Our Antarctic Gateway

Our Antarctic Gateway

It all starts in Hobart…

Our location as Austraila's southernmost city, with a working deep-water port right at our doorstep, has cemented our role as one of only five cities in the world that provides a gateway for people to visit and work in Antarctica.

The other Antarctic Gateway Cities are Christchurch in New Zealand, Cape Town in South Africa, Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina.

The care and management of Antarctic has always been important to Australia's national interest because of our significant claim to territory, our leading role in the 60-year-old Antarctic Treaty System, Antarctica's link to the world's climate future and its close proximity to us.

Australia's international reputation as an Antarctic leader is heavily reliant and supported by Hobart's role as a gateway city and the concentration of Antarctic activity that exists here.

Our deep connection with Antarctica is embed in our City's history, our buildings and waterfront, our culture and arts, our people, our workforce and our economic and climate future.

What's on

Australia Antarctic Festival

Australia Antarctic Festival

The Australian’s Antarctic Festival is on again this year from 22 – 25 August at various locations across Hobart’s waterfront. The Mawson’s Hut Foundation does an amazing job of bringing together our Antarctic sector to showcase the scale and significance of our world leading Antarctic capabilities.

Children and their families can experience this magical place from afar, discover the incredible research and science we do in Hobart and learn how many global partnerships we have that help our researchers and expeditioners do their important work in the Southern Ocean and on the ice.

As a proud gateway city, we are a major partner of this free community festival and are running some exciting events.

  • Grab a map and hunt for Gateway Cities across the festival. When you find one, collect your special stamp!!
  • Come along to a special screening of family favourite ‘Happy Feet’. Bring your warm jackets and a blanket and find a spot among the penguin rookery. Popcorn and food trucks will be there to keep you warm and fed!

Check out the full program of events and exhibitions here:

Mawson's Hut Foundation

Past events

Supporting inaugural visit by RV Polarstern

Supporting inaugural visit by RV Polarstern

For the first time ever the German icebreaker the RV Polarstern is visited Hobart. While here, the ship's owners, the Alfred Wegener Institute, held a public exhibition from 3-4 February 2024 at the Waterside Pavilion to highlight the inaugural port call, highlighting the ship's research and science capabilities and programs, as well as a photography exhibition.

Following the exhibition, the German Embassy in Canberra hosted a Climate Talk at the Waterside Pavilion on 5 February. The focus of the talk is 'Has the Antarctic reached its tipping point? The global effects of melting ice in the wake of climate change', and this will be the first in a series of Climate Talks the German Embassy will be delivering across Australia.

As a welcoming Antarctic Gateway City, City of Hobart proudly assisted in the on-ground organising and promotion of the public exhibition and talk, in collaboration with Antarctica Tasmania, Department of State Growth.

Antarctic Day Conference 2023: Public Engagement with Antarctic: Connections from Afar

Antarctic Day Conference 2023

In recognition of the importance of public engagement in our Antarctic Gateway, City of Hobart partnered with UTAS to deliver this year's Antarctica Day conference, Public Engagement with Antarctica: Connections from Afar.

Speakers presented on a fascinating range of topics, including Antarctica at Home; Indigenous Perspectives; Engaging Science, Engaging Arts; and Antarctica Then and Now: Curating Antarctic Stories.

The afternoon workshops focused on two questions: what does Antarctic engagement mean in Hobart, and how can we forge connections into the future?

This was followed by an international panel discussion, More than Just Penguins? Bringing Antarctica alive for people back home, sharing the diverse successes, obstacles and opportunities related to connecting with a place that most of us will never visit.

Antarctica Day 2023 Conference Report(PDF, 2MB)

Antarctic Day is celebrated international each year on 1 December in recognition of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty.

Antarctic Season Opening 2023-24

Antarctic Season Opening 2023-24

The City of Hobart hosted a reception on Tuesday, 3 October 2023 at the Waterside Pavilion to celebrate the start of the 2023-24 Antarctic season. Over 120 people representing the sector attended, including many expeditioners who were days aways from heading south. Mrs Hanna Pappalardo, Consul General of Italy based in Melbourne attended as guest speaker.

The City of Hobart is excited by the opportunities to engage with so many international programs this season with the Port of Hobart hosting several icebreakers including from France, Italy, Germany and China, in addition to Australia's RSV Nuyina.

At the Reception we recognised the expertise and experiences of the Australian sector. We also acknowledged that this season will be the greatest opportunity in recent years for the city to strengthen our role as an Antarctic leader and showcase local products, capabilities, and services to customers of Hobart's Antarctic Gateway.

COMNAP Conference | Hobart 2023

COMNAP Conference

The 2023 Search & Rescue Workshop, AGM and Symposium for the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) was held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart from 23 - 29 June.

Member programs are organisations that have responsibility for delivering and supporting scientific research in the Antarctic Treaty Area on behalf of their respective governments and in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty.

This was an opportunity to promote Hobart's gateway role and strengthen relationships through engaging with conference delegates.

City of Hobart had Antarctic Gateway banners up around the city and outside Town Hall while the conference is on, support on the Tasmanian trade stand and participated in meetings with key stakeholders and delegates.

The Lord Mayor hosted a Reception for key sector representatives and delegates representing other Antarctic Gateway Cites to promote our desire for collaboration.

The strength of our Antarctic Sector

Our long history of providing logistical and technical support to enable exploration of Antarctica and our leadership in governance, science and research on the ice and in the Southern Ocean is our city's most unique, and highly regarded strength.

Overtime, Hobart's waterfront has been defined by our role in Antarctic expeditions and dotted along it are memorial plaques, brass statues and even a replica of Mawson's Hut, Australia's first science and geographical base in Antarctica over a century ago.

Our Antarctic sector is supported by 950 jobs and is worth $160 million to our local economy. Many of those working in the Antarctic sector live in and contribute to the vibrancy of our city.

Our port (operated by TasPorts) has been home to several of Australia's Antarctic icebreakers, including Australia's state-of-the-art icebreaker the RSV Nuyina, the most advanced polar research ship in the world.

We regularly welcome other nations' icebreakers, with each visit to our port injecting up to $2 million into our local economy.

Hobart's International Airport facilitates direct flights to the Antarctic for expeditioners.

Our specialist Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) is number one for studying the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, and we rank in the top ten worldwide across various specialist fields including marine and freshwater biology, oceanography and fisheries.

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is also ranked number one for climate action.

Right next to IMAS, is the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Hobart's facilities. Here CSIRO focuses on marine and atmospheric research and it is also the home of Australia's dedicated ocean research vessel the RV Investigator.

Key international organisations have headquarters in our city such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), who bring conferences, delegations and diplomats into the city to discuss critical issues on the protection and future management of Antarctica.

Our sector is uniquely connected and coordinated through the Tasmanian Polar Network which includes leading businesses, institutions and government partners.

Our role at City of Hobart

We are committed to seeing our Antarctic sector's advantages, values and strengths maximised and showcasing our city as a centre of Antarctic excellence, in science, logistics, specialised polar products, medicine, policy and international Antarctic diplomacy.

We proudly support our sector by:

  • providing a warm welcome to dignitaries, conference delegates and representatives of international Antarctic programs who visit (e.g. COMNAP)
  • actively participating in relationships and collaborations with other Antarctic Gateway Cities and national programs, based on shared values and goals
  • facilitating community interest and connectivity with Antarctica and our Antarctic sector (e.g. bi-annual Antarctic Festival, annual Antarctica Day celebrations, public art, skills expos)
  • publicly recognising and supporting our extraordinary Antarctic sector and its workforce (e.g. hosting an annual reception to mark the start of the Antarctic Summer, supporting our Antarctic Women's Network, speaking at UTAS Antarctica Day conference)
  • promoting the extraordinary climate, science, research, marine and logistics capabilities of our sector to domestic and international audiences (e.g. participating in Trade & Investment Missions, promoting through Invest Hobart)
  • contributing to the development and delivery of local policies and strategies such as the Tasmanian Antarctic Gateway Strategy 2022-2027, through membership on the Tasmanian Antarctic Gateway and the Hobart City Deal
  • increasing our city's capacity to accommodate the growth of our Antarctic sector
  • advocating for significant investment in city infrastructure, capabilities and capacity to allow the sector to continue to provide leadership in the Antarctic
  • showing leadership in developing and achieving a future vision for the sector
  • facilitating information and action on climate change and its links to Antarctica
  • being an active contributor to the Antarctic sector ecosystem, engaging in opportunities for increased connectively, information sharing and business and skill development (e.g. as member of the Tasmanian Polar Network).

Our commitment to Our Antarctic Gateway

Antarctic Cities: From Gateways to Custodial Cities

Gateways map