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(Photo: Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock.com)
(Photo: Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock.com)

Anne Majumdar
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Commonwealth Bay

Renowned adventurer Sir Douglas Mawson sailed into Commonwealth Bay in January 1912 as part of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. More than 100 years later, cruise ships have been able to call at this very difficult-to-reach destination. But that wasn't the case for several years when a massive iceberg, measuring 140km long x 50m wide, covered the entrance to the bay.

Named after the Commonwealth of Australia, the site is located between Point Alden and Cape Gray. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the windiest place on Earth. Winds regularly exceed 240km per hour, particularly in the winter months when storms can be sudden and strong, although summer brings calmer periods.

The extreme weather doesn't keep the wildlife away. The area has become an important breeding site for emperor penguins, Adelie penguins, Antarctic petrels and leopard seals.

Shore Excursions

About Commonwealth Bay


Fascinating history, mind-blowing landscapes and access to Mawson's Huts


Extremely windy and cold, and ships may be blocked by icebergs

Bottom Line

Mawson's Huts are worth the trek, but be prepared for curve balls

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Scientists based in Antarctica speak a variety of languages, but the most widely spoken are English and French.