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Tasmania & New Zealand: A Voyage through the Sub-Antarctic IslandsNovember 25, 2013 - December 14, 2013
Priced from: $13,980
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Nov 25 - Nov 26 Depart USA
Depart on your independent flight to Australia. Lose a day crossing the International Date Line.
November 27 Melbourne, Australia
Arrive in Melbourne and transfer to the Grand Hyatt. After lunch enjoy an afternoon at leisure before gathering for an orientation and dinner at the hotel.
November 28 Melbourne / Embark Caledonian Sky
In the 1830s the founders of Melbourne envisioned a cosmopolitan city blessed with numerous parks and expansive boulevards. Today, view the fruits of their labors with either a guided excursion exploring Australia’s second largest city or a visit to You Yang’s Park to search for koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, and birds in a natural setting.Both tours end at the harbor, where you embark the Caledonian Sky in the late afternoon and set sail for Tasmania.
November 29 Devonport, Tasmania
This afternoon explore Mole Creek National Park. Stroll beside a rushing creek bordered by lush ferns to enter Marakoopa Cave. Here you will find unique creatures that have adapted to a world without light and a breathtaking array of stalactites, stalagmites, and dazzling crystals reflected in the subterranean pools. Or, take a scenic drive to Burnie where you may try your hand at paper making, then visit the Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame which includes an on-site interpretive center that unlocks the secrets of Australia’s unique egg-laying mammal, the platypus.
November 30 Wineglass Bay / Coles Bay
Outside magazine named Wineglass Bay one of the world’s top ten beaches. As Zodiacs take you ashore, behold blue-green waters edged by a perfect half-moon beach. Past the beach, coastal banksias, wattles, and eucalyptus beckon, and the red granite peaks of the Hazard Range create a dramatic backdrop. Take nature walks to search for wallabies and white-bellied sea eagles, while dolphins and seals are often sighted in the offshore waters. Walk across the Hazards, stopping at scenic overlooks to take in the stunning coastal vista. The hike continues to Coles Bay and into Freycinet National Park, which is known for its varied flora—including more than 60 types of orchids—and birdlife such as green rosellas and yellow-tailed black cockatoos. Enjoy a BBQ buffet at Freycinet Lodge this afternoon.
December 1 Maria Island / Port Arthur
Once a penal colony, today Maria Island is a national park and refuge for a variety of wildlife, including Cape Barren geese, Tasmanian native hens, Forester kangaroos, and wallabies. Take a walk with park rangers to seek out wildlife or board Zodiacs to cruise along the shoreline for up-close views of the Painted Cliffs—colorful, beautifully patterned sandstone that has been carved by the sea into fantastic formations.
Spend the afternoon at Port Arthur, a former prison that once held thousands of convicts. Today Port Arthur is a Heritage Site; its museum and restored buildings reveal Tasmania’s past status as a penal colony.
Dec 2 - Dec 3 Hobart
Spend time exploring Hobart and its environs. Learn about Hobart’s historic Battery Point and Salamanca area during a walking tour, followed by a ride to the summit of Mount Wellington for panoramic views of the city and estuary. Or, choose a birding tour on Bruny Island, where 150 species, including all 12 Tasmanian endemics can be found. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Hobart and perhaps enjoy dinner on your own at one of the many charming restaurants.
The next morning choose a guided walk through nearby Bonorong Park, where resident naturalists present Tasmania’s unique wildlife—wombats, possums, and quolls—as well as mainland species such as koalas. Then visit the colonial town of Richmond where you will find beautiful historic buildings as well as examples of Tasmania’s stark convict heritage. Alternatively, join a morning birding tour.
Dec 4 - Dec 5 At Sea
Join naturalists for lectures and on deck to look for royal, shy, and Buller’s albatross, plus a host of southern ocean petrels as we cruise to Macquarie Island.
Dec 6 - Dec 7 Macquarie Island
Spend two days exploring Macquarie Island. Though tides and weather will determine our landings, we hope to visit a king penguin colony numbering 200,000 pairs as well as colonies of royal, rockhopper, and gentoo penguins. Seventy-two species of birds, as well as several types of seal—elephant, leopard, and fur—can all be found set against a background of mountains and tussock-covered headlands. There is also a staggering array of albatross breeding here—wandering, black-browed, gray-headed, and light-mantled sooty.
December 8 At Sea
Our lecture series continues with recaps on Macquarie and briefings on the next sub-Antarctic landings.
December 9 Campbell Island, New Zealand
Campbell Island is home to a multitude of seabirds and marine mammals. Photographic opportunities include frame-filling encounters with southern royal and light-mantled sooty albatross, as well as Hooker’s sea lions and elephant seals. Birders search for the endemic Campbell teal and Campbell snipe.
December 10 Enderby, Auckland Islands
Today nature walks lead you through dense chaparral shrubs and rata forests to visit nesting royal albatross. Station yourself near a beach awash with Hooker’s sea lions to watch yellow-eyed penguins, one of the rarest penguins in the world, as they return to their nesting sites on the rocky shore. In the elfin forest, search for melodious bellbirds, diminutive tomtits, and colorful red-crowned parakeets, among other endemics.
December 11 Snares Islands
Fur seals and crested penguins line the glistening kelp lined shores, and Buller’s albatross soar overhead as you board Zodiacs for a cruise around the Snares Islands. A nature reserve of international importance, the islands are home to more breeding seabirds than the entire United Kingdom.
December 12 Dusky and Doubtful Sounds, Fiordland National Park
Fiordland, a World Heritage Park, is a nearly uninhabited wilderness with breathtakingly beautiful fjords filled with wildlife. In Dusky Sound explore by Zodiacs to discover rain forest luxuriant with tree ferns, mosses, and lichens and visit Astronomer’s Point. The forests and waterways are home to many birds—bellbirds, tuis, fantails, and the kereru, a large native wood pigeon. Later, as the ship slowly cruises Doubtful Sound, keep your binoculars ready to inspect the coves where rare Fiordland crested penguins nest.
December 13 Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park / Disembark / Queenstown
Be on deck this morning to watch the panorama of Milford’s sheer cliff faces, which rise thousands of feet almost vertically from the water’s edge, as well as the crashing waters of Bowen and Stirling Falls and the stunning mile-high Mitre Peak. Disembark the Caledonian Sky for a scenic drive to the picturesque town of Te Anau for lunch. Continue to Queenstown, a beautiful city surrounded by a majestic mountain range known as The Remarkables, with dinner and overnight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
December 14 Queenstown / USA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent flight home, arriving in the USA the same day.