Antarctica will be host to the most senior United States official ever to visit the icy continent, before he heads to New Zealand.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Antarctica on November 10 in the first stop on a tour which includes a visit to New Zealand.

He will be the first Secretary of State to travel to Antarctica.

From there he will travel to Wellington, arriving for a two-day stopover on November 12, where he will meet with Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully to discuss global issues.

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He will also be involved in a wreath-laying ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

Kerry's tour will also include Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Peru, and will wind up on November 18.