Subantarctic Wonders: Galapagos
13 Day Itinerary
of Enderby (Professor Khromov)
To the south of New Zealand are six
groups of islands, remote from each other and from New Zealand.
These are the Sub Antarctic Islands, they are among the world’s
wildest places. Some are close to pristine. The larger ones have
suffered from the introduction of alien animals in the past but,
island by island, animal by animal, they are slowly being cleared
of introduced fauna and restored to something like their original
This region hosts the most diverse collection of seabirds in the
world. More than 40 seabird species – at least 11% of all
worlds’ seabirds – breed in the Sub Antarctic region.
Land birds and small invertebrates animals, including insects, are
surprisingly numerous, diverse and in some cases breathtakingly
rare. The land birds indicate, through their diversity, just how
long these islands have been isolated. No fewer than 15 species
are Sub Antarctic endemics. This expedition visits four of the six
island groups including Snares, Auckland’s, Macquarie and
Campbell. There is no other comparable expedition in the world,
for an introduction and understanding of the dynamic and diverse
southern ocean eco-system this is a “must do” expedition.
Arrive at the City of Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South.
Its strength comes from the rich history of development during
the gold rush of the 1860’s, and its current status
as a University Centre and base for ecotourism. On arrival
please make your own arrangements to transfer to the Southern
Cross Hotel in the central city. A detailed programme will
be available to you when you check in at reception There will
be an informal get together at the hotel for dinner this evening.
This will be an opportunity to meet other participants and
After breakfast there will be a transfer of your luggage and
then yourselves to the vessel in the Port of Otago, Dunedin.
Once we have embarked and cleared Customs we will let go the
lines and steam down the protected Otago Harbour, under Taiaroa
Head and then southwards to the Snares Island.
The Snares is the first of the Subantarctic Islands we will
be visiting. It is an amazing island - more birds nest on
this small island than there are seabirds around the entire
British Isles. We will arrive early morning, landings are
not permitted so we zodiac cruise the sheltered eastern side.
Cruising in the sheltered bays we should see the endemic Snares
crested penguins, tomtits and fernbirds. Cape pigeons, Antarctic
terns, white-fronted terns and red-billed gulls are around
the coastline. There is an estimated six million sooty shearwaters
nesting on the Snares Islands. Buller’s albatross breed
here from early January onwards.
We arrive at Enderby Island, a great island to view birds
and wildlife in the Auckland Island group. We make a landing
at Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the New Zealand
(Hooker’s) sea lion. We’ll also be able to observe
the following species:- Southern royal albatross, Northern
giant petrel, Auckland Island shag, Auckland Island teal,
Auckland Island banded dotterel, Auckland Island tomtit, bellbird,
pipit, red crowned parakeet, yellow-eyed penguin and light-mantled
sooty albatross. We will spend some time searching for the
Subantarctic snipe which we have a very good chance of seeing.
Other more common species we will see include goldfinch, song
thrush, blackbird, European starling, red-bill gull, redpoll.
On Derrycastle Reef there is a good chance to see bar-tailed
godwit, turnstone and perhaps other migratory waders.
This morning we will cruise to Carnley Harbour in the south
of the main Auckland Islands. There will be an opportunity
for the energetic participants to climb to the Southwest Cape
shy albatross colony. Gibson’s wandering albatross nest
above the colony amongst the tussock, we should get good views
of these birds as they will be nesting at this time. Those
remaining on board will have an opportunity to zodiac cruise
along the coastal forest with a chance to see New Zealand
falcon and enjoy close encounters with other bush birds. We
depart the Auckland Islands in the mid afternoon and head
south west to Macquarie Island.
At sea we will have a series of lectures supported by videos
of the biology and history of the Subantarctic Islands and
the Southern Ocean. The Subantarctic Convergence Zone is traditionally
very close to the area we are sailing through so we should
expect the birdlife to reflect this as we get closer to Macquarie
Island. We will be at sea all day, another opportunity to
see pelagic species including wandering albatross species,
royal albatross, shy and 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
Days 7 & 8
Arrive at Macquarie Island which is the only place to see
the royal penguin and there is an abundance of these. King
penguins are also found in large numbers. Two other penguin
species breed on Macquarie Island - the gentoo and the rockhopper.
Along the coast we will see the imperial (Macquarie) shag.
Redpolls can be seen as can the European starling along the
cliff edges. We plan landings at both the ANARE base and at
Sandy Bay. We will also zodiac cruise Lusitania Bay, where
there is a huge king penguin colony. We continue our exploration
of Macquarie Island and then depart for Campbell Island on
the afternoon of our second day.
At sea en-route to Campbell Island, we will see a similar
range of species as we saw en-route to Macquarie Island from
the Auckland Islands.
Days 10 & 11
Arriving early in the morning we will spend the day exploring
the island by foot from Perseverance Harbour. Campbell Island
is a magnificent island. Rats have recently been successfully
removed with encouraging increases in small bird numbers being
observed, most notably the pipit. 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 we should see the Southern royal albatross,
Light-mantled sooty albatross, northern giant petrel, Campbell
Island shag, Southern skua, Red billed gull, black backed
gull, Antarctic tern, redpoll, dunnock and the New Zealand
pipit. The regeneration of the megaherbs since the removal
of the sheep in the 1970's and ‘80's is a spectacle
At sea en-route to the Port of Bluff. A chance to relax and
reflect on what will have been an amazing experience. Lecturers
will take the opportunity to recap the highlights of the Expedition
and we will enjoy a farewell dinner tonight as we cross the
last few miles of our journey.
We arrive at the Port of Bluff. After breakfast and customs
formalities have been completed we will disembark. A coach
will transfer you and your luggage to the central city of
Invercargill or to Invercargill 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.
by Pete Morris/Birdquest
A stunning Royal
Penguin emerges from the cold ocean at Macquarie Island
courtesy of Heritage Expeditions
note that this is an occasional cruise and is not offered
Please contact our office for up-to-date information on cruise
dates, prices, ships and current cabin availability.
+44 1254 826116 (outside UK)