The Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific Cruise

Meghan Kelly
Penguins rushing up the rocky shore.
L Tough
Tree cover on the islands of New Zealand.
K Ovsyanikova
The Red-crowned Parakeet.
Seal hides amongst the unique plant life.
Meghan Kelly
Baby penguin stands in the middle of hundreds of penguins.
Spirit of Enderby's lounge and bar.
Spirit of Enderby's lounge and TV area.

Day 1

    Depart Invercargill

    Make your way to the Kelvin Hotel, your central Invercargill meeting point from where you will be transfered to the Port of Bluff for embarkation, 27 kilometres away. 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 port is located on a natural harbour and is the main gateway for New Zealand ships heading down to the Antarctic, including your expedition vessel Spirit of Enderby.

    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 familiarize 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 you set sail and your adventure begins. Set your course for The Snares, sailing south out into the Foveaux Strait. Growing slowly in the cold clean waters of the strait are what some call the finest oysters in the world. Commonly known as the Bluff oyster, the species is actually found throughout New Zealand, but is most common here in the south.

    Sail past Ruapuke Island formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of about 200. Also can see in the distance Stewart Island the southern-most island of New Zealand. Despite its size on a map it is large and has a 700 kilometer coastline. Off-shore seabirds that you may encounter at this early point include: albatross, petrels, cormorants, gulls and Blue Penguins. Continue on sailing and prepare for your first night on board as you leave the strait and head into the South Pacific Ocean.

    Day 2

      Snares Islands

      Arrive early in the morning at the largest of this group of islands, North East Island, a nature reserve of international importance and hom to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. A group of islands that have had no introduced mammals they are a pristine haven for wildlife. Tall cliffs combined with sea erosion have produced features along the coastline of narrow caverns, sink holes and steep-sided ravines. Snagged with hidden reefs learn how the islands got their name.

      Landings are not allowed at The Snares, so if weather and sea conditions are suitable cruise the jagged coastline by Zodiac allowing you to see some of the features of the island. From the water view the unique large tree daisies Olearia lyallii and Brachyglottis stewartiae which dominate much of the island creating a forest canopy and draping the hills.

      Your cruise should also allow to encounter some of the birdlife that inhabits these islands. This includes the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, sometimes found perching on lower branches of the tree daisies overhanging their colony, or swimming close by. The Snares Crested Penguin’s most noticeable feature is a bright yellow, thin bushy crest running above and behind each eye, particularly in the male. Although there is no immediate threat to the Snares Crested Penguin, the conservation status of the species is listed as ‘vulnerable’, primarily because the population is limited to this one small island group.

      Also unique to these islands catch glimpses of the Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbird – on past voyages these land birds have been sighted amongst the flora. On the cliffs see Buller’s Albatross whose Maori name translates as ‘flying wind’ which could be an apt description of The Snares. This species only nests here and at the Solander Islands.

      Day 3

        Auckland Islands - Enderby Island

        The Auckland group were formed by two volcanoes which subsequently eroded and were dissected by glaciation creating the archipelago as known today. Anchor in Port Ross, the northernmost of the archipelago and enjoy the day ashore on Enderby Island, a wildlife rich island that has no equal in the Southern Ocean. Offering a varying landscape where the rata forests

        are regenerating and there is a resurgence of herbaceous plants, it is one of the most beautiful islands in this group and is named for the same distinguished shipping family as your own vessel.

        The island is home to the Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion which breeds on Sandy Bay beach which is where you may land. The sea lions are a rare member of the seal family and dominant males can be viewed protecting their territories on the breeding beaches while females gather close by. Exploring inland it is not unusual to encounter a sea lion relaxing in the rata forest.

        You will enjoy close encounters with the Royal Albatross nested amongst a hummocked sward of Oreobolus pectinatus comb sedge and gentians. There is a good chance that you will see the endemic snipe, shag and Auckland Island Flightless Teal as you explore.

        Day 4

          Auckland Islands - Camley Harbor

          Auckland Island is the largest of the islands in the group. Made up of two long-extinct volcanoes with deep harbours one is on the north coast and one on the south. The western coastline has been sculpted into formidable cliffs by the prevailing westerly winds, and to the east, a coast carved by glaciers into some of the most picturesque fiords in the world.

          Your anchorage in Carnley Harbour offers a range of activities, depending on weather and sea conditions. Climb to South West Cape for magnificent views of a Shy Mollymawk Albatross colony and perhaps spot the beautiful Wandering Albatross spreading its huge wingspan above the cliffs. Once you reach the summit, the silence is punctured intermittently by the beating wings and calls of the colony that surround you. Gibson’s Wandering Albatross nest above the colony amongst the tussocks so you should obtain good views of these birds also. Auckland Island pigs still roam the island so albatross have headed to the cliff face where their breeding grounds are safe.

          Alternatively enjoy a quiet amble through the forest on the Musgrave Peninsula to the remains of the World War II Coast Watchers’ huts. If the weather and sea conditions prove suitable, time may enable you to explore some of the eastern fiords by Zodiac.

          Days 5-6

            Campbell Island

            Arrive at Campbell Island early in the morning on Day Five and anchor in Perseverance Harbour. Dropping anchor, explore the island by foot and take in the panorama of rocky islets and sea stacks, once the lonely preserve of settlers and seal hunters and now returned to nature.

            There will be a range of walks offered, all accompanied by guides. Explore an abandoned Meteorological Station at the head of the harbour or take the Col Lyall Saddle walk which boasts all three daisy species of Pleurophyllum: speciosum, criniferum and hookerii and an opportunity to view and photograph the Southern Royal Albatross nesting amongst the flowers and tussocks. Alternatively, walk to remote North West Bay across the tussock tops and megaherb fields to a sandy beach that New Zealand Sea Lions and Yellow-eyed Penguins call home. For the more energetic the beautifully named Mt. Honey, the highest peak on the island at 507 meters can be climbed. From the summit there are dramatic views and you can continue down to Southeast Harbor – in all, an enjoyable full day’s walk.

            Day 7

              At Sea

              A day at sea provides a great opportunity to reflect on the voyage and the Subantarctic Islands that you have visited. Today spend time on deck and view pelagic species that come close, also may see cetaceans; it is not unusual to spot dolphins in the distance or up close – sometimes they surf the bow waves of the ship. The day is interspersed with illustrated lectures of the biology and history of the area you have visited and the Southern Ocean.

              Enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers and new friends as with each passing hour the Spirit of Enderby steams closer to the

              mainland and your final port.

              Day 8


                On arrival at the Port of Bluff this morning, have your final breakfast and say your farewells before disembarking and transferring by complimentary coach to either a central city point in historic Invercargill or to the airport.
                 Main Deck TripleMain deckSuperiorSuperior PlusMini SuiteHeritage Suite
                Landing fees: $300
                - Travel Insurance is mandatory for all passengers aboard the Spirit of Enderby.
                - Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
                - Included in the cruise fare is a pre-departure hotel night, group dinner as well as breakfast the next day prior to embarkation.
                Not included in cruise fare:
                Government landing fees: $300 per person

                Landings at the Subantarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at Snares Is.

                Circumstances may be encountered during our voyage which will make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. These circumstances include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed during the voyage.

                Deposit & Payment

                Initial deposit is 30%, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at:

                Final payment is due 100 days prior to departure.

                Final payment by bank transfer, check or Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Amex. Credit Card payments subject to 3% convenience fee and maximum $15,000 charge.

                Booking last minute? No problem! Please contact one of our trip planners, and we can get you on your way if booking less than 100 days prior to departure.

                Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions.

                Cancellation Policy

                Days Prior to departureFee
                180 Days or more$950 per person
                179-91 daysDeposit
                90 days or less100% trip cost