Birding Down Under 2014 Cruise

Soak in the scenery on Campbell Island
Meghan Kelly
Penguins rushing up the rocky shore.
L Tough
Tree cover on the islands of New Zealand.
K Ovsyanikova
Enjoy the abundant variety of birds.
Meghan Kelly
Baby penguin stands in the middle of hundreds of penguins.
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 17-day expedition, one of a number operated each year by Heritage Expeditions, is the only one to include all of these islands.

Day 1

    Christchurch, New Zealand

    Arrive in Christchurch and enjoy a complimentary night’s accommodation at a city hotel. This evening at an informal dinner meet other members of the expedition and some of your expedition team.

    Day 2

      Fly to Chatham Islands / Embark

      Transfer to Christchurch airport for the charter flight to the Chatham Islands; on arrival transfer to the Spirit of Enderby. Familiarize yourself on board and meet the rest of the expedition team.

      Day 3

        Chatham Islands / Waitangi

        After an early breakfast go ashore on the main Chatham Islands 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 evening take another look for the Magenta and Chatham Island Petrels as the ship cruises the southern coastline of the main island.

        Day 4

          Pyramid Rock, South East Island and Mangere Islands

          Arrive early morning at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross. Then at South East Island one of the world’s greatest nature reserves, join a Zodiac cruise to see the endangered Shore Plover. 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.

          Day 5

            At Sea

            Continue south towards the Bounty Islands, pelagic birding should be good and includes (among others) 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 6

              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. If sea conditions permit, plan a Zodiac cruise here for a closer look at some of these species.

              Day 7

                Antipodes Islands

                One of the most isolated, least known and rugged of the Subantarctic Islands; landings are not permitted, so you can cruise along the coast 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, there is high probablity of an encounter with one or two, as well as Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls.

                Day 8

                  At Sea

                  Join your crew on the bridge, where you can keep a keen 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 the hard to identify prion species.

                  Day 9

                    Campbell Island - Perseverance Harbor

                    Drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour. Once on shore walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross or to Northwest Bay, 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 10

                      At Sea

                      Keep a keen lookout for cetaceans, albatross and petrels today, relax in the ship’s bar or catch up on your reading in the library.

                      Days 11-12

                        Macquarie Islands

                        The only place in the world where the beautiful Royal Penguin breeds, this remote outpost supports a breath-taking 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 13

                          At Sea

                          Expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey with great views of species such as the Royal Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, White-chinned Petrel, diving-petrel, Little Shearwaters, storm-petrels and - to confuse everybody - numerous prion species.

                          Day 14

                            Auckland Islands - Carnley Harbour

                            These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone, they harbor tales of castaways and coastwatchers. If weather and sea conditions are suitable, energetic expeditioners are able to climb to the South West Cape Shy Albatross colony where Gibson’s Wandering Albatross nest amongst the tussocks above the colony.

                            Day 15

                              Auckland Islands - Enderby Island

                              Enderby Island is a great place to view birds and wildlife. We 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. 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 16

                                The Snares - North East Island

                                Cruise by Zodiac if weather and sea conditions are suitable along the sheltered eastern side of North East Island. Look out for the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. Also you should 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 17

                                  Disembark in Invercargill, New Zealand

                                  Early this morning arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast bid farewell to your fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point or to the airport.

                                  - 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.

                                  Trip Includes: Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (inc. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions. Land fees based on 2013 rates, 2014 rates TBA.

                                  Trip Does Not Include: All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.