It’s described as “the food event of the year” – but it only happens in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

It’s described as “the food event of the year” – but only in the Australian Antarctic Territory, that is. While the cooking mightn’t be what you’d expect from the food event of the year, the setting of this all-day celebration couldn’t be more extreme (although “all-day” is a bit of a stretch when the sun stays hidden for about four months).

At Australia’s Antarctic bases, expeditioners and their guests feast on up to 13 courses during the traditional Midwinter Dinner to celebrate the halfway point of the long, dark season. This is the only place in the world where, on June 21, you can properly observe the tradition of Scott’s first Antarctic expedition in 1901.

It’s not for the faint-hearted, though, since it’s officially “freezing cold” outside – at this time of year -40ºC isn’t uncommon. Which means a lot of rare and quirky things can happen to you during the midwinter game of footy or whatever other kind of crazy activity the folks up there come up with. For one, metal can stick to your fingers (or any other exposed body part) and you can lose your fillings – which, with no dentist in sight for miles and 13 courses to go, could spoil your day somewhat.

Where // Various stations in the Australian Antarctic Territory on June 21 each year. (03) 6232 3209,

Did you know? // Obtaining fresh water is rather difficult in Antarctica and water restrictions are worse than in the rest of drought-ridden Australia. Station staff are allowed showers of three minutes, tops, and are often required to go for three days without.


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