If you've ever dreamed of travelling to a place ‘very few have ever been before’, this is an expedition cruise which offers the perfect blend of exclusivity, excitement, and comfort.
Australis is a fully owned and operated Chilean expedition cruise company with more than 30 years of sailing, which specializes in exploring the "end of the world" -- the pristine waterways of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego at the bottom end of South America.
Catering to only around 200 passengers maximum, their ships undertake four- and eight-night itineraries between September and April each year. You will sail between Punta Arenas (Chile) and Ushuaia (Argentina) or vice versa. Visiting the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel and other legendary passages including many places where few other cruise ships venture. You can expect to see glaciers, fjords, sub-polar forests and amazing marine and terrestrial wildlife of Patagonia.
Australis has also enhanced the region's visitor experience by funding the museum at Wulaia Bay and the eco-friendly boardwalks at Cape Horn and Ainsworth Bay. They also support scientific efforts by hosting researchers aboard the ships from Magallanes University, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Center for Quaternary Studies of Fuego, Patagonia and the Antarctic (CEQUA).
Our clients love this experience because they enjoy an all-inclusive service on board, first class gastronomy, open bar and an expedition program led by expert guides, trained in glaciology and Natural History of the Magellan Region and the Chilean Arctic.
“Australis” carries out its operations in such a manner as to minimize any actions that may harm the environment. They are aware and sensitive to the need to maintain an ecological balance between human activities and the beauty and proliferation of nature. Their policy aims at responsible environmental protection; their objective is to prevent any type of contamination in our operations, as well as producing minimum impact in the places where we have our excursions. During our Chile tours, one of our main concerns is not to affect the ecosystem of the flora that is endemic to the region nor alter any reproduction processes of local fauna.
Australis and its employees obey the applicable regulations concerning the prevention of pollution or environmental damage to the land, ocean, and air where its activities are carried out. Our Patagonia vacation packages provide the best experience in visit Chile, but we must be aware of the different environments we are visiting.
Australis is concerned about the effects that tourist activities can have on the conservation of the natural and cultural environments, since we work in a pristine natural area practically untouched by man.
- Massive tourism is avoided.
- The excursions are guided by expedition leaders who have been trained to provide real information with scientific basis.
- The scientific data is constantly updated, to provide the tourists with real current information.
- The Expedition team is constantly trained in all necessary areas, as education is the best tool for the protection and conservation of the environment.
One Way Route: USHUAIA - PUNTA ARENAS | 4 NIGHTS
Day 1: Ushuaia
Check in at the Australis travel center at 409 San Martín Avenue, in downtown Ushuaia between 10:00 and 17:00 (10 AM-5 PM) on the day of your cruise departure. Board at 18:00 (6:00PM). After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs for one of the most remote corners of planet Earth. During the night you will traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentine into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as the ship turns into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Host islands.
Day 2: Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay
By early morning, the ship is cruising across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, you shall go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition -- and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland -- Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Paciﬁc and Atlantic and was often referred to as the "End of the Earth." The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staﬀed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.
Sailing back across Nassau Bay, the ship will anchor at fabled Wulaia Bay , one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain Fitz Roy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station -- which is especially strong on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area -- passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of diﬃculty) that ascend the heavily wooden mountain behind the bay. On all of these you will be strolling through an enchanted Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay. Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travelers – an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis.
Day 3: Pia Glacier and Garibaldi Glacier
Casting oﬀ from Wulaia Bay, you will retrace the route to the Beagle Channel and sail westward along the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego into a section of Alberto de Agostini National Park called Glacier Alley or Avenue of the Glaciers. Flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet are several impressive tidewater glaciers, most of them named after European countries -- Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France. In amongst this frozen league of nations you will enter the narrow Pia Fjord and board the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. No one knows for certain how the hulking glacier got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king. After disembarking, take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more diﬃcult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.
Making your way further west along the Beagle Channel, you will enter another long fjord and drop anchor near Garibaldi Glacier for another shore excursion. Garibaldi is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia gaining mass rather than staying the same or slowly shrinking. This time you will hike through virgin Magellan forest to a glacial waterfall, a towering wall of ferns and moss, and spectacular viewpoints looking down on the glacier and fjord. The walk is demanding -- very steep, negligible trail, rough footing -- and not for everyone. For those who choose to stay onboard, the captain will point the bow towards the beautiful sky-blue Garibaldi Glacier so everyone can enjoy the panoramic view from the upper decks.
Day 4: Agostini Sound – Aguila Glacier – Condor Glacier
Early in the morning, the ship will sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From there it is possible to see the glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range -- some of them reaching the water. This morning, you will disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Aguila Glacier, reaching a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views. In the afternoon, we will approach the Condor Glacier via Zodiac -- and hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.
Day 5: Magdalena Island & Punta Arenas
After an overnight cruise that takes you back into the Strait of Magellan, the ship will anchor oﬀ Magdalena Island, which lies about halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland. Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellan penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, you will go ashore and hike a path that leads through thousands of penguins to a small museum lodged inside the vintage 1902 lighthouse. Many other bird species are also found on the island. In September and April -- when the penguins dwell elsewhere -- this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard Zodiacs to Marta Island to observe South American sea lions. After a short sail south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas is scheduled for around 11:30 AM.
If you want to book a trip to Patagonia and experience a trip of a lifetime, please contact our Adventure Travel Specialists today - Contact us above!