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Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: New Zealand and Australia's Subantarctic Islands

Hobart - Queenstown - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Adventurer
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Embark on this 13-day cruise aboard the Heritage Adventurer and discover breathtaking destinations with a team of highly knowledgeable and passionate experts. This expedition is an exceptional opportunity to explore the Southern Ocean ecosystem, which is both educational and inspiring. The Subantarctic Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located south of New Zealand, boast exceptional biodiversity and enjoy the highest level of conservation and protection status. Access to these islands is restricted to permit holders only. What sets this trip apart is the chance to visit four of these islands - Snares, Auckland, Macquarie, and Campbell - making it a truly remarkable journey.



 
Traveler photographing the unique plant life.Travelers relax on the beautiful beach.The Red-crowned Parakeet.Sea lions resting on the beach.
Highlights
  • Explore wildlife-rich Macquarie Island, home of endemic royal penguins.
  • Venture by Zodiac and on foot to the Snares, Auckland, and Campbell Islands.
  • View a vast array of flora, albatross, penguins, petrels, & elephant seals.
  • Appreciate the biodiversity & importance of the islands as wildlife refuge.
  • Discover Campbell Island rich history, farming practices and more
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Hobart, Australia

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in Hobart, capital of Australia’s Island state of Tasmania and make your way to the designated hotel where you can spend the first night of the expedition. This bustling port town is rich in culture and colonial history, and features a renowned foodie scene all wrapped in stunning waterfront surrounds. This evening there 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: Port of Hobart | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant before departing for the Port of Hobart to embark on your ship. You can have time to settle into your cabin and familiarize yourself with the ship. Early afternoon you depart the Port of Hobart, the center for the Southern Ocean whaling and sealing trade; it is now a busy seaport and also serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as the ship sails across Storm Bay. You sail past Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula and set your course for Macquarie Island.

Day 3-4: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you make your way south through the Roaring Forties to Macquarie Island, prepare for your visit, and there can be a series of lectures on the biology and history of the island and the Southern Ocean. Birding opportunities may include the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, and Little Shearwater. Other species to be on the lookout for include the Soft-plumaged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Grey-faced Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Wilson’s Storm-petrel, Black-bellied Storm-petrel, and Common Diving-petrel.

Day 5-6: Macquarie Island

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The great Australian Antarctic Explorer Sir Douglas Mawson once called Macquarie Island “One of the wonder spots of the world”. You are about to discover why as you spend two days exploring this amazing Island. It was one of the first of the Subantarctic Islands to obtain World Heritage Status and that was largely due to its unique geology. It is one of the few places on Earth where mid-ocean crustal rocks are exposed at the surface due to the collision of the Australian and Pacific Plates.

“Macca”, as it is affectionately known by its resident ranger population, was discovered in 1810 and was soon ravaged by sealers who introduced various animals including rats, mice, cats, and rabbits. The native bird population was virtually eliminated and plants were destroyed. The Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service, which administers the island, embarked on a very ambitious 7-year eradication program resulting in the island earning pest-free status in 2014. Both the birds and plants have responded and it is amazing to witness the regeneration and the increase in the number of birds. Macquarie Island is home to four species of penguin, Kings, Royals, Gentoo, and Rockhopper, with the Royal Penguin occurring nowhere else in the world. During your visit, you land at two sites (subject to weather and sea conditions) and you can get a chance to observe and photograph all four species. Macquarie also has a large population of Southern Elephant Seals. Pups are born in October and weaned in November when the breeding adults return to the sea. The weaners and sub-adults lie around on the beaches. The weaners go to sea sometime in January, running the gauntlet of Orcas or Killer Whales waiting offshore. Macquarie Island is also home to one of the longest, continuously occupied bases in the Subantarctic – the Australian Antarctic Research Base at Buckles Bay. The original base was established in 1947 and the island has been ‘manned’ since then.

Day 7: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing east through the Furious Fifties, also known as the Albatross latitudes, you have a series of informal lectures on the biology and history of the Subantarctic Islands and prepare for your visit to Campbell Island. Species that you may see include the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern, and Southern Giant Petrel. There should be plenty of prions including Fairy, Fulmar, and Antarctic, identifying them is not easy – but you should get some great views.

Day 8-9: Campbell Island | Perseverance Harbour

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
You have two days to explore Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost Subantarctic territory. Its history is as rich and varied as the other islands you have visited. Discovered in 1810 (by the same sealing captain who discovered Macquarie Island) it too was soon occupied by sealers who introduced rats and cats. In 1895 the New Zealand government advertised the island as a pastoral lease. The lease was taken up by an entrepreneurial New Zealand sheep farmer who stocked the island with sheep and cattle. The farming practices, which included burning the scrub, modified the island considerably. The farming lasted until 1934 when it was abandoned. Coastwatchers were stationed on the island during the war, at the end of the war the station was taken over by the New Zealand Meteorological Service which maintained a manned weather/research station on the island until 1995.

In the early 1970s the island was fenced in half and stock was removed from the northern half. The impacts of the remaining animals were monitored and were all eventually removed in 1990. The vegetation recovered quickly and the cats died out naturally. With the island declared predator free in 2003, the way was clear to reintroduce the endangered Campbell Island Flightless Teal, which had been rediscovered on an offshore island in 1975. Snipe, which were formerly unknown from the island but were discovered on another offshore island, recolonized the islands themselves. The vegetation which the great English botanist Sir Joseph Hooker described in 1841 as having a “Flora display second to none outside the tropics” is flourishing and is nothing short of spectacular. You are offered a number of options to explore the island. There can be extended walks to Northwest Bay and also be 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 mega herbs for which the island is renowned.

Day 10: Auckland Islands | Carnley Harbour

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Auckland Islands group was formed by two volcanoes that erupted millions of years ago. It has subsequently been eroded and dissected by glaciation creating the archipelago as you know it today. 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. You enter the harbor through the eastern entrance which is guarded on both sides by dramatic cliffs and rugged, tussock-covered hills. The more energetic expeditioners may climb to the South West Cape and visit the Shy Albatross colony. This climb provides magnificent views in all directions, especially over the western entrance to Carnley Harbour, Adams Island, and Western Harbour. For those not climbing there is an opportunity to Zodiac cruise along the coast of Adams Island and Western Harbour, with landings at the latter. 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. All five men aboard survived and lived here for 18 months before sailing their modified dinghy to New Zealand to get help.

Day 11: Auckland Islands | Enderby Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enderby Island is one of the most beautiful islands in this group and is named after the same distinguished shipping family as one of your former vessels. 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 was cleared of all introduced animals (pests) in 1994 and both birds and the vegetation, especially the herbaceous plants, are recovering both in numbers and diversity. Your plan is to land at Sandy Bay, one of three breeding areas in the Auckland Islands for the Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lions, a rare member of the seal family. Beachmaster bulls gather on the beach, defending their harems. Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion numbers are in a slow decline, for reasons which are not obvious but most probably connected with a nearby squid fishery. During your day ashore there are several options, some longer walks, some shorter walks, and time to spend just sitting and enjoying the wildlife. The walking is relatively easy, a boardwalk traverses the island to the dramatic western cliffs, and 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 observing the Subantarctic Snipe.

Day 12: The Snares | North East Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The closest Subantarctic Islands to New Zealand, were appropriately called The Snares as it were once considered a hazard for sailing ships. Comprising of two main islands and a group of five islands called the Western Chain; are uninhabited and enjoy the highest protection as Nature Reserves. It is claimed by some that these islands are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together. You plan to arrive early in the morning and, as landings are not permitted, the Zodiac cruise along the sheltered eastern side of the main island if the weather and sea conditions are suitable. In the sheltered bays, you should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. Cape Pigeons, Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns and Red-billed Gulls are also present in good numbers. There are hundreds of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters nesting on The Snares; the actual number is much debated. This afternoon en route to the Port of Bluff, take the opportunity to relax and reflect on an amazing experience. You can recap the highlights of your expedition and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight as you complete the last few miles of your journey.

Day 13: Invercargill/Queenstown | Disembark

Early this morning you arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast, you bid farewell to your fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either Invercargill or Queenstown Airports. In case of unexpected delays due to weather and/or port operations, you are asked not to book any onward travel until after midday from Invercargill and after 3 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 is going to keep 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.‚Äč

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Adventurer

Dining area
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,725
Superior Triple
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
  • Complimentary boot rental is available. However, due to the limited supply of boots available aboard the ship, it is recommended that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. Youth size boots are not available.
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
  • All expedition shore excursions
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
  • Local payment
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

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