UNSEEN FIORDLAND, STEWART ISLAND AND THE SNARES
|Arrive at your hotel informal get together
|Port of Bluff
|After lunch board, embark your ship at the Port of Bluff, Ruapuke Island, albatross, petrels, cormorants, gulls and Little Blue Penguins
|Stewart Island - Paterson Inlet/Ulva Island
|Stewart and Ulva Islands, Boulder and West End Beaches, Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove and Oban in Halfmoon Bay
|The Snares - North East Island
|Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds
|Days 5 - 7
|Explore South-west corner of the South Island, Captain Cook's landing in 1773, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and Acheron Passage and more. Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and Little Penguins
|Arrive Port of Bluff after breakfast, bid farewell to fellow passengers and crew then coach transfer to airport
The Heritage Adventurer (formerly the MS Hanseatic) is a modern, ice-strengthened Antarctic cruise ship with all en-suite cabins accommodating up to 146 guests. Purpose built for polar waters in Rauma Finland, the Heritage Adventurer not only has the highest ice class rating (Lloyds 1AS) she also offers unmatched stability and superior speed to get you to your destination and out exploring.
Make your way to the hotel spending the first night of the expedition taking part in an informal get-together for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and the expedition team.
Today we enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant and have the morning free to explore Queenstown before returning to the hotel for lunch and departing for the Port of Bluff to embark your ship. There’s time to settle into your cabin and explore the ship. Join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck setting course to Campbell Island. Sail past Ruapuke Island and Stewart Island. Despite appearing quite small on most maps it is really quite large and has a 700 kilometre coastline. Seabirds that we may encounter at this early point in the voyage include: albatross, petrels, cormorants, gulls and Little Blue Penguins.
New Zealand’s third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track with 85 per cent of the island designated national park and 700-kilometres of coastline. Enjoy the impressive bird song as we explore Ulva Island, rich in history and wildlife, which has been predator-free since 1997. Some of the wildlife you may get to see while walking its tracks and exploring Boulder and West End Beaches, Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove include Stewart Island Robin, Stewart Island Weka, South Island Kaka, Kereru (wood pigeon), Mohua (yellowhead), Red-crowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbird and Tui. Expedition guides will be listening for bird calls and keeping a close watch in overhead canopies and the surrounding shrubs to identify further species. In Paterson Inlet visit the historic Norwegian whaling station in Prices Inlet and Kaipipi Bay, where from 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea Whaling Company of Sandefjord, Norway ran a repair base where chaser boats were serviced in preparation for the Antarctic summer. Discover quirky town centre Oban in Halfmoon Bay where a drink with a view can be enjoyed at the historic and iconic South Sea Hotel.
The closest Subantarctic Islands to New Zealand, they were appropriately called The Snares as they were once considered a hazard for sailing ships. Uninhabited and enjoying the highest protection as Nature Reserves. We plan to arrive in the morning, and as landings are not permitted, we will Zodiac cruise along the sheltered eastern side of the main island if the weather and sea conditions are suitable. In the sheltered bays, we should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. There are hundreds of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters nesting on The Snares; the actual number is much debated. Buller’s Albatross breed here from early January onwards. There will be opportunities to view the forests of large tree daisy Olearia lyallii which forms a canopy over much of the island group. Tonight we enjoy a farewell and celebratory dinner and time to reflect on a wealth of new experiences and recap on what amazing wildlife, plant life, landscapes and history.
Plenty of time exploring the incredible wilderness of fiords in the south-west corner of the South Island. Rich in history, majestic scenery and abundant in wildlife. Captain Cook and his crew landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773. Cook’s records of his discovery and maps attracted sealers and whalers not long after who then formed the first European settlements of New Zealand, historically this region is very important and shaped the future of the country. Only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand’s mainland. Waterfalls, streams, rivers and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go. The rugged terrain, thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens and mosses. Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and Little Penguins are all residents of the fiords; during our time here we will look out for them. Our schedule gives us the flexibility to visit as much as possible, areas we plan to visit during our time in Fiordland include Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and Acheron Passage, Astronomer’s Point and Pickersgill Harbour.
Your adventure ends at at the Port of Bluff. Early this morning arrive in port and after a final breakfast say farewell before disembarking and transferring by complimentary coach to either Invercargill or Queenstown Airports.