International Antarctic Centre

Antartic centre

International Antarctic Centre

The International Antarctic Centre is one of Christchurch’s most iconic tourist attractions. This award-winning destination is packed full of interactive and educational experiences for all ages. And it's conveniently located near Christchurch Airport.

Experience an arctic storm, watch the little blue penguins at play, take an exhilarating ride on the Hägglund all-terrain vehicle, and ‘cruise’ down to Antarctica in the 4D EXTREME Theatre.

Quick Facts

Just here for the basics? Then here are the Antarctic Centre opening times, location, and contact details.

  • Location: 38 Orchard Road, Christchurch Airport
  • Phone: 0508 736 4846
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm, 365 days per year

What To Expect

Visiting the International Antarctic Centre is one of the must-do activities when in Christchurch. This world-class attraction offers up a range of fun encounters able to be experienced at set times throughout the day. Here is a quick summary of what to expect to make the most of your visit.

Storm Dome

Want to see what it’s like to be in Antarctica? Then the Storm Dome is where you want to be! Complete with snow, an ice cave, strong icy cold winds, and dropping to a temperature of -8°Celsius the Storm Dome provides a thrilling (and cold!) experience for all ages and abilities.

  • Jackets and protective overshoes are provided – trust me you’ll need them! Open-toed shoes are not recommended.
  • Storm Dome experiences are currently scheduled for 9.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 12pm, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 4pm and 4.30pm each day.
The Hägglund

Taking a ride in the specialized all-terrain vehicle known as the Hägglund is often the highlight of the visit for many children. This vehicle is designed to safely travel across the icy terrain in Antarctica and provides an authentic look into its capabilities – without the snow of course.

  • The ride takes approximately 15 minutes, children must be accompanied by an adult and the ride is quite rough at times – discretion is advised.
  • Hägglund rides runs throughout the day between the hours of 9.20 am and 4.20 pm.
Husky Zone

The Antarctic Centre husky Zone is designed to give visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with these regal and intelligent animals. Pat the Huskies, learn about their role in the history of Antarctic expeditions, and ask any questions you may have.

  • The Huskies are available to view from 9.30 am to 5 pm (with a short break between 12.30 – 1.30 pm).
Penguin Rescue

View the penguin sanctuary from behind the glass (great underwater views) or get outside and see them from the viewing points above. The Little Blue Penguins are fascinating to watch and the informative talks are a great way to understand these little birds and how we can better look after them in the future.

  • The penguins are fed at 10.30 am and 3.30 pm daily, with an additional Penguin Talk at 1 pm daily.
4D Theatre

Experience the thrill of 4D at its best in this epic experience complete with moving seats, water spray, and wind while you take a visual voyage on the ice just like the experts in Antarctica. All children must be accompanied by an adult for the 4D Theatre experience.

  • The 4D ‘Ice Voyage’ show runs on the hour between 11 am and 5 pm, the second show ‘Smallfoot’ runs at 10.15 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, 2.30 pm, and 4.30 pm.


HD Theatre

Relax in the quiet of the HD Theatre before exiting the Antarctic Centre and enjoy a 17-minute visual extravaganza of stunning pictures and film with views of Antarctica that will stun you. This film plays continuously so you can come back in for a second look if you like!

  • The HD Theatre film runs for 17 minutes.
Antarctic Gallery

See some real artifacts from intrepid Antarctic explorers, learn about their lives on the ice and what it takes to survive in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

  • Entry to the Gallery is included in your General Admission ticket.
VIP Penguin Backstage Pass

Get that little bit more up close and personal with the Little Blue Penguins at the Antarctic Centre with the VIP behind-the-scenes adventure. The VIP Penguin Backstage Pass offers visitors the chance to learn more about feeding and caring for these birds and what it takes to keep the sanctuary running on a day-to-day basis.

  • Tours are limited to a maximum of 8 people and run daily at 11 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm.

Entry Prices

Most Antarctic Centre experiences are covered under the General Admission Pass however there are some exceptions. Tickets include a Hägglund ride, entry to the Husky Zone, Storm Dome, Penguin Rescue, HD Theatre, and 4D Theatre. Here is a quick breakdown of the current Antarctic Centre admission prices.

General Admission
  • $59 per adult
  • $29 per child (5 to 15 years)
  • $149 per family (2 adults 3 children)
  • Seniors (with valid ID)
  • Students (with valid ID)
  • Annual Passes are also available at $84 per person and $199 for a family. Save $3-$4 when purchasing your tickets online.
The VIP Penguin Backstage Pass
  • $25 per adult
  • $15 per child
  • $80 per Family
  • $20 Senior/Student (with ID)

What You Need To Know

Here are a few handy things you need to know when visiting the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch.

  • Wheelchair Friendly. The premises are wheelchair-friendly.
  • Gift Shop. There is an onsite gift shop for all those souvenirs and last-minute mementos.
  • Free Shuttle. There is a free penguin express shuttle traveling between the city and the Antarctic Centre, pick up is from outside the Canterbury Museum.
  • Audio Guides. Audio commentary devices are available for hire ($10) for those who wish to hear more about the facility and its contents.
  • Lockers. Coin-operated lockers are available on-site for luggage storage.
  • Cafe. There is an onsite cafe serving a selection of baked goods and all the usual treats for those who wish to refuel.

Whether you are holidaying in Christchurch for a day, a week or a month don’t miss the epic adventures at the International Antarctic Centre.

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If you have any questions or need help or advice about rental cars or your New Zealand travel plans we’re here to help you. Please contact us

New Zealand Free Phone: 0800 800 956

Australian Free Phone: 1800 771 302

Other international enquiries. Find your nearest New Zealand rental cars branch.


If you have any questions or need help or advice about rental cars or your New Zealand travel plans we’re here to help you. Please contact us


New Zealand Free Phone: 0800 800 956

Australian Free Phone: 1800 771 302

Other international enquiries. Find your nearest New Zealand rental cars branch.