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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|Landing Fees: $800 per person|