Growing up, Greg Mortimer was quick to show an interest in rock and mountain-climbing, and despite breaking his pelvis at the age of 15, his love for the sport didn’t falter – instead, it grew to new heights.
On 3 October 1984, Greg and his expedition partner Tim Macartney-Snape became the first two Australians to reach the summit of Mt Everest, and even more impressively – they did so without the aid of supplementary oxygen. From there, Greg would go on to climb K2, Chongtar and Annapurna II – again, without supporting oxygen.
But conquering the world’s highest mountain and other summits didn’t come without its obstacles. Speaking to the Australian Museum, Greg explained that while scaling Everest, he could only walk five steps at a time before needing to rest when at his limit of endurance. But it was during an ascent of Chacraraju that Greg fell 80 metres from the summit, resulting in a broken arm.
Since scaling some of the world’s highest mountains, Greg has been awarded with an Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to mountaineering, along with three Australian Geographic Society Medals. He was also recently named as one of Australia’s 50 Greatest Explorers and hosted a sold out night at the Australian Museum where he spoke about his defining moments as a mountaineer. Watch the video.
The founding of Aurora Expeditions
Greg’s passion for adventure didn’t stop at mountain-climbing. In fact, it was after he set sail to Antarctica, that his love for expedition cruising was ignited.
Wanting to share his incredible experiences with like-minded wanderers of the world, Greg and his wife, Margaret decided to set up their very own expedition cruise company, Aurora Expeditions – named in honour of legendary Australian explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson’s ship.
In 1992, Greg and his team embarked on their first voyage as Aurora Expeditions to Antarctica. The voyagers were able to adapt quickly to changing weather conditions thanks to the flexibility of being in such an intimate and dynamic-sized group, allowing them to make landings in places that many others could not.
Now, over 30 years on, Aurora Expeditions still leads smaller groups to remote & breathtaking destinations all over the world, from the ice-laden Antarctic Peninsula, awe-inspiring Arctic, wildlife-paradise of Costa Rica to the rich coastlines of the British Isles.
Aurora Expeditions has grown to offer guests a wide range of action-packed activities such as polar snorkelling, sea kayaking, scuba diving, ice camping and alpine crossing, all inspired by Greg Mortimer’s great sense of adventure.
The driving force behind Aurora’s new expedition vessel
Today, Aurora Expeditions has evolved to become one of the world’s leading expedition cruising companies, and without our founder Greg Mortimer’s initial spark and belief, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Therefore, to honour his legacy, our new, custom-built expedition ship is named after our adventurous founder; the Greg Mortimer. This world-class vessel features state-of-the-art designs, making it even easier to explore our remote destinations.
The Greg Mortimer is the first expedition cruise ship to feature the patented Ulstein X-BOW™ – an innovative piece of marine technology that allows for a smoother journey, even when exposed to stronger currents and powerful waves.
Aurora Expeditions’ voyage leaders, experts and operational specialists have all been involved at various stages of the design process, to ensure that no stone has been left unturned.
To find out more about our the Greg Mortimer expedition cruise and our other destination voyages, contact us today.
Over three decades on, Greg still relishes sharing his passion for exploration with expeditioners, and regularly comes aboard as Expedition Leader on expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond.
Join one of our special Founders Voyages, to dive into the depths of adventure with Greg as your Expedition Leader, sharing incredible stories, his wealth of knowledge and zeal for exploration.