Birding Down Under Cruise

E Bell
A beautiful ocean view.
A. Russ
Views from the Spirit of Enderby's Western Pacific Odyssey
Travelers photographing the subantarctic landscape.
K Ovsyanikova
The Red-crowned Parakeet.
L Tough
Tree cover on the islands of New Zealand.
Top deck of the Spirit of Enderby.
Spirit of Enderby's lounge and bar.
Listen to the names: Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, Macquarie and Chatham Islands. They are music to the ears of ‘Birders'. Apart from the Chathams, these islands are probably more isolated now than they were when they were discovered in the late 1700s and early 1800s and were regularly visited by sealers, whalers and government steamers searching for castaway sailors. It is relatively simple to get to the Chatham Islands but opportunities to visit the others are rare. This 19-day expedition on the Spirit of Enderby is the only one to include all of these islands.

Day 1

  • Dinner

Arrive at Invercargill

Arrive at Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city. Established by Scottish settlers, its wealth of rich farmland means that sheep and dairy farms predominate. This evening, meet your fellow adventurers and some of your ship's expedition team at an informal get-together and dinner at your hotel.

Day 2

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Embark in Port of Bluff

Today, enjoy a visit to the Southland Museum to view the special subantarctic display before transferring to the Port of Bluff where you can embark your ship, the Spirit of Enderby.

Day 3

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Snares - North East Island

If weather and sea conditions are suitable, cruise by Zodiac along the sheltered eastern side of North East Island. You should see the endemic Snares crested penguin, Snares Island tomtit, and fernbirds. Also expect to see Cape pigeons, Antarctic terns, white-fronted terns, and red-billed gulls. There are hundreds of thousands of sooty shearwaters nesting here. Buller’s albatross breed here from late December onwards.

Day 4

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Auckland Islands - Enderby Island

Enderby Island is a great place to view birds and wildlife. Visit Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the rare New Zealand (Hooker’s) sea lion and just one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands. There are chances to observe the southern royal albatross, northern giant petrel, Auckland Island shag, Auckland Island flightless teal, Auckland Island banded dotterel, Auckland Island tomtit, bellbird, pipit, red-crowned parakeet, yellow-eyed penguin, and light-mantled sooty albatross. Be sure to also keep a lookout for the rare Subantarctic snipe. On Derry Castle Reef there is a good chance of seeing the bar-tailed godwit, turnstone, and perhaps other migratory waders.

Day 5

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Auckland Islands - Carnley Harbour

These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by and harbor tales of castaways and coastwatchers. If weather and sea conditions are suitable, energetic expeditioners are able to climb to the southwest Cape shy albatross colony where Gibson’s wandering albatross nest amongst the tussocks above the colony.

Day 6

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

Expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey from the Auckland Islands to Macquarie Island with great views of species such as the royal albatrosses, wandering albatrosses, shy albatross, black-browed albatross, white-chinned petrel, diving-petrel, little shearwaters, storm-petrel and to confuse everybody, numerous prion species.

Days 7-8

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Macquarie Island

Arrive at Macquarie Island, the only place in the world to see the breeding royal penguin - there is an abundance of these here as this remote outpost supports a breathtaking concentration of wildlife. You won't soon forget your first experience of a noisy ‘penguin city’ where you are witness to a thousand chattering, feeding chicks, territorial disputes, petty pilfering, and courtship displays - king, gentoo and rockhopper penguins can be seen here. Meet with Park Rangers and seek out the thousands of southern elephant seals lolling on the beaches and along the coast. Redpolls and imperial shag can often be spotted.

Day 9

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

At sea en route to Campbell Island, see a broad range of species, such as those seen while traveling to Macquarie Island from the Auckland Islands. Relax in the ship’s bar or catch up on your reading in the library.

Day 10

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Campbell Island - Perseverance Harbor

Drop anchor in Perseverance Harbor. Once on shore walk to the nesting site of the southern royal albatross or to Northwest Bay, and pass beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. During the day ashore you should see the Campbell Island shag, southern skua, Antarctic tern, dunnock, New Zealand pipit, Campbell Island teal and hopefully the elusive Campbell Island snipe.

Day 11

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

Join your crew and fellow passengers on the bridge, where all eyes are on lookout for species commonly seen in this area: black-browed albatross, Campbell Island albatross, light-mantled sooty albatross, Salvin’s albatross, sooty shearwater, and little shearwater. There should be plenty of petrels and again the hard to identify prion species.

Day 12

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Antipodes Island

Antipodes Island is one of the most isolated, least known, and rugged of New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands. Landings are not permitted here, so plan to cruise along the coastline by Zodiac looking for the endemic Antipodes Island and Reischek’s parakeet. You may also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand pipit, and with half the world population of erect-crested penguins here, you should encounter one or two as well as Antarctic terns and kelp gulls.

Day 13

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Bounty Islands

These inhospitable granite islets are home to thousands of Salvin’s albatross, erect-crested penguins, fulmar prions and the endemic Bounty Island shag, the world’s rarest. At sea you should spot wandering albatross species, northern royal albatross, mottled petrel, soft-plumaged petrel, broad-billed prion, white-chinned petrel and black-bellied storm petrels as well as Wilson’s storm petrel.

Day 14

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea and Pyramid Rock

As the Spirit of Enderby continues toward the Chatham Archipelago, there are excellent opportunities for pelagic birding. Towards evening as your ship approaches the islands, take note that you are closer to the subantarctic and sub tropical convergence and you can begin to see a subtle change in the species composition. Late this afternoon arrive at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island albatross.

Day 15

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Chatham Islands - Waitangi

This morning go ashore on the main island where you might see the endemic Chatham Island shag and along the coast the Chatham Island oystercatcher. Visit a private bush reserve on the south coast to see the Chatham Island warbler, Chatham Island pigeon, and tui. This afternoon take another look for the magenta and Chatham Island petrels.

Day 16

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

South East Island and Mangere Islands

Arrive early morning at South East Island, one of the world’s greatest nature reserves. Here plan to Zodiac cruise to see the endangered shore plover. Be sure to also keep your eyes peeled for the Pitt Island shag. Before departing the archipelago, visit the Mangere Islands from where the endemic black robin was rescued.

Days 17-18

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

En route to Dunedin cross what is known as the Chatham Rise. It is a relatively shallow nutrient-rich area of water, compared with the rest of the surrounding ocean, and it is also one of the best places for pelagic watching with an overlap of both northern or more temperate species and birds from southern latitudes. Expect to see royal albatross, wandering albatross, westland black petrel, Cook’s petrel, and much more.

Day 19

  • Breakfast

Disembark in Dunedin, New Zealand

Your adventure ends at this historic Otago Harbor. Early this morning arrive in port and after a final breakfast, say your farewells before disembarking and transferring by complimentary coach to either a central city point or to the airport.

 Main Deck TripleMain deckSuperiorSuperior PlusMini SuiteHeritage Suite
Landing Fees: $800 per person
- 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.

Landings at the Subantarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the governments of New Zealand and Australia. No landings are permitted at Snares, Antipodes and Bounty Islands and South East in the Chatham Island group.

Circumstances may be encountered during your voyage which 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.

Cruise fare includes:
- Pre/Post cruise transfers
- One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
- All on board ship accommodation with meals
- All shore excursions and activities, excluding optional specialized birding and kayaking programs

Cruise fare does not include:
- Government landing fees
- All items of a personal nature: laundry, drinks, gratuities
- International/domestic flights
- Visas
- Extensions
- Travel insurance