In the Wake of
Scott and Shackleton

28 days / 27 nights
Ex Queenstown (New Zealand)

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The Ross Sea region of Antarctica is one of the most remote places on Planet Earth

Departing ex Queenstown aboard the superb Heritage Adventurer – a pioneering expedition vessel – this remarkable itinerary explores several of New Zealand’s wild and beautiful sub-Antarctic Islands before reaching the remote Ross Sea section of Antarctica. 

With shipping restricted by impenetrable pack ice to just two brief months each austral summer, few people have ever visited this strange and beautiful territory. Therefore, opportunities for non-scientific personnel are limited to just a handful of expedition ships. Set sail aboard the Heritage Adventurer, a 140-passenger vessel with the highest ice-class rating (1A Super) and crewed by some of the most experienced officers and sailors in the world.

Sub-Antarctic Islands

The islands offer a wealth of natural biodiversity and are an important wildlife refuge, home to fascinating wildlife and birdlife such as albatross, penguins, petrels, sea lions, and fur seals, as well as plenty of endemic plant species.

King Penguins at Macquarie Islands
Penguins on Ice Bergs in Antarctica and the Ross Sea

Ross Sea section of Antarctica

Further south, follow in the footsteps of legendary explorers such as Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott as you head to the magnificent Ross Sea – one of the most remote places on the planet. Due to the impenetrable pack ice, expedition vessels can only visit during two brief months each austral summer. You will have the chance to witness spectacular scenery, explore penguin rookeries and even visit scientific bases or perhaps Robert Scott’s hut erected in 1911.

Tour Details


In the Wake of Scott and Shackleton

28 Days  |  ex Queenstown (New Zealand)

Day 1


On arrival in Queenstown please make your own way to your hotel (TBC). You will have time to get a few last-minute items for your trip and explore the famous alpine town at your leisure. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers over dinner. D


Port of Bluff

This morning enjoy breakfast at the hotel before having a chance to explore some of the local attractions. Return to the hotel for lunch 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. B L D


The Snares – North East Island

It is claimed that The Snares 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. B L D


Auckland Islands – Enderby Island

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 northern-most island – which is also perhaps, the most beautiful of all the sub-Antarctic Islands. Today’s planned landing spot is Sandy Bay, a breeding spot for the New Zealand (or Hooker’s) Sea Lion. There are a few different walking options to enjoy or perhaps just sit and enjoy the wildlife. Birdlife you might see here include species such as the Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel or the Auckland Island Flightless Teal. B L D


At Sea

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. B L D

DAYS 6/7

Macquarie Island

A remote, 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. There are a few planned excursions, including Sandy Bay, home to a Royal Penguin Rookery, and Buckles Bay, where you may get to meet with the Park Rangers and visit the Australian Antarctic Base. A Zodiac excursion in Lusitania Bay is also possible, the site of a noisy and spectacular King Penguin rookery. B L D

DAYS 8-10

At Sea

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 appear before passing into the Antarctic Circle and into the continent’s realm of 24-hour daylight. B L D

DAYS 11-22

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 land 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 towers out of the sea to over 4,000 metres-high surrounded by colossal glaciers. The landing site is at an abandoned base, 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 and rarely-visited islands support tens of thousands of Adelie 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 over 1,200 kilometres 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 impressive 3,794 metre-high 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, perhaps, the best ‘espresso’ in Antarctica! B L D

DAYS 23-25

At Sea

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 passing seabirds. B L D

DAY 26

Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour

Today the ship drops anchor in Perseverance Harbour, occasionally used as a 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 mega-herbs on the hills. Other wildlife that we may see include Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and sea lions. B L D

DAY 27

At Sea

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. B L D

DAY 28

Invercargill or Queenstown

Disembark today and say farewell to new-found friends. You will be transferred to either Invercargill or Queenstown airports. B

Your Vessel

Heritage Adventurer

Built in 1991 for Polar expedition travel, the Heritage Adventurer (formerly the MS Hanseatic) holds the highest passenger-ship ice-class rating (1A Super). Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, this world-class polar pioneer now welcomes just 140 passengers, creating a more spacious, comfortable and personalised onboard experience. Facilities include superb indoor and outdoor viewing locations including the Observation Lounge (with 270-degree views), a library, pool, gym, hot tub and steam room. Guests can relax in their comfortable cabins that span 4 decks or meet up with fellow guests in the café or bar. Accompanying each voyage is a world-renowned team of naturalists, botanists, historians and experts as well as a fleet of 14 Zodiacs. The vessel also has an Open Bridge Policy.

  • Classification: Lloyds 1AS, GL E4
  • Year built: 1991
  • Accommodation: 140 guests
  • Shipyard: Rauma, Finland
  • Engines: 3,940 horsepower (x2)
  • Maximum speed: 15 knots
  • Cruising speed: 12 knots
  • Range: 8,600 nautical miles
  • Gross Tonnage: 8,378gt
  • Length: 124 metres
  • Zodiacs: 14

Heritage Adventurer Deck Plan

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