Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand
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.
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Depart USAJanuary 16 — January 17
Board your independent flight to New Zealand. Lose a day crossing the International Date Line.
Dunedin, New ZealandJanuary 18
Arrive in Dunedin and transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Dunedin / Embark Caledonian SkyJanuary 19
Today, choose one of two local discovery options: Take a drive to a local sanctuary where introduced predators have been removed and native species flourish, then drive to Taiaroa Head to visit the world-famous northern royal albatross colony. Or, enjoy a scenic drive to Larnach Castle, then join a local historian for a walk through the heart of enchanting Dunedin, viewing the distinct Edwardian and Victorian architectural styles of First Church and St. Paul Cathedral. Board the Caledonian Sky this afternoon.
At SeaJanuary 20
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 Enderby Island.
Enderby, Auckland IslandsJanuary 21
Today nature walks lead you through lush vegetation and rata forests to explore this incredible island. Station yourself near a beach covered 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. In the elfin forest, search for bellbirds, tomtits, and red-crowned parakeets.
At SeaJanuary 22
Attend lectures during a day at sea, and join naturalists on deck to search for seabirds and marine mammals.
Macquarie Island, AustraliaJanuary 23 — January 24
Spend two days exploring Macquarie Island. Though weather will determine our landings, we hope to visit a king penguin colony as well as colonies of royal and gentoo penguins. Elephant seals can be found set against a background of mountains and tussock-covered headlands. The endemic Macquarie Island cormorant, northern and southern giant petrels, and brown skuas will also be discovered, in this truly incredible landscape.
At SeaJanuary 25
Join naturalists for lectures and on deck to look for royal, white-capped, and Buller’s albatross, plus a host of southern ocean petrels as we cruise towards the Auckland Islands.
Campbell Island, New ZealandJanuary 26
Campbell Island is home to a multitude of seabirds, marine mammals, and unique sub-Antarctic megaherbs. Photographic opportunities include encounters with nesting southern royal albatross, as well as Hooker’s sea lions. Birders search for the endemic Campbell teal and Campbell snipe; both species were previously believed to be extinct. Spectacular views are the reward for a climb to the top of Col Lyall.
The SnaresJanuary 27
Board Zodiacs for a cruise around The Snares. This nature reserve is home to millions of breeding sooty shearwaters, as well as Buller’s albatross, Cape petrels, and the endemic Snares crested penguin and Snares fernbird.
Stewart Island / Ulva IslandJanuary 28
Peaceful Stewart Island is home to fewer than 500 inhabitants. Explore the coastline before anchoring in Paterson Inlet. Nearby Ulva Island is a predator-free sanctuary with lush temperate rainforest. It is a wonderful place to view the South Island robin, South Island saddleback, yellowhead, and the curious weka, a flightless rail. In the afternoon local guides lend insight into the island’s unique environment and Maori and early European sealing and whaling history.
Dusky & Breaksea Sounds, Fiordland National ParkJanuary 29
Today is devoted to Fiordland National Park, a nearly uninhabited wilderness with breathtakingly beautiful fjords. Part of Te Wahipounamu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fiordland National Park is famed for spectacular glacier-carved waterways and unique flora and fauna. In Dusky Sound explore by Zodiacs to discover rainforest luxuriant with tree ferns, mosses, and lichens and visit Astronomer’s Point, the site of a temporary observatory established during Captain Cook’s 1773 voyage. The forests and waterways are home to many birds—bellbirds, tui, fantails, and the kereru, a large native pigeon.
Doubtful SoundJanuary 30
Keep your binoculars ready as the ship slowly cruises Doubtful Sound, inspecting the coves where rare Fiordland crested penguins are sometimes found.
Milford Sound / Disembark / QueenstownJanuary 31
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 for a short drive to the picturesque town of Te Anau for lunch. Continue to Queenstown, with dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Today choose one of three excursion options, designed to highlight Queenstown’s natural and cultural attributes. Journey through the dramatic Lord of the Rings landscapes of Central Otago and meet the winemakers of the world’s southernmost wine-producing region. Or, take a thrilling jet boat ride amongst stunning scenery, then ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak. Or, spend the day looking for the famed black stilt, one of the World’s rarest shorebirds, as well as other birds of interest. Alternatively, you may choose to explore Queenstown on your own, browsing the private studios, gardens, and galleries of internationally renowned artists. Return to the hotel for a farewell dinner and overnight.
Queenstown / USAFebruary 2
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.