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Queenstown

Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific: Subantarctic Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Shokalskiy
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You won't find them mentioned in a travel brochure, you won't find them in most guidebooks, you probably don't know anyone that has ever been there, and they don't even appear on some maps of the South Pacific - these are the 'forgotten islands'. Despite their low profile, they are among the most remarkable wildlife reserves in the Southern Ocean, designated UNESCO World Heritage sites and afforded the highest protection of any nature reserves in New Zealand. Remote, uninhabited, and on no regular shipping route, access is further restricted by a strict Management Plan which limits the number of people allowed ashore each year. Join this 8-day voyage for your opportunity to visit these remarkable islands, home to a priceless ecosystem.
QueenstownQueenstown
Highlights
  • Discover part of New Zealand that few have been privileged enough to visit
  • Hike through windswept Rata forests, and along exposed coastal cliffs
  • Visit abandoned WWII Coastwatcher’s huts, a shipwreck, and castaway depots
  • Explore some of the most remarkable wildlife reserves in the Southern Ocean
  • Witness the flowering of megaherbs, which paint the landscape vivid colors
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Queenstown

Make your way to the designated hotel where we will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of our expedition team.

Day 2: Port of Bluff | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant and have the morning free to explore Queenstown before returning to the hotel for lunch and departing for the Port of Bluff to embark your ship. You will have time to settle into your cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship; we will also take the opportunity to conduct a number of safety briefings. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as we set our course to Campbell Island and our adventure begins. We will sail past Ruapuke Island, formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of over 200 people. We will also be able to see Stewart Island. Despite appearing quite small on most maps it is really quite large and has a 700 kilometer coastline. Seabirds that we may encounter at this early point in the voyage include albatross, petrels, cormorants, gulls, and Little Blue Penguins.

Day 3: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As we make our way through the Southern Ocean we take the opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna as we prepare for our arrival at Campbell Island. En route there are great birding opportunities which may include the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel, Sooty Shearwater and Little Shearwater. There should be plenty of petrels and again the hard to identify prion species. We can expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey from Bluff to Campbell Island with great views during the crossing.

Day 4: Campbell Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
 Explore Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost Subantarctic territory. A number of options which will enable you to explore the island including an extended walk to Northwest Bay. There will also be an easier walk to the Col Lyall Saddle. All of these options will allow you the opportunity and time to enjoy the Southern Royal Albatross which nest here in large numbers. We also visit areas of the island which contain outstanding examples of the megaherbs for which the island is renowned.

Day 5: Auckland Islands | Carnley Harbour

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the south of the archipelago, there is a very large sheltered harbor rich in human history including shipwrecks, treasure hunters, Coastwatchers and, of course, scientific parties. We plan to arrive mid-morning entering the harbor through the eastern entrance which is guarded on both sides by dramatic cliffs and climb there will be an opportunity to Zodiac cruise along the coast of Adams Island, Western Harbour and Victoria Passage. Other options include the Tagua Bay Coastwatcher’s hut and lookout which was occupied during the Second World War. We could visit Epigwatt and the remains of the ‘Grafton’ which was wrecked here in 1864. Later in the evening, we will sail up the eastern coast, making our way to Port Ross in preparation for our landing at Enderby Island.

Day 6: Auckland Islands | Enderby Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enderby Island is one of the most beautiful islands in this group. This northernmost island in the archipelago is an outstanding wildlife and birding location and is relatively easy to land on and walk around. The island is home to the Hooker’s, or New Zealand, sea lion which breeds on Sandy Bay beach where your crew plans to land. This animal is the rarest sea lion in the world. A boardwalk traverses the island to the dramatic western cliffs, from there we follow the coast and circumnavigate the island. Birds that we are likely to encounter include the following species: 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. There is also a very good chance of seeing the Subantarctic Snipe. On Derry Castle Reef we will look for migratory waders which could include Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone and possibly vagrants.
 

Day 7: The Snares | North East Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The largest of this group of islands is North East Island, a nature reserve of international importance and home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. Cruise the jagged coastline by Zodiac, which allows you to see some of the features of the island. In the sheltered bays, we should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds.

Day 8: Invercargill | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Spend the morning exploring Stewart and Ulva Islands. Have your final breakfast and say your farewells before disembarking and transferring by complimentary coach to either Invercargill or Queenstown Airport. 

Ship/Hotel

Akademik Shokalskiy

Akademik Shokalskiy ship photos
Dining Room
Lecture hall of the Akademik Shokalskiy

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,700
Twin Cabin
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Main Deck
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private washbasin. Nearby shower and toilet facilities are shared with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.
Superior Room
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Superior
One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Twin Private Cabin
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Superior Plus
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Superior Cabin
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Mini Suite
Separate bedroom with a double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows.
Capitan
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Heritage Suite
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows allow great views.
Triple Cabin
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Main Deck Triple
One bunk (one upper abd ibe lower berth) and one additional lower berth, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private washbasin. Nearby shower and toilet facilities are shared with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.

Notes

Landings at the Subantarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at Snares Island.

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
- All on board ship accommodation and meals
- All expedition shore excursions, excluding optional kayaking program where noted

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

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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