International Antarctic Centre

Take a trip to Antarctica to see the animals that live there and hear tales of the intrepid travellers who risked their lives to explore it.

Step into the Antarctic Storm Chamber to get a feel for life in sub-zero temperatures and experience a highly realistic simulation of an icy arctic wind. Climb aboard the all-terrain explorer vehicle and immerse yourself in the 4-D cinema show at the International Antarctic Centre.

Start your journey in the Four Seasons of Antarctica room where completely white surroundings and scale models of wooden huts will transport you to colder climates. Learn about the ill-fated mission of Robert Falcon Scott to be the first person to reach the South Pole, and be amazed as snow falls from the sky every few minutes.

After your icy introduction, enter the Snow and Ice Experience where the entire room is chilled to minus 5 degrees Celsius. Take on the wind chill machine and the world’s first indoor arctic storm that blows through every hour.

Warm your hands while you admire the centre’s adorable colony of Little Blue Penguins. Look on as they waddle around their enclosure and swim around a large tank. Be sure to come at feeding time that takes place in the morning and late in the afternoon.

If you are feeling adventurous you can go for a ride on the Haaglund. This all-terrain, amphibious vehicle will take you around the specially built off-road course that includes steep hills and a deep pond.

After that it’s time to put your feet up at the 4-D cinema. This unique sequence film shot around Antarctica will take you on a cruise through rough seas past breathtaking landscapes. Special effects mean that you can even feel the wind in your hair and the water on your face.

The International Antarctic Centre is located a five-minute walk from Christchurch International Airport. It is a 20-minute drive from the middle of town with regular public transport available. The centre is open all week and there is an entry fee for all ages. You can grab a bite to eat at the café or pick up toys and postcards at the souvenir shop.