The best way to experience the Patagonian landscape is undoubtedly by boat. Cruising through Chilean fjords is breathtaking, as grey mountains frame gleaming glaciers that pour down into the ocean below. On a cruise ship, you can see these astonishing natural wonders from the best possible vantage point, as the ship’s deck provides uninterrupted, panoramic views. But what about getting up close and personal with this incredible landscape? Once again, the best route to the heart of Patagonia is by sea. In this article, find out what you can discover on Australis Zodiac ocean rafting tours.
Ocean rafting to the heart of Patagonia
Australis Patagonia itineraries are the perfect combination of education and adventure. Every cruise route features a selection of shore excursions which allow you to experience this incredible landscape up-close. You’ll embark on these tours via Zodiac boat, ocean rafting vessels specially designed to reach rocky beaches, secluded islands, and isolated penguin colonies.
Not only will our expert guides share their knowledge about Patagonia aboard the Zodiacs, these tours also give you the opportunity to enjoy short hikes. Leading to tranquil waterfalls, the base of mighty tidewater glaciers, and along pristine beaches, these excursions are an incredible chance to observe and photograph this stunning landscape. What’s more, there’s plenty of chances to spot wildlife, including seals, condors, falcons, and of course, some adorable penguins! Below we give a short introduction to some of the highlights of our Zodiac ocean rafting tours.
1. Approaching the Pia Glacier
The Pia Glacier is an enormous tidewater glacier that spills into the Beagle Channel below. Emerging out of the Darwin Mountain Range, the Pia Glacier is one of the highlights of Patagonia’s Glacier Alley. Seen from a distance the glacier is imposing enough, covering an area the same size as Chile’s capital, Santiago. However, you can only really appreciate the glacier’s sheer size from a Zodiac boat. Australis’ Zodiac tour takes you right up to the face of the glacier, where you can float amongst huge pieces of calved ice and listen to the glacier grown and creak.
2. Visit the Magellanic penguins
Magdalena Island is a tiny island in the stormy Strait of Magdalena where explorers used to stop to collect supplies. However, the island has more than just historical significance – it’s home to one of Chile’s largest penguin colonies. Magdalena Island is home to an estimated 120,000 nesting Magellanic penguins and is one of their most important breeding grounds. As a result, it’s one of the best places to get a close-up view of these adorable creatures, thanks to the fact that Australis’ Zodiac boats can pull up right on the beach.
3. In the shadow of the Águila Glacier
As part of an ocean rafting excursion, Australis passengers can get an unparalleled view of the imposing Águila Glacier. After a short Zodiac ride, passengers disembark onto a secluded lagoon surrounded by mountains. Showcasing some of the most incredible scenery in Patagonia, landing on this isolated beach is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After a short walk past lush Magellanic forest, we approach the base of the glacier where you can see enormous icy cliffs towering above the lagoon.