Antarctica Museum & Post Office
The most isolated post office in the world!
Can you visit Port Lockroy?
Situated along the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, Port Lockroy serves as a natural harbor welcoming two ship visits daily in the summer, marking it as the most frequented location in Antarctica. Its name pays homage to Étienne-Auguste-Édouard Lockroy, a politician who financially supported the expedition that unveiled this site in 1904.
Of the roughly 70 bases and research stations in Antarctica, Port Lockroy is one of the few which is open to the public. The public being those fortunate enough to be able to make their way to it, of course.
There are no real ‘cities’ in Antarctica unless you count the massive penguin colonies scattered around the icy continent. The closest thing to a town would be McMurdo Station which can support up to 1250 residents during its peak summer research months. Port Lockroy, like most of the other stations, was much smaller and built to sustain only a few occupants at any one time.
Originally discovered more than a century ago, the harbour in which the base is now located was originally used with the primary purpose of whaling. Sadly, at the time, whaling was one of the most abundant industries in the Antarctic region. There are several places in that general region of Antarctica where you can still find artifacts, tools, ships wrecks and buildings from the whaling era. During World War II, Port Lockroy was converted into a military base for the British Army. It continued to act as a research station up until the mid 60’s when it was finally abandoned.
In 1996, when tourism to Antarctica was only just starting to become a possible reality, Port Lockroy was declared a Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty. The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust renovated the base to operate as a Museum and Post Office during the Austral summer months. It has become one of the main tourist attractions for the passenger ships visiting Antarctica, as guests can mail postcards from Antarctica, get a (non-official) stamp in their passport, and get a glimpse into what life is like for those who live in the southern continent. The main building is filled with many old relics, from the original bedding to different canned goods and research equipment. On an island which is covered in cute gentoo penguins, with a nice cove and a natural harbour, this is definitely a highlight of any voyage to Antarctica. Profits from the gift shop go to the upkeep of the site, as well as assisting in funding on the research of the effect of tourism on penguins.
With only 3 staff working there at any one time, you sure better hope you get along with your co-workers. Perhaps bringing them some Sudoku or crosswords would be a nice gesture to help them through the quiet or stormy days.
SEE – Photos & Videos
GO – Getting There
One of the only ways to get to Antarctica (safely) is with an organized passenger vessel. It is a long 2-day journey across the Drake Passage, known as being the roughest ocean waters in the world. This comes with a hefty price tag – but I can guarantee, it is worth every single (insert the smallest denomination of your currency here). If you have any questions about travel to Antarctica, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Do – Activities & Attractions
Stay – Accommodation
Eat – Restaurants
Time – Seasonality & Schedules
Safety – Possible risks
Please Note: Travel inherently comes with an element of risk (just like crossing the road does). You are putting yourself in elements that are unfamiliar and foreign to your usual lifestyle and with that, become more susceptible to fall victim to those who try to play off those unfamiliar to their local scams. There are also potential dangers in the environments to which you may not be accustomed.
Please take extra care in travelling, ensure that you have adequate medical insurance (accidents seem to happen when you least expect them), and have let a trusted colleague, family member or friend know your whereabouts and activities.
Where Sidewalks End travel advises you to travel at your own risk and to be extra aware of your surroundings (without letting it spoiling your time).
Pay – How much does it cost?
Responsible Travel – Best Practices
Reality Check – Be Aware
Of course, given the location, it makes this off the beaten path destination a whole lot more difficult to actually get to than other spots around the globe. Getting here probably won’t be a spontaneous decision of “oh look, we’re in the neighbourhood… let’s go to that post office nearby to mail off our postcards”. Far from it, or anything else for that matter, this is a destination that will most likely come as part of a package on a large polar vessel. That being said, there are still very few who get the opportunity to make this journey, and those who do will not soon forget it! This is a highly recommended destination for anyone brave enough to try it.
JOIN US! WSE Travel Packages
This sounds like quite the adventure, right? We thought so too! Though we realize it can be pretty intimidating to get out there into the world on your own, especially when travelling to some of these off-the-beaten-path locations. We love it when our readers give it a shot and try it for themselves! In fact, please leave us feedback if you do!! If trying something ‘this’ adventurous on your own is just a bit outside of your comfort zone, WSE Travel is here to help!
Follow this link for our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Tours – packages that are highly personalized and tailored at your request.
Have you ever been on a polar expedition? Have you ever seen snow before? What is the coldest temperature you’ve ever experienced?
Please feel free to share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below!