regional highlights

Here in the great southern ocean that encircles Antarctica lie six islands groups stretching south from New Zealand and Australia: the Bounty Islands, the Antipodes, the Snares, the Auckland Islands, Campbell Island and Macquarie Island. Flora and fauna are densely concentrated here in the Subantarctic Zone - the number of indigenous plants and seabirds found in the Subantarctic Islands is far greater than that found on similar groups in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Together they are tiny havens for some of the most abundant and unique wildlife on the planet!

Each island and each voyage is different, but anticipated highlights might include: Sooty Shearwaters, Snares Crested Penguin, Yellow-eyed Penguin, Southern Rockhopper Penguin, Blue Penguin, Shy Albatross, Southern Royal Albatross, Campbell Albatross, Antipodean Albatross,  Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Buller’s Albatross, Gibson’s Wandering Albatross, Campbell Island Flightless Teal, Campbell Shag, Auckland Island Shag, Antarctic Tern, Subantarctic Snipe, Cape Pigeon, Snares Island Fernbird, Tomtit… Hooker’s Sea Lion, New Zealand Fur Seal, Dusky Dolphin… 

courting Southern Royal Albatross

courting Southern Royal Albatross

Voyages in this region are operated by Heritage Expeditions out of New Zealand.  As the Galápagos Islands are what we truly specialize in, and know every nuance of, these Sub-Antarctic islands are their specialty.  We know of no better group to experience this remarkable part of the world with. 

Each year they offer several departures, each accompanied by a wonderful expedition team to bring the voyage to life for everyone.  

SUBANTARCTIC ISLAND VOYAGES: 

'Birding Down Under' is their most comprehensive exploration of the Subantarctic Islands. This 18 day expedition explores seven different island groups including the remote Antipodes and Bounty Islands. The 'Galapagos of the Southern Ocean' voyage encompassing the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands as well as wildlife rich Macquarie Island, is so popular that they now run two voyages per season.

The eight day 'Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific' voyage takes you to a part of New Zealand that few have been privileged enough to visit. Every expedition aims at maximising the opportunities for all participants, regardless of your interest, with quality time ashore with experienced guides who know the islands and the wildlife well. The Subantarctic Islands are also included in the longer Antarctic Expeditions.

Subantarctic Islands: Birding Down Under 13 November 2017
Explore the 'Albatross Latitudes' and explore the most remote Subantarctic islands including Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, Macquarie & Chatham Islands on this comprehensive 19 day expedition perfect for those interested in birds, history, wildlife.  


Macquarie Island Expedition: Galapagos of the Southern Ocean 1 Dec 2017
Explore wildlife rich Macquarie Island as well as Campbell, Auckland Islands and the Snares.  These UNESCO World Heritage Sites are home to a vast array of albatross, penguins, petrels, elephant seals and more.


Subantarctic Islands: Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific 14 Dec 2017
Campbell Island, Auckland Islands & the Snares Islands, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites are some of the most wildlife rich islands. This voyage is timed to coincide with the flowering of the megaherbs which paint the landscape vivid colours. Sea Kayaking available.


Macquarie Island Expedition: Galapagos of the Southern Ocean 21 Dec 2017
Explore wildlife rich Macquarie Island as well as Campbell, Auckland Islands & the Snares. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites are home to a vast array of albatross, penguins, petrels, elephant seals. Sea kayaking option available.


Subantarctic Islands: Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific 3 Jan 2018
Campbell Island, Auckland Islands & the Snares Islands, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites are some of the most wildlife rich islands. This voyage is timed to coincide with the flowering of the megaherbs which paint the landscape vivid colours. 

Snares Crested Penguin

Snares Crested Penguin

ROSS SEA & EAST ANTARCTICA VOYAGES:

Sometimes referred to as ‘the heart of Antarctica’, the Ross Sea region is the last great unspoiled part of the world’s oceans. To date there has only been minimal exploitation, and to enter this region of Antarctica is a privilege, with only a few hundred people able to visit each year. The East Antarctic coastline is some of the most remote in the world and is locked under ice for most of the year. The rest of the time it is buffeted by strong katabatic winds coming off the polar ice cap. Wildlife is abundant during these brief summer months and includes Adélie and Emperor penguins, South Polar Skuas, Snow Petrels, Southern Fulmars and many more species of bird. Both whales and seals abound here at this time and can be found feeding in the rich waters around the ice edge.

Sir James Clark Ross discovered the Ross Sea in 1841. Whales were hunted here in the 1920’s and more recently there has been some tooth fishing. The dynamic ecosystems that are unique to these regions are fragile and barely understood. It is a land of dramatic landscapes: photographers have attempted to capture it on film, artists to paint it, poets and writers to describe it. But to fully appreciate it, you must experience it yourself.

Sailing into the Ross Sea takes you further south into the Continent than any sea route. Immediately to the west of the Ross Sea is a region known as East Antarctica, discovered by the French explorer Dumont d’Urville in 1840. It was mapped in detail much later by the Australian Antarctic Expedition of 1911 to 1913 led by Sir Douglas Mawson. The region is often referred to as the ‘Home of the Blizzard.’ It is in these two regions that the relics of the ‘heroic period’ of Antarctic exploration can be seen and experienced. There are 5 historic huts and many other historic sites that bring this period of Antarctic history alive in a way that the many journals and books written about them can’t. To visit Borchgrevink’s Hut at Cape Adare, Shackleton’s Hut at Cape Royds, Mawson's Huts at Cape Denison, Scott’s Huts at Cape Evans and Hut Point are truly unique experiences that brings this period of history to life.

Voyages to the Ross Sea and East Antarctica also explore the wonderful New Zealand and Australian Subantarctic Islands en route from New Zealand.


East Antarctica: In the Wake of Mawson 8 Jan 2018
Voyage to the remote and infrequently visited Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica.  This is also the site of the historic hut of early Australian Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson at Cape Denison.  Enroute this expedition visits New Zealand and Australia's Subantarctic...


Ross Sea Antarctic Cruising: In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton 10 Jan 2018
Visit Antarctica's Ross Sea on this 30 day expedition which also includes the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands and Macquarie Island. There is much to see and do, visit penguin rookeries, explore historic huts, visit scientific bases, field camps & Zodiac cruise the ice edge.


Ross Sea Antarctic Cruising: In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton 2 Feb 2018
Ross Sea Antarctic Cruising: In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton 8 Feb 2018
Visit Antarctica's Ross Sea on this 30 day expedition which also includes the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands and Macquarie Island. There is much to see and do, visit penguin rookeries, explore historic huts, visit scientific bases, field camps & Zodiac cruise the ice edge.

Hooker's Sea Lions, with bulls competing for a haram

Hooker's Sea Lions, with bulls competing for a haram

the colorful extravagance of the megaherbs

the colorful extravagance of the megaherbs

megaherbs are often in peak bloom in early January

megaherbs are often in peak bloom in early January

The gateway for nearly all of these voyages is Invercargill, at the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island. Flight connections to, and within, New Zealand are convenient and easy to schedule. And if you're here in one of the world's most beautiful countries why not extend your stay for a few days...

Voyages are on either the Sprit of Enderby, or a sister ship.

Yellow-eyed Penguin

Yellow-eyed Penguin

Please let us know if you would like detailed itineraries or information on any of these remarkable voyages.  

looking up at the Rata forest canopy, where the windswept trees appear to never touch...

looking up at the Rata forest canopy, where the windswept trees appear to never touch...

many trails are easy boardwalks

many trails are easy boardwalks

towering Rata forest

towering Rata forest

New Zealand Falcon

New Zealand Falcon

All photos on this page by Mark Grantham, from a 10-day voyage of New Zealand's sub-Antarctic Islands in January 2016.