Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific

8 Day Itinerary

Ship: Spirit of Enderby (Professor Khromov)

The plant life of the Sub Antarctic region is rare and unique. Sir Joseph Hooker, botanist aboard Sir James Clark Ross’s 1840 Antarctic Expedition, who later became curator of the famous Kew Gardens in England wrote about the plants on these remote islands “the most extraordinary is the Pluerophyllum meadow, a community dominated by the large leafed herbaceous composite, producing a flora display second to none outside the tropics”

In recognition of the richness, special forms and unique associations, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has designated the region a world centre of floristic diversity. Vascular plants number about 250, with 35 found only in the region and several found only at a single island or group.

This expedition which visits the Snares, Auckland’s and Campbell Islands are timed to coincide with this magnificent flora display. Because of the remoteness of these islands only a few people have ever witnessed this display. This expedition is your opportunity to enjoy this display and the magnificent wildlife.


Day 1
A coach will transfer you from Invercargill to the Port of Bluff (27km south of Invercargill) to embark our vessel Spirit of Enderby. The coach will depart the Kelvin Hotel, Kelvin Street, Invercargill at a time to be advised. (Departure times from Bluff are dependent on tide and at the time of preparing this we are waiting on advice from the Harbour Master). From the Port of Bluff we sail down the short channel and into Foveaux Strait and then set a course direct to Campbell Island. There will be introductions and briefings on board.

Day 2
At sea we will have a series of lectures supported by videos of the biology and history of the Sub Antarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean. Our day at sea will be a great opportunity to see pelagic species, including wandering albatross, Southern royal albatross, white-capped albatross, light-mantled sooty albatross, grey headed albatross, black browed albatross, white chinned petrel, mottled petrel, white headed petrel, cape petrel, diving petrel, grey backed and black bellied storm petrel.

Days 3 & 4
Arrive Campbell Island early morning. This island provides some great birding and an opportunity to get some really good photographs, especially of the Southern royal albatross. The regeneration of the megaherbs since the removal of the feral sheep in the 1970's and 80's is a spectacle to behold and increasing each year as the rats have also been successfully removed. On arrival we will anchor below the abandoned Meteorological Station and walk to Col-Lyall Saddle. All three species of Pleurophyllum daisies, can be seen along the way. The short flowering season will be near its best. Southern royal albatross nest amongst these flowers and tussocks and there will be an opportunity to observe and photograph these.
Make sure you make time to look for some of the smaller plants, the Myosotis capitata with its small but deep purple flowers and the Hebe benthamii which has perhaps the deepest flower colour in the genus.
From Col Lyall there is a short walk to the summit ridge from where you can get some spectacular views over NW Bay. On our second day ashore at Campbell Island there will be an opportunity to revisit the Col Lyall Saddle or walk to remote Northwest Bay which is a relatively easy walk across tussock tops and the megaherb fields or climb to Mt Honey, Campbell Island’s highest peak.

Days 5 & 6
Arrive Auckland Islands and visit Carnley Harbour, the large southern harbour area. Our visit here will include the opportunity to climb to South West Cape and to shy (white capped) albatross colony or to explore the historic Coastwatchers Hut and Lookout at Tagua Bay.
The highlight of our visit to the Auckland Islands is the day ashore on Enderby Island in Port Ross, a magnificent island crammed with natural history wonders. It is home to the rare Hookers (New Zealand) Sealion which breed each year on Sandy Bay beach. The island is forested by gnarled and windswept rata, and has a plateau of scrubland and cushion bog. We will see and experience the unique megaherbs of this island, including the extensive fields of Bulbinella rossii, the regenerating patches of Anisotome latifolia and the red and white gentians. Royal albatross nest amongst a hummocked sward of Oreobolus pectinatus comb sedge and gentians. In the forest we will find bellbirds, red crowned parakeets and the friendly tomtits. Yellow-eyed penguins also nest here under the tangled divaricating shrub Myrsine divaricata. There is a good chance that we will see the endemic Auckland Island flightless teal at Derrycastle Reef as we explore this island.

Day 7
At day break we plan to arrive to Snares Island. It is a nature reserve of international importance. Landing is not allowed, but we will use our zodiacs to cruise the rugged coastline to see the unique Olearia and Brachyglottis forest and some of the unique wildlife including the endemic Snares Crested penguins, tomtit and fernbird. On the cliffs we will see the Buller’s Albatross, which only nests here and at the Solander Islands.

Day 8
On arrival at the Port of Bluff on the last day of the expedition there will be breakfast on board the ship after which we will provide transport to Invercargill city or airport.

Landings at the Sub Antarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at Snares Is.
Circumstances may be encountered during our voyage which will make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. These circumstances include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed during the voyage.

Photograph by Pete Morris/Birdquest

A fine Campbell Island Albatross drifting effortlessly by the boat

Map courtesy of Heritage Expeditions



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