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Colorful trees in Osaka

Western Pacific Odyssey - Extension

Example 25 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Adventurer
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Embark on a 25 day expedition from Auckland to Kavieng with Heritage Adventurer, a birdwatcher's dream come true. Explore the Mokohinau Islands, Norfolk Island, and New Caledonia, encountering rare seabirds like the New Zealand Storm Petrel and Kagu. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Norfolk Island and the diverse ecosystems of New Caledonia. Explore the spectacular forests of Riviere Bleue, home to endemic birds and extraordinary botany. Sail through the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, experiencing tropical seabird and marine mammal watching. Highlights include the Polynesian Storm Petrel, Bougainville's unique bird species, and the elusive Beck's Petrel. The journey concludes in Kavieng, known for its ancient Malagan culture. Depart with a lifetime of birdwatching memories and a deeper understanding of the Western Pacific's natural wonders.
New CaledoniaRiverside view of HiroshimaNorfolk IslandNew Caledonia IslandsColorful trees in Osaka
Highlights
  • Sail through the rich waters of the Hauraki Gulf
  • Explore Norfolk Island's endemic birds and rugged shoreline
  • Witness rare pelagic seabirds, tropical seabird and marine mammal watching
  • Visit diverse ecosystems, from rainforests to remote beaches
Places Visited
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.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Auckland, New Zealand | Embark

Join Heritage Adventurer this afternoon in the heart of New Zealand’s commercial capital, Auckland. Upon your arrival, your Captain and Expedition Team will be eagerly waiting to greet you and guide you to your cabin. Take some time to settle in and become acquainted with the ship. Seize the opportunity to get to know your Expedition Team and Guides as they introduce themselves and share exciting voyage plans. Feel free to join them in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as you embark on a journey to the Hauraki Gulf.

Day 2: Mokohinau Islands and the Hauraki Gulf

You will find yourself at daybreak in the Mokohinau Islands (known locally as the Mokes), a group of small islands in the Hauraki Gulf. These predator-free islands are a haven for breeding seabirds, and you should start your voyage with a wonderful selection of seabirds around the ship. Grey Noddy are usually to be found perching on some of the rocks, and there is an Australasian Gannet colony here as well. As you head further out to sea, you will focus on looking for the New Zealand Storm Petrel. The species' recent and astonishing discovery is now well known, along with the fact that it is breeding at Little Barrier Island. You have never missed this special bird and usually find several. Indeed, this whole area offers fantastic seabirding, and some of the other species you can hope to see are Little Blue Penguin; Black, Grey-faced, Cook's, and possibly Pycroft's Petrel, Buller's, Flesh-footed, Fluttering, and Little Shearwater, Fairy Prion, White-faced Storm Petrel, and Common Diving Petrel. In addition, this area is a good feeding ground for albatross, and you are likely to see several species, including White-capped, Campbell, Buller's, and Antipodean Albatross. The waters of the Hauraki Gulf usually have a few cetaceans around, including Short-beaked Common Dolphin, Long-finned Pilot Whale, and occasionally Bryde's Whale.

Day 3: At Sea

Today, you spend the day sailing north to Norfolk Island, passing through rich waters for seabirds. These deep, far offshore waters offer an impressive mix of Pterodroma/Gadfly Petrels, and you hope to see Grey-faced, Kermadec, White-necked, Blackwinged, Cook’s, Gould’s, and Tahiti Petrel. Good numbers of albatross should be around, and they will be some of the last you see until you enter the realm of their Northern Hemisphere cousins much later in the journey. Sometimes, beaked whales are seen in these deep waters, and several species of these enigmatic cetaceans occur here. You stand a good chance to see Sperm Whales as well.

Day 4: Norfolk Island

This far-flung island, named by Captain James Cook, has a rich history. Initially inhabited by Polynesians, it later served as a penal colony and was then colonized by descendants of The Bounty mutineers. The famous and picturesque Norfolk Island Pine dominates the landscape over much of the island, along with palms and the world's tallest tree ferns. Sadly, much of the incredible array of endemic wildlife that this island once held is extinct following the arrival of humans and their commensals, but the remaining forests are magnificent and still support a selection of endemic birds: Norfolk Parakeet, Slender-billed White-eye, Norfolk Robin, and Norfolk Gerygone. Also found here are Pacific Emerald Dove, Golden Whistler, and Grey Fantail. During your time ashore, there may also be an opportunity to see some nesting seabirds, including Black Noddy, White Tern, and spectacular Red-tailed Tropicbirds. As you depart the island in the latter part of the afternoon, there will be some excellent opportunities for more seabirding. The Island's breeding seabird population was decimated but is making a steady recovery with predator control. You will be on the lookout here for 'Tasman' Brown Booby, White-bellied and White-faced Storm Petrel, Little Shearwater, and, in some years, Providence Petrel have also been observed.

Day 5: At Sea

As you sail north through the Coral Sea, you can expect yet another excellent day of seabirding from the decks. Once again, those amazing Pterodroma petrels should provide much of the entertainment, and today you will be looking for more Kermadec, White-necked, Black-winged, Gould's, and Tahiti Petrel. If you are lucky, there may be a few Providence or even Herald Petrels around, and you should encounter your first Collared Petrels of the voyage. Both the light and dark morph of this species should be encountered, with the dark morph often being referred to as Magnificent Petrel. Pay particular attention to storm petrels on this leg of the journey. In addition to Wilson's and White-faced Storm Petrel, you hope to see White-bellied Storm Petrel and, with luck, even Polynesian Storm Petrel. It is on this transit that you began seeing a mysterious Storm Petrel in the early days of the WPO. The bird is now recognized as being the rediscovery of the long-lost Fregetta lineata and is known as the New Caledonian Storm Petrel. The species appears to be quite rare and hard to see here, but you have managed to observe it on several occasions to the south of its presumed breeding grounds somewhere around New Caledonia.

Day 6: Riviere Bleue, New Caledonia

New Caledonia has been described as a taste of France in the Pacific and is one of the most fascinating islands in the world. First inhabited by Lapita peoples, it was named by Captain James Cook who felt it reminded him of Scotland. New Caledonia is a fragment of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, and it is believed that it detached and became an island tens of millions of years ago. Isolation over such a long period of time on a relatively large tropical island explains both the extent of biodiversity and the incredible levels of endemism on this delightful tropical island. Its botany is characterized by an extraordinary diversity of gymnosperms, particularly the spectacular Araucaria Trees, along with some of the largest tree ferns on Earth. It also holds the most ancient lineage of flowering plants and the largest gecko in the world. In common with so many Pacific Islands, there was a tragic extinction of many amazing birds upon the arrival of humans, yet the island still plays host to an extraordinary number of endemic species. Foremost of these is, of course, the Kagu, the sole surviving member of its family. This extraordinary, flightless bird is now readily seen in Riviere Bleue, thanks to a massive conservation effort. You will be visiting this special reserve today to seek out the Kagu. Everyone has seen the pictures but to experience this unique creature in the feathers is a lifetime birding highlight. Also here are almost all of the island’s other endemic birds, headlined by the spectacular Cloven-feathered Dove, Horned Parakeet, and the critically endangered and often tricky to see Crow Honeyeater. The long list of other endemics includes Goliath Imperial-pigeon, White-bellied Goshawk, New Caledonian Parakeet, New Caledonian Myzomela, New Caledonian Whistler, the tool-using New Caledonian Crow, South Melanesian Cuckooshrike, New Caledonian Friarbird, Barred Honeyeater, Yellow-bellied Robin, Green-backed White-eye, and Red-throated Parrotfinch. Your time here at Riviere Bleue is a chance to immerse yourself into one of the most spectacular and well-protected forests on the island and experience not only the birdlife but also some of the extraordinary botany as well.

Day 7: Mount Koghi

With another morning of birding on this special island, you visit the slightly higher forest elevations of Mount Koghi. Your time here is spent looking for any birds missed yesterday. These forests tend to be better for White-bellied Goshawk, Cloven-feathered Dove, New Caledonian Crow, and Striated Starling; even the poorly known and rarely observed New Caledonian Thicketbird occurs here. Other birds to keep an eye out for include Streaked Fantail, Southern Shrikebill, and Metallic Pigeon. Those so inclined may wish to spend some time exploring the capital of Noumea or enjoy a swim. Once back on board, you sail along the world’s longest, continuous barrier reef systems, a very scenic cruise with some interesting birds, including Fairy Tern. Once beyond the reef, you should see large numbers of Gould’s Petrels and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, providing another opportunity to seek out the New Caledonian Storm Petrel.

Day 8-10: At Sea

Now, you have three sea days as you steam north into the tropical waters of the Solomon Islands. While the pelagic birding may slow a bit as you head into warmer waters, it remains excellent. This stretch is your best chance to observe the incredible Polynesian Storm Petrel, and you should also see Band-rumped Storm Petrel. The latter was initially discovered in this area during the WPO and seems likely to represent an unknown breeding population. You should also enjoy more Collared and Tahiti Petrels, both Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, plus hopefully watch Masked, Brown, and Red-footed Boobies hunt the dazzling array of often spectacularly colored flying fish that are abundant in these waters. As always, it is worth keeping an eye out for cetaceans, including Sperm Whales, various beaked whales, and Short-finned Pilot Whales.

Day 11: Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

A chain of almost 1,000 lushly forested islands and some of the highest levels of endemism and marine life on Earth define this remarkable, yet rarely-visited nation. You will be exploring the largest of the country’s islands, Guadalcanal. Perhaps best known to the outside world for the intense fighting that occurred here during World War II, Guadalcanal has been inhabited for many thousands of years. Its rugged and almost totally unexplored interior contrasts sharply with the thriving city of Honiara, the capital. An early morning departure from Heritage Adventurer allows you relatively quick access into some lower montane forest where along a road you can seek out a few Guadalcanal endemics and a large number of slightly more widespread Solomons endemics. Some of the more sought after species here include Ultramarine Kingfisher, Solomons Cockatoo, Guadalcanal Crow, and the huge Sanford’s/Solomon Sea Eagle. Among the long list of other possible species are Pied Goshawk, Claret-breasted Fruit-dove, Cardinal and Yellow-bibbed Lory, Buff-headed Coucal, spectacular Blyth’s Hornbill, attractive Solomons Cuckooshrike, Black-headed Myzomela, Chestnut-bellied Monarch, Steel-blue Flycatcher, Brown-winged Starling, Long-tailed Myna, and Midget Flowerpecker. It will certainly be one of your most diverse stops of the voyage!

Day 12: At Sea

Sail westwards through the Solomon Islands chain today. Because of its remarkable oceanic topography, the Solomons can offer you some of the best tropical seabird and marine mammal watching anywhere. Some transits can be teeming with life, while others can be quieter. You should experience some feeding frenzies of terns, boobies, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, and marauding Frigatebirds. You also stand a good chance of observing the strange and rare Heinroth’s Shearwater today. Marine mammal sightings in this area are always hard to predict, but you regularly see Kogias here, including Dwarf Sperm Whale, and even rare Pygmy Sperm Whales. Spinner and Pantropical Spotted Dolphin are the most regularly observed dolphin species, and Pygmy Killer Whales seem fairly regular. Blainville’s, Cuvier’s, and even Longman’s Beaked Whales have all been seen on previous voyages, while flying fish reach some of their highest diversity in this area.

Day 13: Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea

Geographically, you are entering Papua New Guinea today, but biologically, Bougainville has more in common with the Solomon Islands and is the largest island in the archipelago. With a tumultuous history, it is only fairly recently that Bougainville has reopened to tourism, but is nowadays a very welcoming destination. Happily, there is a paved road that gives easy access to some mid-elevation forest which, while somewhat degraded, still offers excellent birding. You will have more opportunities to observe Sanford’s/Solomon Sea Eagle, Solomons Cockatoo, and Ultramarine Kingfisher today, and you will be looking for endemics including the Bougainville Crow, Bougainville Monarch, and perhaps the secretive Bougainville Bush Warbler. Other new birds to look for today are many and include Yellow-throated White-eye, Bougainville White-eye, Solomons Monarch, Red-capped Myzomela, Pale Mountain Pigeon, Mackinlay’s Cuckoo Dove, and Red-knobbed Imperial Pigeon.

Day 14: At Sea | Off the coast of Bougainville

Today, you will be sailing between Bougainville and New Ireland. It is in this region that you will be looking for the Beck’s Petrel. Some of the first-ever at-sea sightings of this very poorly known seabird occurred on this voyage, and to this day, almost every birder that has observed a Beck’s Petrel has done it while on the Western Pacific Odyssey! So, you will be working hard to see this species again today. Heinroth’s Shearwater is another exciting possibility in this area. Again, cetaceans are very hard to predict, but this area is home to many infrequently seen species. It can be particularly good for Kogias (the Dwarf and Pygmy Sperm Whale), along with the blackfish: False Killer Whale, Pygmy Killer Whale, Short-finned Pilot Whale, and Melon-headed Whale. If you are fortunate enough to see the latter species, it will most likely be accompanied by the beautiful Fraser’s Dolphin.

Day 15: Kavieng

The capital of the Papua New Guinean province of New Ireland and the largest town on the island of the same name, Kavieng is known for its ancient Malagan culture. Those choosing to disembark today say their farewells after breakfast with a transfer to Kavieng Airport. For those continuing the adventure, the plan is to explore the best birding opportunities possible with the available time. You should be able to locate the endemic Mottled Mannikin/Munia. Other possibilities here include the Variable Goshawk, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Red-knobbed Imperial Pigeon, and Bismarck Crow.

Day 16-20: At Sea

  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
You now have a full five days at sea as you sail northwards. These are days to relax and catch up on notes and photos as you cross the Equator and sail through a blue desert. While the birding is slow in these deep, warm waters, there are occasional sightings of Bulwer’s Petrel, White-tailed Tropicbird, White and Sooty Tern, and both Great and Lesser Frigatebirds. In the final day or two on your approach into Japan, things should pick up considerably as exciting new species begin to make their first appearance, including Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel, Bonin Petrel, and Bannerman’s Shearwater.

Day 21: Chichi-jima Island, Japan

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You arrive at the Bonin Islands, the most remote part of Japan, with plans to complete customs at the largest of the Bonin Islands, Chichi-jima. While here, you may have time for a short walk onshore to explore the settlement and the surrounding area. During the afternoon, you look for the critically endangered Bryan’s Shearwater. This mysterious seabird was described based on a bird found in a burrow on Hawaii but is currently believed to breed only in the Bonins and in tiny numbers at that. You will be in the vicinity of its only known breeding island and will certainly try your best to see it this afternoon, along with the much more numerous Bannerman’s Shearwater.

Day 22: Haha-jima Island

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, you return south to visit the most interesting of the Bonin Islands, biologically speaking, Haha-jima. This hard-to-reach island is the last home of the bizarre Bonin White-eye, and you hope to see this strange species while ashore. While its taxonomic affinities have been hotly debated, it is now considered a white-eye in its own genus. Finding it can be a bit tricky, so you'll hope for some luck during your time ashore. The greenfinch that occurs here was recently recognized as a distinct species, the Bonin Greenfinch, and while its status on this island is a bit unclear, it certainly occurs, at least as a visitor. Other possibilities today include the Japanese Wood Pigeon, Eastern Buzzard, Brown-eared Bulbul, Japanese Bush Warbler, Warbling White-eye, White’s Thrush, and Blue Rock Thrush. A variety of shorebirds and passerines could also occur here as transient migrants, with lots of possibilities. Humpback Whales are also often seen in the nearshore waters.

Day 23: Tori-shima Island

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, you are off Tori-shima Island, a spectacular-looking island and an active volcano that has not been inhabited since a volcanic eruption in 1902. Tori-shima was believed to be the last stronghold of the Short-tailed Albatross, which disappeared in the 1940s and was feared extinct. Miraculously, birds began reappearing in 1954, forming a breeding colony that has grown to several thousand. Obviously, seeing this species is the prime focus of the day. While landings are not permitted on the island, after communications with relevant authorities, approach as close as allowed aboard Heritage Adventurer and should get to see this magnificent bird, hopefully in good numbers. Other species that could be present include Black-footed and Laysan Albatross, Streaked Shearwater, and both Tristram’s and Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel. Sometimes, cetaceans are seen in this area, and sightings on previous voyages have included Risso’s and Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, Melon-headed Whale, Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, and even the very rarely seen Ginkgo-toothed Beaked Whale.

Day 24: At Sea

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On this final day at sea, you sail towards Honshu, hoping for one last round of excellent pelagic birding on this stretch. Keep an eye out for species like the Streaked Shearwater, and Tristram’s and Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel. Also, be on the lookout for the Japanese Murrelet in these waters, although seeing them might take some luck.

Day 25:  Osaka | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast and completing arrival formalities for Osaka, disembark Heritage Adventurer. A complimentary transfer from the ship to Osaka Air Terminal awaits. Advise not to book any onward flights (Domestic or International) until mid-afternoon, considering possible delays and travel time to the airport. Note that circumstances during the voyage may necessitate deviations from the proposed itinerary, such as poor weather or unplanned excursions. The Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Adventurer

Dining area
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$11,695 2-3 travelers
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
  • 24 Breakfasts, 23 Lunches, 24 Dinners
  • 15 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
  • Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
  • Local Payment
  • Specialist birding guides and program of lectures
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

Map

When to Go

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Dec
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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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