Have questions? We're here.

Birding Down Under: Subantarctic and Chatham Islands

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Adventurer
Talk with an expert
Customize any aspect of your South Pacific trip. 1.406.541.2677
Help Me Plan My Trip
Listen to the names: Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, Macquarie and Chatham Islands. They are music to the ears of ‘Birders'. Apart from the Chathams, these islands are probably more isolated now than when they were discovered in the late 1700s and early 1800s and were regularly visited by sealers, whalers, and government steamers searching for castaway sailors. It is relatively simple to get to the Chatham Islands but opportunities to visit the others are rare. This 17-day expedition on Heritage Adventurer is the only one to include all of these islands. With the exception of the Chathams, the islands are all designated UNESCO World Heritage sites and are afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments.
Highlights
  • Visit Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, Macquarie & Chatham
  • See the Albatross Latitudes, where 10 different albatross species breed
  • Marvel at the most diverse collection of seabirds in the world
  • Learn about island ecology, botany, geology, and local history
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Arrive at Queenstown

Make your way to your designated hotel where you 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, Heritage Adventurer. 

Day 3: The Snares | North East Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If weather and sea conditions are suitable, cruise by Zodiac along the sheltered eastern side of North East Island. You should see the endemic Snares crested penguin, Snares Island tomtit, and fernbirds. Also expect to see Cape pigeons, Antarctic terns, white-fronted terns, and red-billed gulls. There are hundreds of thousands of sooty shearwaters nesting here. Buller’s albatross breed here from late December onwards.

Day 4: Auckland Islands | Enderby Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enderby Island is a great place to view birds and wildlife. Visit Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the rare New Zealand (Hooker’s) sea lion and just one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands. There are chances to observe the 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. Be sure to also keep a lookout for the rare Subantarctic snipe. On Derry Castle Reef there is a good chance of seeing the bar-tailed godwit, turnstone, and perhaps other migratory waders.

Day 5: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey from the Auckland Islands to Macquarie Island with great views of species such as the royal albatrosses, wandering albatrosses, black-browed albatross, white-chinned petrel, diving-petrel, little shearwaters, storm-petrel and to confuse everybody, numerous prion species.

Day 6-7: Macquarie Island

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Arrive at Macquarie Island, the only place in the world to see the breeding royal penguin - there is an abundance of these here as this remote outpost supports a breathtaking concentration of wildlife. You won't soon forget your first experience of a noisy ‘penguin city’ where you are witness to a thousand chattering, feeding chicks, territorial disputes, petty pilfering, and courtship displays - king, gentoo, and rockhopper penguins can be seen here. 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 sea.

Day 8: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At sea en route to Campbell Island and time to unwind after the adventures of Macquarie Island. Look for cetaceans and albatross, join a lecture or catch up on your photos and journaling.

Day 9: Campbell Island | Perseverance Harbor

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Drop anchor in Perseverance Harbor. Once on shore walk to the nesting site of the southern royal albatross or to Northwest Bay, and pass beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. There will also be an easier walk to the Col Lyall Saddle.

Day 10: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At sea en route to the Antipodes, it is a day for pelagic birding. Species commonly seen in this area include Wandering Albatross species, Southern Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross, Lightmantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel, the Sooty Shearwater and the Little Shearwater.  There should be plenty of petrels and again the hard-to-identify prion species.

Day 11: Antipodes Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Antipodes Island is one of the most isolated, least known, and rugged of New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands. Landings are not permitted here, so plan to cruise along the coastline by Zodiac looking for the endemic Antipodes Island and Reischek’s parakeet. You may also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand pipit, and with half the world population of erect-crested and Rockhopper-penguins.

Day 12: The Bounty Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
These inhospitable granite islets are home to thousands of Salvin’s albatross, erect-crested penguins, fulmar prions and the endemic Bounty Island shag, the world’s rarest. At sea you should spot wandering albatross species, northern royal albatross, mottled petrel, soft-plumaged petrel, broad-billed prion, white-chinned petrel and black-bellied storm petrels as well as Wilson’s storm petrel.

Day 13: Pyramid Rock and South East Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As the Heritage Adventurer continues toward the Chatham Archipelago, there are excellent opportunities for pelagic birding. In the afternoon, arrive at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island albatross. During the afternoon we arrive at South East Island- one of the world’s greatest nature reserves and landings are not permitted. However, we should obtain good views of the very rare New Zealand Shore Plover and Chatham Island Oystercatcher from the Zodiacs as we cruise along the coast. We should also see the Pitt Island Shag which nests on the island.

Day 14: Chatham Islands | Waitangi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning go ashore on the main island where you might see the endemic Chatham Island shag and along the coast the Chatham Island oystercatcher. Visit an original private reserves established by a local family on the south coast of the main island where there is a very good chance to see the endemic Chatham Island Pigeon and Warbler. This afternoon we cruise back along the south coast, this is where the only known population of the Taiko breeds and also where they are attempting to establish a new population of the Chatham Island Petrel in a predator free area. 

Day 15-16: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
En route to Dunedin cross what is known as the Chatham Rise. It is a relatively shallow nutrient-rich area of water, compared with the rest of the surrounding ocean, and it is also one of the best places for pelagic watching with an overlap of both northern or more temperate species and birds from southern latitudes. Expect to see royal albatross, wandering albatross, westland black petrel, Cook’s petrel, and much more.

Day 17: Invercargill/Queenstown | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Early this morning we will arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast we bid farewell to our fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either Invercargill or Queenstown Airports. 

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Adventurer

Heritage Adventurer
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$12,875
Heritage Adventurer - 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.
Heritage Adventurer - Main Deck Triple
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.
Heritage Adventurer - 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.
Heritage Adventurer - 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.
Heritage Adventurer - Main Deck Single
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.
Heritage Adventurer - Worsley 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 Adventurer - 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

Landings at the Subantarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the governments of New Zealand and Australia. No landings are permitted at Snares, Antipodes and Bounty Islands and South East in the Chatham Island group.

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
- One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
- All on board ship accommodation with meals
- All shore excursions and activities, excluding optional specialized birding and kayaking programs

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

Map

Inquire

Travel Agents
Clara Tort employee head shot
Clara T

We Love to Talk Travel

Call 1.800.344.6118
or
Chat Now
We are so glad that we chose Adventure Life. The service is top-notch. Everything is well taken care of and we just have to print the documents and go. Franny even gave us timely updates on possible airport strike.
KC Chan

South Pacific Travel Guide

Favorite South Pacific Tours & Cruises

More Reasons

Why Travel With Adventure Life

All News

Recognized By