Sub-Antarctic Islands – Birding Down Under
19 days - Prices $10,500 - $15,000
Spirit of Enderby
Cruise aboard a simple Russian ship to a region where beautiful nature reserves, king penguin colonies and ten of the world’s albatross species await.
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$10,500 - $15,000
Explore a region with the most diverse collection of seabirds in the world. The “Birding Down Under” expedition encompasses Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell and Macquarie Islands, as well as the Chatham Archipelago, which lies just north of the Subantarctic region and is renowned for its high degree of endemism. There will be plenty of time ashore and Zodiac cruising with experienced local birders to see and photograph the many island endemics. These islands can be numbered among the last unspoiled environments on Earth. To ensure the continued protection of these islands visitor numbers are limited.
Day 1: Invercargill, New Zealand
Arrive at the city of Invercargill, New Zealand's southernmost city. Established by Scottish settlers with its wealth in the rich farmland – sheep and dairy farms predominate. Make your way to the hotel in the central city. A detailed program will be available to you when you check in at reception. Dine at the hotel and enjoy the opportunity to meet fellow expeditioners.
Day 2: Embark / Port of Bluff
Breakfast at your leisure in the dining room at the hotel. Your program will advise a time for bags out and then you will be transferred to the Southland Museum to view the special Subantarctic display in the Museum before being transferred by coach to the Port of Bluff to board the Spirit of Enderby. Depart for the Snares Islands.
Day 3: Snares Islands
The Snares is the first of the Subantarctic island that you will be visiting. It is an amazing island rich with seabirds around coast. Arrive early in the morning; landings are not permitted so you will Zodiac to the sheltered eastern side. Observe an assortment of birdlife while cruising the sheltered bays: snares crested penguins, tomtits, fernbirds, cape pigeons, Antarctic terns, white-fronted terns, and red-billed gulls. There are an estimated six million sooty shearwaters nesting on the Snares Islands. Bullers albatross breed here from early January onwards.
Days 4 - 5: Auckland Islands
Arrive at Enderby Island, a great island to bird in the Auckland Island group. Land at Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the hookers sea lion. You’ll also see a diverse collection of birds, both common and rare to the region. Spend some time searching for the Subantarctic snipe which you have a very good chance of seeing. On Derrycastle Reef there is a good chance to see bar-tailed godwit, turnstone, and perhaps other migratory waders.
The next morning you will cruise to Carnley Harbor in the south of the main Auckland Islands. There will be an opportunity to climb to the Southwest Cape Shy Albatross colony. Those remaining on board will explore the coastal forest to see the New Zealand Falcon and enjoy close encounters with other bush birds. Depart the Auckland Islands and head southwest to Macquarie Island.
Day 6: At Sea
At sea you will have a series of lectures of the biology and history of the Sub Antarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean. The closer you get to Macquarie Island, the more abundant the birds will become. You will be at sea all day, another opportunity to see pelagic species, including Wandering Albatross Species, Royal Albatross, Shy and White-capped Albatross, and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, among others.
Days 7 - 8: Macquarie Island
Arrive at Macquarie Island, which is the only site to see the royal penguin. The king penguins, the gentoo and the rockhopper inhabit the island as well. Along the coast, see the Macquarie shag. Redpolls can be seen as can the European starling along the cliff edges. There will be landings at both ANARE base and Sandy Bay. You will also Zodiac to Lusitania Bay to explore Macquarie Island and then depart for Campbell Island on the afternoon of your second day.
Day 9: At Sea
At sea en-route to Campbell Island, you will see a similar range of species as you saw en-route to Macquarie Island from the Auckland Islands.
Day 10: Campbell Island
Spend the day exploring the island by foot from Perseverance Harbor. There is some great birding and photographic opportunities on this island especially southern royal albatross and the early flowering mega herbs. During the day ashore you should see the southern royal albatross, light-mantled sooty albatross, northern giant petrel, Campbell Island shag, and southern skua, among others. The regeneration of the megaherbs since the removal of the sheep is a spectacle to behold.
Day 11: At Sea
At sea en-route to the Antipodes, it is a day for pelagic birding. See common species that include wandering albatross species, southern royal albatross, black-browed albatross, Campbell Island albatross, and rare species such as fairy prions, fulmar prions, and Antarctic prions. Other species to be on the look out for include soft-plumaged petrel, and mottled petrel, among others.
Day 12: Antipodes Island
Antipodes Island is one of the most isolated, least known and rugged of the New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands. Landings are not permitted; plan to zodiac cruise the coastline where you have a good chance of seeing Antipodes Island’s reischeks parakeet. Also, see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand pipit. Enjoy good views along the coastline of penguin breeding colonies, including erect-crested and rockhopper penguins. There are usually a good number of Antarctic terns and kelp gulls.
Day 13: Bounty Islands
After arriving at the Bounty Islands, enjoy zodiac excursions to encounter assorted wildlife. Erect-crested Penguins, fulmar prions, and the endemic Bounty Island shag will be featured on your bird lists for this morning. Departing for the Chatham Islands, you should see wandering albatross, northern royal albatross, white capped albatross, salvins, and albatross northern giant petrel, among others.
Day 14: Pyramid Rock
This morning, continue toward the Chatham Archipelago with excellent opportunities for pelagic birding. Look out for the Chatham Island petrel and the very rare Chatham Island taiko or magenta petrel. This afternoon, arrive at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island albatross.
Days 15 - 16: Chatham Islands
Visit one of the world’s greatest nature reserves and home to the endangered Shore Plover and Chatham Island Oystercatcher. Keep your eyes peeled for the Pitt Island Shag and listen for the Tui, and visit the Mangere Islands where the endemic Black Robin was rescued from a decimated population of only six birds.
Land at Waitangi, the main settlement on the Chatham Islands. Near the landing you should see the endemic Chatham Island shag. Local buses and Landrovers will transport you down the South Coast to the Tuku Reserve. Here the local people will guide you through a bush walk in the hopes of seeing the Chatham Island warbler and Chatham Island pigeon. Return to the Spirit of Enderby early afternoon and depart for Dunedin.
Days 17 - 18: At Sea
En-route to Dunedin you will cross the Chatham Rise. It is a relatively shallow area of water, compared with the rest of the surrounding ocean; it is also one of the best places for pelagic. Expect to see wandering albatross species, royal albatross species, black-browed albatross, and white-capped albatross.
Day 19: Dunedin
Arrive in Dunedin and after completing formalities, passengers will be able to disembark. There will be a central city and airport drop off.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and sea conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this program, all passengers must purchase full medical and emergency evacuation insurance for the specific areas they will be visiting. The policy provider, policy number and contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Cabin accommodations; all meals on board the ship; onboard lectures and access to public areas; services of expedition leaders; shore excursions as described; one-night hotel accommodation (twin share basis) the night prior to embarkation, including breakfast; pre- and post-cruise group transfers.
Airfare to and from your home to the port of departure and port of arrival; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks and medical services; gratuities; landing fees ($650 per person); fuel surcharge may apply.
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