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Our Antarctic City

New Zealand, and Christchurch in particular, has authentic historic and modern connections with the Antarctic. From the ‘heroic age’ of exploration, through to its current role as a visitor destination from which it is possible to capture an Antarctic experience, Christchurch’s links to the Antarctic are second to none.

In the early part of the 20th century, explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton used our port of Lyttelton as a staging post for their Antarctic expeditions, employing Quail Island as a quarantine station for their dogs, mules and ponies. Their time in the city is marked by buildings, commemorative trees and statues.

Christchurch, as an Antarctic gateway city, has developed a number of Antarctic-related visitor attractions that reinforce the city’s unique relationship to the Antarctic. Chief among the attractions are Canterbury Museum, International Antarctic Centre and the Airforce Museum of New Zealand.

Canterbury Museum’s Antarctic collection was founded on artefacts donated by Scott’s first expedition. The Museum now cares for the largest and most diverse collection of Antarctic memorabilia and photographic images in the world.

The International Antarctic Centre, part of the same campus as the National Antarctic programmes for United States, Korea, Italy and New Zealand, creates an interactive experience of Antarctica.

Airforce Museum of New Zealand provides an opportunity to engage with New Zealand’s aviation history, including some of the planes that were flown by New Zealanders in the Antarctic.

The Antarctic Office is developing a Christchurch Antarctic Visitor Strategy that connects the city’s Antarctic attractions.

Further information can be found on the ChristchurchNZ website.