These islands may not be tropical, but they are transformative 

Embark on a legendary journey with us to the furthest corner of the world and explore the white continent’s islands on our Sub Antarctic Islands Cruises. Not only will you follow in the footsteps of the first fabled explorers to the region, but you’ll also get the chance to watch animals native to Antarctica as they make their way from the icy ocean depths to the island shores. Admire the mighty Endurance Glacier that runs onto Elephant Island, walk the colourful streets of the Falklands, and learn about South Georgia Island’s whaling past on an adventure that is guaranteed to change you. 

Our Sub Antartic Islands cruises & tours

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Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

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Popular islands

Highlights of the Sub Antarctic Islands

A zodiac boat getting close to a tall iceberg in the Antarctica Peninsula.

Marvel at uniquely shaped icebergs

Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of an iceberg. Whether it’s the way the twisted and peculiar shapes seem to effortlessly rise out of the water or the sight of the sun hitting the ice’s melting surface, Antarctica’s icebergs will instantly enchant you. Watch from near or afar as they gently float with the ocean’s current and marvel at their breathtaking blue-hued colours. 

The cemetery in Grytviken that houses Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave.

Pay your respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton

Heralded as one of the principal figures in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legacy is felt all over the Sub Antarctic Islands. Whether you want to retrace his ill-fated last expedition and wind up at Point Wild or raise a glass of whisky at his grave in Grytviken, reliving this fascinating first explorer’s past makes for an exhilarating adventure in the present. 

An old whaling station on the shores of South Georgia Island.

Learn about South Georgia Island’s whaling past

Turn back the hands of time as you discover the past of South Georgia Island’s largest whaling station on a visit to Grytviken. With rusty ships and run-down industrial buildings used as part of the whaling process still visible along the bay, it’s not hard to picture the once bustling and thriving industry that dominated this tiny Sub Antarctic Island for more than 60 years. 

Two elephant seals playing with each other on the shores of South Georgia Island.

Watch elephant seals play around on Elephant Island

It’ll probably come as no shock to you that Elephant Island gets its name from the large aquatic mammals that call it home. Taking the top spot as the largest seal species, the southern elephant seal can weigh a hefty 4,000 kilograms and grow up to 6 metres long, making them both memorable and hard to miss (don’t forget about their distinctive trunk-like nose). 

The colourful houses of Stanley under a blue sky on the Falkland Islands.

Explore the colourful village of Stanley on the Falklands

While there’s not much in the way of concrete jungles full of tall, glass skyscrapers in the Falkland Islands, there is still a capital city with the perfectly charming (and tiny) town of Stanley oozing personality and picturesque vistas wherever you look. From its colourful houses to its cozy restaurants serving up some good ol’ fish and chips, you’re guaranteed to love this quaint metropolis. 

A group of penguins making their way to the ocean on the Falkland Islands.

Visit the penguin capital of the world at Volunteer Point

There’s no better place to marvel at these cute and cuddly aquatic sea birds than at one of the ‘penguin capitals of the world’ – Volunteer Point on the Falkland Islands. The island is home to not one, not two, but five species of penguins from the yellow-crested macaroni penguin to the majestic king penguin. Watch as they waddle from the water, hop gracefully over rocks, and primp and preen on tussock grass. 

See Antarctica from the sky 

If you want to experience a polar adventure but aren't keen on travelling by sea, take a once-in-a-lifetime flight to the icy landscape of Antarctica. Whether you're a keen astronomer who's always dreamt of seeing the Aurora Australis or a travel enthusiast ready to check 'expedition flight' off the bucket list, embarking on a southern flight from Australia promises some pretty spectacular views. 

Sub Antarctic Islands tour reviews 

Sub Antarctic Islands FAQs

Trips on or before 31 December 2022

If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.

Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

All of our cruises to the Sub Antarctic Islands start from Ushuaia in Argentina as it's geographically close to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. 

The best time to travel to the Sub Antarctic Islands can vary depending on what you want to see. Generally, the best season to travel to Antarctica is summer (December, January, and February), however, November and March are also great times to visit if you want to spot hatching penguins (November) and breaching whales (March). 

Packing for an Antarctic cruise can be tricky, especially since you won't be able to buy a lot of things in Antarctica if you forget to pack them. However, the Ocean Endeavour does have a boutique on board for last-minute clothing items and other snow gear but you should generally pack the following: 

  • a lot of clothing layers 
  • gloves 
  • beanie
  • socks 
  • moisturiser
  • camera 

Learn more about what to pack for an Antarctic cruise

The Sub Antarctic Islands are known to have an oceanic climate with cool summers of about 4°C and even colder winters with temperature averages of around -1°C. The islands experience strong wind year-round and light showers during the summer season. The islands also experience heavy snowfall during winter. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

Read more about Antarctica