Mawson’s Hut

    Photo Credit: Marty Paassingham, Mawson’s Huts Foundation

    Commonwealth Bay

    Photo Credit: Marty Paassingham, Mawson’s Huts Foundation

    University of Bremen ice map, Commonwealth Bay and Cape Denison

    Photo Credit: Courtesy Heritage Expeditions

    Approaching Mawson’s Hut in Commonwealth Bay

    Photo Credit: N. Russ

    Curious Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) waddle toward the zodiac to investigate

    Photo Credit: Ewan Bell

    An orca (Orcinus orca) surfaces near a zodiac

    Photo Credit: Heritage Expeditions

    Up close and personal with Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina)

    Photo Credit: Lisle Gwynn

    Broken shelf ice bobs off the bow

    Photo Credit: K. Ovsyanikova

    An ice cave in ombre blue

    Photo Credit: C. Todd

Visit Mawson’s Hut for Christmas 2019

By AG STAFF | June 12, 2019

Spend Christmas Day surrounded by ice and penguins with Heritage Expeditions!

Voyage to one of the least visited coastlines in the world and discover for yourself why East Antarctica held such a fascination for pioneering Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. Enjoy the pleasures of exploration and observation and experience the panoramic and the intimate; the majestic vista of the world’s largest glacier and a young Adelie penguin taking its first ocean dip. The natural world beckons and rewards with rare whale sightings and abundant birdlife.

Heritage Expeditions is returning to East Antarctica with a visit to Mawson’s Hut planned for Christmas Day during its 25-day voyage ‘In the Wake of Mawson’ following the historic region’s first ice free summer in eight years.

The location of Mawson’s Hut, Cape Denison at Commonwealth Bay has historically been one of the very few ice free and readily accessible areas along the East Antarctic coastline – the very reason it was chosen by Australian Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson as the location for his hut.

However, this all changed when 78 kilometres of the Mertz Glacier tongue broke off in 2010 after it was struck by a 97 kilometre-long iceberg, which blocked the annual movement of sea ice effectively isolating the region. Now, eight years later, access to the Bay is freeing up during the summer, with close monitoring and an ice free summer last year indicating there are opportunities to once again return and explore this previously off limits majestic and historic location.

Heritage Expeditions has timed its voyage to maximise the opportunity to land at Commonwealth Bay and explore Sir Douglas Mawson’s Hut – established for the 1911-1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition – on Christmas Day and its environs, which includes the Memorial Cross to expeditioners Ninnis and Mertz who perished during the infamous three man ‘Far Eastern Party’ sledging trip (which Mawson himself barely survived). Nesting near the hut are substantial numbers of Adélie Penguin and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel.

Notoriously known as the ‘home of the blizzard’ due to the strong Katabatic winds that frequently blow here access, as with all expeditions to remote, rugged and seldom visited destinations, will ultimately be determined by the conditions encountered during the voyage.

In the Wake of Mawson 15 December 2019 – 8 January 2020

Join Heritage Expeditions as it follows in the footsteps of legendary Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson on an authentic expedition cruise of discovery along the historic and isolated coastline of East Antarctica’s Commonwealth Bay. Explore the Subantarctic Islands including wildlife haven Macquarie Island as you head south navigating spectacular ice formations on this unforgettable adventure traversing Mertz Glacier to Cape Denison (location of Mawson’s Hut) and Dumont d’Urville. Whale watch from the deck and Zodiac cruise alongside penguin colonies and gigantic ice shelves as we retrace history.

For more information or to book, visit Heritage Expeditions.