Antarctic Experience 2013

The following students were selected as finalists for 2013:

  • Phoebe Allan - Kingston High School
  • Corey Barr - Kingston High School
  • Brooke Bourke - Woodbridge School
  • Zoe Bucher-Edwards - Taroona High School
  • Emma Greenwood - Taroona High School
  • Liam Quaile - Taroona High School
  • Deepika Satchithananthan - Taroona High School
  • Emma Street - Kingston High School


Students each attended an interview and delivered a presentation to the selection panel focussing on the following:

  • The current and future impact and challenges of tourism in Antarctica;
  • How they would present their own tourist experience; and
  • How the experience of flying over Antarctica would benefit them now and in the future.

The selection panel consisted of Council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer, Abyilene McGuire, Council’s Youth Development Officer, Carol Swards, and Dr Glenn Johnstone, a marine biologist with the Australian Antarctic Division.

Zoe Bucher-Edwards of Taroona High School and Corey Barr of Kingston High School were awarded the ‘Antarctic Experience’ at a presentation in December 2013.

 Zoe’s Antarctic Experience

Day 1 – 14 February 2014

When I got to the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) I couldn’t wait to start my amazing weekend. A group of students from around Tasmania came to experience this Antarctic learning day. We met with researchers from different fields of Antarctic science and various other workers within the industry. It was fascinating to hear what they do and how complex the AAD is. I especially enjoyed the live video link up with Casey stations project leader. He was able to give me a better understanding of how life is in Antarctica for researchers. After talking with researchers we got to visit the library and learn about Antarctic history. The last place that we visited was the clothing department where all the clothing for Antarctic exploration was held. Being at the AAD was a rewarding experience and I learnt plenty from the researchers there. After, we travelled to Mawson’s hut and this was a thoroughly rewarding experience. It’s amazing how much history Antarctica holds.  Overall it was a fascinating and worthwhile experience and I can’t wait for the journey ahead.

Day 2 - 15 February 2014

I woke up feeling so happy and when I reached the airport I was even more so. I met with the group of people that I was going with and I knew that we would all get on really well.  When I boarded the plane to Melbourne, the Antarctic flight really became a reality and it was so much fun sharing my enthusiasm with like-minded people. The whole day was about seeing some of the best places in Melbourne. We visited the Melbourne museum and ACMI, a museum about the history of technology. Both of these places were very interesting and hopefully I will go back there again. Even just catching trams and walking around Melbourne was amazing and I am truly excited for tomorrow! The accommodation is great and is called The Trinity University. It’s a lovely place and the old buildings are magnificent! I can’t believe that I am actually travelling to one of the most scenic and beautiful continents in the world, tomorrow!

Day 3 - 16 February 2014

We woke up at 5:00 in the morning to get ready for the Antarctic flight. It was, beyond doubt the most exciting morning of my life! The taxi arrived and we talked the whole way there about how Antarctica would be. We reached the airport and had our photo taken with a penguin and sat down with hot chocolates, waiting for the call to board our plane! The aeroplane was massive and it was buzzing with excitement. I will never forget the feeling of seeing the first fragments of ice, slowly evolving into a pool of serene, white sea ice. Everyone on the plane was frantically taking photos out of the windows and we all had the biggest smiles on our faces. I pretty well didn’t move from the window the whole time the plane flew over Antarctica. We met a researcher that had taken a magnetic compass with her on the flight. It was interesting to learn about the south magnetic pole and how the magnetic compass is used to find it.

The flight showed us some of the magnificent coastline of the south continent. We flew over Casey station and Wilkens air strip, which was an expanse of snow and ice. There was also a series of ice shelves along the way which were equally as magnificent. The different hues of blue of the water around the icebergs and sea ice were incredible! We flew west over Vanderford and past Mount Admunsen, David Island and over an abandoned Russian base. It was incredible to see the different patterns of the ice and the glowing, light blue of the water nearest to the ice bergs. It was utterly breathtaking. The large, brown mountains were a beautiful change from the bed of white that lay around them. Overall the flight took around 12 hours to, there and from, but the time went quickly as you looked out of the window onto a unique and alien landscape. It was incredible. When we arrived back in Melbourne we went to visit the captain and had a tour of the cockpit, which was where they fly the plane. I will never forget this experience and my enthusiasm for this fantastic place will never go.  I am completely sure that Antarctica will be seeing me again in the future. I am so grateful that I had the privilege of seeing this incredible place!

Day 4 – 17 February 2014

I don’t think that any other day will be quite like the one I had yesterday. The last day in Melbourne, though was very enjoyable. We ate breakfast while looking at the photos we had took during the previous day. It was great to see Antarctica again. We spent most of the day wandering around the Melbourne museum and learning about the mind to geology to genetics!  After, we got another taxi which took us to airport. It was strange to not be boarding the Antarctic flight but I am looking forward to showing other people my amazing experience. I am also excited for the other opportunities that lay ahead!

Corey’s Antarctic Experience

Corey Barr

Day 1 – 14 February 2014

Today was very interesting. After meeting up with everybody at the Antarctic Division, we headed to the meeting room to listen to a couple of presentations. It was quite fascinating, and we learnt some cool facts such as how you can tell how old certain fish are just by looking at the insides of their ear bones. Then we were able to talk to someone at Casey Station via video chat. It was awesome to be able to chat with someone who actually works in Antarctica! After touring the Division building we headed to Mawson’s Hut to look around and learn about some of Antarctica’s rich history. Today has me pumped for the trip and I absolutely cannot wait for it!

Day 2 – 15 February 2014

I don’t think it fully hit me that I would be going to Antarctica until my dad waved goodbye at the airport in Hobart. The other students are great fun to hang around with, and are very easy-going. It’s a nice diverse range of people too: two from Calvin, one from Taroona High, another from Smithton High and myself from Kingston High.

After a smooth flight to Melbourne, we were dropped off at Trinity College. The accommodation is great. After getting our stuff organised we took a tram to Federation Square.  Although this seemed like a simple task, acquiring the Myki cards required to use public transport took a really long time to sort out!

After an especially delicious lunch, we headed to ACMI to check out the technology gallery. This was fantastic, as it included ‘matrix simulator machines’, smoke tunnels and much more. My favourite part of the day however was visiting the Bond 007 exhibit at the Melbourne Museum. It was just incredible, with original props and costumes. So far the trip has been amazing and we still haven’t reached the best part yet!

Day 3 – 16 February 2014

Tired. So tired. I’ve only had a couple hours sleep and it’s still very early. However, one single thought sent adrenaline rushing through my veins and threw me out of bed: “I’m going to Antarctica today”. I honestly never thought I would ever say that, especially in my school years.

Excitement continued to build as I saw before me the behemoth that is a 747 Jumbo Jet. The flight was unbelievable. After four hours of waiting the captain finally announced that we had reached the ice. What happened next is something I won’t soon forget: the eager passengers were like seagulls swarming a piece of bread, scurrying crazily just to catch a glimpse. Cracked ice spanned as far as the eye could see. However, as soon as we reached the continent my jaw dropped. Looking at Antarctica through photos is one thing, but to actually see the snow covered plains and glowing glaciers drifting in the icy water is overwhelming to say the least! Although it is largely plain, Antarctica possesses a powerful sense of beauty that can only be fully comprehended by visiting.

My favourite part of the journey was flying over Bunger Hills, which is a coastal range. The views we got were spectacular. To see snow capped hills spanning the continent, separated by beautiful lakes and timid snow was absolutely amazing. It blew me away to actually see a section of Antarctica largely free from the grip of ice.

We flew past both Australian and Russian bases, which was brilliant. Seeing these miniscule settlements dwarfed by the seemingly endless snowy plains made me realise just how desolate and barren Antarctica actually is. I will never forget this amazing continent.

Day 4 – 17 February 2014

We started the day with a nice breakfast at the college. After getting out gear and bidding farewell to the accommodation we revisited the Melbourne Museum to have a more in-depth look at it. I really enjoyed the dinosaur and psychology sections. I swear I've never seen so many dinosaur skeletons in a single place!  We planned on going to the aquarium afterwards, but unfortunately we ran out of time. So we hopped on a maxi taxi and headed for the airport. As I said goodbye to the students, I felt a slight sting, as Antarctica forged a unique bond between us.

Once we landed in Hobart, my mind was in a tangled heap of emotions. I was happy to be back home with my family, but sad to leave Antarctica. It is so far away, yet so close as well. I realised that there is a possibility that I may not actually be able to return. What I do know however is that I am really passionate about protecting this amazing continent. This trip has been priceless and I will always remember it.


Link to previous Antarctic Experience year:

Antarctic Experience 2012
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