Summary : The Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia, the forgotten islands of the South Pacific, are among the most remarkable wildlife reserves in the world, yet they don't even appear on some maps. Encounter the rugged coastlines and rich biodiversity of Campbell, the Snares, and Auckland Islands. These islands can be numbered among the last unspoiled environments on Earth, they are home to an abundance of plants, seabirds and marine mammals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Remote, uninhabited and on no regular shipping route, access is further restricted to only a few hundred people per year. Explore and understand this priceless ecosystem in expert company on an expedition that redefines natural travel history.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$4,300 to $6,600
Meet at an Invercargill central city hotel and be transferred to the Port of Bluff for embarkation. The captain and expedition team will be waiting for your arrival on the Spirit of Enderby. Familiarize yourself on board and then join the captain on the bridge or fellow travelers on deck as you set sail and your adventure begins.
The largest of the Snares Island group is North East Island, a nature reserve of international importance and home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. A group of islands that have had no introduced mammals, they are a pristine haven for wildlife. Snagged with hidden reefs, learn how the islands got their name. Cruise the jagged coastline by Zodiac allowing you to observe features of the island. From the water, view the unique large tree daisies Olearia lyallii and Brachyglottis stewartiae which dominate much of the island, creating a forest canopy and draping the hills. The Zodiac cruise should also allow for encounters with some of the birdlife that inhabits these islands, including the endemic Snares Crested Penguin. Catch glimpses of the Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbird which are unique to these islands. On the cliffs you will likely see Buller’s Albatross whose Maori name translates as "flying wind" which could be an apt description of The Snares. This species only nests here and at the Solander Islands.
Enderby Island is a wildlife rich island that has no equal in the Southern Ocean. Offering a varying landscape where the Rata forests are regenerating and there is a resurgence of herbaceous plants, it is one of the most beautiful islands in this group. The island is home to the Hooker’s or New Zealand sea lion which breeds on Sandy Bay beach where you plan to land. This animal is the rarest sea lion in the world. Enjoy close encounters with the Royal Albatross nested among a hummocked sward of Oreobolus pectinatus and regenerating tussock. There is a good chance that you will see the endemic snipe, shag and Auckland Island Flightless Teal as you walk around the island. Plan to spend some time with the Yellow-eyed Penguin, the world’s rarest penguin and the fourth largest of the world’s penguins. Unique fields of megaherbs, whose languorous names promise the exotic: the Bulbinella rossii, the regenerating patches of Anisotome latifolia and the vivid red and white gentians, make an unforgettable sight. Native birds such as the Tui, Bellbird and parakeets benefit from the presence of Rata trees and can be heard in the forest.
Auckland Island is the largest of the islands in the group. The western coastline has been sculpted into formidable cliffs by the prevailing westerly winds, and to the east, the coast has been carved by glaciers into some of the most picturesque fjords in the world. Your anchorage in Carnley Harbor, in the south of the group, offers a range of activities, depending on weather and sea conditions. You might go in search of a shy mollymawk albatross colony and perhaps spot the beautiful wandering albatross spreading its huge wingspan above the cliffs. Other possibilities include visiting the abandoned World War II coastwatcher’s station or the remains of a ship wrecked in 1864 and made famous by two books written by the survivors.
Explore the island by foot and take in the panorama of rocky islets and sea stacks, once the lonely preserve of settlers and seal hunters and now returned to nature. Campbell Island is known for its megaherbs—herbaceous, perennial wild flowers characterized by their great size, with huge leaves and very colorful flowers, which have developed as an adaptation to the harsh weather conditions on the islands. Your visit should coincide with the flowering of the Pleurophyllum speciosum, an endemic daisy carpeting the hills and startling in size with leaves sometimes half a meter wide. Adapting unusually to survive the harsh climate, its nearest relatives can be found in the Canary Islands. There will be a range of walks offered. You can explore an abandoned meteorological station at the head of the harbor or take the Col Lyall Saddle walk which offers an opportunity to view and photograph the southern royal albatross nesting among the flowers and tussocks. Alternatively, walk to remote Northwest Bay across the tussock tops and megaherb fields to an isolated coastline that Southern elephant seals haul out on and New Zealand sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins call home. Or you could climb the beautifully-named Mt. Honey which offers dramatic views from its summit.
A day at sea provides a great opportunity to reflect on the voyage and the Sub-Antarctic Islands that you have visited. Today, spend time on deck and view pelagic bird species that come close. You may also see cetaceans such as the dusky dolphins which sometime surf the bow waves of the ship, and if sea conditions are good, a number of different whale species are a possibility. The day is interspersed with illustrated lectures of the biology and history of the Southern Ocean and areas you have visited.
On arrival at the Port of Bluff this morning, enjoy your final breakfast and say farewells before disembarking and taking a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point in historic Invercargill or to the 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 for participation in this program, all passengers must purchase full medical and emergency evacuation insurance for the specific areas they will be visiting. The policy provider, policy number, and contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Cabin accommodations and meals on board the ship; onboard lectures and access to public areas; services of expedition leaders; shore excursions as described; pre- and post-cruise group transfers.
Airfare; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks and medical services; landing fees; kayaking supplement; gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.