1 877 412-8527

Wild New Zealand + Sub-Antarctic Islands

New Zealand Sub Antarctic Islands Cruise

Summary : Take an exciting journey in Akaroa, as you off-road to the foothills of the majestic Southern Alps. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Maori culture. Discover New Zealand's wine country with a day of tasting in the Nelson growing region. Let the striking beauty of the peaks and waterfalls of Milford Sound and Dusky Sound take your breath away. Watch for a myriad of rare animals such as the smallest dolphin in the world, Fiordland Penguins, and endangered sea lions. Spend two days discovering Macquarie Island, Australia’s Sub-Antarctic jewel. Visit New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands, described by the United Nations Environment Program as “the most diverse and extensive of all Sub-Antarctic archipelagos”. All five-island groups were honored with World Heritage status in 1998. Birders will delight in their 126 species, of which five breed nowhere else in the world. Observe Southern Royal Albatross, Yellow-Eyed Penguins and the Hooker Sea Lion on this trip of a lifetime. Travel in the company of experts including an ecologist, marine biologist and historian.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking


Prices from
$999,999,999 to $0

View All Rates

Day 1
Dunedin, New Zealand

Embark the ship in the afternoon and meet your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Enjoy time to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, and meet fellow travelers.

Day 2

Arrive in Akaroa, a drowned volcanic crater that is surrounded by hills and rugged cliffs. Akaroa Harbour is a designated mammal sanctuary and home to the most rare and smallest dolphin in the world – the Hector’s Dolphin. Embrace your spirit of adventure during this exclusive full-day journey to the high country of the Southern Alps taking you off the beaten path by three different modes of transportation: coach, tussock buggy, and jet boat. Enjoy an in-depth look at sites that even New Zealanders seldom see, namely the rugged Canterbury High Country at the base of the majestic Southern Alps, spectacular Waimakkariri Gorge, and the vast 35,000 acre Flock Hill Station.

Alternatively join the onboard marine biologist on a sailing adventure along Akaroa’s pristine coastline. Sail with dolphins, see wildlife and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery of Banks Peninsula. Here is your chance for an up-close and personal encounter with wildlife sailing on New Zealand’s oldest ketch, Fox II. Learn about local history and even help crew if you want; with six sails, there is always a halyard to hoist or a sheet to be pulled.

Day 3

Step into rich M?ori culture as you learn their Kaikoura history from the Tangata Whenua, the people of the land. Experience the uniqueness of being M?ori in their modern day world, while discovering how their past has helped them cultivate a fundamental relationship with the environment. Visit fortified villages of pre-European days known as Pa sites. Hear how they were settled by ancestors - often in battle - and see the stories the land still tells today. Take a guided walk into indigenous forest to learn about the trees and plants, and their traditional uses as food and medicine. Participate in customs while learning M?ori Protocol and key values. Learn a waiata - a song that holds M?ori philosophies within its words.

Day 4

Continue to New Zealand’s sunshine capital, Nelson, located at the top of the South Island. Home to three national parks and a smorgasbord of activities to suit all walks of life, today you’ll discover one of New Zealand’s best products—wine.

The Nelson area is one of New Zealand's sunniest regions and its clear skies allow for very cool nights, which result in expressive flavors. Travel to Neudorf Winery credited with producing one of New Zealand's best Chardonnays. It also has an international reputation for their Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris wines. Visit a small family owned boutique vineyard in Moutere Hills, a historic village situated amongst picturesque hills. Continue tasting with a visit to Seifried Estate, the biggest and one of the oldest established wine producers in the Nelson region. Return to the Silver Discoverer at the end of a relaxing day full of memories of New Zealand’s wine country.

Day 5
At Sea

A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of fields.

Day 6 – 7
Milford Sound / Dusky Sound / Doubtful Sound

Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site and includes Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds. Tucked away in Fiordland National Park, immerse yourself in the breathtaking views of Milford Sound. View majestic carved peaks and dramatic waterfalls leaving you in awe–especially the striking Mitre Peak. Using Zodiacs and the ship to explore, your Captain and Expeditions Leader work together to create the perfect schedule for your day. Doubtful Sound with its rounded hills make its appearance seem softer and less dramatic. However, the sight is no less inspiring and wildlife is slightly more abundant with a greater chance of seeing dolphins, penguins and seals. Explore Dusky Sound keeping an eye out for seals, dolphins, the occasional whale and Fiordland Penguins.

Day 8
The Snares

Unlike other Sub-Antarctic Islands that were greatly affected by the whaling and sealing industry in the 19th century, The Snares remain one of the last near pristine areas in New Zealand. The islands are home to endemic bird species such as Snares Crested Penguin, Island Snipe, Fernbird and Black Tomtit, as well as several endemic invertebrates.

Day 9
Enderby Island / Auckland Island

Enderby Island is perched on the Campbell Plateau and is composed of eroding volcanic remains, much like the main Auckland Island. Look for the Yellow-eyed Penguin, New Zealand Bellbird and Red-Crowned Parakeet, as well as Southern Royal Albatross which nest on the plateau. Auckland Island is the primary breeding ground for the world’s most rare and endangered Hooker sea lion, and it’s also the breeding ground for 30% of the world’s population of Yellow-Eyed Penguins.

Day 10
At Sea

A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of fields.

Day 11 – 12
Maquarie Island, Australia, Sub-Antarctic Islands

Discovered Australian Frederick Hasselborough in 1810, Macquarie Island lies in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. Known as Australia’s Sub-Antarctic jewel, this small island is home to a large variety of wildlife including thousands of seals and millions of penguins. Designated a World Heritage Site, the island’s only human inhabitants maintain the Macquarie Island Station with a fluctuating population of 20 to 40 people.

Weather and tides will play heavily on the decisions made by the Captain and Expedition Leader to make the most of our two days visiting the island. Possibilities include visiting a King Penguin colony of more than 200,000 pairs, seeing colonies of Rock Hopper, Royal and Gentoo Penguins. In addition, observe some of the 72 species of birds including the wandering, black-browed, grey-headed and light-mantled sooty albatross; and several types of seals such as the elephant, leopard and fur seals.

Day 13
At Sea

The days at sea are yours to enjoy. Visit our spa and relax with a well-deserved treatment or soak. Once done, you might find yourself sipping on afternoon tea or taking in a little shopping.

Day 14
Campbell Island

Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost sovereign territory was farmed and used for sealing and whaling until 1954 when it became a reserve and World Heritage Site. With six breeding species of albatross and mollymawks, Campbell is outstanding among the world’s albatross islands, and supports the main population of southern royal albatrosses.

Day 15
At Sea

Your last full day at sea is yours for the taking. Enjoy everything the ship has to offer to your heart's content.

Day 16
Ulva Island / Stewart Island

Ulva Island delivers a wonderful natural history encounter, free of any invasive species. You’ll enjoy a spectacular natural history walk while marveling at the endemic plants and birdlife in this world-renowned sanctuary.

Day 17
Dunedin, New Zealand

Following breakfast, disembark the vessel.


This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; parka; backpack; water bottle; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee).

Not Included:
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; park entrance fees; government fees and taxes; passport and visa expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.

Would you like to learn more about this trip or request availability?