengers over one of the most remote landscapes in the world. They are the only company in the world to offer sightseeing flyovers of the Antarctic.
Picture this: you’re on board a Qantas 747-400 jumbo jet flying out of Sydney on a roundtrip flight to the bottom of the world, an easy day-tripper that carries all the perks of an international flight. Two full meal services and complimentary bar service.
That’s cool. And you’re warm.
What do you see?
The Antarctic - as Shackleton, Scott, Mawson, Hillary and Amundsen could never ever have imagined.
At only 10,000 feet high, your flight takes you over massive glaciers, ice floes, icebergs, the breathtaking Trans Antarctic mountains, international research stations and maybe even Mawson’s Hut – the home for Douglas Mawson and 17 other men exploring the Antarctic 100 years ago.
There are 19 different flight paths the captain can chose based on the weather conditions. No matter what the weather is like on your departure day, you always get a great view. And the aircraft goes as slow as it can, with safety, so the scenery can be enjoyed for as long as possible. You’ll probably see your first ice about 3 hours into the journey then fly over the Antarctic for about 4 hours before heading for home.
Who's on board?
Usually a penguin. No no no… not a real one! A human-sized one that’s very cuddly and great for your social media pics.
Experts – and not just the captain and crew! Guest speakers including specialists who’ve worked in the Antarctic – such as scientists, doctors, chefs, tradespeople – join the trip. They roam the cabin to answer your questions and tell a story or two.
If the route takes you over Australia’s Casey Base or France’s Dumont D’Urville, the Captain may make a radio call for a chat and broadcast it through the cabin. Hearing from someone on the ice right below you is pretty special.
Be ready to make a couple of hundred new friends. Unlike regular flights, you don’t have to buckle up as there is no air turbulence over Antarctica, thanks to Antarctica’s lack of hot air rising. Everyone’s encouraged to stand up, move around and even swap seats. It’s a very social flight.
What to bring?
The sightseer's standard kit of camera or phone, a charging cable or charger pack, binoculars if you have them, and sunglasses – all that white ice is brilliantly bright.
Because it’s the easiest and cheapest way you’ll ever see the Antarctic.
Because you won’t drain your bank account for a flight to Argentina to board a small cruise ship for a nauseating crossing of Drake Passage to get to the ice.
Because you receive the craziest boarding pass you’ll ever hold: Australia-Mystery Flight -Australia. It’ll be the star attraction on your fridge door when you get home!
Because taking in the panoramic aerial views is the best way to understand the continent. Twice the size of Australia, the enormity of Antarctica really hits you when you look at a map and see how little you’ve actually covered in four hours. Visiting this way allows you to get the big picture… and you will get lots of BIG pictures.
Because you will say “WOW” about a thousand times. Guaranteed."