Days 1 - 2: Depart USADepart on your independent flight to Australia. Lose a day crossing the International Date Line.
Day 3: Melbourne, AustraliaArrive in Melbourne and transfer to your hotel. After lunch enjoy an afternoon at leisure before gathering for an orientation and dinner at the hotel.
Day 4: Melbourne / EmbarkIn the 1830s the founders of Melbourne envisioned a cosmopolitan city blessed with numerous parks and expansive boulevards. Today, view the fruits of their labors with either a guided excursion exploring Australia’s second largest city or a visit to You Yang’s Park to search for koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, and birds in a natural setting. Both tours end at the harbor, where you embark the Caledonian Sky in the late afternoon and set sail for Tasmania.
Day 5: Devonport, TasmaniaThis afternoon explore Mole Creek National Park. Stroll beside a rushing creek bordered by lush ferns to enter Marakoopa Cave. Here you will find unique creatures that have adapted to a world without light and a breathtaking array of stalactites, stalagmites, and dazzling crystals reflected in the subterranean pools. Or, take a scenic drive to Burnie where you may try your hand at paper making, then visit the Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame which includes an on-site interpretive center that unlocks the secrets of Australia’s unique egg-laying mammal, the platypus.
Day 6: Wineglass Bay / Coles BayWineglass Bay has been named one of the world’s top ten beaches. As Zodiacs take you ashore, behold blue-green waters edged by a perfect half-moon beach. Past the beach, coastal banksias, wattles, and eucalyptus beckon, and the red granite peaks of the Hazard Range create a dramatic backdrop. Take nature walks to search for wallabies and white-bellied sea eagles, while dolphins and seals are often sighted in the offshore waters. Walk across the Hazards, stopping at scenic overlooks to take in the stunning coastal vista. The hike continues to Coles Bay and into Freycinet National Park, which is known for its varied flora—including more than 60 types of orchids—and birdlife such as green rosellas and yellow-tailed black cockatoos. Enjoy a BBQ buffet at Freycinet Lodge this afternoon.
Day 7: Maria Island / Port ArthurOnce a penal colony, today Maria Island is a national park and refuge for a variety of wildlife, including Cape Barren geese, Tasmanian native hens, Forester kangaroos, and wallabies. Take a walk with park rangers to seek out wildlife or board Zodiacs to cruise along the shoreline for up-close views of the Painted Cliffs—colorful, beautifully patterned sandstone that has been carved by the sea into fantastic formations.
Spend the afternoon at Port Arthur, a former prison that once held thousands of convicts. Today Port Arthur is a Heritage Site; its museum and restored buildings reveal Tasmania’s past status as a penal colony.
Days 8 - 9: HobartSpend time exploring Hobart and its environs. Learn about Hobart’s historic Battery Point and Salamanca area during a walking tour, followed by a ride to the summit of Mount Wellington for panoramic views of the city and estuary. Or, choose a birding tour on Bruny Island, where 150 species, including all 12 Tasmanian endemics can be found. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Hobart and perhaps enjoy dinner on your own at one of the many charming restaurants.
The next morning choose a guided walk through nearby Bonorong Park, where resident naturalists present Tasmania’s unique wildlife—wombats, possums, and quolls—as well as mainland species such as koalas. Then visit the colonial town of Richmond where you will find beautiful historic buildings as well as examples of Tasmania’s stark convict heritage. Alternatively, join a morning birding tour.
Days 10 - 11: At SeaJoin naturalists for lectures and on deck to look for royal, shy, and Buller’s albatross, plus a host of southern ocean petrels as you cruise to Macquarie Island.
Days 12 - 13: Macquarie IslandSpend two days exploring Macquarie Island. Though tides and weather will determine your landings, hope to visit a king penguin colony numbering 200,000 pairs as well as colonies of royal, rockhopper, and gentoo penguins. Seventy-two species of birds, as well as several types of seal—elephant, leopard, and fur—can all be found set against a background of mountains and tussock-covered headlands. There is also a staggering array of albatross breeding here—wandering, black-browed, gray-headed, and light-mantled sooty.
Day 14: At SeaYour lecture series continues with recaps on Macquarie and briefings on the next sub-Antarctic landings.
Day 15: Campbell Island, New ZealandCampbell Island is home to a multitude of seabirds and marine mammals. Photographic opportunities include frame-filling encounters with southern royal and light-mantled sooty albatross, as well as Hooker’s sea lions and elephant seals. Birders search for the endemic Campbell teal and Campbell snipe.
Day 16: Enderby, Auckland IslandsToday nature walks lead you through dense chaparral shrubs and rata forests to visit nesting royal albatross. Station yourself near a beach awash with Hooker’s sea lions to watch yellow-eyed penguins, one of the rarest penguins in the world, as they return to their nesting sites on the rocky shore. In the elfin forest, search for melodious bellbirds, diminutive tomtits, and colorful red-crowned parakeets, among other endemics.
Day 17: Snares IslandsFur seals and crested penguins abound on the glistening kelp lined shores, and Buller’s albatross soar overhead as you board Zodiacs for a cruise around the Snares Islands. A nature reserve of international importance, the islands are home to more breeding seabirds than the entire United Kingdom.
Day 18: Dusky and Doubtful Sounds, Fiordland National ParkFiordland, a World Heritage Park, is a nearly uninhabited wilderness with breathtakingly beautiful fjords filled with wildlife. In Dusky Sound, explore by Zodiacs to discover rain forest luxuriant with tree ferns, mosses, and lichens and visit Astronomer’s Point. The forests and waterways are home to many birds—bellbirds, tuis, fantails, and the kereru, a large native wood pigeon. Later, as the ship slowly cruises Doubtful Sound, keep your binoculars ready to inspect the coves where rare Fiordland crested penguins nest.
Day 19: Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park / Disembark / QueenstownBe on deck this morning to watch the panorama of Milford’s sheer cliff faces, which rise thousands of feet almost vertically from the water’s edge, as well as the crashing waters of Bowen and Stirling Falls and the stunning mile-high Mitre Peak. Disembark the Caledonian Sky for a scenic drive to the picturesque town of Te Anau for lunch. Continue to Queenstown, a beautiful city surrounded by a majestic mountain range known as The Remarkables, with dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 20: Queenstown / USAAfter breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent flight home, arriving in the USA the same day.
Accommodations in hotels and on board as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals; all group meals on land; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; welcome dinner and orientation; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; all entrance fees; taxes; landing and port fees; all gratuities; comprehensive pre-departure packet; gift certificates for recommended expedition gear; photographic journal; $50,000 of medical expense coverage and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance.*
All air transportation (except where listed above); excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; baggage/trip cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.