Home away from home
About Scott Base
Welcome to New Zealand’s home base for Antarctic research. Located at the Southern end of Ross Island, Scott Base is named after British Naval Officer Captain Robert Falcon Scott. Scientists and researchers that stay at Scott Base must first travel through Christchurch, with the US and NZ military flying three times a week during the summer season. The base was officially opened in 1957 and sleeps up to 330 people between October and March. Everyone gets a single bed and storage is tight – just one drawer and half of a single wardrobe per person!
It takes a village...
Scott Base requires a crew of 40 support staff to keep the base functioning during summer. This includes engineers, field trainers, heavy vehicle operators, domestic staff, cargo handlers and communications staff. There are also chefs, with meals being planned up to 12 months in advance and served 7 days a week.
How's it going?
There’s no cellphone reception, so all phone calls are via satellite which also delivers the 2MB internet line (that’s slow!) and TV service. The mail service operates once a week and letters are franked with a special Antarctica stamp.
During the peak of summer, Scott Base reaches an average of just -4.6 degrees Celsius. During the coldest time of the year it averages -30.1 degrees. Scott Base shares the same date line as New Zealand, and enjoys 24 hours of daylight in the summer. It also means there’s 24-hour darkness in winter, but at least the Southern Lights brighten up the horizon.
Scott Base has a great relationship with the United States Antarctic Program, who have their own base, McMurdo Station, just 3 kilometers down the road. The Scott Base team host their neighbours every Thursday for an American night.
Since sustainability is so important in Antarctica, absolutely nothing is left on the ice. No litter, no human waste and definitely no foreign species, which means huskies have been retired from their duties at Scott Base. Absolutely everything is itemised and accounted for when leaving and returning.