School Tour Bookings

Paul Cullen

Sorry, Bookings Are Now Closed

We regret that due to an overwhelming response, bookings for school tours aboard the Aurora Australis are now closed, with more than 700 students from 14 Tasmanian schools already booked.  We are not able to take any more, for reasons of safety and security.  School groups from as far away as Dover in southern Tasmania have signed up to take advantage of this remarkable opportunity.  We are sorry to disappoint schools that have not yet booked, but there are alternatives available for your students who want to learn more about Antarctica:

  • The Mawson’s Hut Replica on the Hobart waterfront provides a very realistic and fascinating experience for students.  It re-creates the conditions under which Australian Antarctic explorers lived and worked during the 1911-1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by scientist Douglas Mawson.  In amazing detail, the hut provides a learning experience that covers science, Australian history and early technology in one venue.  School tours are welcome and you can book on 1300 551 422 or contact
  • The Antarctic Expo at Princes Wharf No.1 is open to the public on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September.  This major exhibition offers a comprehensive sampling of the many organisations and companies that make up the Antarctic community in Tasmania.  You can learn about the remarkable engineering and equipment used there, the crucial scientific programs that Australia supports in Antarctica and even explore the possibilities of going to Antarctic yourself.  The Antarctic Expo is entirely free to the public.
  • Also on Saturday and Sunday, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) throws open its doors for Antarctic Open Days, with brilliant displays and talks that explain the world-leading science that this key organisation, part of the University of Tasmania, does in the Southern Ocean, the sub-Antarctic islands and the frozen continent itself.  This is a rare opportunity to have an inside look at a remarkable facility and meet an inspiring group of people.  Admission is entirely free, opening hours are 10am – 4pm.
  • The Tasmanian  Museum & Art Gallery operates regular tours and activities for school groups, including the brilliant Islands to Ice gallery, where Antarctic science and history are explained with excellent exhibits  More details are available on the TMAG website here:

The Class 1A icebreaker Aurora Australis will be open for guided school tours on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 September, 2016.  You must pre-book your class for a tour – there is no casual admission at the dockside.  Once aboard, you will meet marine biologists, oceanographers, climate scientists and the working crew of this multi-purpose floating laboratory than has seen more than 25 years’ service in the toughest environment on earth.  After your tour of the Aurora Australis, you’ll be treated to an exclusive entry to the new IMAS (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies) building on Princes Wharf.   Learn about the fascinating world of the very big systems and very small organisms that drive the cycle of life on our planet.

We are very grateful to ship operators P & O Maritime,  the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Tasmania and IMAS for permission to conduct these tours.  All school groups will be met by trained volunteer guides who will escort your class through a timed itinerary.  We have a certain capacity for total numbers and in the interest of safety and security and we cannot exceed it. Ship tour lasts approximately one hour and the visit to IMAS around 45 minutes.  Allow 2.5 hours in total for your visit to allow for safety briefings, boarding and unboarding coaches.  There is outdoor space available for lunch breaks and toilets are close by.  Group size is limited to 20, including teachers, parents and aides.  You may book more than one class, subject to space available. The tour is not recommended for Kindergarten classes.  Grades 2-10 will get the most out of the experience.  The Aurora Australis is a working ship and has limited access for the disabled – please call to discuss your needs.  All groups must provide at least two adult supervisors and evidence of insurance cover for school outings.  There is no charge for the tour.