Day 1: Invercargill
This evening there will be an informal get together at the hotel for dinner, an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers and some of our expedition team.
Day 2: Port of Bluff
Take breakfast at your leisure in the hotel restaurant before exploring the local attractions and transferring to the Port of Bluff where we board the Spirit of Enderby.
Day 3: The Snares – North East Island
Cruise by Zodiac, if weather and sea conditions are suitable, along the sheltered eastern side of North East Island. We should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. We should also see Cape Pigeons, Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns and Red-billed Gulls. There are hundreds of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters nesting here and the Buller’s Albatross also breed here from late December onwards.
Day 4: Auckland Islands – Enderby Island
Enderby Island is a great place to view birds and wildlife. We visit Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the rare New Zealand (Hooker’s) Sea Lion and just one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands. There are chances to observe the Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Auckland Island Shag, Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Auckland Island Banded Dotterel, Auckland Island Tomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Red-crowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguin and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. We will also keep a lookout for the rare Subantarctic Snipe. On Derry Castle Reef there is a good chance of seeing the Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone and other migratory waders.
Day 5: Auckland Islands – Carnley Harbour
These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by, and harbour tales of castaways and Coastwatchers. If weather and sea conditions are suitable, energetic expeditioners are able to climb to the South West Cape Shy Albatross colony where Gibson’s Wandering Albatross often nest among the tussocks above the colony.
Day 6: At Sea
We can expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey from the Auckland Islands to Macquarie Island with great views of species such as the Royal Albatrosses, Wandering Albatrosses, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, White-chinned Petrel, diving-petrel, Little Shearwaters, storm-petrel and, to confuse everybody, numerous prion species.
Days 7 to 8: Macquarie Island
The only place in the world where the regal Royal Penguin breeds, this remote outpost supports a breath-taking concentration of wildlife. You will never forget your first experience of visiting a noisy ‘penguin city’ where you will be witness to a thousand chattering, feeding chicks, territorial disputes, petty pilfering and courtship displays: King, Gentoo and Rockhopper Penguins can be seen here. We meet with Park Rangers and seek out the thousands of Southern Elephant Seals lolling on the beaches and along the coast, Redpolls and Imperial Shag can often be spotted.
Day 9: At Sea
We will be keeping a keen lookout for cetaceans, albatross and petrels today, relax in the ship’s bar or catch up on your reading in the library.
Day 10: Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
We drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour. Once on shore we walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross or to Northwest Bay, passing beautiful megaherbs on the hills. During the day we should see the Campbell Island Shag and Teal, Southern Skua, Antarctic Tern, Dunnock, New Zealand Pipit and, hopefully, the elusive Campbell Island Snipe.
Day 11: At Sea
Join us on the bridge, where we keep a keen lookout for species commonly seen in this area: Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and Little Shearwater. There should be plenty of petrels and, again, the hard to identify prion species.
Day 12: Antipodes Islands
One of the most isolated, least known and rugged of the Subantarctic Islands; landings are not permitted here, so we cruise along the coast looking for the endemic Antipodes Island and Reischek’s Parakeet. We may also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand Pipit, and with half the world population of Erect-crested Penguins here, we should encounter one or two as well as Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls.
Day 13: Bounty Islands
These inhospitable granite islets are home to thousands of Salvin’s Albatross, Erect-crested Penguins, Fulmar Prions and the endemic Bounty Island Shag, the world’s rarest. At sea we should spot Wandering Albatross species, Northern Royal Albatross, Mottled Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, White-chinned Petrel and Black-bellied Storm-Petrels as well as Wilson’s Storm-Petrel.
Day 14: At Sea and Pyramid Rock
We continue north towards the Chatham Islands, with similar species accompanying us as yesterday. Towards evening, as we approach the islands, we are closer to the Subantarctic and sub tropical convergence and will see a subtle change in the species composition. Late this afternoon we arrive at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross.
Day 15: Chatham Islands – Waitangi
This morning we go ashore on the main island where we might see the endemic Chatham Island Shag and along the coast the Chatham Island Oystercatcher. We visit a private bush reserve on the south coast to see the Chatham Island Warbler, Chatham Island Pigeon and Tui. This afternoon we have another look for the Magenta and Chatham Island Petrels.
Day 16: South East Island and Mangere Islands
Arrive early morning at South East Island, one of the world’s greatest nature reserves, here we plan to Zodiac cruise to see the endangered Shore Plover. We will also keep our eyes peeled for the Pitt Island Shag. Before we depart the archipelago we visit the Mangere Islands from where the endemic Black Robin was rescued.
Days 17 to 18: At Sea
En route to Dunedin we will cross the Chatham Rise, here nutrient-rich waters allow for an overlap between northern pelagic species and birds from southern latitudes. We can expect to see Royal Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Westland Black Petrel, Cook’s Petrel and much more.
Day 19: Dunedin
Our adventure ends at this historic Otago Harbour. Early this morning we arrive in port and after a final breakfast we say our farewells before disembarking and transferring by complimentary coach to either a central city point or to the airport. Enquire for a full itinerary and/or a Bird and Mammal List.