Day 1: Ushuaia
Check in at 409 San Martín Ave. in downtown Ushuaia between 10:00 and 17:00 on the day of your cruise departure.
Board the cruise at 18:00 . 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 we traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as we turn into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands.
Day 2: Cape Horn - Wulaia Bay
Around the break of dawn, the cruise crosses Nassau Bay and enters the remote archipelago that comprises Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we 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 (currently awaiting repair after being damaged by fierce winds).
Sailing back across Nassau Bay, we 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 FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on HMS Beagle.
This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the 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 wooded mountain behind the bay. On all of these you stroll through an enchanted Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos and ferns to reach panoramic viewpoints overlooking the bay.
Day 3: Pía Glacier - Porter Glacier
Overnight we continue our Patagonia glacier tour around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, the cruise tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning we are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier.
After disembarking we 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.
No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.
In the afternoon and aboard our Zodiac boats, we will sail between high rocky walls until we reach Porter Glacier.
Day 4: Agostini Sound – Águila Glacier – Cóndor Glacier
Early in the morning, we 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, we will disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier. We will reach 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 through Magdalena Channel and back into the Strait of Magellan, we 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 Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, we 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, this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard Zodiacs to Marta Island to observe South American sea lions.
Finally, after a short cruise south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas is scheduled for 11:30.
*Camera extension poles are prohibited on Magdalena Island.
The 12th February 2022 departureoperates a special photography program. There will be an expert photographer onboard running photography workshops and sharing techniques as you explore the pristine landscapes, both onboard and during landings. Please note, these will only be available to those signed up to the programme, not to all guests on board, so please do request this at the point of booking.
What our customers think
The daily Zodiac excursions were the highlight of the cruise. The staff was always very knowledgeable and helpful. They were fun to be around, but clearly kept everyone's safety in mind.
Shawn Underwood United States Of America March 2018
The Cape Horn landing was the highlight for me.....and all those steep stairs which I slowly made it up, despite having bronchitis. We also won the auction at the Captain's dinner for the navigational map of the Cape Horn landing... a thrill.
Diana Wood United States Of America December 2018
The Australis is well-run and enjoyable. There was no one highlight – Cape Horn, the fiords, the penguins, and so on. The wild and beautiful mountains and glaciers were amazing to see.
Barry Fields United States Of America March 2019
The scenery was amazing. The guides provided insight to the fauna and flora of the area. Walking with the penguins was a real treat. Visiting the colony of Magellanic penguins was definitely a highlight of the cruise. Traveling in the Strait of Magellan was a surreal moment.
Ed Eargle United States Of America November 2017
Everything was a highlight: walking around Cape Horn, seeing the glaciers up close, going on hikes, seeing the penguins, the guides' knowledge and ability to explain things well, the food, the organization on the ship, the staff. The zodiac excursions were great and they did a good job of getting us on and off. All the guides were top-notch.
Mary Lou Bell United States Of America February 2019
The trip was well worth the expense as it was well organized, experience-rich, very safe, run by superb and knowledgeable staff and chock-full of epic scenery. I loved not only what I saw, but also what I learned. The emphasis on new knowledge about the environment was much appreciated.
Angie Littlefield Canada April 2018
The cruise was wonderful... Four days was a nice amount of time to spend cruising through the Fjords, getting out and hiking as well as making our way to Cape Horn. The Pia glacier was probably my favorite part of the trip. We were able to see the glacier calving which was an incredible site.
Chris Houck United States Of America December 2019
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices quoted are in $ USD per person based on 2 people sharing.
Availability changes all the time, please contact us for up to date details, and any cabins recently made available.
Please note: Limited Availability, book soon to avoid disappointment!
* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $2165
*Cape Horn Landing is subject to weather conditions.
*In September & April, due to penguin migration, the Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony trip will be replaced by a Zodiac boat trip to the Sea Lion colony at Marta Island.
*Departure on 12th February operates a special photography programme. Please note, these will only be available to those signed up to the programme, so please do request this at the point of booking.
Please contact us for further details of the different cabin types. In short:
- There are a limited number of 'B' cabins on the lowest deck which tend to get booked up a long time in advance
- 'AAA' cabins are on a higher deck than 'AA' and 'A' cabins
- Superior cabins ('S') are approx. 25% larger.
Single Supplement And Child Policy
Single supplement & Solo travellers - the cruise operator does not have a 'willing to share' policy. If you are a solo traveller or would like a single cabin, there is a 50% surcharge.
Baby policy - 0 to 3-year-olds travel for free if sharing a bed with parents. Please ask for availability of complimentary travel cots. Please note, they will still be charged the port tax.
Child policy - 4 to 12-year-olds receive a 50% discount when sharing a cabin with an adult.
Extra beds - it is possible to turn certain cabins into triple cabins; for availability and rates please contact us.
- Meals: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
- Drinks: all drinks during bar opening hours (alcoholic and nonalcoholic)
- Accommodation: Cabin as requested (4 nights)
- Excursions: 7 (as detailed in itinerary)
- On board: activities & lectures
- Port tax ($75 USD per person)
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary
- Any extra/optional excursions
- National Park entrance fee
- Transfers to/from cruise
- Travel insurance
- Personal Equipment (request our recommended kit list for more details)
- International and domestic/in country flights