Arrive at InvercargillArrive at Invercargill, New Zealandís southernmost city. Established by Scottish settlers, its wealth of rich farmland means that sheep and dairy farms predominate. On arrival please make your own arrangements to transfer to the Kelvin Hotel in the city center. A detailed program will be available to you when you check in at reception. Dinner is at the hotel, providing an opportunity to meet fellow expeditioners.
Port of BluffTake breakfast at your leisure in the hotel dining room, then enjoy a visit to the Southland Museum to view the Subantarctic display before transferring to the Port of Bluff, 27 kilometers to the south of Invercargill, and board the Spirit of Enderby. Settle into your cabin and then join Expedition Staff and the Captain for orientation and a welcome on board. Once the ship has cleared customs set sail for the Snares Islands.
The Snares - North East Island
The Snares are the first of the Subantarctic Islands you will visit and the largest of the group is North East Island. It is an amazing place Ė more birds nest on this one island than there are seabirds in all of the British Isles. Arrive early in the morning and cruise by Zodiac (there are no landings permitted) along the sheltered eastern side.
Cruising in bays, you should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Tomtits and Fernbirds. Cape Pigeons, Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns and Red-billed Gulls also abound. There are an estimated six million Sooty Shearwaters nesting in the Snares Islands and Bullerís Albatross breed here from early January onwards.
Auckland Islands - Enderby Island
Enderby Island forms part of the Auckland Island group and itís a great place to view birds and wildlife. The plan is to land at Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the New Zealand (Hookerís) Sea Lion. Youíll also have a chance to observe the following species: Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Auckland Island Shag, Auckland Island Teal, Auckland Island Banded Dotterel, Auckland Island Tomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Red-crowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguin and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross.
There may be a very good chance of seeing the Subantarctic Snipe. Other more common species you will see include the goldfinch, song thrush, blackbird, European Starling, Red-billed Gull and Redpoll. On Derrycastle Reef there is a good chance of seeing the Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone and perhaps other migratory waders.
Auckland Islands - Carnley HarbourThis morning cruise to Carnley Harbour in the south of the Auckland Islands chain. There will be an opportunity for the more energetic expeditioners to climb to the Shy Albatross colony on the Southwest Cape. Gibsonís Wandering Albatross nest above the colony amongst the tussocks, and you should obtain good views of these birds, as they will be nesting at this time. Those passengers remaining on board will have an opportunity to cruise by Zodiac along the coastal forest with a chance of seeing the New Zealand Falcon and enjoy close encounters with other bush birds. Depart the Auckland Islands mid-afternoon and head southwest to Macquarie Island.
At SeaAt sea you will have a series of lectures supported by videos on the biology and history of the Subantarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean. The Subantarctic Convergence Zone is usually very close to the area we sail through, so you should expect the birdlife to reflect this your ship approaches Macquarie Island. You will be at sea all day: another great opportunity to see pelagic species including Wandering Albatross, the Royal Albatross, Shy and White-capped Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, White-chinned Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Cape Petrel, Diving Petrel, Grey-backed and Black-bellied Storm Petrel.
Macquarie IslandArrive at Macquarie Island, the only place in the world to see the breeding Royal Penguin Ė and there is an abundance of these here. King Penguins are also found in large numbers and two other penguin species breed on Macquarie Island - the Gentoo and the Rockhopper. Along the coast you will see the Imperial (Macquarie) Shag; Redpolls can often be spotted, as can the European Starling along the cliff edges. Plan landings at both the ANARE base and at Sandy Bay and will also cruise Lusitania Bay by Zodiac, where there is a huge King Penguin colony. Continue your exploration of Macquarie Island and then depart for Campbell Island on the afternoon of your second day.
At SeaAt sea en route to Campbell Island, see a broad range of species, such as while traveling to Macquarie Island from the Auckland Islands.
Campbell IslandArrive at Campbell Island in the morning and spend the day exploring on foot from Perseverance Harbour. Campbell Island is truly magnificent. Rats have recently been successfully removed, producing an encouraging increase in small bird numbers, most notably the New Zealand Pipit. There are some great birding and photographic opportunities on this island, especially the Southern Royal Albatross and the early flowering mega herbs. During the day ashore see the Southern Royal Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Campbell Island Shag, Southern Skua, Red-billed Gull, Black-backed Gull, Antarctic Tern, Redpoll, Dunnock and New Zealand Pipit. The regeneration of the mega herbs since the removal of the sheep in the 1970s and Ď80s is a spectacle to behold.
At SeaAt sea en route to the Antipodes, it is a day for pelagic birding. Species commonly seen in this area include Wandering Albatross species, Southern Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvinís Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel, the Sooty Shearwater and the Little Shearwater. This region of the Southern Ocean is one of the few places where the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion occur together, providing a good opportunity for comparison. 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, Wilsonís Storm Petrel, Black-bellied Storm Petrel and the Common Diving Petrel.
Antipodes IslandsAntipodes Island is one of the most isolated, least known and rugged of New Zealandís Subantarctic Islands. Landings are not permitted, so plan to cruise along the coastline by Zodiac where you will have a good chance of seeing the Antipodes Island and Reischekís Parakeet, a strong subspecies. You may also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand Pipit. Enjoy good views of both Erect-crested and Rockhopper Penguins breeding on the coastline and there are also usually a good number of Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls.
The Bounty IslandsArrive in time for an early morning cruise by Zodiac, at the incongruously-named Bounty Islands: inhospitable granite knobs lashed by the southern ocean. Erect-crested Penguin, Fulmar Prions and the endemic Bounty Island Shag feature on our list for this morning; after the cruise depart for the Chatham Islands. This afternoon you should see Wandering Albatross species, Northern Royal Albatross, White-capped Albatross, Salvinís Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Cape Petrel, Antarctic Fulmar, Mottled Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, Fulmar Prion, White-chinned Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Little Shearwater, Grey-backed and Black-bellied Petrels as well as Wilsonís Storm Petrel. There is a possibility of seeing the Chatham Island Petrel, and keep a close watch for the Magenta Petrel.
At Sea and WaitangiContinue sailing.
Chatham Islands - WaitangiToday land at Waitangi, the main settlement on the Chatham Islands; near the landing area you should see the endemic Chatham Island Shag. Local buses and Land Rovers will transport you down the South Coast to the Tuku Reserve. Here on private land, and guided by the local people, enjoy a bush walk in the hope of seeing the Chatham Island Warbler and Chatham Island Pigeon. Much of Chatham Island has been developed for farming, and many introduced European birds can be seen in this area. Return to the Spirit of Enderby in the early afternoon in order to depart for Dunedin.
Pyramid RockAs the Spirit of Enderby continues toward the Chatham Archipelago, there are excellent opportunities for pelagic birding. In particular, look out for the Chatham Island Petrel (it has been seen on this leg of the voyage before) and also the very rare Chatham Island Taiko or Magenta Petrel (which has also been seen in the environs). This afternoon arrive at the spectacular Pyramid Rock Ė the only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross.
Chatham Islands - WaitangiAfter breakfast, you and your luggage will be ferried ashore by zodiac and taken to the airport. Board a flight to Christchurch and connect with your onward flights.