By Grant Jacobs 30/08/2012

In New Zealand ‘The Ice’ means Antarctica. IceFest is an event for all ages celebrating the frozen continent.

Held in two weeks time (14th September to 14th October) in Christchurch it’ll have you freezing your butt off. Well, not really.

But don’t pass up the opportunity to check it out if you or your kids are in town.

If you click on ‘All categories’ on the website you’ll see that there are sections for different audiences (see below).

There’s a series of Big Issues topics, including: Is science good for the economy?, Protection of the last ocean – is New Zealand leading the way?, What does climate change mean for us?

Kids are catered for with a series of kids and family events. In one you can talk to people in Antarctica.

You can

  • go to the café and chat with Antarctic researchers,
  • head out to the airport, go out on the tarmac and inspect inside the US and NZ Air Force Hercules, Globemaster or Orion air craft[1]
  • watch a film
  • listen in one of the many Antarctic yarn events
  • view art work
  • sign up as a volunteer

Most of the events are held at Hagley Park, just north of the car park.[2] (See their event map and timetable [pdf].)

Don’t miss the opportunity to win a trip to the Ice!


Landcare Research has an interesting page on living in Antarctica – worth reading.

To see all the events shown in the horizontally scrolling ‘slides’ on the IceFest website , look for the right-arrow in the centre of the second slide and click that. It’s an unfortunate flaw in an otherwise excellent web design. (That or they haven’t tested using in Chrome; I haven’t tested it in other web browsers.)

1. Like many Christchurch kids I have memories of the huge aircraft going to and returning from Antarctica. Back then they included Starlifters, sometimes approaching low over the city. Rumour had one particular return flight as being low on fuel, which had a fair number of the city out watching it pass overhead on it’s way to the airport.

2. For those not familiar with Christchurch, I’d suggest parking around Hagley Park and walk in. (Or cycle; Christchurch is good for that.) While the car park is very handy to the events, it has a modest number of places. (Besides, it’d be nice if these parks were kept for those that needed them [e.g. disabled, elderly].)

Other articles on Code for life:

Scientists’ other lives

The littlest chameleon?

From dying stars to dust clouds to us – star stuff, all

Government missing opportunity to promote links with Asia?

Calling for submissions: Disability Awareness and the Disabled in the Science Community