We love the Antarctic, which is exactly why we want to share it with the rest of the world. Our ethos: “See it. Love it. Save it.” is our reason for being and a bold vision to make a difference. We believe this spirit of adventure is one of the things that draws people to the Antarctic and is the first step in becoming a passionate advocate.
Next to the airport in Christchurch you can travel to a whole lot of Antarctica. Since 1992 we’ve been transporting visitors to an incredible world of ice and mystery, ambition and endeavour.
Located on the International Antarctic Programme’s working campus at Christchurch Airport, the centre has become renowned as one of New Zealand’s most diverse and dynamic tourist attractions. The range of interactive experiences here provides fun, education and excitement for visitors of all ages.
We take pride in delivering an inclusive and engaging centre. We hope our visitors are surprised at what’s on offer. Yes you can look around this website to get an idea of what’s here. But there’s nothing to compare to turning a corner in our attraction and stepping into an incredible, awe-inspiring scene.
Here you’ll experience real snow and ice and you’ll survive an indoor Antarctic storm. You’ll learn about life at Scott Base and see what it takes to work on the ice. You’ll hang out with Little Blue Penguins and get close up to a husky. There’s also the exciting Hägglund Field Trip, an awesome 4D Theatre, a massive HD screen and lots, lots more.
Christchurch is one of five cities in the world known as a ‘gateway to Antarctica’. This is far more than an empty title. The garden city acts as a conduit to the icy continent, sharing and championing Antarctic geography, history and culture.
In 1990 Christchurch International Airport saw the need for a visitor centre to Antarctica. The airport wanted a complex that could show people why the airport was so important to the Antarctic scientific programmes, and why these programmes and the continent was so important to the world.
The airport commissioned Tim Hobson (a regular Antarctic visitor himself) to shape and manage the development of the centre. Renowned local architects Warren Mahoney were contracted to design the building.
The airport campus proved the perfect site for the new building. Home to a number of other Antarctic programmes and organisations, the campus provided an important focal point for the many endeavours happening further south.
Since opening in 1992 the International Antarctic Centre has welcomed millions of visitors, steadily introduced exciting new exhibits and experiences and won plenty of awards and much recognition for work in tourism.