Aurora Expeditions’ 2025/26 Antarctica, Australia, NZ program out now

32 voyages on three ships including the new Douglas Mawson

Aurora Expeditions has this week unveiled its new Antarctica 2025/26 season, featuring 32 voyages across three purpose-built small ships – Greg Mortimer, Sylvia Earle and the yet-to-launch new Douglas Mawson.

The season, which also features Australia and New Zealand, will encompass Aurora’s best-selling Antarctic Explorer and Spirit of Antarctica voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula. There are eight new itineraries visiting regions including East Antarctica, the Ross Sea and the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands, as well as a circumnavigation of Tasmania.

Two new departure ports have also enhanced the travel options available to Antarctic adventurers, with four Antarctic voyages departing from Hobart or Dunedin.

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Douglas Mawson will be a sister ship of Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle

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Guests can select from a variety of ‘choose your own adventure’ options, including three Ultimate Adventures with land and sea combinations, eight voyages offering a ‘Fly the Drake’ option, and two new all-inclusive activity voyages for travellers who want to supercharge their trips with as much action as possible, including camping, snorkelling, snowshoeing, paddling and more.

There are also 36 single berths on offer across the season on Douglas Mawson, a new feature of Aurora’s soon-to-come third vessel, catering to the growing solo traveller segment.

Kayakers at Cuverville, Antarctica | Credit: Lina Stock

“We have so much to be excited about with our most comprehensive and adventurous season yet,” commented Hayley Peacock-Gower, CMO of Aurora Expeditions.

“Not only will we be introducing our third purpose-built vessel, the Douglas Mawson, but we will explore more of Antarctica’s regions than we have before in a single season, visiting the Antarctic Peninsula, the Weddell Sea, East Antarctica, the Ross Sea, Antarctic Circle, South Georgia, the Falklands and the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands.

“We’re particularly thrilled to be offering passengers the chance to travel to Antarctica from Australia and New Zealand for the first time in 13 years, reconnecting our company to its founding inspiration as well as opening up another lesser explored part of Antarctica to both local and international travellers,” Peacock-Gower added,

“In these new regions passengers will have the chance to witness the Ross Ice Shelf – the world’s largest floating body of ice, some of the largest Adélie and emperor penguin colonies, follow in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest explorers, as well as witness the incredible biodiversity of New Zealand’s subantarctic islands. And we look forward to doing this the Aurora way, with our small ships and focus on responsible travel, adventure, and enrichment.”

Gentoo Penguins, Jougla Point, Antarctica | Credit: Matt Horspool

“There is something for first-time Antarctic visitors to seasoned explorers alike across this season, while adventure and exploration remains the core theme,” added Justin Ewin, Aurora Expeditions’ Global Head of Product.

“We are offering a nine-day express itinerary, Antarctic expedition and Patagonia trek combinations, all the way up to an epic 34-day adventure departing Dunedin, sailing through the New Zealand subantarctic islands and the Ross Sea, travelling east to the Peninsula and ending with the Drake Passage to Ushuaia.

“Along with several new destinations and itinerary options, we are excited to be meeting our passengers’ frequent requests by offering two all-inclusive activity voyages to complement our existing individual activity programs, which are incredibly popular.”

Elephant Island, Antarctica | Credit: Tyson Mayr

New expeditions include:

Mawson’s Antarctica
Hobart/Dunedin, 24 days, 11 December 2025 to 3 January 2026 on the Douglas Mawson

Retrace the historic voyage of Sir Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) and experience the grandeur of remote East Antarctica for a voyage travelling over Christmas and New Year. Cross the Antarctic Circle towards Commonwealth Bay and the fabled Cape Denison. Conditions permitting, make landfall to explore what remains of Mawson’s main base, and find yourself transported back to the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. Keep watch for porpoising Adélie and emperor penguins, orcas patrolling for prey, and snow petrels soaring against the backdrop of the vast ice sheet. As we explore the New Zealand subantarctic islands, you will be witness to an ecosystem populated by unique endemic species such as the yellow-eyed penguin and Campbell mollymawk.

Ross Sea Odyssey
Dunedin/Dunedin, 25 days, 16 January to 9 February 2026 on the Douglas Mawson

Step back into the heroic age of Antarctic exploration to discover a wildlife wonderland. As you journey south, spot yellow-eyed penguins and royal albatross on New Zealand’s Auckland and Campbell Islands. Crossing the Antarctic Convergence, enter pack ice alive with orcas, seals and emperor penguins. Our expedition days within the Ross Sea offer icy drama, rich wildlife experiences and extraordinary stories of human exploration and survival.

Subantarctic Discovery
Dunedin/Dunedin, 15 days, 2-16 January 2026 on the Douglas Mawson

Perched on the Antarctic Convergence, Australia and New Zealand’s subantarctic islands are home to some of the most abundant and unique wildlife on earth. New Zealand’s Auckland and Campbell islands are home to yellow-eyed penguins, sea lion harems and courting southern royal albatross. Immerse yourself in magnificent Fiordland.

Junior Suite render, Douglas Mawson

Epic Antarctica: Crossing the 7th Continent
Dunedin/Ushuaia, 34 days, 8 February to 12 March 2026 on the Douglas Mawson

Calling all pioneers, history buffs and adventure lovers for an epic adventure across the southern seas. Follow in the footsteps of explorers such as Scott, Ross, Amundsen and Shackleton and embark on a journey very few people on this planet have made. Sail beyond the Antarctic Circle, uncover wonders of the Ross Sea, explore the Antarctic Peninsula and the incredible sights in between! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the beauty and majesty of this remote and pristine environment.

Antarctica Active (All Inclusive Activities)
Ushuaia/Ushuaia, 15 days, two departures on the Greg Mortimer

On these activity-packed sailings, you will experience the wonders of Antarctica on a deeper level. Not only will you enjoy Zodiac excursions and guided walks offered on all our voyages, you will also paddle among icebergs in protected bays and perhaps glimpse wildlife close up. Step into your own snowshoes for a gentle hike, where breathtaking views await. For the ultimate overnight adventure in Antarctica, pack a sleeping bag for a sleepover on the ice.

Coastal Tasmania: Untamed Wilderness
Hobart/Hobart, 11 days, 1-11 December 2025

Tread some of Tassie’s greatest trekking treasures by day and rejuvenate on your floating base camp each night. Explore wild coastlines and far-flung islands, land on secluded beaches, trek through pristine wilderness, and celebrate stunning vistas from towering peaks.

For a limited time, Aurora Expeditions is offering up to 25% off for early bird bookings on select voyages from the new Antarctica 2025-26 season. See auroraexpeditions.com.au.

To view the digital brochure and to request a copy, visit https://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/brochures

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