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Antarctic Season Opening

The City of Christchurch is exploring its gateway status to the Antarctic with a festival of events in advance of the five month long Austral summer season opening in October.

This is our opportunity as a city to collectively thank and engage with each of the National Antarctic Programmes and the myriad of businesses that operate out of Christchurch by sea or by air in support of research and innovation on the ice.

Join us at one of the following events:

‘Dogs in Antarctica: Tales from the Pack’

An exhibition exploring stories about the sled dogs used during the heroic era up to the early 1990s in Antarctica and research into their lives by Dr Jill Haley, Curator Human History.

Friday, 21 September to Sunday, 10 March 2019
Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue

30th Anniversary COMNAP Exhibition

An exhibition by the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) show casing the facilities within Antarctica of the 30 members. This is coupled with stunning images from an on-continent photo competition.

Exhibition runs from Friday, 21 September to Friday, 12 October 2018
Arts Centre of Christchurch (Beside the Boys’ High building and Market Square)

USAF Globemaster C-17 arrives into Christchurch 

This arrival signifies the start of the annual airlift of people and cargo from Christchurch to McMurdo for the five-month long 2018-19 Austral summer season.

Arrives Thursday, 27 September 2018
Antarctic Apron, Christchurch International Airport

Christchurch Antarctic Ignite Talks by ‘Changemakers’ 

This is the opening event of the four day Antarctic Season Opening festivities. Ten prominent speakers with diverse Antarctic backgrounds have 20 slides and just 20 seconds per slide to inform and inspire an audience of new and old Antarcticans. Presentations are concise and the atmosphere lively and fun. All welcome.

Thursday, 27 September 2018
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm 
La Vida Conference Centre, 34A Hansons Lane, Upper Riccarton

Antarctic Air Day 2018

It’s your chance to explore all things to do with Antarctica when you join us at Antarctic Air Day.

Step on board the US Air Force C-17 Globemaster before it begins the airlift taking people and cargo to McMurdo Station and Scott Base for the summer season. Meet the crews, see displays and learn what it is like to live on the coldest and windiest continent. Find out more.

Saturday, 29 September 2018
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Outside the International Antarctic Centre

'South to Antarctica' Church Service

Join family and friends to bid all those travelling south to Antarctica during the 2018 season a safe and successful journey. Witness the tradition of the Erebus Chalice that also makes the journey each summer season from the Christchurch Cathedral to the Chapel of the Snows at McMurdo Station.

Sunday, 30 September 2018
10:00 am
Transitional Cathedral

Wreath Laying Ceremony 

The wreath laying ceremony is a tradition that started in the 1930s when Admiral Richard Byrd laid a wreath at the Scott Statue in Christchurch. Join the Canterbury branch of the NZ Antarctic Society and Antarctica New Zealand to pay a tribute to Antarcticans who currently serve, and to those that have gone before.

Sunday, 30 September 2018
11:30 am
Scott's Statue, cnr Worcester Blvd and Oxford Tce

Christchurch City Antarctic Heritage Walk 

The 3.6 km walk starts with a visit to the Canterbury Museum, then into the Botanic Gardens and through central city streets, stopping at several points of interest where the Antarctic history is explained by members of the Canterbury branch of the NZ Antarctic Society. Find out more.

Sunday, 30 September 2018
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet outside Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue

First C-17 flight departs for Antarctica

Weather permitting, the first C-17 flight will take off from Christchurch heralding the start of the 2018 season and arrive at Phoenix Airfield approx. 5 hours later. For passengers it’s about a 40 min drive to Scott Base and another 10 min to McMurdo Station.

Monday, 1 October 2018
Destination: Phoenix Airfield

‘Mission to Antarctica’ holiday STEM programme 

This workshop brings to life the Antarctic strategy for humankind to explore and protect Antarctica. Through physics, engineering and computer aided design students will build habitats that can withstand extreme environments. Supported by expert engineers and scientists in the field of Antarctic studies, telecommunications, geology and biology. Free Year 9 to 11 students.

Monday 1 and Tuesday, 2 October 2018
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Ara Institute of Canterbury – city campus

International Antarctic Centre school holiday programme 

  • Be an Antarctic Explorer (6 - 12 year olds)
  • Be a Husky Musher for the day (8 - 13 year olds)
  • Be a Penguin Ranger for the day (10 - 13 year olds)

Monday 1 to Friday 12 October 2018
9:00 am - 4:30 pm 
International Antarctic Centre

Book now!

Lyttelton Antarctic Heritage Walk 

Explore Lyttelton's rich Antarctic history of Scott and Shackleton both departing from Lyttelton on three separate voyages during the heroic era of Antarctic exploration. The 3 km walk encompasses several Antarctic heritage and contemporary points within the town and wharf area. Find out more.

Sunday, 14 October 2018
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet at Albion Square cnr of London and Canterbury Streets