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New Zealand Landscape

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: Subantarctic Islands

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Spirit of Enderby
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This is without doubt one of the most inspirational and informative journeys or expeditions into the Southern Ocean ecosystem that one can make anywhere in the world. Long recognized for their rich biodiversity, the Subantarctic Islands lying to the south of New Zealand are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The area has been afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments, so access to these islands is by permit only. This unique expedition includes four of the Subantarctic Islands: The Snares, Auckland's, Macquarie, and Campbell. Join the Spirit of Enderby for this 13-day cruise and for your chance to explore, photograph, and understand these wonderful places in the company of some of the most knowledgeable and passionate guides.
A quiet morning near DunedinCoastal beauty of DunedinCoastal beauty of DunedinKing Penguins at Macquarie IslandBeautiful landscape of New ZealandNew Zealand Landscape
  • 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
  • Enjoy additional discovery by kayak on select departures
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Invercargill, New Zealand or Dunedin

  • 1 Dinner
Meet your fellow voyagers and expedition staff for an informal get-together over dinner at the hotel, where you stay overnight.

Day 2: Port of Bluff or Otago Harbour | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You will be transferred to the Port of Bluff where the staff welcomes you on board the Spirit of Enderby and as you settle into your cabin, where your adventure begins.

Day 3: The Snares Islands | North East Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
North East Island is the largest of The Snares and, staggeringly, this one island is claimed by some to be home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together. While Zodiac cruising the rugged coastline learn how the islands got their name and encounter Snares crested penguins, Cape petrel, and Buller’s albatross on the imposing cliffs. You are also likely to encounter Antarctic terns, white-fronted terns, red-billed gulls, tomtits, and fernbirds.

Day 4: Auckland Islands | Enderby Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Named for the same distinguished shipping family as your own vessel and one of the most beautiful islands in the group, this is a great birding location and a chance to see everything from the famous southern royal albatross and northern giant petrel to parakeets, bellbirds, and the endemic shag, teal, and snipe. Sandy Bay is one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands for the rare Hooker’s or New Zealand sea lion.

Day 5: Auckland Islands | Carnley Harbour

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by. Loaded in human history, they harbor tales of castaways, bullion, and coastwatchers through to today’s scientific visitors. Land in Carnley Harbour to visit the shy mollymawk colony and perhaps spot the beautiful wandering albatross spreading its huge wingspan above the cliffs. If weather is not suitable a number of other sites are available. With an island named Disappointment and a mountain called the Tower of Babel, this unique archipelago has to be seen to be believed.

Day 6: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As the ship makes its way through an area known as the Furious Fifties in the tumultuous Southern Ocean, learn more about the flora and fauna of the region as you prepare for your arrival at Macquarie 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, grey-headed albatross, northern and southern giant petrel, sooty shearwater, and little shearwater. Endeavour to spot the fairy prion, fulmar prion, and Antarctic prion – never an easy task, but you should get some great views. 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, and the black-bellied storm-petrel.

Day 7-8: Macquarie Island

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Described by one Australian explorer as “One of the wonder spots of the world”, this is the only place on earth where the beautiful royal penguin breeds. Three other species of penguins, the king, gentoo and rockhopper also breed here. You won't soon forget your first experience of a noisy ‘penguin city’, where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors and where you are quickly immersed in a tumult of chattering, feeding chicks, territorial disputes, petty pilfering, and courtship displays. This all happens amongst the hundreds of southern elephant seals lolling on the beaches and dunes. On arrival meet with scientists and park rangers based here who accompany you on all your landings.

Day 9: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Head north from Macquarie Island through waters rich in seabirds towards Campbell Island. You are invited to join the captain on the bridge to keep a keen lookout for birds and for whales. Today there are also briefings and lectures on Campbell Island in preparation for your visit there.

Day 10-11: Campbell Island | Perseverance Harbor

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Spend two days exploring the island by foot, taking in the panorama of rocky islets and sea stacks - once the lonely preserve of settlers and seal hunters and now returned to nature. Enjoy an easy walk to the nesting site of the southern royal albatross at Col Lyall or walk across the hills to Northwest Bay and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge pink and yellow wild flowers have adapted well to the harsh conditions. You can also seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island shags, light-mantled sooty albatross and, on the beaches beyond, young male sea lions testing their strength.

Day 12: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At sea en route to the Port of Bluff, take the opportunity to relax and reflect on an amazing experience. This is a good opportunity to download and edit any remaining photos while they are fresh in your mind and you have the experience of your expedition team on board for questions. 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 | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive at the Port of Bluff early in the morning. After breakfast, customs formalities, and a last-minute opportunity to bid farewell to your expedition team, disembark and board your complimentary transfer by coach to downtown Invercargill or the local airport. Your adventure ends but memories last long beyond this.


Spirit of Enderby

Spirit of Enderby
Top deck of the Spirit of Enderby.
Bar Library-Spirit of Enderby

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Main Deck Triple-Spirit of Enderby
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Main Deck Triple
One cabin located on the Main Deck, with two lower bunk beds, one upper bunk bed, outside porthole, wash basin, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and shared bathrooms on same deck.
Main Deck-Spirit of Enderby
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Main deck
Thirteen cabins located on the Main Deck, with two lower bunk beds, outside porthole, wash basin, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and shared bathrooms on same deck.
Superior Cabin-Spirit of Enderby
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Four cabins located on the Middle Deck,with one lower and one upper bunk, side-facing windows, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.
Superior Plus Cabin-Spirit of Enderby
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Superior Plus
Eight cabins located on the Upper and Middle Decks,with two lower bunk beds, side-facing windows, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space. and private bath facilities.
Mini Suite- Spirit of Enderby
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Mini Suite
Two cabins located on the Upper Deck, with one double bed in separate room, side-facing windows, separate lounge area with a single bed, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.
Heritage-Spirit of Enderby
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Heritage Suite
One cabin located on the Upper Deck, with one double bed in separate room, forward- and side-facing windows, separate lounge area with a single pull-out bed, desk and table area, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.


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 will 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:
- One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
- Pre & Post cruise transfers
- All on board ship accommodations and meals
- All expedition shore excursions (optional kayaking is available for a fee on select departures)

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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