Southern Comfort

Sitting up in the clouds at Headquarters is SHACKLETON’S, our house bar.  

Found some 3,500ft above sea level, this bolthole sits under the gaze of Mount Nimrod, The Hunters Hills tallest peak. It got it's name in late 1906 when a member of Ernest Shackleton’s ‘Nimrod’ Expedition climbed it's 5,003ft summit while enroute to Antarctica onboard the good ship S/S 'Nimrod'. Mount Nimrod/Kaumira and The Hunters Hills proved to be the ideal training ground as it was on this expedition that Mount Erebus (the world's southernmost active volcano) was scaled for the first time as they made the largest advance to the pole in exploration history at the time.

Several years later at a similar height to where SHACKLETON’S at Headquarters is found today, Shackleton, Tom Crean & Frank Worsley had to make their toughest of decisions on South Georgia. Having landed the James Caird, crossed glaciers, icy slopes, snow fields they had reached this point and but looking back they saw thick fog closing in behind them. Night was falling and with no tent or sleeping bags, they had to descend to a lower ground...and fast!   
 
 
“Boys, this snow-slope seems to end in a precipice, but perhaps there is no precipice. 
If we don’t go down we shall have to make a detour of at least five miles before we reach level going...
 
What shall it be?” 
 
“Try the slope”
 
 
That's the spirit.
 
  • Mount Nimrod

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    SUMMIT: 5,003ft
    RANGE: The Hunters Hills

  • Nimrod Hut

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    Nestled under the shadow of Mount Erebus on Ross Island lies Nimrod Hut. The hut served as a timely shelter and was the base of operations for the British 1907-1909 Nimrod Expedition led by a young Ernest Shackleton. The Nimrod Expedition was an early attempt in the race to the geographic South Pole. Shackleton’s crew erected this pre-fabricated hut at Cape Royds. This simple structure is 33 feet long by 19 feet wide, with separate lodging for the expedition’s ponies, dogs, and the first motorcar on the continent, a 12-15 horsepower Arrol Johnston.
     
    Today, this magnificent fossil of the Heroic Era is lovingly cared for and preserved by the Antarctica Heritage Trust.
     
     
  • Sir Ernest Shackleton

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    Ernest Shackleton was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. 

     
    Born in County Kildare, Ireland, his first experience of the polar regions was as third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Expedition 1901–04, from which he was sent home apparently on health grounds, this created a fall out between the two and this provided Shackleton the motivation to get back down to the Ice under his own steam.
     
    His second Antarctic expedition, The Nimrod Expedition of 1907 –1909, he and three companions established a new record by achieving the Farthest South latitude at 88°S, only 97 geographical miles (180 km) from the South Pole, the largest advance to the pole in exploration history at the time. Members of his Nimrod Expedition were the first to climb Mount Erebus, the world‘s southernmost active volcano.
     
    For these achievements, Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home... Arise Sir Ernest.
     
    After the race to the South Pole ended in 1911 with Roald Amundsen’s conquest, Sir Ernest turned his attention to the crossing of Antarctica from sea to sea, via the pole for what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–17. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was made up of two teams on opposites sides of the continent. Disaster struck the expedition when its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed.
     
    "It is beyond conception, even to us, that we are dwelling on a colossal ice raft, with but five feet of water separating us from 2,000 fathoms of ocean, & drifting along under the caprices of wind & tides, to heaven knows where."
    - Frank Hurley
     
    The crew escaped by camping on the sea ice until it disintegrated, then by launching the lifeboats to reach Elephant Island and ultimately the inhabited mountainous island of South Georgia, a stormy ocean voyage of 720 nautical miles made in one of the lifeboats - the James Caird by Shackleton and five others, including the New Zealander, Frank Worsley, who the New York Times described best... “Frank Worsley was Shackleton’s Captain. Fortunately he was a genius”. 
     
    "As James Caird grounded on the beach we leapt from her bows and hauled her up... we took it in turns to have a good drink. This water came from the swamps above, and it may have been peaty or muddy, but to us it was nectar."
    - Frank Worsley
     
    Once land was made, Shackleton and his small party marched across treacherous terrain to reach a whaling station on the far side of the island. It was Shackleton’s most famous exploit and was heralded as the ‘greatest survival story EVER told.’ However, this tale was far from over and what became known as the ‘greatest survival story NEVER told’ was yet to unfold. On the opposite side of the continent was the Ross Sea Party of 1914-17 which arrived there on the S.Y. Aurora. This party was to lay depots along the route Shackleton proposed. Unknown to the men, Shackleton would never make it across the continent.
     
    Disaster then struck when the Aurora broke free of it’s moorings just off shore from the hut at Cape Evans. Stranding ten ill-equipped men on Ross Island who had no option but to see out the harsh winter until their rescue in January 1917 by the Aurora Relief Expedition, where the first face they were greeted by was none other than one Sir Ernest Shackleton. To survive they hunted seals for food and used the blubber to fuel the huts stove. Conditions were certainly tough. However, there was the WHISKY supply, strategically left there, just in case, by their fearless leader...
     
     
  • The Malt

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    In June 1907, the Glen Mhor distillery in Inverness, Scotland, received an order from Ernest Shackleton for a total of 46 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt – one of the more indulgent items included among the provisions designed to sustain his British Antarctica Nimrod Expedition of 1907.
     
    The expedition was plagued by the types of problems that would become the familiar hallmarks of polar exploration. An early side trip nearly killed six members of the expedition on the first ascent of Mt. Erebus which left them trapped on the side of the volcano in blizzard conditions. Later, the first attempt on the pole broke down in personality conflicts and equipment failures and was forced to turn back within 100 miles of the goal. Inadequate food supplies and the death of the expedition’s ponies on the return trip led Shackleton to complain, “We are so thin that our bones ache as we lie on the hard snow.”
     
    Upon leaving Antarctica, Shackleton wrote: 
    “We all turned out to give three cheers and to take a last look at the place where we had spent so many happy days. The hut was not exactly a palatial residence … but, on the other hand, it had been our home for a year that would always live in our memories…We watched the little hut fade away in the distance with feelings almost of sadness, and there were few men aboard who did not cherish a hope that some day they would once more live strenuous days under the shadow of mighty Erebus.”
     
    In February 2007, while carrying out conservation work on the aging Nimrod Hut at Cape Royds, a team from the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust found under the floorboards of Shackleton’s room the mummified remnants of three crates of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s whisky stash. 
     
    This long lost whisky that even has a Red Stag on it’s box had been preserved in ice for almost a century!
     
    In early 2010, one crate of the whisky was removed from the ice by the Antarctic Heritage Trust and flown directly back to New Zealand where the Canterbury Museum undertook a careful thawing and stabilisation process. It was then transported to Scotland where it underwent extensive examinations for it to be reproduced into all of its long-lost glory.
     
    One of the great ‘finds’ of the 21st century this rare and valuable malt was best described as ‘a gift from heaven for whisky lovers.’
     
     

    Shackleton's Rare Old Highland Malt is available at SHACKLETON'S with special thanks to New Zealand’s Antarctica Heritage Trust who lovingly maintain (among 14,000 other artifacts) the protection of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Hut at Cape Royds, Ross Island, Antarctica.

     
  • GREAT SOUTHERN LAND

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    Earth’s coldest, driest, windiest and most exhilarating continent.

    Antarctica takes the word ‘remote’ to a whole different level which is one of many reasons why it has to be explored.
     
    Gigantic magical ice forms and wildlife make you feel you’re in a land from another world and in a funny way you are as you are transported to a place that is as raw today as it was millions of years ago. 
     
    New Zealander’s hold Antarctica with a deep respect and it was that man Sir Edmund Hillary again that helped blaze the trail into Earth’s most southern continent for us. In early 1958, five years after he conquered Mount Everest, Sir Ed was involved in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctica Expedition and led the New Zealand party to the South Pole, effectively achieving what Sir Ernest was trying achieve back in 1914.
     
    In doing so, they were the first to reach it in motor vehicles. They completed their journey to the Pole in what were effectively convertibles. There were no roofs on the three converted Massey Ferguson tractors heading South, only ‘windshields, some good ol’ Kiwi ingenuity and a whole heap of willpower.
     
    As you've read, New Zealand heroics on the Ice did not start there. They can be traced back to 1915 when Frank Worsley (Captain of the Endurance and subsequently the James Caird) became the single overriding factor to one of the greatest maritime rescues in history when he navigated his way off Antarctica's Elephant Island to South Georgia (some 800 nautical miles away) with nothing more than a sextant to help the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton rescue his Trans-Antarctic Expedition from absolute disaster.
     
    Today, New Zealand’s home on the Ice is an area of land that is considerably larger than New Zealand itself which revolves around it's capital Scott Base - a centre of research into earth sciences and beyond. This southern slice of New Zealand is located on Ross Island, 1,500km from the South Pole. 
     
    Some 4,000 km North, up here at Headquarters, you’ll find our place that pays homage to this great southern land and the courage that conquered it. 
     
     
  • the cellar door

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    Our guests can also enjoy the benefits of THE CELLAR DOOR.

    Our fine wine collection can be pre-ordered and viewed upon booking with us.

Recipe for Disaster

Dinner time onboard Endurance - 1914
Good people in a unique location enhances any experience.

Shackleton Whisky

Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt

Antarctic Heritage Trust

Conserving the Legacy of Discovery

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