In the Maori language Auckland is known as Tamaki Makau Rau, the city of 100 lovers, having earned the name because it was a place desired by all and conquered by many. The setting is spectacular, the city being nestled upon three harbours - the Waitemata, the Manukau and the Kaipara. Don't miss the chance to dine out in Auckland as the city has perfected the style of cuisine called "Pacific Rim", blending Asian and Pacific flavours. Seafood features prominently on restaurant menus so be sure to try New Zealand green lipped mussels and succulent Clevedon Coast oysters - all matched with an excellent New Zealand wine.
The Chatham Islands are halfway between the equator and the South Pole. Settled by the Moriori who sailed to the islands from New Zealand sometime between 900AD and 1500AD, the islands later saw an influx of Maori tribes, whalers and sealers.
These islands are a bird spotter’s paradise and you will visit the Awatotara Valley, a bird sanctuary free of predators and home to bird species that have long since disappeared on mainland NZ. You can also join the included culture and history tour visiting local highlights.
In the afternoon, a Zodiac expedition will take you to the southern Chathams to explore a seal colony and watch for rare bird varieties including Chatham Island Snipe, Tui, Tomtit, Red-crowned Parakeet and Oystercatcher.
The Bounty Islands are comprised of 135 hectares of a small group of 13 granite islets and rocks in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the South Island of New Zealand. They are part of the Antipodes sub-Antarctic Islands tundra eco-region, uninhabited by humans, but heavily populated by penguins and albatrosses. Another 19th century popular hunting ground for sealers, the Bounty Islands were discovered by Captain William Bligh just months before the infamous mutiny in 1788.
First named the Penantipodes, the group was discovered in 1800 by Captain Waterhouse of H.M.S. Reliance. An American sealer under the command of Captain Pendleton was the first to station a sealing gang on the Antipodes. The brig, “Union of New York” left an officer and 11 men there in 1804. On returning to Sydney via Fiji the ship was lost and the entire crew massacred. The sealing gang was eventually rescued in 1805 after more than a year on the Antipodes and an accumulation of almost 60,000 skins. By the 1830’s the seals were all but extinct and there was no further sealing. In the early 1880’s there was renewed interest in these islands for the penguin skin trade to meet a demand for fashionable ladies’ muffs.
Campbell Island was first discovered in January 1810 by Captain Frederick Hasselburg, master of the sealing brig, Perseverance. He named the island after his employers Robert Campbell and Co. of Sydney and sadly drowned later that year after a boat capsized in Perseverance Harbour. Campbell is a volcanic island with fascinating rock formations. 50 years ago, between 2 and 3 million Rock Hopper Penguins were nesting on the island but since then 90% have been decimated by bacterial infection. Erect Crested Penguins are found here in small numbers and less than 20 pairs of Wandering Albatross nest. Approximately 8,500 pairs of Royal Albatross and about 74,000 pairs of Black Browed Mollymawk also call the island home. Over 40 other breeds of birds including the Southern Royal Albatross have also been observed on Campbell Island.
Often described as one of the "wonder spots" of the world, the sub-Antarctic island of Macquarie has been said to rival South Georgia in its magnificence, scenic diversity and prolific wildlife. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and a World Heritage Site in 1977, Macquarie now operates a full-time manned station where biological and meteorological research is conducted. The station, located on the isthmus at Buckles Bay, is from where you will collect the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife rangers who will be your guides.
Sandy Bay, situated halfway down the island's eastern seaboard, is your planned landing site. The Zodiacs will traverse breakwaters of giant kelp before reaching rocky beaches where landing conditions can best be described as "wet and challenging". Once ashore you'll find the bay, with its rugged backdrop of mountains and tussockcovered headlands, is home to 20,000 breeding pair of royal penguins, king penguins, rock hopper penguins, gentoo penguins and elephant seals. This profusion of wildlife wasn't always so protected, the rusting remains of machinery used by whalers being stark reminders of the exploitation which took place on the island during its early history.
Orion's guests will cruise in Zodiacs in Sandy Bay on Enderby Island at the northern end of Auckland Island, to view a large Hooker Sea Lion colony with pups all jostling for position. If you are fortunate, you may see the rare Yellow-Eyed Penguin as they move to and from their nests in the forests beyond the beach.
Orion’s shallow draft will allow her to cruise all the way into Dunedin city wharf (whereas other vessels berth at Port Chalmers) to provide guests a full day ashore to enjoy this charming city, regarded as one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Otago region was settled by Maori's over four centuries ago, with Scottish migrants establishing a small town in 1848. After gold was discovered Dunedin rapidly developed to (then) become New Zealand's biggest city and the country's industrial and commercial heart, with many ornate heritage buildings dating from this period still standing today. It was the first city outside the to have its own tram system. The Botanic Gardens, New Zealand's first, are located at the northern end of the city on the lower slopes of Signal Hill.