Day 1: Depart Port of Bluff
Meet at an Invercargill central city hotel where you will be transferred to the Port of Bluff for embarkation. The Captain and Expedition Crew welcome you on board the Spirit of Enderby before we set sail and our adventure begins.
Day 2: Snares Islands
The Buller’s Albatross nests only here and on the Solander Islands, whose Maori name translates as ‘flying wind’ and could be an apt description of the Snares. We will cruise the jagged coastline to see the daisy-like Olearia and Brachyglottis forests draping the hills, encounter the endemic Snares Crested Penguin and perhaps glimpse the Tomtit and Fernbird. Snagged with hidden reefs we learn how the islands got their name, which are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together.
Days 3 to 4: Auckland Islands
To the north and south, deep harbours birthed by long-extinct volcanoes; to the west, a coastline sculpted into formidable cliffs by the prevailing westerly winds; and to the east, a coast carved by glaciers into some of the most picturesque fiords in the world. In Port Ross, the northernmost in the archipelago we spend the day ashore on Enderby Island, a wildlife rich island that has no equal in the Southern Ocean. You will enjoy close encounters with the Royal Albatross, the endemic snipe, teal and shag and be able to spend time with the Yellow-eyed Penguin, the worlds rarest. In Carnley Harbour in the south we go in search of the Wandering Albatross and a colony of Shy Mollymawk. We may explore some of the fiords by boat and perhaps hike through forests of parakeets and bellbirds to a small glacial lake. The islands are home to the rare Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion and we will visit the unique fields of ‘mega herbs’, whose languorous names promise the exotic: the Bulbinella rossii, the Anisotome latifolia and the vivid red and white gentians.
Days 5 to 6: Campbell Island
Our visit should coincide with the flowering of the Pleurophyllum speciosum, an endemic daisy carpeting the hills and startling in size with leaves sometimes half a metre wide. Adapting unusually to survive the harsh climate, its nearest relatives can be found in the baking Canary Islands but its presence here at the edge of the world remains a mystery. Dropping anchor early, we explore the island by foot and take in the panorama of rocky islets and sea stacks; once the lonely preserve of settlers and seal hunters and now returned to nature. We can explore an abandoned Meteorological Station or climb to Col Lyall ridge and the breeding grounds of the Southern Royal Albatross. And we can walk across the hills to Northwest Bay or hike the beautifully-named Mt. Honey for its dramatic views or seek out penguins, rare sea lions and the Light-mantled Sooty Albatross.
Day 7: At Sea
As we plough our way across the South Pacific, there will be many opportunities to spot pelagic species. We will be keeping a keen lookout for albatross and petrels and our expert staff will be on hand to recap the highlights and provide lectures and informal discussions on the biology and history of the region.
Day 8: Port of Bluff, Invercargill
Our adventure ends with safe harbour at the Port of Bluff, famous for its delicate oysters. We bid farewell to our fellow voyagers, to enjoy a transfer to Invercargill city or to the airport
Landings at the Sub Antarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at Snares Is.
Circumstances may be encountered during our voyage which will 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.