For many people, a holiday can mean the caravan parked at a quiet lake and a spot of fishing or an international flight, but for Oamaru historian and author David Harrowfield it means a voyage to some of the southern ocean islands south of New Zealand and Antarctica.
And, just to prove he's serious about his travels and the region, Dr Harrowfield is undertaking two voyages, back-to-back, aboard the Spirit of Enderby, an expedition vessel built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research.
Dr Harrowfield will leave New Zealand tomorrow from Dunedin on the "Ross Sea - In the Wake of Scott and Shackleton" voyage that is part of a portfolio of trips offered by Heritage Expeditions, whose association with the Southern Ocean region dates back to 1979.
Considered the ultimate Antarctic voyage, to the heart of Antarctica, the vessel will call into Campbell Island on the way south, before travelling through the Ross Sea, where, according to Dr Harrowfield, it will stop to allow visits to the historic huts and scientific research bases, providing conditions allow.
"I first visited Antarctica in 1977 and my last visit to the historic huts was in 2004 which is nearly a decade ago," he said.
"I am very excited about this trip to an area which has been closely linked to my life for a long time and although I had hoped to do some sketches, with time constraints, I will now just rely on my digital camera."
"I am particularly looking forward to seeing Cape Evans but, again, landings are always dependent on ice conditions and weather."
Dr Harrowfield is the author of several books, including his latest What Ship? - Lieutenant Harry Pennell's Antarctica Legacy, which will be launched in Oamaru when he returns in March.
He will also give several lectures and PowerPoint presentations during the voyage.
The Ross Sea is one of the remotest areas in the continent and is only accessible for two months of the year when the ice thaws.
Discovered by Sir James Clark Ross in 1842, the Ross Sea attracted explorers including Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen, Richard Byrd and Sir Edmund Hillary.
The Ross Sea region is the breeding ground for millions of Adelie, King, Rockhopper, Gentoo and Emperor penguins and home to the Ross Sea seal.
It is also the gateway to the impressive Ross Ice Shelf, the world's largest body of floating ice.
The itinerary of the Spirit of Enderby voyages to Antarctica will also include the Auckland, Macquarie and Snares Islands and a short stopover to Bluff at the end of the first voyage and the beginning of the second.
Dr Harrowfield will report exclusively to the Oamaru Mail during his voyages through the Southern Ocean and to Antarctica.
These reports and photographs will be subject to prevailing weather conditions and presented thanks to the assistance of Heritage Expeditions and the crew of the Spirit of Enderby.
Visit their website www.heritage-expeditions.com for details of their upcoming voyages.