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Cascading waterfall in the Milford Sound

Expedition to the Albatross Latitudes: The Subantarctic & Chatham Islands

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Coral Geographer
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Aboard Coral Geographer, discover why these islands are part of New Zealand’s Subantarctic UNESCO World Heritage site. Each wilderness experience is guided by our knowledgeable expedition team, as you spot rare birds, hike through wonderful fields of mega herbs and encounter numerous species of extraordinary albatross. Ten of the world’s albatross species breed in this region, as well as the most diverse range of seabird species anywhere in the world. You will also meet some of the world’s rarest penguins, such as the yellow-eyed, eastern rockhopper, Snares, and erect-crested penguins, and the endangered New Zealand sea lion.
Sheep and landscapeExperience the local culture of New Zealand.Observe beautiful fur sealsCascading waterfall in the Milford Sound
Highlights
  • Explore the rarely-visited Dusky and Doubtful Sounds in southern Fiordland
  • Discover New Zealand’s Subantarctic UNESCO World Heritage islands
  • Spend time on Chatham Islands
  • Spot wildlife such as penguins, sea lions, and albatrosses
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Milford Sound | Embark

Board Coral Geographer at Deepwater Basin, Milford Sound at 2:00 pm for 3:00 pm departure. This afternoon, cruise spectacular Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, beneath world-famous Mitre Peak, which rises 1682 metres above the sound. Its triangular silhouette rises opposite beautiful Stirling Falls, falling from the top of a 162m high cliff between two towering ridges into the inky dark water. You may have a chance to feel the spray from the waterfall – according to Maori legend, it will make you ten years younger! The steep overhanging cliffs are awe-inspiring and if weather permits, you may see the late sunset lighting the peaks surrounding the sound.

Day 2-16: The Subantarctic & Chatham Islands

  • Ship
  • 13 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 13 Dinners
Throughout this expedition, the Master and Expedition Team may make changes to the itinerary around weather conditions and other factors to maximize your expeditionary experience. Below are the key destinations to visit.

DOUBTFUL SOUND & DUSKY SOUND
Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site once described as the Eighth Wonder of the World, is characterized by 14 fiords carving through just 215km of coastline. This morning, we enter dramatic Tamatea / Dusky Sound to cruise past the towering cliffs and sheet granite walls of Facile Harbor, and explore the sheltered inlets by zodiac. Doubtful Sound / Patea is flanked by towering cliffs and adorned by cascading waterfalls. The stillness and silence of this fiord is compelling and unforgettable, especially in the afternoon light. You may spot lounging fur seals, dolphins, and the Fiordland penguin.

STEWART ISLAND / RAKIURA
Known in Maori mythology as Te Punga o Te Waka – ‘The Anchor Stone of Maui’s Canoe’ - Stewart Island is New Zealand’s little visited ‘third island’. On Ulva Island, take a guided walk to spot rare birdlife, including the Rifleman, Weka, and Kereru. Explore the village of Oban, and cruise to Prices Point Whaling Station to learn the region’s history.

SNARES ISLANDS / TINI HEKE
This morning, sail into your first Sub-Antarctic anchorage at the Snares Islands. The most pristine place in New Zealand, the islands are protected as part of the Subantarctic Islands World Heritage Site and landing ashore is prohibited. We may cruise along the sheltered eastern side of the island to observe unique mega herbs and the many bird species which nest here, including the Snares Penguin, sooty shearwater, and Buller’s Albatross.

AUCKLAND ISLANDS / MOTU MAHA
360 kilometers south of Stewart Island, the Auckland Islands are known for their towering mountains and slopes blooming with southern rata and mega herbs. We will go ashore at Enderby Island to spot many of the unique birds that nest here, including the Southern Royal Albatross, northern giant petrel, and yellow-eyed penguin. On Auckland Island, explore the remains of Hardwicke Settlement, abandoned in the early 1800s, and climb the slopes to observe the shy albatross colony and take in the view. Cruise by zodiac through the sheltered inlets of Carnley Harbour and spot rare sea lions, or visit other historic sites.

MACQUARIE ISLAND
Discovered in 1810 by the Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough, Macquarie Island is a natural wonder. Added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997, it is the only location where rocks from the earth’s mantle are exposed above sea level. The island is home to the entire royal penguin population during breeding season, as well as numerous other species including king penguins. Seal species include fur seals and elephant seals. Cruise Lusitania Bay to take in the awe-inspiring site of thousands of penguins, go ashore to visit the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition, and marvel at the diverse wildlife.

CAMPBELL ISLAND / MOTU IHUPUKU
Campbell Island is New Zealand’s most southern island. Over many years it was the location for sealing, whaling, and farming endeavors, but was declared a nature reserve in 1954. Go ashore at Perseverance Harbour, the location for the now automated meteorological station, to observe the otherworldly flora display of mega herbs, including the Campbell Island daisy, the Silver Leaf Daisy and the Campbell Island Carrot. Walk carefully along the protected pathways to spot some of the six species of albatross that breed here, as well as rare yellow-eyed penguins and many other birds, and visit the ‘world’s loneliest tree’, a Sitka Spruce over 100 years old.

ANTIPODES ISLANDS
The Antipodes Island group, volcanic and uninhabited, are part of the New Zealand Subantarctic World Heritage site. The steep and rocky islands are recognized as an Important Bird Area. We may spot the southern rockhopper and erect-crested penguins, albatrosses, petrels, and the Antipodes snipe, pipit and parakeet. The islands are surrounded by basalt cliffs emerging from the sea, hollowed by sea caves, and blanketed by mist. Here, we will cruise the coastline to spot birds and admire the landscape of tussock grass, shield fern and mega herbs.

CHATHAM ISLANDS
The Chatham Islands, a territory of New Zealand, have sustained human settlement for centuries. For over 400 years, the original Moriori settlers were isolated from the outside world. Over two days, explore these islands and meet the local people. On tender cruises around Mangere Island and Pyramid Rock, look for endemic species such as the Forbes’ parakeet, Chatham Island Shag, and perhaps the critically endangered Taiko and Black Robin. Visit the main settlement of Waitangi, and learn about Moriori and European history at Pitt Island.

Day 17: Wellington | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning, arrive at Wellington to disembark at 8:00 am.

Ship/Hotel

Coral Geographer

Coral Geographer
Coral Geographer Deck

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$9,500
Coral Deck Stateroom
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Coral Deck Stateroom
Located on the Coral Deck, these 17 Sq m staterooms are furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. A compact en-suite bathroom has a toilet, shower and ample storage. Twin porthole windows give you views of the world outside.
Promenade Deck Stateroom
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Promenade Deck Stateroom
Located on the Promenade Deck, these 17 Sq m staterooms are furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. A compact en-suite bathroom has a toilet, shower and ample storage. A large picture window gives you wide views of the world outside.
Coral Geographer
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Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom
These 21.4 Sq m staterooms are comfortably furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. A compact en-suite bathroom has a toilet, shower and ample storage. Your private balcony has seating for two from which to view the passing coastal vistas. These staterooms are located on the Explorer deck.
Bridge Deck Balcony Suite
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Bridge Deck Balcony Suite
Bridge Deck Balcony Suites are equipped with a lounge area, minibar and personal coffee machine. Along with special King sized beds which can be separated into two singles. An 3.5 sq m private balcony has an outdoor daybed and lounge chair for two.

Notes

Cruise Price Includes:
  • The services of an expert expedition team
  • All excursions, including Xplorer and zodiac cruises
  • Local operator excursions at some locations
  • All meals, prepared fresh by our chefs
  • Showcase wines, selected beers and soft drinks with lunch and dinner service
  • 24 hour coffee and selection of teas
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access with the Captain
  • Guided sightseeing in each destination
  • All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
  • Pre-cruise transfers from Queenstown to Milford Sound
  • Post-cruise transfers to Wellington CBD hotels and airport

Cruise Price Excludes:
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Entry visas or travel permits
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted) laundry charges and souvenir purchase
Included
  • 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners
  • 16 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Gear Rental - Snorkeling equipment
  • All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Lectures, workshops and demonstrations onboard
  • Selected beers, wines and house spirits and soft drinks with lunch and dinner service.
  • 24-hour soft drinks, tea, and barista-style coffee
  • Captain's welcome and farewell drinks 
  • Expert Expedition Team and Guest Lecturers
  • Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and kayaks
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Scuba Diving
  • Laundry Service
  • Entry visas/Travel permits
  • Alcoholic drinks including beer and wine outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Internet 

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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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