Have questions? We're here.
Queenstown, New Zealand

Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific: Subantarctic Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Adventurer
Talk with an expert
Build your ideal New Zealand trip. Call 1.406.541.2677
Start Planning My Trip
You won't find them featured in a travel brochure, you won't find them in most guidebooks, you're unlikely to know anybody who has visited, and they don't even appear on some South Pacific maps - these are the 'forgotten islands'. Despite their modest profile, they are some of the most outstanding wildlife reserves in the Southern Ocean, having been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites and receiving the greatest level of protection available to New Zealand's nature reserves. Access is further regulated by a strict Management Plan that limits the number of individuals permitted ashore each year. Join this eight-day voyage to discover these magnificent islands, which are home to a precious environment.
Queenstown, New ZealandQueenstown, New ZealandQueenstown, New Zealand
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
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
0

Full Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Queenstown, New Zealand

  • 1 Dinner
Make your way to the designated hotel where you'll spend the first night of the expedition. This evening is an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of your expedition team.

Day 2: Embark in Port of Bluff

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'll have time to settle into your cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship; you'll 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 you set your course to Campbell Island and your adventure begins. You'll sail past Ruapuke Island, formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of over 200 people. You'll 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 you may encounter at this early point in the voyage include albatross, petrels, cormorants, gulls, and Little Blue Penguins.

Day 3: At Sea

As you make your way through the Southern Ocean you take the opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna as you prepare for your 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. You 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

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

Day 5: Auckland Islands | Carnley Harbour

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. The plan is to arrive mid-morning entering the harbor through the eastern entrance which is guarded on both sides by dramatic cliffs and climb there 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. You could visit Epigwatt and the remains of the ‘Grafton’ which was wrecked here in 1864. Later in the evening, you'll sail up the eastern coast, making your way to Port Ross in preparation for your landing at Enderby Island.

Day 6: Auckland Islands | Enderby Island

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, you follow the coast and circumnavigate the island. Birds that you 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 you'll look for migratory waders which could include Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, and possibly vagrants.
 

Day 7: The Snares | North East Island

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, you should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit, and Fernbirds.

Day 8: Stewart Island | Invercargill | Queenstown | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Spend the morning exploring Stewart and Ulva Islands. Rich in history and wildlife, Ulva Island has been predator-free since 1997 and its bird song and wildlife is some of the best in New Zealand. Say your farewells be transferred to either Invercargill or Queenstown Airport. In case of unexpected delays, you are asked not to book any onward travel from Invercargill before 3 pm or before 6 pm from Queenstown. Note: During your voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader keeps you fully informed. Landings at the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at The Snares.

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Adventurer

Dining area
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant

Akademik Shokalskiy

Lecture hall of the Akademik Shokalskiy

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Deals

Save 20%: Second Wave 2025-26 Season Launch 24461
Book by July 31, 2024, and SAVE 20% Early Bird on select departures for the Second Wave 2025-26 season. This offer is subject to availability for new bookings and cannot be combined with other discounts. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.
Applies to Dec 21, 2025 departure

Per person starting at
$5,850 2-3 travelers
Superior Triple
Select a Date
Superior Triple
Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Main deck
Select a Date
Main Deck Triple
Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Deck 4 Superior
Select a Date
Deck 4 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 4 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Deck 5 Superior
Select a Date
Deck 5 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Main deck
Select a Date
Main Deck Single
Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Superior Single
Select a Date
Superior Single
Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Worseley Suite
Select a Date
Worsley Suite
Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaise-style lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Suite
Select a Date
Heritage Suite
Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table, and chairs, and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub, and shower, large writing desk, floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage and a flat-screen entertainment system.

Notes

- 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.
-Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a minimum of US$100,000 per person required. Contact us for details on arranging travel insurance.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Year Built: 1991
Shipyard: Rauma, Finland
Classification: Lloyds 1AS, GL E4
Accommodation: 140 guests
Length: 124 metres
Beam: 18 metres
Draft: 4.97 metres
Gross Tonnage : 8,378gt
Engines: 3,940 horsepower (x2)
Maximum Speed: 15 knots
Cruising Speed: 12 knots
Range: 8,600 nautical miles
Zodiacs: 14
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Landing fees
  • All expedition shore excursions
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
  • Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
  • One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Required Visas if applicable
  • Laundry 
  • Mandatory medical evacuation insurance
  • Kayaking

Map

Inquire

* By providing your phone number, you consent to receive direct phone calls or SMS messages from our Trip Planners to get the process started. We do not share your information with third-parties.
Travel Agents

We Love to Talk Travel

Call 1.800.344.6118
or
Chat Now
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney
More Reasons

Why Travel With Adventure Life

All News

Recognized By