03 Mar Australia & New Zealand Sub Antarctic Islands: A Wildlife Paradise
Australia & New Zealand Sub Antarctic Islands: A Wildlife Paradise
Alex Burridge – Managing Director – Antarctica Travel Centre
Up until recently there were few choices with regards to itineraries or ships heading to the Australian and New Zealand Sub Antarctic Islands. Here we highlight just some of what you will find in these fascinating islands as well as the different ships offering a range of itineraries to discover this amazingly beautiful region, many of which start with a short flight over the ditch to Auckland or Christchurch.
Stewart Island & Ulva Island, New Zealand
Small groups of no more than 12 guests will be led by professional local guides to ensure a maximum experience of natural history. As Ulva has no invasive species, a walk through the forest will be a wonderful opportunity to see the endemic plants and birdlife that the island offers. The birds of Stewart Island include weka, kākā, the flightless Stewart Island kiwi, silvereyes, fantails, and kererū. The endangered yellow-eyed penguin has a significant number of breeding sites on the island.
Macquarie Island, Australia
In 2014, after a seven year long rabbit and rat eradication programme, Macquarie Island was officially declared pest free. In the last 6 years an incredible transformation has taken place with plants recolonising hillsides (that had been prone to landslips with one slip killing a number of king penguins) and many bird species returning to successfully breed at Macquarie Island for the first time in decades. As a result Macquarie has regained her title as Australia’s Sub-Antarctic jewel.
Macquarie Island is home to a large variety of wildlife, including subantarctic fur seals, Antarctic fur seals, New Zealand fur seals and southern elephant seals (over 80,000). Four species of penguin make Macquarie home: Royal penguins (approx. 850,000) king penguins (approx. 200,000), southern rock hopper penguins and gentoo penguins. Four species of albatross breed here; Wandering, Black-browed, Grey-headed and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. Weather and tides will play heavily on the decisions made by the Captain and Expedition Leader to make the most of your days visiting the island.
Royal Penguins and Southern Elephant Seals in Macquarie Island
Campbell Island, New Zealand
Campbell Island is New Zealand’s southernmost sovereign territory some 700 kilometres southeast of South Island. It is also home to endemic bird species Campbell teal and Campbell snipe as well as southern rockhopper and yellow-eyed penguins, Antipodean, southern royal, light-mantled, black-browed, Campbell and grey-headed albatrosses, northern giant and white-chinned petrels, and the Campbell shag. Campbell is also home to the most rare and endangered sea lions in the world, the New Zealand (Hooker) sea lion.
Enderby Island, New Zealand
Enderby Island is home to the rare Yellow-eyed Penguin, New Zealand Bellbirds and Red-crowned Parakeets, as well as Southern Royal Albatross that nest on the plateau.
The Snares, New Zealand
Unlike other Sub-Antarctic islands that were greatly affected by the whaling and sealing industry in the nineteenth century, The Snares remains one of the last near pristine areas in New Zealand. Depending on sea and weather conditions the plan will be to try find the rare and endemic Snares Crested Penguin.
Ships Offering Australian and New Zealand Sub Antarctic cruises
2. Silver Explorer (144 Guests)
The 144 guest Silver Explorer is a luxury ship offering a range of voyages from 15 to 23 days. Voyages include combination of Milford Sound, Macquarie and the sub Antarctic as well as a longer voyage into the Ross Sea.
Early booking offers are still available.
3. Hanseatic Inspiration (199 guests)
If you’d like a voyage ‘with the lot’ Hanseatic Inspiration (a new build ship with a very high ice rating) has an amazing itinerary that commences in Ushuaia and 34 days later arrives into Lyttleton (near Christchurch New Zealand) having visited the Antarctica Peninsula, Bellingshausen, Amundsen and Ross Sea’s (if conditions permit visits to Cape Evans, McMurdo Station, Terra Nova Bay and Cape Adare), Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland and Snares Islands.
4. Heritage Adventurer (140 Guests)
Formerly the MS Hanseatic the Heritage Adventurer operates out of New Zealand offering an excellent range of cruises to sub Antarctic Islands and the Ross Sea.
A comfortable ship with a high Ice rating, the Heritage Adventurer is an excellent option to discover the natural wonders of the region.
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