Summary : Explore the remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests, and winding fiords of Fiordland. Travel the calm waters of this region in solitude, away from the crowds, on the lookout for marine life, elusive birds, and stunning vistas. Established in 1952, Fiordland National Park is now over 2.9 million acres in size, and encompasses mountain, lake, fiord, and rainforest environments. Plan to explore some of the most unique and wild parts of Fiordland as you sail through the beautiful fjords and landscapes. You will also explore Stewart Island's Ulva Island, free of introduced pests and home to a range of birdlife. Stewart Island, New Zealand's third largest island is rich in history and wildlife, you will take the time to enjoy Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara, to listen to the native bird song and take a closer look at the history of Paterson Inlet. These islands and region represent a priceless ecosystem and showcases the work that the New Zealand Government's Department of Conversation has and is undertaking to protect, preserve, and re-introduce New Zealand's amazing wildlife. This is a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to explore remote parts of New Zealand's Southern region, an area known for its range of birdlife and jaw dropping scenery on a grand scale and where you will hopefully see a large number of New Zealand's Threatened Species.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$5,995 to $8,800
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 to greet you on arrival at the ship. Explore the Spirit of Enderby and join the captain on the bridge or fellow travelers on deck as you set sail.
As you make your way through the Southern Ocean we can expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey with great views during the crossing which may include Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross and Little Shearwater.
You will have one day to explore Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost Subantarctic territory. You will have a number of options which will enable you to explore the island including an extended walk to Northwest Bay. There will also be an easier walk to the Col Lyall Saddle. All of these options will allow you the opportunity and time to enjoy the Southern Royal Albatross which nest here in large numbers. You will also visit areas of the island which contain outstanding examples of the mega herbs for which the island is renowned. Birds you may see include Teal, Snipe, Rockhopper Penguins, and Antarctic Tern.
This very large sheltered harbor is rich in human history, you will plan to arrive mid-morning entering the harbor through the eastern entrance which is guarded on both sides by dramatic cliffs and rugged tussock covered hills. Your activities here today are totally weather dependent. If the weather is fine there will be an opportunity to climb to the South West Cape and visit the Shy Mollymawk colony. Above the colony you will occasionally see Gibson’s Wandering Albatross breeding. Alternatively there will be an opportunity to Zodiac cruise along the coast of Adams Island, Western Harbour, and Victoria Passage. You may visit Camp Cove, the Tagua Bay coastwatcher’s station and lookout, or Epigwatt where the remains of the ‘Grafton’ which was wrecked here in 1864 can be seen.
Enderby Island is one of the most beautiful islands in this group, this northern most island in the archipelago is an outstanding wildlife and birding location and is relatively easy to land on and walk around. Your plan is to land at Sandy Bay, one of three breeding areas in the Auckland Islands, for the Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion. During your day ashore there will be several walking options, and time to spend just sitting and enjoying the wildlife. Birds that you are likely to encounter include Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Auckland Island Shag, Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Auckland Island Tomtit, Bellbird, Red-crowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguin and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross.
The closest Sub-Antarctic Islands to New Zealand, comprising of two main islands and a group of five islands called the Western Chain; they are uninhabited and enjoy the highest protection as Nature Reserves. Zodiac cruising along the sheltered eastern side of the main island you should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds.
New Zealand’s third island is a wonderfully tranquil place; the scenery of untouched bushland is stunning. You will explore Ulva Island which is rich in history and wildlife, being a predator-free island from 1997 the bird song and wildlife is some of the best. In Paterson Inlet you will have time at Boulder Bay and West End Beach, or just enjoy some time around Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove. Wildlife you may get to see while walking the tracks include Stewart Island Robin, Stewart Island Weka, South Island Kaka, Kereru (wood pigeon), Mohua (yellowhead), Red Crowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbird and Tui. There are many more species that may also be seen. In the afternoon visit the historic Norwegian whaling station in Prices Inlet and Kaipipi Bay.
This is an area rich in history, majestic scenery and abundant in wildlife. Captain Cook and his crew landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773, the first Europeans to visit Fiordland, spending five weeks in Dusky Sound, historically this region is very important and shaped the future of the New Zealand. From the middle of the 19th Century this unexplored interior Fiordland coastline attracted the attention of those in search of hidden greenstone or New Zealand jade. Fiordland’s West Coast is only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand’s mainland, its isolation has been beneficial because its beauty remains unspoiled and its historic sites undisturbed. Waterfalls, streams, rivers and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go. A rugged terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens and mosses. Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and Little Penguins are all resident in the fiords; during your time here you will look out for them. Your schedule gives you the flexibility to visit as much as possible; areas you will plan to visit during your time in Fiordland include Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound, and Acheron Passage, Astronomer’s Point and Pickersgill Harbour. Your final plan will be determined by the weather.
You will arrive at the Port of Bluff early in the morning. After breakfast disembark and board a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point 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. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; onboard lectures and access to public areas; services of expedition leaders; shore excursions as described; pre- and post-cruise group transfers; shipboard accommodations; all meals onboard the ship. Rubber boots may be available on request. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare to and from your home to the port of departure and port of arrival; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, and medical services; gratuities; landing fees; fuel surcharge may apply.