Longyearbyen, Svalbard: First Impressions & 10 Random Facts

I take in a breath of fresh air and exhale a sigh of contentment, a sound that feels misplaced in this scene of contrast I find myself in. I walk on dry, green grass as I look up at snow-capped mountains.  I put on my sunglasses as I zip up my warm jacket.  My watch […]

Antarctica FAQ: What Photography Equipment Should I Pack?

The Question: What photography equipment should I take to Antarctica? The Answer: This completely depends on the type of photographer you are, but take something!  Even if you don’t usually take photographs when you travel, you will find yourself constantly snapping away at wildlife and landscape that is difficulty to put into words.   Here are […]

Photos & Quiz: World Penguin Day

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love penguins?  Me either! April 25 is World Penguin Day, so let’s celebrate these cute little creatures. What is your penguin personality?  Take this quiz over at The Pew Charitable Trust to find out!  By the way – apparently I am a Chinstrap! Here at Destination Unknown, I’m […]

Antarctica in Pictures: A Collection of Ice

“We have just sighted the first iceberg of the journey” This announcement at 7pm on New Years Day felt symbolic of the journey ahead.  We had just enjoyed the Falkland Islands, were growing accustomed to days at sea and were eagerly awaiting our arrival at South Georgia.  We were also inching closer and closer to […]

5 Travel Destinations That Get Under Your Skin

Travel destinations provide different experiences for different people.  An energetic city break for one person is a stressful and tiring nightmare for someone else.  A backpacking adventure can be eye opening and exhilarating or it might feel uncomfortable and scary.   Volunteering in a developing country can be life changing for some but ethically uncomfortable for […]

Through the Porthole: Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands

I was being rocked by the ocean like a baby in a cradle.  My thoughts were distorted as my dreams started to morph into reality.  I was comfortably drifting towards consciousness in that moment between sleep and wake that feels like minutes but is only seconds. And then I remembered where I was. I was […]

FAQ (Antarctica Travel): What Wildlife Will I See?

The Question What wildlife will I see? The Answer Wildlife spotting in Antarctica is a lottery.  There are no game park enclosures or zoos.  There are no park rangers waiting for a “release the whale for tourists” call.  There are no guarantees. And that’s what makes it so special. We are the visitors, on the […]

FAQ (Antarctica Travel): Will I Get Bored on the Ship?

(This post is based on my three-week journey on the Ocean Diamond which may include activities/resources not offered on other ships.) The Question Will I be bored at sea? The Answer Not if you ‘embrace the boredom’ and take advantage of the on-board resources and activities offered. My Experience If you ask someone what frustrates […]

You’ve Decided to go to Antarctica: Now What?

It’s been a lifelong dream, you’ve been inspired by the BBC’s Frozen Planet, you’ve just seen a friend’s photos from their trip or you are a frequent traveller who only has one continent left on their bucket list. Whatever the reason, the decision has been made: Antarctica will be your next travel destination. Now what? […]

5 Reasons to Include South Georgia on Your Antarctica Travel Itinerary

It’s been a lifelong dream, you’ve been inspired by the BBC’s Frozen Planet, you’ve just seen a friend’s photos from their trip or you are a frequent traveller who only has one continent left on their bucket list.  Whatever the reason, the decision has been made: Antarctica will be your next travel destination. Unless you […]

Antarctica: 10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Travel Experience

  A travel adventure to Antarctica is often described as ‘the trip of a lifetime’ and the cost, distance and effort to get there keep it well and truly off the beaten track.  I had always dreamed of joining the small number of travellers who set foot on the world’s southernmost continent and I recently […]

Photo Gallery: Gentoo Penguins of Antarctica

During my three week adventure in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica I was lucky enough to be entertained by seven different species of penguins – the rockhopper, magellanic, king, chinstrap, adelie, macaroni and gentoo.  Each species possesses their own distinct features and personalities but they all adopt the same school-yard antics within their […]

An Antarctic Polar Plunge

A Crazy Idea is Born It began with a random question I posted on Facebook: “do you think I should do the polar plunge in Antarctica?”  The replies varied from “no way” to “you only live once, go for it” but the general theme seemed to be “rather you than me!” When I said “I’m […]

Photo Gallery: Chinstrap Penguins of Antarctica

Penguins are one of the most iconic (and cutest) animals that call Antarctica home, a mascot of the world’s harshest continent.  I was fortunate to encounter seven different species during my recent Antarctica adventure, each of which had their own unique look and personality.  I felt like I was travelling to Antarctica alongside a penguin […]

Photo Gallery: King Penguins of South Georgia

During my three week exploration of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica I often felt like I was participating in a wildlife documentary.  When we landed at Salisbury Plain, the second largest King Penguin Colony in South Georgia, the scene in front of me resembled the penguin version of a Where’s Wally picture and […]

Photo Gallery: Seals of Antarctica

After two weeks at sea, with landings at the Falkland Islands and South Georgia providing an introduction to the inhabitants of this part of the world, we had almost reached the holy grail of our itinerary – Antarctica. As we sailed towards the Antarctic Peninsula, I felt humbled to be visiting one of the last […]

Photo Gallery: Antarctic Sunsets

During my days in Antarctica I felt like I was moving within a landscape painting, created with a palette limited to blues and whites.  The exception was the late evening, as the sun began to set.  The palette opened to include a range of pastel colours, softening the light and providing an incredible backdrop to […]

Photo Gallery: Humpback Whales of Antarctica

I’ve been on a few whale watching boat trips in my life and the closest I’ve come to seeing one is a black spot in the distance with a spurt of water rising above it like an umbrella.  So seeing my first humpback whale in the open sea on the way to Antarctica was pretty […]

Photo Gallery: The Rockhopper Penguin (Falkland Islands)

When I started telling people I was heading to Antarctica most replied with “but it’s so cold there” and “don’t get eaten by a polar bear”.  Once I explained (again) that there are no polar bears in the Southern Hemisphere, their attention usually moved on to penguins. Before I departed, my four year old nephew […]

Photo Gallery: The Big Ice of Antarctica (Pleneau Bay)

Sailing through Antarctica feels like sailing through a landscape painting that has been created with a colour palate limited to whites and blues.  Random objects such as rocks, ice, ships and animals are strategically placed in the frame to create a series of images, but the paintings remain distinctively Antarctic. No object is more iconic […]