Antarctic Peninsula

    March 2-17


Do you have a strong curiosity to go out and explore the world?

Do you want to get out of your comfort zone by travelling to the world’s most extreme environment?

Are you interested in learning about Antarctica’s history, environment, wildlife, science and stories of early exploration?

Do you have special skills that will enable you to share these stories with others?

Connecting young people with the spirit of exploration

What are Inspiring Explorers’ Expeditions?

Antarctic Heritage Trust is a New Zealand-based charity with a vision of inspiring explorers. Through its mission to conserve, share and encourage the spirit of exploration, the Trust cares for the remarkable expedition bases of early Antarctic explorers including Scott, Shackleton and Hillary.

The Trust’s Inspiring Explorers’ Expeditions aim to provide opportunities for young people to experience Antarctica and connect them with the legacy of polar exploration. These expeditions engage people with the legacy and spirit of exploration, inspiring a new generation of explorers.

The Trust is providing an opportunity of a lifetime in March 2019 for a group of young people from New Zealand to participate in a ten day expedition off the Antarctic Peninsula. The expedition is heavily sponsored and you will be expected to share your story to inspire others with the spirit of exploration.

This expedition follows on from the success of the Trust’s 2015 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition crossing South Georgia Island via the Shackleton route, the 2017 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition climbing Mt Scott on the Antarctic Peninsula, and recently the 2018 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition to traverse the Greenland ice cap in honour of Fridtjof Nansen.

Where are we going?

The 2019 expedition will see us return to Antarctica. Participants will explore the Antarctic Peninsula by ship with the opportunity for kayak excursions in Antarctic waters with New Zealand Olympian Mike Dawson and expert guides. Travel via ship from South America across the famed Drake Passage with our partner One Ocean Expeditions.

Experience the spirit of the early polar explorers; a remarkable legacy the Trust cares for on behalf of humanity. Learn about the history of Antarctica, its wildlife, science and its importance to the world today.

When are we going?

The expedition will take place from 2 March to 17 March 2019; including travel time from New Zealand and back.

Our Inspiring Explorers will fly to Ushuaia, Argentina, from there they will embark on the voyage south to the Peninsula.

What does the expedition involve?

This expedition will provide up to five participants with the opportunity to explore Antarctica with Antarctic Heritage Trust and Mike Dawson (two-time Olympian and NZ kayak champion).

Expedition partners One Ocean Expeditions and Mike Dawson will lead guided kayaking journeys off a vessel through Antarctic waters.

There will be time to explore the Antarctic Peninsula, and see the marine mammals and wildlife unique to Antarctica. The expedition group may have the opportunity to camp overnight on the ice, however this will depend on weather conditions.

Highlights of this expedition include:

  • An opportunity to experience Antarctica!
  • An opportunity to explore the Antarctic Peninsula with expert guides
  • An opportunity for students to learn and develop new skills, such as kayaking
  • An opportunity to join Olympian Mike Dawson and One Ocean Expedition kayak guides for kayaking adventures off a vessel
  • A night camping on the ice (subject to conditions)
  • The chance to get out of your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before

Why are we doing this expedition?

Antarctic Heritage Trust wants to connect young people with the spirit of exploration by providing opportunities for them to go out and explore the world, to get them off their devices and out of their comfort zone. This trip will offer people a chance to push themselves, to connect with experts, and learn about the history, science, wildlife, environment and legacy of exploration in Antarctica. Participants will discover the spirit of exploration in the world’s most extreme environment and experience the spirit of the early polar explorers; a remarkable legacy the Trust cares for on behalf of humanity.

Outreach Programme

Each Inspiring Explorer is expected to conceive and deliver an outreach programme. The focus is on sharing the experience to inspire others to explore.

Meet Mike…

AHT is thrilled to be partnering with Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson, who will be joining the Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition as a kayaking mentor.

Mike Dawson was born in Tauranga in 1986. After taking up kayaking at a young age, the sport quickly became his main focus. He has so far competed in two Olympic Games, has achieved silver and bronze medals in extreme kayaking championships, and has participated in kayaking expeditions in Chile, Uganda, Pakistan and beyond…

“I have loved kayaking ever since I first started doing it as a kid. I’m absolutely stoked to be joining AHT to share my passion for kayaking with other young New Zealanders and hopefully teach people some new skills!”

We will announce our Inspiring Explorers’ team in February 2019 – keep an eye out!

Trip of a lifetime for two Auckland students

As part of a new partnership with Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Antarctic Heritage Trust is taking two Year 13 students kayaking in Antarctica with a kiwi Olympian. Mele Fetu’u and Lana Kiddie-Vai will be on the Trust’s fourth Inspiring Explorers’ expedition in early 2019. The team will travel to the Antarctic Peninsula from South America […]


Take a look at these stunning photos of Scott's Hut, Cape Evans, which was snapped in a Condition 2 storm earlier this week.
The images made us think of expedition member Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s description of the hut, and the refuge it provided, from his book ‘The Worst Journey in the World’…
“Whatever the conditions of darkness, cold and wind might be outside, there was comfort and warmth and good cheer within.”
#Antarctica #explore #discover
Credit: Dr Fiona Shanhun, Antarctica New Zealand
Before and after... Check out Conservation Ambassador Mike's latest blog about working in Hillary's (TAE/IGY) Hut.
Using archival photos for reference, Mike was tasked with constructing a replica duckboard walkway in the covered linkway from the junction box to the entrance of the hut.
Read all about it here: bit.ly/DuckboardBlog
#conserve #Hillary #Antarctica #explore #discover Department of Conservation
Photos: Kim Westerkov, Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection; Mike Gillies
Today, on the 39th anniversary of the Mount Erebus disaster, we remember those who lost their lives, as well as their friends and family.
Photo: By Daniel O'Sullivan, Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection, 2009-2010 season
Antarctic Heritage Trust is delighted to have their 'Still Life', which is a unique audio-visual immersive experience that allows you to ‘step inside’ the historic huts of the British Antarctic explorers, open as part of the Korea National Maritime Museum's new Antarctic exhibition. Complementing the experience are Jane Ussher’s large scale photographs. The exhibition runs at the museum in Busan until March 2019.
More than 100 years ago famous explorers Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton travelled to Antarctica to explore the continent and carry out scientific experiments. They constructed three simple wooden huts as bases that still stand today, packed full of objects the men left behind. This remarkable legacy is cared for by the Antarctic Heritage Trust who are world leaders in cold-climate conservation. 
A century on, renowned New Zealand photographer Jane Ussher photographed the huts in intimate detail, creating an extraordinary record of the explorers’ lives. Her evocative photographs capture the conditions and isolation the men endured exploring Antarctica. 
Still Life was originally developed by Antarctic Heritage Trust and Jane Ussher in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council, New Zealand
#explore #discover #Antarctica #photography #heritage @christchurchnz
The conservation team have been busy in the conservation lab at Scott Base this week, working on some worn and weathered boxes of Tate sugar.
The diet of the sledging man in the early 1900’s revolved around a limited menu and sugar was a highly prized commodity, served out in lumps. For a special treat on your birthday, you might get an extra six lumps of sugar and another serving of chocolate.
Read more about the sweet diet of early Antarctic sledgers at bit.ly/SugarSugarBlog.
#Antarctica #conserve #sugar #discover #explore
Antarctic Heritage Trust Programme Manager Al has joined the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust Port Lockroy conservation team to share conservation knowledge and expertise developed during the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project.
The team will spend five weeks at Port Lockroy, and will undertake emergency repairs, do a full architectural survey, install solar power and schedule future conservation work.
Read more about Al's experience so far, with challenges including living on a small island (approximately 3 acres), and working within a Gentoo Penguin colony! Head to bit.ly/PortLockroyAl.
#Antarctica #Conserve #Explore #Discover
Photo: Base A at Port Lockroy
Credit: UKAHT
'In an Antarctic storm, shelter from the wind is your first priority. Given the loss of visibility in blowing snow, colour and contrast can be helpful. In 1957, the intense orange and yellow of Scott Base was a beacon to those caught out by the weather as well as a vibrant counterpoint to the white ice and snow and the black scoria on Ross Island.'
- Excerpt page 173, 'Hillary's Antarctica'
Read more about the conservation efforts to restore Hillary's (TAE/IGY) Hut to its original colours in 'Hillary's Antarctica', available online at bit.ly/HillarysAntarcticaBook or in bookstores.
Photo credit: Jonny Harrison
#Hillary #explore #discover #antarctica @allenandunwinnz
Wow - This week Trust conservator Lizzie celebrated 1000 days spent on the Ice in Antarctica!! The Trust's conservation team members Martin, Lizzie, Nicola and Mike  celebrated the occasion with this incredible cake made by the chefs at Scott Base.

Congratulations Lizzie on this incredible milestone!

Read more at bit.ly/1000DaysOnIce. 
Photo: Antarctic Heritage Trust

#Antarctica #explore #discover #conserve
What better place to read a book about Sir Ed Hillary's Antarctic adventures, than in Hillary's (TAE/IGY) Hut itself? 
Trust Conservation Ambassador Mike Gillies and heritage carpenter Martin brought a signed copy of 'Hillary's Antarctica' to the hut, where it will remain for visitors to enjoy. 
You can get your very own copy of 'Hillary's Antarctica' at bit.ly/HillarysAntarcticaBook or instores. 
Photo: Antarctic Heritage Trust 
#Antarctica #Hillary #conserve #explore #discover

Trip of a lifetime for two Auckland students

As part of a new partnership with Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Antarctic Heritage Trust is taking two Year 13 students kayaking in Antarctica with a kiwi Olympian.

Mele Fetu’u and Lana Kiddie-Vai will be on the Trust’s fourth Inspiring Explorers’ expedition in early 2019.

The team will travel to the Antarctic Peninsula from South America aboard a One Ocean Expeditions vessel as part of a scheduled expedition.

Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson, who will lead the expedition, says it will be an unforgettable experience.

“Antarctica has the power to change lives. As well as exploring that magnificent place and learning about the legacy we care for, our Inspiring Explorers will go kayaking under the mentoring of Olympian Mike Dawson and the One Ocean Expeditions’ team. We are very excited.”

More young people aged between 18-30 will also be on the expedition… they are currently being selected from hundreds of applications nationwide.

Nigel Watson says the Trust and Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate have a special connection.

“The school cares for Sir Edmund’s former home in New Zealand (which is now a leadership centre on the Collegiate’s grounds) and the Trust cares for his former home in Antarctica. We share a genuine sense of kaitiakitanga for Sir Edmund’s legacy.”

Nigel and Olympic kayaker and youth ambassador Mike Dawson met the students for the first time last week, at an event held at Hillary House, to celebrate the partnership between the Trust and the Collegiate. Mike says it was a special moment meeting Mele and Lana.

“To get to meet these amazing young people and their families inside the study of Sir Ed’s old home, with members of the Hillary family there, felt pretty special.”

Lana says the reality of going to Antarctica for the first time is already starting to set in for the two Collegiate students.

“I’m really excited but I’m also a bit nervous. It’s going to be so cold! But that is all what makes it an adventure.”

Through sponsorship provided by the Woolf Fisher Trust, the Trust is also bringing a young teacher from the Collegiate on the expedition. The teacher will be announced along with the rest of the expedition participants in early 2019.

This is the Trust’s fourth Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition following a crossing of South Georgia in 2015, the summiting of Mt Scott in 2017, and the successful 560km crossing of the Greenland ice cap earlier this year. The Trust is partnering with One Ocean Expeditions for the 2019 expedition.

Antarctic Heritage Trust

AHT Board Chair Mark Stewart, Lana Kiddie-Vai, AHT Executive Director Nigel Watson, Mele Fetu’u and Mike Dawson

Reflecting on an epic Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition

They battled hurricane conditions, heavy snowfalls and illness, but the six-person Antarctic Heritage Trust Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition reached the finish line of their 560-kilometre crossing of the Greenland ice cap almost a month after they set off. They made the journey on skis while pulling 60-kilogram supply sleds behind them.

Antarctic Heritage Trust selected four young explorers for the expedition from a pool of nearly 200 applicants. Two Kiwis; Brando Yelavich (24) and Hollie Woodhouse (33) and two Australians; Bridget Kruger (30) and Keith Parsons (28), were joined by Executive Director Nigel Watson and Ousland Polar Exploration master polar guide Bengt Rotmo.

The team left the west coast of Greenland on May 4 and arrived in the small village of Tasiilaq (on Greenland’s east coast) on Saturday, 2 June.

The crossing is the Trust’s third Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition and proved to be the most challenging yet.

Nigel Watson says the team’s final day saw them ski for 21 hours.

“We set off at 10.00am. A possible polar bear sighting had us on edge, but it turned out to be an illusion! We continued to ski and eventually saw mountains – there was great excitement after seeing nothing but a flat, white horizon for weeks. We stopped for a hot meal at 1.00am before reaching the end of our journey at 7.00am – there were hugs and tears of relief.”

The expedition honoured Fridtjof Nansen, the renowned polar explorer and humanitarian, who completed the first crossing of Greenland 130 years ago in 1888.

Keith, who was in charge of filming content on the expedition said, “It was special for me to have Nansen’s story
as the backbone for the trip. The sheer audacity of what he did 130 years ago, to get a bunch of capable people together, put two dots on the map and say “we’re going between them” without regard for his or others’ lives, was astonishing. During the expedition I often reflected on what it would have been like for Nansen’s team, who hunted fresh food across the ice cap and slept in reindeer skins. In contrast, we ate our freeze-dried food while wearing the best gear money could buy.”

New Zealand outdoors company Kathmandu sponsored the expedition with the team road testing their new XT Series, designed for extreme environments.

The expedition was hugely challenging for all team members both physically and mentally. Hollie Woodhouse had never been in a polar environment, and wasn’t sure what to expect. She says she was “totally out of my comfort zone, but I’ve come out stronger because of it.” Hollie notes that apart from a selection weekend earlier in the year, “we were a team of strangers who were put in a hostile environment and had to rely on each other. Early on, I knew I was with an amazing group of people whom I could trust and who would have my back.” Her advice to others is to never give up. “Having the courage to do that first scary step or do that thing you have dreamed about can lead to a whole lot of new adventures.”

One mental challenge the team faced was a lack of external stimulus for 29 days, travelling through a vast white landscape that seemed endless. Brando Yelavich says, “The various landmarks, including a massive old radar station at the halfway point, were the only things we could hold on to as a goal to reach. It was quite tough on my brain as I have ADHD and need a lot of stimulation with physical things. Some days being on the ice was like looking at a blank canvas but having no inspiration to paint.”

In the last 21 hours of the expedition everyone agreed it was awe-inspiring as the east coast of Greenland was in sight.

Bridget Kruger describes the final descent: “It was a magical, fantasy-like day. We started to see mountains emerge out of the vast whiteness around us – the first real thing we had seen in 27 days. As the mountains grew into view, we skied closer to the sea and were finally going downhill. It was a lot of fun. As the day grew into night, the sun set over four or five hours, blanketing us in this stunning light that sparkled off the snow. The moon was rising, a huge, gorgeous fiery orb. The scene looked like we were skiing down on this sea of clouds to meet the moon. It was the most beautiful evening of my life, and the images will be forever imprinted on my memory.”

The team are now delivering outreach programmes supported by the Trust, with the aim of sharing their experiences, and encouraging others to get out and explore.

Nigel says that will be the most important part of the expedition. “The reason the Trust undertakes these expeditions is to encourage people to get out and explore the amazing world we live in. By sharing their story, the team has the opportunity to inspire someone else to do something they never have before – an experience that could be life changing.”

Thank You

The Trust would like to acknowledge expedition sponsor Kathmandu and expedition partner Ousland Polar Exploration for helping make the trip possible. Thanks also to Lumix, Rode and GoProNZ for the use of camera gear and equipment.

Walking across a blank canvas…

After some time for reflection following the completion the mammoth crossing of the Greenland ice cap, we caught up with Brando Yelavich to get his perspective on the expedition, the biggest challenges he faced, and what he learned about himself through the experience…

What was your favourite part of the trip?

My favourite part was the time it gave me to analyse my life. The first week all I could think about was the walking, the ice and the flat, but after that I was able to really get into my head and start asking myself some deep questions about who I am. Being part of a team was also a really cool experience. I’d never been on an expedition with other people before, as my other trips, walking around the coast of New Zealand, and Stewart Island, were solo. When you’re part of a team you have a leader, have to follow directions and are with people of different physical and mental abilities. I enjoyed it, and would definitely do it again.

What was the most challenging part?

Boredom, as every day we were faced with the same thing, white ground and white sky, or blue sky. The various landmarks including a massive old radar station at around the halfway point were the only things we could hold onto as a goal to reach. It was quite tough on my brain, as I am ADHD and need a lot of stimulation with physical things. Some days being on the ice was like looking at a blank canvas but having no inspiration to paint. I found the daily routine good, although it was a bit mind boggling to come home and suddenly find it’s dark at night. In Greenland we could be walking at 2pm or 2am and the conditions were almost exactly the same. Experiencing a total whiteout in a hurricane was another amazing challenge. I roped myself to a tent and took about 10 steps out in it to experience what it was like. The camp was immediately gone from sight and it made me realise just how easy it would be to disappear out there. I had no way of knowing which way was up, down, left or right. Another big challenge was the final two days of the expedition, which were combined into one with virtually no sleep.

What went through your mind when you were finally completed the expedition?

About 300m before the end I lost my ski, which skidded to the bottom of a hill, so I walked the last bit. It was a surreal, heart-warming and amazing experience to realise we had done it. There were a few tears and everyone started hugging each other. We were all so tired so we put up our tents, and the next morning walked the final 150m to a tiny piece of rock beside the sea, which wasn’t white with snow. It was party time in our heads, but there was nowhere to party.

What did you learn or discover about yourself?

Part of living with ADHD is that I can be a bit self-centred around my goals and what I want to achieve. I have been with my girlfriend for five years and on the journey I thought about how much she’s changed her life to suit my goals and what I want to do, which is absolutely amazing. I had a mind awakening experience where I realised my happiness isn’t just about me being happy – that I need to think about whether I am doing things for both of us and not just me. Life is about the ones you love and it’s important to make other people happy too.

What skills did you have that you found most valuable?

I think the big one was my navigational skills. I had no idea how to navigate across a flat, white piece of ice without a compass, but knew my intuition and deep-seated genetic instincts were strong from the times I had spent in the outdoors, relying on myself to survive. I also learned some great new navigational techniques from our master polar guide, Bengt Rotmo, such as how to use the sky, and wind to navigate on the ice. I had always thought I didn’t need a guide, but being guided by Bengt, who has crossed Greenland successfully 13 times, was like attending the university of polar ice caps. This changed my perspective on the value of having an experienced guide with you.

Any comments about the team itself?

It was great to be part of a team and having the guides made it so much easier. It was interesting for me, as in my mind prior to the experience, being in a team meant everyone sharing the load and doing the same amount of everything to get through. But this experience was all about utilising members of the team for what they’re good at. For instance I would call myself a very strong person so I carried quite a lot of extra gear on the journey. In the past I might have thought, that’s not fair, I’m carrying all the gear, but I realised by doing this I was helping the team to reach its goal. It was educational for me.

Was there anything you couldn’t wait to eat or do once you left the ice or got home?

I had countless cravings and we had so many conversations about the foods we were going to eat when we got home.

How have you settled back into normal life after the trip?

What a lot of people don’t realise is that it can be difficult to adjust when you first get home and realise this cool and memorable experience is over. The dopamine from the constant exercise and looking at the GPS at the end of the day to see how far you’ve gone has stopped. It can take quite a while for the body to get back to the real world and for the mind to accept that real life is good too. This feeling doesn’t last long, but it always happens to me, and is part being an explorer. I call it the ‘expedition blues’ a bit like when people get the blues in the winter.

Reflecting on what you know of Nansen’s crossing – what would you consider some of the similarities and key differences on this trip?

For us, the real story from the journey came from within, rather than what we were doing on the ice. I imagine it was quite different for Nansen. There were definitely no solar panels or devices to keep charged when Nansen did the crossing, and I’m sure his sled wouldn’t have dragged as easily over the ice as our plastic ones. Our gear was also waterproof and warm. Probably the biggest difference between the two expeditions was that we always had a way out. It was still an amazing adventure, but back in Nansen’s day, if something went wrong, they died. In one sense that is the essence of adventure when the outcome is uncertain.

I’m sure there were some amazing similarities between the expeditions too. I wonder if Nansen and his team thought about similar things on the ice that we did.

How have you been inspired to go out and share your story?

I was able to get a blog out every day from the ice, and had a live tracker so people could follow my journey every day on my website. That was pretty cool. Now I’m back I will start to release photographs and video footage I shot, and tell the story.

What messages will you be giving to audiences about the trip?

My main goal is to continue the work I do online, to inspire curiosity and encourage people to be explorers. By that I mean inspire people to question everything, look deeper, and be explorers in everything they do, whether that is exploring, mathematics, science, the ocean, hiking or accounting. It’s about being an explorer in your field, owning it and doing what you do because you love it. The Greenland expedition will definitely be another tool for me to continue to inspire people, and also share the message of modern and past explorers, who have always thought outside the box.

Would you recommend others apply for future expeditions and why?

Totally. I definitely recommend people apply and if they don’t get in don’t let that stop them having their own adventures. I’m grateful to Antarctic Heritage Trust for making it amazingly easy to have such an awesome experience in a place that is quite difficult and expensive to get to. People should seize the opportunity and make their own luck.

Do you have any advice for future expedition members?

As human beings we are capable of achieving absolutely anything. Ordinary people do extraordinary things every day, and we’re all ordinary.