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Discover Christchurch's close ties with the icy continent.
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Christchurch’s Antarctic Sites of Importance

Christchurch is home to a number of world-class Antarctic landmarks and attractions celebrating Christchurch's connections to the frozen continent.

Airforce Museum of New Zealand – Displays the original aircraft used during the Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-1958.

Canterbury Club – Established in 1872, famous explorers and scientists (Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson) dined at the Club which is still in operation. 

Canterbury Museum – Internationally renowned Antarctic collections with items from explorers Scott and Shackleton's expeditions and Sir Edmund Hillary's 1950s Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Christchurch Airport – The first flight left Christchurch for US McMurdo Station in 1955 in support of Operation Deep Freeze. Today flights continue, supporting the US and New Zealand Antarctic programmes.

Ferrymead Heritage Park – Houses a small collection of Antarctic artefacts.

Indian Totem Pole – Gifted in friendship and in appreciation of the hospitality shown to Operation Deep Freeze personnel. (Sited on Orchard Road).

International Antarctic Centre – The only dedicated Antarctic attraction in the world, with Little Blue Penguins, Hagglunds rides and a snow and ice experience.

The Captain James Cook Statue - The statue commemorates Cook's three voyages around New Zealand and was donated by bookmaker and philanthropist Matthew Barnett (1861 to 1935). Cooks ship HMS Resolution was the first ship to venture south of the Antarctic Circle in 1773.

Magnetic Observatory Christchurch – Located in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and in operation from 1901-1969, the observatory helped early Antarctic scientists calibrate their instruments before departing for Antarctica. 

Robert Falcon Scott Statue - Located at the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace, the marble statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott sculpted by his widow Kathleen, memorialises the death of Scott and his party on their return from the South Pole in 1912. Discover more about Robert Falcon Scott.

Shackleton's Oak - The Oak was planted by Ernest Shackleton in 1917 at the Christchurch Girls' Training Hostel, 90 Ensors Road, Linwood

The Arts Centre of Christchurch - Features a magnificent stained glass Memorial window in The Great Hall from the 1800's with Scott as a central figure.


The port of Lyttelton has served as a jumping-off point for Antarctic exploration since 1901. These Antarctic connections can still be seen today in the town’s history and its current operations.

Highlights include:

  • St. Saviour’s Anglican Church – This church was attended by early Antarctic expedition crew members, including Robert Falcon Scott and his men. 
  • Sled dog statue – The bronze Husky looking out to Quail Island, embodies the courage and comradeship shown by the early explorers and their dogs. 

Godley Head

Godley Head has ties to Robert Falcon Scott’s failed Antarctic Terra Nova expedition of 1910-1913, housing the cabin that was taken to the Antarctic on Captain Scott’s ship the SS Terra Nova in 1911.

Quail Island 

Explorers Scott and Shackleton’s dogs, ponies and mules were quarantined on the island. Black Cat Cruises sail to Quail Island over summer.


Akaroa’s favourite son, Commander Frank Worsley, was the ships Captain and Navigator aboard Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 – 1917 Endurance expedition. The Akaroa Museum commemorates Worsley's life of adventure, there is also a bronze bust sculpture situated near Akaroa's main wharf.

Photo credits: Tent on ice, sea ice and Shackleton Hut images supplied by Maddy Bellcroft © Antarctica New Zealand (2016), Sled dog, Lyttelton by Pam Carmichael for The Antarctic Office. Tent on ice and sea ice images supplied by Maddy Bellcroft © Antarctica New Zealand (2016). 

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