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I’ve started my journey back to the trail and will the better part of a day to kill near the Christchurch airport, I decided to visit the International Antarctica Centre. Christchurch is the “gateway to Antarctica” and has a whole complex dedicated to supporting research on the southernmost continent.

I once applied to work at Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. I was an alternate but ultimately did not get to go. However, if I had gone, this is where my last stop in civilization would have been.

I enjoyed touring the US Antarctic Center. Seeing the gear that would’ve been issued made me hot just looking at it, but knowing I would’ve needed all those layers just to survive down there is fascinating.

The penguins (although not Antarctic penguins) made me smile. All the penguins at this site are New Zealand native and were injured or could not survive in the wild. It was nice to see how well they are cared for and the handler knew them all by name and how they preferred to be fed.

Finally, the Hägglund ride was the most fun part of the whole experience. Being packed into the back of a machine designed to cross such a varied terrain and then riding a roller coaster like track was definitely a thrill you shouldn’t miss! Unfortunately, our Hägglund broke down right at the end of our ride and we had to walk back to the center. But the ride was still an amazing experience!

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