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Sub-Antarctic Islands —
Galapagos of the Southern Ocean

Sub-Antarctic Islands Cruise Information

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. Long recognized for their rich biodiversity, the Sub-Antarctic islands lying to the south of New Zealand are World Heritage sites, afforded the highest conservation status and protection by both the Australian and New Zealand governments. Discover a sense of the astounding natural biodiversity and the importance of these islands as wildlife refuges. They are home to some of the most abundant and diverse wildlife on the planet. These islands not only play an important role in the Southern Ocean ecosystem – they also have a rich human history. This journey will forever change your appreciation of the Southern Ocean and its wildlife.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins


Prices from
$7,000 to $10,400

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Day 1
Invercargill, New Zealand

Meet your fellow voyagers and expedition staff for an informal get-together over dinner at the hotel, where you will stay overnight.

Day 2
Port of Bluff

Transfer to the Port of Bluff where the staff welcome you on board the Spirit of Enderby and as you settle into your cabin, your adventure begins.

Day 3
The Snares – North East Island

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.

Day 4
Auckland Islands – Enderby Island

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.

Day 5
Auckland Islands – Carnley Harbour

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.

Day 6
At Sea

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.

Day 7 – 8
Macquarie Island

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.

Day 9
At Sea

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.

Day 10 – 11
Campbell Island

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.

Day 12
At Sea

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.

Day 13

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 U.S. residents with travel protection options.

Kayaking (Optional):
$975 per person
Join experienced kayaker Judd Hill as you launch your kayaks from the Spirit of Enderby which acts as a floating base camp for special excursions and shore landings. Judd has kayaked in many exotic locations including Fiji, Panama, Palawan, Antarctica, the Russian Arctic and the Russian Far East. Cruising in a small group of about 6 to 10 paddlers and led by Judd, you will generally visit the same sites as the Zodiacs but be more independent and perhaps access areas not appropriate for Zodiacs. If the ship’s schedule allows, it may be possible to do an extended day trip, taking your lunch with you. The coastlines offer a wide array of habitats and sea kayaking opportunities, from sandy bays to rugged cliffs against a backdrop of extraordinary floral displays. They are also perfect sanctuaries for nesting seabirds, fish and marine mammals, so each day brings new challenges and fresh experiences to our small band of kayakers. Please inquire.


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. Rubber boots may be available on request. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:

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

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