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Ross Sea

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Mount Erebus on Ross Island, with Mount Terror! to the right

The Ross Sea is a region of Antarctica that lies south of Australia and New Zealand. Mostly ice covered, the land areas around the sea are home to several research bases and countless numbers of seals and penguins.

Regions[edit]

Bases[edit]

Other destinations[edit]

Understand[edit]

New Zealand claims a sector of Antarctica, including Ross Island, home to McMurdo Station and Scott Base as well as three historic wooden huts (at Hut Point, Cape Evans and Cape Royds as well as a stone hut at Cape Crozier). Claims such as this one are held in abeyance under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, but official Ross Dependency stamps are still issued and sold at Scott Base and can be used as valid postage back to the rest of the world.

Get in[edit]

Travel to the Ross Sea is normally done through a larger travel company that charters an ice breaker and carries passengers south from New Zealand. Researchers may arrive in the Ross Sea either by military vessel or by plane.

Individual, non-governmental visitors can contact the Antarctic Policy Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18901, Wellington. Phone: +64 4 439 8000 Fax: +64 4 439 8103 [1]

By air[edit]

Williams Field is an ice runway that is normally open to ski equipped aircraft during the Antarctic summer months, subject to suitable weather conditions. Flights to the Ice depart from Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand and generally involve an 8 hour flight in a military aircraft's cargo hold, as cargo.

By boat[edit]

There are only a very few ships that travel to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica.

  • Heritage Expeditions, [2]. New Zealand's award winning expedition travel company. They specialise in worldwide natural history small group expeditions and their expertise and experience of the Subantarctic Islands, the Ross Sea and East Antarctica is unsurpassed. They operate their own ice-strengthened polar research vessel the 'Spirit of Enderby' with trips to the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay (famous for Sir Douglas Mawson's historic hut) several times a year.
  • Polar Cruises, [3]. A small company offering trips on most of the ships cruising the Antarctica Peninsula and occasionally the Ross Sea. Great insights into Antarctica cruises and travel to this very unique area.
  • Geographic Expeditions, [4]. Among GeoEx's popular Antarctica adventure trips is an expedition to the Ross Sea and McMurdo Sound.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Mount Erebus. The southernmost active volcano in the world at 3795 meters. Climbable (when not erupting) in the summer. The mountain was named after its discoverer's ship, which in turn was named after the Greek god Erebus, son of Chaos.  edit
  • Mount Kirkpatrick. Best climbed in April. The highest of Antarctica's mountains is terribly hard to reach, but is climbable on extremely expensive expeditions. 4528m.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Helicopter flight. Taking off from the m/v Ortelius [5], an ice breaker vessel that makes landings in the Ross Sea and Antarctica.

Stay safe[edit]

There are several countries that administer portions of the Ross Sea, and each country's laws may apply based on the traveler's citizenship and location. In all cases, travelers must follow the rules set forth in the Antarctic Treaty and, if traveling with an International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IATO) sponsored group, all IATO rules.


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