Cruceros Australis S.A. promotes and sells the Expedition Cruisers M/N Mare Australis and M/N Via Australis, of the Cruising Companies, Transportes Marítimos Terra Australis S.A. and Transportes Marítimos Via Australis S.A. that sail the Magellan Strait and Beagle Channel, exploring one of the most beautiful and unexplored regions of the world such as Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. We have over 15 years’ experience operating tour/cruises in the Chilean-Argentinean Patagonia, we offer 3 or 4 night programs from October to April every year. We have over 15 years’ experience.
During the cruise, there will be daily inland tours lasting approximately two hours. These tours are organized and managed by The Australis Cruises Expedition Group and consist of walks through trails in the native forest and visits to glaciers. The tours include talks on the flora and fauna of the area. A delicious whisky with the millenary ice, or a cup of hot chocolate will be served at the end of the excursions.
More than 140,000 people inhabit Punta Arenas, the capital city of the XII Region of Magallanes, Chile. Geographically, it is located in parallels 53 South and 72 longitude West, in the borders of Strait of Magellan, the access door to the two oceans: the Pacific and the Atlantic. This city is the front door to visit diverse attractions of the zone, among them are Tierra del Fuego, Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Williams and Antarctica. The city boasts the farthest southern ski center of the world, which has the unique characteristic of being the only one in the world with view to the ocean, this center is only 8 km to the west of Punta Arenas.
Located in Ainsworth Bay, in the midst of the Darwin Range, in the distance, one can see the enormous wall of this ice giant of more than 40 meters high. Here we land on the beach to start a 20 minute walk through quiet trails in the native woods towards the beaver dam. The Australis Cruises Expedition Group will give us a brief talk about the ecosystem and geography. We will then head towards the colony of sea-elephants living nearby in the company of a great variety of birds.
As we approach this little island, if we are lucky, we will be able to see the dolphins that meet our boat and escort us toward this beautiful place, where we will come into contact with the southernmost wildlife of the world. On the islet, a colony of Magellan penguins - visible from October to March - nest among the vegetation in burrows made by themselves, accompanied by the assailant skua galls (predator birds) diving around. At the other end of the islet we will find a large flock of cormorants. Only 15 minutes after leaving the islet and its peculiar inhabitants, we will see a rocky promontory inhabited by a colony of sea-lions.
On the north-west arm of the Beagle Channel, Pia Glacier is embedded in the Darwin Range, and it gradually runs down into the waters of Pia Bay. We will head towards an observation point that offers excellent conditions to view the mountain range where the glacier originates, and its progress until it falls into the sea. Here we will listen to the thunderous noises caused by the large masses of ice cracking and dropping into the bay.
Cape Horn (Chile)
We will visit Horn Island, to get a panoramic view of the famous and mythical Cape Horn, the last promontory of South America.
Cape Horn, an island featuring cliffs of almost 425 meters high, was discovered on January 30, 1616 by a Dutch commercial expedition organized by Isaac LeMaire and under the command of Captain Wilhem Schouten. The Cape owes its name to the Port of Hoorn from where the expedition departed on June 14, 1615.
Disembarkation will only be possible if weather conditions are appropriate.
One of the most important indigenous sites of the region. Once we disembark, we walk to an observation point where we can admire this beautiful bay as the sun comes down.
World’s farthest southern city, located on the border of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains, the port of Ushuaia, originally a penal colony, is now the capital of the Argentinean province of Tierra del Fuego.
Ushuaia is the threshold to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Here, we will enjoy the wonders of this landscape where the sea meets the forests and mountains.
This southern Argentinean town is the embarking and disembarking port for those passengers who take the 3 or 4-night tour between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas or vice-versa. There are optional tours available to visit the area.
Günther Plüschow glacier has a breathtaking beauty. The glacier was named after the region's pioneering German aviator, who on board of his vessel "Feuerland" arrived at Punta Arenas in 1928. From there, weather permitting, we disembark in zodiacs to observe the astonishing millenary ice masses of Piloto and Nena glaciers.
Located 25 miles north of Punta Arenas, in the middle of the Strait of Magellan, Magdalena Island is a natural reserve of Magellan penguins, cormorants, and other birds which peacefully coexist with sea-lions. Here we will discover a “rookery” of more than 60 thousand couples of penguins that come back year after year to nest in the same burrows built by them. Between October and March they occupy almost the entire island, and are a unique sight. One can walk through the island along a marked path leading to a lighthouse where there is an exhibition of photographs and information on the marine life in the Strait of Magellan.
Other Places of Interest
Torres del Paine
In order to know the best of Patagonia, we suggest to combine the 3 to 4 nights in the Mare Australis and Via Australis Expedition Cruises with a visit to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina.
Torres del Paine National Park was declared a World Reserve for the Biosphere by UNESCO and the famous Torres and Cuernos del Paine (Towers and Horns of the Paine), which are mountains rising almost vertically from the ground, are found in this area. The entrance to this Park is the city of Pto. Natales, located 254 km north of Punta Arenas, Chile.
Perito Moreno Glacier
Los Glaciares National Park is located 80 Km from El Calafate, south- east of the Province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981, and among its main attractions, Perito Moreno Glacier is outstanding. It is one of the largest in South America.
Cruceros Australis was selected by the National Geographic Channel to travel across the untamed geography of Tierra del Fuego, enjoying its flora and fauna, on a trip from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia.