February 8, 2017
If you’re reading this in the UK, did you know you’re also bobbing about in the icy cold seas of the Southern Ocean? Just off the south coast of New Zealand to be precise? Or if you’re flying between the UK and US has it occurred to you that you’re also tracking along the southern coast of Australia? Welcome to the fascinating world of the antipode. It’ll turn your world upside down.
If you’re as obsessed with travelling and flying as we are here at Virgin Atlantic, geography probably fascinates you. And relaxing onboard is the perfect time to ponder the world you’re traversing. Now you can travel almost anywhere quickly, easily and in comfort, it’s easy to think the earth has shrunk. But the true scale of our planet still has the power to amaze, and contemplating antipodes is just one small way it can do so.
This geographical term describes the opposite of where you are. The other side of the world. If you were to dig a hole down from your current location, right through the earth, where would you come out? The answer is nearly always in water. The map above shows antipodes for the whole world. Who’d have thought that Australia fitted so neatly into the Atlantic? Or that in so few places does land occur opposite land. There are only 29 antipode city pairs on our planet, and no flights currently connect any of those pairs. We fly to two cities on the list, Shanghai (opposite Buenos Aires) and Hong Kong (opposite in Argentina). Of course, if you really wanted to get from one to the other you could. We suggest flying from Shanghai to London and onto Atlanta with Virgin Atlantic, and then catch a Delta flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires. Let us know if you decide to give it a go!
The word antipodes derives from the Greek “with feet opposite (ours)”, from anti- “opposed” and pous “foot”. People in the northern hemisphere commonly use the word antipodean to refer to anyone or anything from Australia or New Zealand, but the term can equally be used the other way round too.
At some point, most of us have wondered where the ‘other side of the world’ is. Antipode websites can quickly and easily answer that question, but in the meantime we’ve discovered a handful of intriguing antipodal quirks .