Also known as the white continent, Antarctica is the only continent that does not have any indigenous people, trees or even its own land based wildlife. Also a land of extremes, the record temperature of 128 below zero was recorded in Vostok Station which is cold enough to shatter steel! By average Antarctica is the windiest, coldest, and driest continent. As a matter of fact, it’s considered to be the largest desert in the world, as it gets even less precipitation than the Sahara!
Despite the harsh conditions of the continent, each Austral summer Antarctica is visited by penguins, seals, whales and birds that use Antarctica as a breeding ground and then return to the sea or other parts of the world. Some mistakenly believe that polar bears live here, but with the exception of one species there actually are no bears in the southern hemisphere. While deep inland you’ll always find extreme temperatures year around, the coastal areas can be pretty reasonable during the Austral summer from October to February. These regions often see temperatures slightly above freezing during these warmer months making this the only ideal time to visit.
A truly unique and beautiful continent, Antarctica is essentially untouched by man yet takes up an area the size of the United States. Antarctica also as a continent has the highest average elevation. The highest mountain rises to 16,050 feet (4,892 meters). Viewing large mountains and cliffs against the sea makes some of the most dramatic scenery in the world!
More than just penguins live in Antarctica! Petrels, Albatross, Squas and other species visit Antarctica each year as well. The Albatross is one of the most amazing birds to spot on a visit to the White Continent. It has the largest wingspan in the world, sometimes reaching an incredible 11 feet (3.3 meters)!
Coming in all shapes and sizes, Antarctic Ice Bergs offer some unique and impressive natural beauty. While sailing in Antarctica or visiting the coast, it’s impossible to miss these beautiful natural wonders of ice floating by. Some are the size of small cars while others can even be the size of a small city!
The White Continent is dominated by penguins in the austral summer. You can find chinstraps, Adelie, and macaroni penguins further north. The largest penguin in the world however is the emperor penguin, and finding this impressive species will require a deeper trip into Antarcitca.
The Antarctic is home to six species of seals. The most infamous of the six is the leopard seal, which is the top predatory animal in Antarctica. Others are elephant seals, fur seals, the weddell seal, the crabeater, and the elusive ross seal.
Antarctica is one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Several species of the whales visit here in the austral summer. The most common species are the right whale, sei whale, humpbacks, minke, fin, sperm, killer whales and the blue whale; the largest animal on planet earth!