Trip Code: NZHEFS
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure)
Start: Invercargill, New Zealand
Finish: Invercargill, New Zealand
SHIP: Heritage Adventurer
Embark on an incredible expedition to the Subantarctic islands of New Zealand. These 'forgotten' islands are often omitted from the mind of the exploratory traveller. However, despite their low profile, these islands are some of the most remarkable wildlife reserves in the Southern Ocean and designated UNESCO world heritage sites. Departing from Invercargill on board the Heritage Adventurer you will explore islands dotted with honey-combed seabird cliffs, windswept Rata forests, flowering fields of incredible 'megaherbs' and unforgettable wildlife experiences from Snare crested Penguin to majestic Royal Albatross. Discover one of the most pristine ecosystems that truly to this day unheard of.
Make your way to the Ascot Park Hotel, from where we will transfer you to the Port of Bluff. (Reporting times and the departure time of the transfer will be confirmed with your voyage documents). The township of Bluff is situated on the north-eastern side of Bluff Hill, an extinct volcanic cone which forms a knoll at the southern end of the Bluff Peninsula which extends into Foveaux Strait.
The captain and expedition team will be waiting for your arrival at the ship to greet you and show you to your cabin. You will have the opportunity to familiarise yourself on board and there will be formal introductions to the team followed by safety briefings.
Join the captain on the bridge or fellow travellers on deck as we set sail for The Snares Islands. We will sail past Ruapuke Island, formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of over 200 people. We will also be able to see Stewart Island. Despite appearing quite small on most maps it is really quite large and has a 700-kilometre coastline. Seabirds that we may encounter at this early point in the voyage include albatross, petrels, cormorants, gulls and Little Blue Penguins.
The closest Subantarctic Islands to New Zealand, they were appropriately called The Snares as they were once considered a hazard for sailing ships. 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. It is claimed by some that these islands are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together.
We plan to arrive early in the 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. In the sheltered bays, we should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. Cape Pigeons, Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns and Red-billed Gulls are also present in good numbers. There are hundreds of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters nesting on The Snares; the actual number is much debated. The Buller’s Albatross breed here from early January onwards.
The Auckland Islands group was formed by two volcanoes which erupted some 10-25 million years ago. They have subsequently been 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 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. Our 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, a rare member of the seal family. Beachmaster bulls gather on the beach defending their harems from younger (ambitious) males, to mate with the cows shortly after they have given birth to a single pup. Hookers or New Zealand Sea Lion numbers are in a slow decline, for reasons which are not obvious but most probably connected with a nearby squid fishery.
Birds that we are likely to encounter include the following species: Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Auckland Island Shag, Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Auckland Island Banded Dotterel, Auckland Island Tomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Redcrowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguin and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. There is also a very good chance of seeing the Subantarctic Snipe.
In the south of the archipelago there is a very large sheltered harbour, rich in human history including shipwrecks, treasure hunters, Coastwatchers and of course scientific parties. We plan to arrive early morning from our anchorage at Enderby Island. We enter the harbour through the eastern entrance which is guarded on both sides by dramatic cliffs and rugged, tussock-covered hills.
Our activities here today are totally weather dependent. We have a number of options. If the weather is permittable there will be an opportunity for the more energetic expeditioners to climb to the South West Cape and visit the Shy Mollymawk colony. Above the colony we occasionally see Gibson’s Wandering Albatross breeding. This climb provides magnificent views in all directions, especially over the western entrance to Carnley Harbour, Adams Island and Western Harbour.
We have two days to explore Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost Subantarctic territory. Its history is as rich and varied as the other islands we have visited. Discovered in 1810, it was soon occupied by sealers who introduced rats and cats.
We will offer a number of options which will enable you to explore the island. There will be extended walks to Northwest Bay and possibly Mt Honey. 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. We also visit areas of the island which contain outstanding examples of the megaherbs for which the island is renown.
Other birds we will search for include the teal and snipe, although the later is what we would refer to as a ‘luck’ bird. The endemic shag can be seen on the harbour, but unfortunately the nesting colonies of Rockhopper Penguins, Grey-head, Black- browed and Campbell Island Albatross are outside of the permitted areas and we will have to look for these species at sea.
We are at sea en route to the Port of Bluff. We will take the opportunity to recap the many experiences we have had on this expedition. This is also a good opportunity to download and edit any remaining photos while they are fresh in your mind and you have the experience of our expedition team on board for questions. There will also be some good pelagic birding opportunities.
We 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 you disembark and board our complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point or to the airport. Our adventure ends but memories will last long beyond this.
In case of unexpected delays due to weather and/or port operations we ask you not to book any onward travel from Invercargill until after midday today.
Uncover the mysteries and pristine sites of the 'forgotten islands' a truly wonderful ecosystem close to home that few travellers truly know exist.
You will visit a number of unique islands each with incredible and contrasting sights, from dramatic honey-combed sea bird cliffs, wild fields of impressive megaherbs and immersive history from shipwrecks, treasure hunters and scientific parties.
This Subantarctic expedition is the perfect experience for the adventurer traveller - who seeks and isolated and pristine expedition experience perfect for travel from Australia and New Zealand.
The Heritage Adventurer is a true expedition vessel of exception quality and design. Built in 1991, this 140 guest expedition vessel was purpose built for polar expeditions. Combining the highest passenger ship icelass rating (1A Super) and a rich expedition history including most of the northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic, the Adventurer superimposes the notion of a truly tried and tested expedition vessel. Holding just 140 guests means the Adventurer perfectly utilises its space to create spacious and stylish voyages. A fleet of 14 zodiacs ensures that every guest can maximise their expedition experience once on board. Complete with stylish accommodations, two restaurants and a bar and lounge area guests will find a number of avenues for relaxation. Furthermore, the ships Open Bridge policy means that guests will be able to first-hand experience the expedition experience from the eyes and shared experiences of the captain and crew. A host of guest lectures from botanists, naturalists, historians and experts will be shown in the ships Presentation Theatre or guests may simply choose to unwind in the library, heated salt water pool, sauna room, gym or enclosed hot tub. Each voyage on board the Adventurer is entirely unique. As your team of on board experts and well travelled crew meticulously plan and design each exploration in true expedition style.
The Heritage Adventurer is a true expedition vessel of exception quality and design. Built in 1991, this 140 guest expedition vessel was purpose built for polar expeditions. Combining the highest passenger ship icelass rating (1A Super) and a rich expedition history including most of the northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic, the Adventurer superimposes the notion of a truly tried and tested expedition vessel.
Holding just 140 guests means the Adventurer perfectly utilises its space to create spacious and stylish voyages. A fleet of 14 zodiacs ensures that every guest can maximise their expedition experience once on board. Complete with stylish accommodations, two restaurants and a bar and lounge area guests will find a number of avenues for relaxation. Furthermore, the ships Open Bridge policy means that guests will be able to first-hand experience the expedition experience from the eyes and shared experiences of the captain and crew. A host of guest lectures from botanists, naturalists, historians and experts will be shown in the ships Presentation Theatre or guests may simply choose to unwind in the library, heated salt water pool, sauna room, gym or enclosed hot tub.
Each voyage on board the Adventurer is entirely unique. As your team of on board experts and well travelled crew meticulously plan and design each exploration in true expedition style.
Speed: 15 Knots
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We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
|Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific | Heritage Adventurer from £ 4,202|
|20 Dec 2023||27 Dec 2023||8|
Cabin accommodation on board ship
All meals whilst on board
Guiding and lectures by experienced expedition crew
All scheduled landings and excursions by zodiac
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
Pre or post land arrangements not mentioned in itinerary
Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable)
Government arrival and departure taxes
Any optional activities not mentioned in itinerary
Customary gratuity for crew and personnel
Available on request. Please contact us for more information.
Please note this itinerary may be subject to change depending on weather and sea conditions.
Departure date, seasonality and availability at the time of booking.