This renowned expedition includes four of the Subantarctic Islands, The Snares, Auckland, Macquarie and Campbell. Each one is different, and each one is unique – just like this expedition.
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 recognised for their rich biodiversity, the Subantarctic 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.
Transfer to our Dunedin Hotel in the central city. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers and some of our expedition team.
After breakfast we transfer to the port to embark on the Spirit of Enderby. You are invited to join the expedition team and captain on the bridge as we set our course to The Snares. We sail alongside the wildlife rich Otago Peninsula before turning south; Northern Royal Albatross breed here and they can often be observed overhead.
We plan to arrive mid-morning and as landings are not permitted we will Zodiac cruise along the sheltered eastern side of the main island if the weather and sea conditions are suitable.
The closest Subantarctic Islands to New Zealand, they were appropriately called The Snares as they were once considered a hazard for sailing ships. They are uninhabited and enjoy the highest protection as Nature Reserves. It is claimed by some that these islands are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together. . In the sheltered bays, amongst the multitude we should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin.
Our plan is to land at Sandy Bay, during our day ashore there will be several options, some longer walks, some shorter walks and time to spend just sitting and enjoying the wildlife. The walking is relatively easy.
The Auckland Islands group was formed by two volcanoes which erupted some 10-25 million years ago. Subsequently being eroded and dissected by glaciation creating the archipelago as we know it today. Enderby Island is one of the most beautiful islands in this group and is named for the same distinguished shipping family as is our own vessel. This northern most island in the archipelago is an outstanding wildlife and birding location and is relatively easy to land on and walk around. Cleared of all introduced animals (pests) in 1994, both birds and the vegetation, especially the herbaceous plants, are recovering in numbers and diversity.
We plan to arrive early morning. Our activities here today are totally weather dependent. We have a number of options, there will be an opportunity for the more energetic to climb to the South West Cape and visit the Shy Mollymawk colony. This climb provides magnificent views in all directions. For those not able to make the climb (it is reasonably difficult) there will be an opportunity to Zodiac cruise along the coast of Adams Island and Western Harbour, with landings in the later. We depart this afternoon for Macquarie Island.
In the south of the archipelago there is a very large sheltered harbour it is rich in human history including shipwrecks, treasure hunters, Coastwatchers and of course scientific parties.
As we make our way south through the Furious Fifties also known as the Albatross latitudes we will have a series of informal lectures on the biology and history of the Subantarctic Islands. We will also prepare you for our visit to Macquarie Island.
” You are about to discover why as we spend two days exploring this amazing Island. The great Australian Antarctic Explorer Sir Douglas Mawson once called Macquarie Island “One of the wonder spots of the world.. It was one of the first of the Subantarctic Islands to obtain World Heritage Status and that was largely due to its unique geology. It is one of the few places on earth where mid-ocean crustal rocks are exposed at the surface due to the collision of the Australian and Pacific Plates.
Macquarie Island is home to four species of penguin, Kings, Royals, Gentoo and Rockhopper. The Royal Penguin occurs nowhere else in the world. Macquarie also has a large population of Southern Elephant Seals. Pups are born in October and weaned in November when the breeding adults return to sea.We plan a landing at the Australian Antarctic Research Base at Buckles Bay where you will be able to meet with scientists and base staff. The original base was established in 1947 and the island has been ‘manned’ since then. We depart for Campbell Island on the afternoon of the second day.
We are north bound and hopefully running with the prevailing weather. There will be briefings and lectures on Campbell Island in preparation for our visit.
We have plenty of time to explore Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost Subantarctic territory.
Capbell Island history is as rich and varied as the other islands already visited. In 1895 the New Zealand government advertised the island as a pastoral lease. The lease was taken up by an entrepreneurial New Zealand sheep farmer who stocked the island with sheep and cattle. The farming practices, which included burning the scrub, modified the island considerably. The farming lasted until 1934 when it was abandoned. Coastwatchers were stationed on the island during the war, it was then taken over by the New Zealand Metrological service and they maintained a manned weather/research station until 1995.
Remaining animals were all eventually removed in 1990. The vegetation recovered quickly once, iIn a very ambitious (and never before attempted on such a large scale) eradication programme successfully removed the rats. The vegetation which the great English botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker described in 1841 as having a “Flora display second to none outside the tropics” is flourishing and is nothing short t of spectacular. We will offer a number of options which will enable you to explore the island. All of these options will allow you the opportunity and time to enjoy the Southern Royal Albatross which nest here in large numbers.
At sea enroute to the Port of Bluff, take the opportunity to relax and reflect on an amazing experience. We will recap the highlights of our expedition and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.
Early this morning we will arrive in the Port of Bluff. After completing Custom formalities we take a complimentary coach transfer to central city for an overnight stay
•Two nights hotel accommodation
•Breakfast each morning
•Dinner at the Dunedin hotel
•Transfer from Bluff to Invercargill
•Twelve nights on board in the cabin of your choice
•All meals on board the Spirit of Enderby
•All expedition shore excursions
|Cost Per Person * |
Auckland - Auckland
|Twin Share||Singles on application.|
|There are both male and female shares available|
*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment
•Domestic air flights
•Arrival transfer Dunedin
•Departure transfer Invercargill
•Full payment is due on confirmation
•No refund after full payment
•All participants are required to travel with a suitable travel insurance
•This cruise is categorised as Worldwide Antarctica. Please ask for a quote.
Note: During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Landings at the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at The Snares.
As a young biologist, Heritage Expeditions founder Rodney Russ first visited these islands in 1972 with the New Zealand Wildlife Service. He organised New Zealand’s first commercial expedition there in 1989 and it was only natural that his family should travel with him, what wasn’t predicted was that they would join him in the business and be as passionate about the conservation of this region as he is. Now, many years and over 100 expeditions later, Rodney’s sons Aaron and Nathan continue their father’s enthusiasm and legacy for this region with Heritage Expeditions. As the original concessionaire we enjoy good relationships with the conservation departments and some of the access permits we hold are unique to these expeditions.
To ensure the tour is enjoyable for you, a reasonable standard of fitness and mobility is required as climbing on and off Zodiacs can be demanding
Spirit of Enderby
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened Heritage Expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research. She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in May 2019 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space. On board there is a recently updated combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
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* Itinerary subject to change