Summary : Journey as far south as Macquarie Island, described as 'one of the wonder spots of the globe', as well as Campbell Island, the Auckland Islands, and the Snares. This is without doubt one of the most inspirational and informative journeys or expeditions into the Southern Ocean ecosystem that one can make anywhere in the world. Long recognized for their rich biodiversity, the Sub-Antarctic Islands lying to the south of New Zealand are UNESCO World Heritage sites. This places them in a select group of only 180 natural sites that have been designated as ‘the most important and significant natural habitats' on the planet. They are also afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments and access to these islands is by permit only. On this expedition we offer you the unique chance to explore, photograph and understand these wonderful places in the company of some of the most knowledgeable and passionate guides.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$7,000 to $10,400
Meet your fellow voyagers and expedition staff for an informal get-together over dinner at the hotel, where you will stay overnight.
Today you will be transferred to the port where staff will welcome you on board the Spirit of Enderby and as you settle into your cabin, your adventure begins.
North East Island is the largest of The Snares and, staggeringly, this one island is claimed by some to be home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together. Zodiac cruising the rugged coastline, learn how the islands got their name and encounter Snares Crested Penguins, Cape Petrel and Buller’s Albatross on the imposing cliffs. You are also likely to encounter Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns, Red-billed Gulls, Tomtits and Fernbirds.
Named for the same distinguished shipping family as your vessel, and one of the most beautiful islands in the group, this is a great birding location and a chance to see everything from the famous Southern Royal Albatross and Northern Giant Petrel to parakeets, Bellbirds and the endemic shag, teal and snipe. Sandy Bay is one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands for the rare Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion.
These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by. Loaded in human history, they harbor tales of castaways, bullion and coastwatchers through to today’s scientific visitors. Today, land in Carnley Harbor and, if weather and sea conditions permit, visit the Shy Mollymawk colony at South West Cape or if weather is not suitable, l select one of a number of other sites available.
Make your way through an area known as the Furious Fifties in the tumultuous Southern Ocean.Learn more about the flora and fauna as you prepare for arrival at Macquarie Island. En route there are great birding opportunities which may include the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel, Sooty Shearwater and Little Shearwater. Endeavor to spot the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion – never an easy task – but you should get some great views. Other species to be on the lookout for include the Soft-plumaged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Grey-faced Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel and the Black-bellied Storm-Petrel.
Described by one Australian explorer as “one of the wonder spots of the world,” this is the only place in the world where the beautiful Royal Penguin breeds. Three other species of penguins, the King, Gentoo and Rockhopper also breed here. You will never forget your first experience of a noisy "penguin city," where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors and where you will be immersed in a tumult of chattering, feeding chicks; territorial disputes; petty pilfering and courtship displays. This all happens among the hundreds of Southern elephant seals lolling on the beaches and dunes. On arrival, meet with scientists and Park Rangers based here who will accompany you on all of your landings.
Head north from Macquarie Island through waters rich in seabirds towards Campbell Island. Join the captain on the bridge to keep a keen lookout for birds and for whales. Today there will also be briefings and lectures on Campbell Island in preparation for your visit there.
Spend two days exploring the island by foot while taking in the panorama of rocky islets and sea stacks, once the lonely preserve of settlers and seal hunters and now returned to nature. Enjoy an easy walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross at Col Lyall or walk across the hills to Northwest Bay and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge pink and yellow wild flowers have adapted well to the harsh conditions. Seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and, on the beaches beyond, young male sea lions testing their strength.
At sea en route to the Port of Bluff, take the opportunity to relax and reflect on an amazing experience. Recap the highlights of your expedition and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight as you complete the last few miles of your journey.
Arrive at the Port of Bluff early in the morning. After breakfast, customs formalities and a last minute opportunity to bid farewell to your expedition team, disembark and board your complimentary coach transfer to downtown Invercargill or Invercargill Airport.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and sea conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation in this program, all passengers must purchase full medical and emergency evacuation insurance for the specific areas they will be visiting. The minimum coverage requirement is $100,000 for this program. The policy provider, policy number, and contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage, and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
One-night pre-cruise hotel accommodation (twin share); pre- and post-cruise transfers; onboard lectures and access to public areas; shore excursions as described; shipboard accommodations; all meals onboard the ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; items of a personal nature, such as laundry, beverages; excess baggage charges; travel insurance; passport and visa fees; landing fees, kayaking supplement, gratuities, fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © E Bell, © L Tough, © G Riehle, © S Blanc, © A Russ, © K Ovsyanikova