Christchurch is an official gateway city to Antarctica. It is has been the stepping off point for many Antarctic expeditions since the early 1900s and is home to the Antarctic programme offices of New Zealand, United States and Italy.
The connection with Antarctica enriches the scientific, cultural and economic base of Christchurch. Industry has developed to meet the needs of the scientists, artists, tourists, explorers and support personnel as they prepare for their time on the Ice.
This Antarctic Trail, based in central Christchurch, travels past locations with connections to early expeditions, scientific research and community support for Antarctic exploration. For a downloadable pdf of Antarctic Connections go here [PDF 662KB]
Kathleen Scott and Oriana Wilson stayed here in 1913 and wrote a letter to The Press newspaper expressing their gratitude for the sympathy and help given to them after they learned of the deaths of their husbands, Robert Falcon Scott and Edward Wilson, on their return from the South Pole.
The Museum's internationally renowned Antarctic collections began with donations by Scott's Discovery expedition in appreciation of the scientific support provided by the Museum. The Sir Robertson Stewart Hall of Antarctic Discovery includes stories and objects from the whaling and sealing ventures of the 1800s through the Heroic Era to contemporary expeditions.
St Saviour's Anglican Church
Originally in Lyttelton this church was attended by early Antarctic expedition members. Relocated in 1976, its original alter is in the Chapel of the Snows, Antarctica. On 16 February 1913 Reverend Chambers led a memorial service to Scott and his companions saying they "had displayed magnificent courage and splendid devotion to duty".
In 1901 a magnetic observatory was erected in the Botanic gardens to assist Robert Falcon Scott with his magnetic surveys in Antarctica. The instruments operated for a number of years and were used by scientists to calibrate their instruments before heading to the Antarctic. One of the original buildings still exists.
The club was established in 1872 and still operates. Officers and scientists including Dr. Edward Wilson from the Discovery expedition were guests in the club. Robert Falcon Scott frequently visited the club when he was in Christchurch and Ernest Shackleton had his last dinner here before he went to Antarctica in 1907.
Other Antarctic related sites in Canterbury
Home of Frank Worsley, navigator for Shackleton's Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition 1914 - 1917. The Akaroa Antarctic Trail pamphlet is available from the Akaroa Information Centre on 64 3 304 8600.
Ferrymead Heritage Park
50 Ferrymead Park Drive: Photographer Herbert Ponting's darkroom and a US Antarctic Program DC3 aeroplane.
90 Ensors Road: Oak planted by Ernest Shackleton in 1917 at the Christchurch Girls' Training Hostel.
Te Koraha at Rangi Ruru Girls School
59 Hewitts Road, Merivale: Robert Falcon Scott stayed at Te Koraha, the Rhodes family home, before the Discovery departed.
Bowen homestead at Middleton Grange School
50 Acacia Avenue, Upper Riccarton: Charles Bowen and his wife Georgina Markham hosted Scott, Shackleton and Wilson at this house.
Indian Totem Pole
Antarctic Attraction, International Antarctic Centre, Orchard Road: Given in appreciation of the hospitality given to Operation Deep Freeze personnel.
Ilam Road: Home of research department, Gateway Antarctica.
Memorial Avenue: First flight to McMurdo Station left from here in 1955 to support Operation Deep Freeze.
International Antarctic Centre
38 Orchard Road: Home to the New Zealand, American and Italian Antarctic Programmes.
Air Force Museum
45 Harvard Avenue, Main South Road: Display of the original aircraft used during the 1955-1959 Trans Antarctic Expedition.
The port has serviced Antarctic expeditions from the Discovery expedition to present day.
Escorted both the Nimrod and the Terra Nova at the start of their journeys south.
Lyttelton Harbour: The dogs, ponies and mules of Scott's and Shackleton's expeditions were quarantined here.
Linwood Avenue: Location of the grave of Father John Coleman, priest at the Chapel of the Snows, Antarctica.