Antarctic Seasons & Wildlife
No travellers visit Antarctica during the winter when the temperature plummets and the polar ice becomes hard to traverse. Most vessels sail from November to March.
The month of November is a great time to visit Antarctica, as it is just after the winter and those who are visiting will see Antarctica in its most pristine. The temperatures tend to be cooler and the ice is still breaking up so access to some areas may be limited. However, that cooler temperature means that the icescapes are at their most impressive, as is the unmarked snow and incredible scenery…this is definitely the time to go if you are seeking out otherworldly views. Wildlife is not as plentiful, but it is a great time to see the penguins building their nests and their fascinating courtship displays.
This is when there is the most sunlight (up to 20 hours a day) so there is plenty of time to explore and is the Antarctic ‘high summer’, meaning wildlife is at its most active. Penguins, seals and seabirds are abundant so make sure your camera is at the ready. Boats tend to get booked up fast as people are eager to see the penguin chicks hatch, so we recommend that you plan well in advance if you want to visit during these months.
This time of the year offers you the best chances of seeing whales. Encounter humpback and minke and with a bit of luck, spot the incredible orca. The rookeries are still busy, but the penguin chicks are now almost fully grown and are to be found chasing their parents around relentlessly for food. There is also a chance that you will glimpse the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights if you are visiting towards the end of the season. Travellers are often treated to unique sea ice patterns which form overnight and make the ice cliffs look green and pink.