Aurora and L’Astrolabe Tours

Aurora Australis and L’Astrolabe – Sold Out


Monday 15th August – we advise that tickets for the Antarctic Ships’ Tours have sold out.  This support for the festival is greatly appreciated.

We will advise any updates on our Facebook page

We are very excited to announce that the two best-known ships on the Hobart waterfront, the Australian Class 1A icebreaker Aurora Australis and French Antarctic Program’s L’Astrolabe will be open for public tours during the Australian Antarctic Festival, courtesy of P&O Maritime, the Australian Antarctic Division, IMAS and the CSIRO Marine Laboratories.

Numbers are strictly limited and you must pre-book, but this is an extraordinary chance to have a close look at these two hard-working ships, veterans of years of service in the punishing conditions of the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic icepack.  You will meet the crew, the scientists and the expeditioners who take these ships into the most challenging environment on the planet.

Aurora_Australis_and_penguinsAurora Australis is not just a crew transport servicing Australia’s four ANARE stations, but also a fully-equipped floating marine science lab and a tanker capable of transporting 1 million litres of fuel to re-supply our Antarctic bases. The ‘Big Orange Taxi’ is familiar to generations of Antarctic expeditioners and the ship has endured both being trapped in thick sea ice and battling the mountainous seas of the Southern Ocean over a 25-year career.

L'AstrolabeL’Astrolabe has been carrying crew and supplies to the French Antarctic Station at Dumont D’Urville for longer than that, and the two vessels have often come to each other’s aid in the unpredictable conditions of the Antarctic region.

Bookings Open 1 August 2016 – Limited Numbers

Advance bookings are the only way to tour these two vessels – you must hold a ticket in order to board either ship.  There are important conditions you should be aware of:

  • These are working ships, not designed for passengers, so physical access may be challenging.
  • These guided tours are not suitable for children under the age of 8 years.
  • You must wear closed footwear with non-slip soles.  Trousers or leggings are recommended for all tour members.
  • You will be asked to produce photo ID (driver’s licence, youth card, student ID) before being allowed to board.
  • Groups sizes are limited to 20 aboard Aurora Australis and 10 aboard L’Astrolabe.
  • You must have a reasonable level of mobility and take responsibility for your own safety.  There are ladders to climb and hazards to avoid.

Bookings will open on Monday 1 August 2015 on the Australian Antarctic Festival website and are available until sold out. Tours will be offered on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September. You must have a valid ticket to board your vessel. A $10 donation to the Mawson’s Huts Foundation will go towards preservation of Australia’s oldest Antarctic heritage site, at Denison Point in East Antarctica.  A booking fee of $1.50 applies and there are no concessions.  The Antarctic Ship Tours are entirely supported by volunteer labour and all proceeds go to the Foundation.

Tickets – please read this first!

Step 1: Choose the day which suits you – Saturday 10th or Sunday 11th September

Step 2: Choose the time which suits you – scroll down to see all the available times between 10am and 3pm

Please note that if buying tickets for both vessels on the same day, you will need at least one and a half hours (90 minutes) between the two start times.

Step 3: Choose a vessel – Aurora Australis or L’Astrolabe

Step 4: Select number and pay for your tickets which will be sent by email. We have very limited capacity to change tickets, so please choose your time(s) carefully.

Some readers have noted that this page is not displaying well on certain mobile devices. 

For more information or to discuss special needs, please call the festival office on (03) 6223 3375