Have questions? We're here.
A beautiful view of Milford Sound.

Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand

Example 16 Day Cruise aboard Caledonian Sky
Talk with an expert
Customize any aspect of your New Zealand trip. 1.800.344.6118
Help Me Plan My Trip
Talk with an expert
Visit the sub-Antarctic islands of Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland, and The Snares on the Caledonian Sky, among a small, exclusive number of operators that hold permits to travel to these far-flung isles. Observe several albatross species—wandering, black-browed, gray-headed, light-mantled sooty, and northern and southern royal—as well as colonies of king, royal, rockhopper, and gentoo penguins. Search the elfin forests for handsome yellow-eyed penguins, melodious bellbirds, diminutive tomtits, and colorful red-crowned parakeets. Cruise through Milford, Dusky, and Doubtful sounds, a supremely scenic land of soaring cliffs and plunging waterfalls. Step ashore on Ulva Island to view the South Island robin, South Island saddleback, yellowhead, and weka, a flightless rail.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Queenstown, New Zealand
Day 2 : Queenstown
Day 3 : Queenstown | Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park | Embark Caledonian Sky
Day 4 : Stewart Island | Ulva Island
Day 5 : Dunedin
Day 6 : At Sea
Day 7 : Campbell Island
Day 8 : At Sea
Days 9-10 : Macquarie Island, Australia
Day 11 : At Sea
Day 12 : Enderby, Auckland Islands
Day 13 : The Snares Islands
Day 14 : Dusky and Doubtful Sounds, Fiordland National Park
Day 15 : Milford Sound | Disembark | Queenstown
Day 16 : Queenstown | Return Home

Highlights

  • Visit sub-Antarctic islands—Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland, and The Snares
  • Observe several albatross species as well as colonies of gentoo penguins
  • Search the elfin forests for yellow-eyed penguins and island endemics
  • Cruise through Milford, Dusky, and Doubtful sounds, a supremely scenic land
  • Step ashore on Ulva Island to view lush rainforest and diverse species

Ship

Caledonian Sky

Places Visited

  • Antarctica
  • New Zealand
  • South Pacific
  • Auckland Islands
  • Campbell Island
  • Doubtful Sound
  • Dunedin
  • Dusky Sound
  • Enderby Island
  • Macquarie Island
  • Milford Sound
  • Queenstown
  • Stewart Island
  • The Snares

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

A beautiful view of Milford Sound. Pair of King penguins on an Antarctica cruise A group fo people enjoying a fire on the coast of New Zealand. Antarctic fur seals, Fortuna Bay, South Georgia Windblown trees and sheep

Day 1 Queenstown, New Zealand

Arrive in Queenstown and transfer to your hotel in time for lunch. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before gathering for an orientation and dinner at the hotel.

Day 2 Queenstown

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today choose one of two excursion options, designed to highlight Queenstown’s natural and cultural attributes. Journey through the dramatic Lord of the Rings landscapes of Central Otago and meet the winemakers of the world’s southernmost wine-producing region. Or, take a thrilling jet boat ride amongst stunning scenery, then ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak. Alternatively, you may choose to explore Queenstown on your own, browsing the private studios, gardens, and galleries of internationally renowned artists. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 Queenstown | Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park | Embark Caledonian Sky

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depart Queenstown this morning for a scenic drive to Milford Sound. Part of Te Wahipounamu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fiordland National Park is famed for spectacular glacier-carved waterways and unique flora and fauna. Embark the Caledonian Sky this afternoon and cruise the length of Milford Sound past soaring cliff faces and powerful cascades. 

Day 4 Stewart Island | Ulva Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Peaceful Stewart Island is home to fewer than 500 inhabitants. Explore the coastline before anchoring near Oban. Local guides lend insight into the island’s unique environment and Maori history. Nearby Ulva Island is a predator-free sanctuary with lush temperate rainforest. It is a wonderful place to view the South Island robin, South Island saddleback, yellowhead, and the curious weka, a flightless rail.

Day 5 Dunedin

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in port this morning after cruising scenic Otago Harbor and choose one of two local discovery options. Take a drive to Orokonui Ecosanctuary to discover native birds and reptiles, followed by a visit to the world-famous northern royal albatross colony at Taiaroa Head. Or, enjoy a scenic train ride on the Taieri Gorge Railway, then join a local historian for a walk through the heart of enchanting Dunedin, viewing the distinct Edwardian and Victorian architectural styles of First Church and St. Paul Cathedral.

Day 6 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Join naturalists for lectures and on deck to look for royal, shy, and Buller’s albatross, plus a host of southern ocean petrels as you cruise to Campbell Island.

Day 7 Campbell Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Campbell Island is home to a multitude of seabirds, marine mammals, and unique sub-Antarctic megaherbs. Photographic opportunities include frame-filling encounters with southern royal albatross, as well as Hooker’s sea lions. Birders search for the endemic Campbell teal and Campbell snipe—both species were previously believed to be extinct.

Day 8 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The lecture series continues with recaps on Campbell and briefings on your next sub-Antarctic landings. 

Day 9-10 Macquarie Island, Australia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Spend two days exploring Macquarie Island. Though tides and weather determine your landings, hope to visit a king penguin colony as well as colonies of royal and gentoo penguins. A variety of birds, as well as elephant and fur seals, can be found set against a background of mountains and tussock-covered headlands. Several species of albatross breed here—wandering, black-browed, gray-headed, and light-mantled sooty.

Day 11 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend a relaxing and educational day at sea as your lecture series continues

Day 12 Enderby, Auckland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today nature walks lead you through lush vegetation and rata forests to visit nesting royal albatross. Station yourself near a beach covered with Hooker’s sea lions to watch yellow-eyed penguins, one of the rarest penguins in the world, as they return to their nesting sites. In the elfin forest, search for bellbirds, tomtits, and red-crowned parakeets, among other endemics.

Day 13 The Snares Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Board Zodiacs for a cruise around The Snares Islands. This nature reserve is home to millions of breeding sooty shearwaters, as well as Buller’s albatross, fairy prions, and Snares crested penguins.   

Day 14 Dusky and Doubtful Sounds, Fiordland National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today is devoted to Fiordland National Park, a nearly uninhabited wilderness with breathtakingly beautiful fjords filled with wildlife. In Dusky Sound explore by Zodiacs to discover rainforest luxuriant with tree ferns, mosses, and lichens and visit Astronomer’s Point, the site of a temporary observatory established during Captain Cook’s 1773 voyage. The forests and waterways are home to many birds—bellbirds, tuis, fantails, and the kereru, a large native wood pigeon. Later, as the ship slowly cruises Doubtful Sound, keep your binoculars ready to inspect the coves where rare Fiordland crested penguins are sometimes found.

Day 15 Milford Sound | Disembark | Queenstown

Be on deck this morning to watch the panorama of Milford’s sheer cliff faces, which rise thousands of feet almost vertically from the water’s edge, as well as the crashing waters of Bowen and Stirling Falls and the stunning mile-high Mitre Peak. Disembark the Caledonian Sky for a scenic drive to the picturesque town of Te Anau for lunch. Continue to Queenstown, with dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 16 Queenstown | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent flight home.

Caledonian Sky

Queenstown

Per person starting at
$14,980
Your suite on the Caledonian Sky features three portholes
Select a Date
Category 1
Category 1 suites are 240 square feet and have three portholes.
Relax in your category 2 suite on the Caledonian Sky
Select a Date
Category 2
Category 2 suites are 230 square feet and have large picture windows.
Your stateroom on the Caledonian Sky is large and allows great light
Select a Date
Category 3
Category 3 suites are 220 square feet with a picture window.
Greet the day through your sliding glass window
Select a Date
Category 4
Category 4 suites have 220 square feet and have direct deck access via a sliding glass door.
Your cabin on the Caledonian Sky has a sliding glass door and two portholes
Select a Date
Category 5
Category 5 suites are 240 square feet and feature two forward facing portholes and direct deck access via a sliding glass door.
Sail in comfort aboard the Caledonian Sky
Select a Date
Category 6
Category 6 suites are 215 square feet and pave patio doors leading to private balconies, which are 45 square feet.

Notes

- Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore. Many of the landings will be “wet” and require that you wear waterproof, knee-high boots. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over occasionally rough and often slippery terrain. Temperatures will range from the low 50sºF to the mid-60sºF in Queenstown, and from 40ºF to 55ºF in the sub-Antarctic islands.  

Included:
  • All gratuities
  • Accommodations in hotels and on board the Caledonian Sky as outlined in the itinerary
  • All onboard meals
  • All group meals on land
  • Soft drinks, wine, and beer with lunch and dinner
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
  • All group activities and excursions
  • Landing and port fees
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

Excluded:
  • All air transportation
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages except as listed, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges

Included

  • 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 15 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
Change & customize to make it yours.
Jessica L

We Love to Talk Travel

Call 1.800.344.6118
or
Chat Now
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

Popular Add-ons

Why Travel With Adventure Life

More Reasons
Us with our Maasai guide Dennis
Tailored to You
Tell us your travel interests, dreams and desires, then let our experts tailor the perfect trip for you!
Monks conversing in a Buddist temple
Peace of Mind
You can have confidence in our experts' dedication to traveler safety, comfort, & providing a seamless trip.
A pair of friendly sea lions
Responsible Travel
We are fully committed to low impact travel that not only preserves but gives back to the amazing places we visit.
A man photographs a King Penguin at only a few feet away.
Insider Access
Our personal expertise & experience, local partners in our destinations, & access to over 150 small ships are all invaluable to designing your unique journey.

Awards and Accolades

All News