On arrival in Invercargill transfer to your hotel (TBC) You will have time to get a few last-minute items for your trip and explore the town, rich in Scottish history. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers over dinner.
Port of Bluff
This morning enjoy breakfast at the hotel before having a chance to explore some of the local attractions before heading to the Port of Bluff to board your ship. You will have a chance to settle into your cabin and join your expedition team and the captain for a welcome on board.
The Snares – North East Island
A little-known fact about The Snares – they are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. Today cruise the coastline aboard a Zodiac (motorised dinghy) and learn how the islands got their name. In the sheltered bays you may see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, the Cape Petrel and Buller’s Albatross nesting on the imposing cliffs.
The beautiful Auckland Islands are made up of a number of small islands, the largest being Auckland Island (Motu Maha), and are characterised by towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks. Spend the day ashore on Enderby Island – the northernmost island – which is also perhaps, the most beautiful of all the Subantarctic Islands.
Parakeets can often be seen flitting above carpets of multicoloured wild flowers and on the beaches beyond, you may come face-to-face with the rare New Zealand (or Hooker’s) Sea Lion. Continue on to Carnley Harbour and if conditions are suitable, climb to a Shy Albatross colony, otherwise you will explore sites within the harbour.
Though today you will not get a chance to wander the beaches of a remote island, a day at sea is never wasted. Enjoy a host of informal lectures presented by naturalists onboard on topics including the biology and history of these islands or the Southern Ocean. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for seabirds, this particular stretch of ocean is very productive and a variety of species can be seen including five or six kinds of albatross and numerous species of petrel.
A denote, rocky outpost, Macquarie Island endures roaring winds, but that doesn’t stop this island from supporting one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. The island is home to four species of penguin; King, Royal, Rockhopper and Gentoo, as well as hundreds of Southern Elephant Seals along its beaches. You may also get to meet with the Park Rangers and visit the Australian Antarctic Base.
Continue heading south through the Southern Ocean towards Antarctica. Over the next few days lectures concentrate on the Ross Sea region. As the vessel heads further south you will begin to see drifting icebergs begin to appear before passing into the Antarctic Circle and into the continent’s realm of 24-hour daylight.
Antarctica’s Ross Sea Region
With unpredictable ice and weather conditions, a day-by-day itinerary is not possible. Conditions will be assessed daily to make the most of every opportunity to make landings and launch the Zodiacs. Guests can however anticipate exciting wildlife viewing opportunities, visits to scientific bases and historic sites, as well as the spectacular white and blue scenery. Some of the following areas you may visit include:
Cape Adare – A large flat spit of land Cape Adare is home to the continents largest Adelie Penguin rookery – an incredible sight of chattering, feeding chicks, territorial disputes, petty pilfering and courtship displays. There is no shortage of outstanding photographic opportunities as curious penguins often come very close. Here you will also find Carsten Borchgrevink’s Hut, the oldest in Antarctica and used as an overwintering shelter for the first expedition to the continent in 1899.
Cape Hallett – Today’s scenery is the extraordinary Admiralty Range. This enormous, wild mountain range rears up towering out of the sea to over 4,000-metres high surrounded by colossal glaciers. Your landing is at an abandoned base site, now home to large numbers of Adelie Penguins and Weddell Seals. The captain will also attempt to land at Franklin Island. Desolately beautiful and rugged, the island is home to a large Adelie Penguin population and other nesting seabirds.
Possession Islands – These small, rugged, rarely-visited, rocks support tens of thousands of penguins. Watch as the birds’ go about their daily activities with the Admiralty Mountains forming a superb backdrop across the water.
Ross Ice Shelf – The ice shelf is the world’s largest body of floating ice. The shelf can create hazardous weather, with sheets of snow blown at gale force winds off the polar ice cap. It is just 800 miles from the South Pole and has prevented many early explorers from venturing further south. Cruise along its astonishing 30-metre high ice cliffs, perhaps lucky enough to see icebergs ‘calving’.
Ross Island – Perhaps the highlight for many, Ross Island offers the chance to visit a scientific field station – Scott and McMurdo Stations are high on the wish list. A visit will depend on ice and weather conditions as well as station operational requirements which sometimes make them inaccessible. Ross Island is dominated by the monstrous active volcano named after the ancient Greek God of Darkness – Mt Erebus. The carefully preserved huts of the ‘Heroic Era’ help make the history come alive. If weather conditions permit guests will get a modern perspective on Antarctic Research.
Terra Nova Bay – The bay is home to an Italian research station where the scientists always enjoy showing guests around their lonely but beautiful home. Scientists will share their scientific research and also, perhaps, the best ‘espresso’ in Antarctica!
Heading back north take time to rest and enjoy life on board the ship in the bar or library after the excitement and long daylight hours of Antarctic. Enjoy a few more lectures on the final destination – Campbell Island – and don’t forget to keep an eye out for some seabird spotting.
Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
Today the ship drops anchor in Perseverance Harbour, occasional used as refuge for Southern Right Whales who come here to calve. Take a walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs on the hills. A fascinating sight, these huge wild flowers have adapted to the harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean and have unusual colourings and weirdly-shaped leaves. Other wildlife that we may see include Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and sea lions.
Enjoy a final day onboard as you relax and reflect on a remarkable journey. Join your fellow guests and naturalist guides for a recap of your trip highlights and enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.
Invercargill or Christchurch
Disembark today and say farewell to new-found friends. You will be transferred to a city hotel or to the airport.
Please note: Voyages disembark in both Invercargill and Christchurch, contact us for exact departure information.