Day 1: Hobart, Tasmania / EmbarkationSet on the River Derwent, Hobart is very much a city of the sea with views of the Derwent estuary appearing around every corner. Historic 19th century waterfront warehouses remain, still bordering the commercial fishing harbor, though today it is easier to feast on seafood at one of the restaurants they now house. Hobart is the finishing line for the famed blue water Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and its deep harbor precinct once bustled with whalers, soldiers, petty bureaucrats and opportunistic businessmen. A walk through the town will reveal that the city has resisted the pressure to move with the times, having retained and preserved old buildings such as the Parliament built by convicts in the 1830's.
Days 2 - 6: At SeaAs you make your way through the Southern Ocean, the expedition team will be on hand to prepare you for your expedition experience giving you an overview of all aspects of Antarctic life, with lectures and presentations on wildlife, ice, environmental sustainability and the history of polar exploration. These lectures are given by some of the foremost experts in their fields including botany, marine biology, anthropology and history.
Days 7 - 12: Commonwealth Bay RegionOn January 8, 1912 Sir Douglas Mawson landed on the Antarctic continent after a journey from Hobart that took 36 days aboard the Aurora, a ship of just 612 tons. During these voyages to the Antarctic continent, Orion will be positioned in and around Commonwealth Bay on the Adelie Coast of Antarctica. Your expedition team will lead a variety of opportunistic landings which may include sites at Cape Denison, Port Martin and Dumont d'Urville. In each instance landings ashore and Zodiac explorations are wholly subject to prevailing weather conditions, in an area Mawson described as "the home of the blizzard".
Days 13 - 14: At SeaAs you make your way through the Southern Ocean, the expedition team will be on hand to prepare you for your expedition experience giving you an overview of all aspects of Antarctic life, with lectures and presentations on wildlife, ice, environmental sustainability and the history of polar exploration. These lectures are given by some of the foremost experts in their fields including botany, marine biology, anthropology and history.
You cross the Antarctic Convergence Zone where warm currents meet cold which rise to the surface resulting in nutrient laden waters, a sudden and substantial drop in temperature and abundant marine life. A band of fog defines the convergence and the icebergs may be sighted in this region. You transit a vast wilderness in the company of sea birds (especially albatross and petrels), whales and dolphins. If the opportunity arises you may try to cross directly over the South Magnetic Pole as you head south.
Days 15 - 16: Macquarie IslandOften described as one of the "wonder spots" of the world, the sub-Antarctic island of Macquarie has been said to rival South Georgia in its magnificence, scenic diversity and prolific wildlife. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and a World Heritage Site in 1977, Macquarie now operates a full-time manned station where biological and meteorological research is conducted. This is where you will collect the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Rangers who will be your guides.
Zodiacs will take you ashore at Sandy Bay, your planned landing site. Once ashore you'll find the bay, with its rugged backdrop of mountains and tussock-covered headlands, is home to 850,000 Royal Penguins, 150,000 breeding pairs of King Penguins as well as Rock Hopper Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Elephant Seals. This profusion of wildlife wasn't always so protected, the rusting remains of machinery used by whalers being stark reminders of the exploitation which took place on the island during its early history.
Day 17: At SeaAs you sail toward the Auckland Islands, New Zealand, enjoy learning more from your experienced expedition team, either at a formal lecture in the theater or over a gourmet meal in the dining room.
Day 18: Auckland Islands, New ZealandSites in Port Ross may be visited including an abandoned Maori settlement, a German expedition observation point at Terror Cove and a WWII coast watching station at Ranui Cove. In Carnley Harbour castaway depots at Camp Cove, are marked by an A frame building built in 1887 by the crew of the Awarua, inscribed with the names of people from the French Bark Angou wrecked in 1905. You may cruise to Victoria Passage, a dramatic opening at the end of Carnley Harbour. The birdlife of Auckland Island is profuse.
Day 19: Snares Islands, New ZealandTwo small rocky islands, North East and Broughton, comprise The Snares, the closest sub-Antarctic islands to New Zealand. The islands are covered with heavy tussock grass and wind-beaten forests of tree daisies. Weather permitting, Zodiacs will be launched for an exploration of the sheltered eastern coastline as the island's wildlife protection program precludes landings. The Snares are home to huge numbers of breeding birds, 99 recorded species including albatross, Antarctic Terns and Snares Crested Penguins.
Day 20: Bluff, New Zealand / DisembarkationThe largest urban center in New Zealand's Southland is Invercargill, a city of 49,000 people. Visitors come to admire the elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, gardens and landscaped parks. The fishing port of Bluff is a half hour drive south from Invercargill and is home to the famous Bluff oyster and a lively annual seafood festival.
Upon disembarkation, a complementary transfer from Orion to Invercargill will be provided. The transfer is to the city center, or to the Invercargill airport.
Ports of call and itinerary may be subject to weather and tidal conditions, and is subject to change.
19-Day Voyage: 1/7/2013
This voyage will be 19 days, spending one less day in the Commonwealth Bay Region.
Reverse Itinerary: 1/7/2013 (Bluff, New Zealand to Hobart, Tasmania)
Accommodations onboard the ship; cruise transportation; all meals onboard; 24-hour room service; a range of shore excursions led by expedition team; expedition parka; entertainment and educational programs; use of ship's sporting equipment and facilities; port & handling charges; Zodiac excursions and tender transfers; access to the ship's library; government fees and taxes; services of crew.
Airfare; items of a personal nature, including but not limited to: travel and medical insurance; rubber boots for shore excursions; laundry charges; shopping onboard; bar expenses; hair dressing and massage treatments; optional shore experiences; medical treatment; telephone and Internet charges; gratuities for individual staff members (optional).