Birding Down Under:

Subantarctic and Chatham Islands

Birding Down Under: Subantarctic and Chatham Islands

DAYS 19 / SHIP Spirit of Enderby

DEPARTURES 13 Nov 2019 / 12 Nov 2020

PLACES VISITED The Snares / Macquarie Island / Bounty Islands / Antipodes Islands / Campbell Island / Auckland Islands / Chatham Islands

PRICES FROM $11,250 USD (More Rates)

Listen to the names: Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, Macquarie and Chatham Islands. They are music to the ears of ‘Birders'. Apart from the Chathams, these islands are probably more isolated now than they were when they were discovered in the late 1700s and early 1800s and were regularly visited by sealers, whalers and government steamers searching for castaway sailors. It is relatively simple to get to the Chatham Islands, but opportunities to visit the others are rare. This expedition, one of a number operated each year by Heritage Expeditions, is the only one to include all of these islands.

The islands occupy the tempestuous latitudes of the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties, but they are also known as the Albatross Latitudes and with good reason. Ten of the world's albatross species breed in the region; five of them nowhere else but here! In fact, this zone where the air is never still hosts the most diverse collection of seabirds in the world. More than 40 species breed here - that is at least 11 per cent of the entire world's seabird population.

With the exception of the Chathams, the islands are all designated UNESCO World Heritage sites and are afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments, so passage to their shores is not granted lightly. There are also islands that we visit within the Chatham Islands' Archipelago with similar status and protection.

This expedition has huge appeal to pelagic enthusiasts, penguin fanatics and those interested in island endemics. Though you don't have to be a keen birder to enjoy this voyage. People interested in islands and island ecology, botany, geology and an increasing number of photographers have enjoyed this trip immensely, as have those interested in the history of southern ocean discovery and exploration.

This is one of our ‘signature expeditions' which has operated annually for more than 20 years, so you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise gained over that time.

 

Listen to the names: Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, Macquarie and Chatham Islands. They are music to the ears of ‘Birders'. Apart from the Chathams, these islands are probably more isolated now than they were when they were discovered in the late 1700s and early 1800s and were regularly visited by sealers, whalers and government steamers searching for castaway sailors. It is relatively simple to get to the Chatham Islands, but opportunities to visit the others are rare. This expedition, one of a number operated each year by Heritage Expeditions, is the only one to include all of these islands.

The islands occupy the tempestuous latitudes of the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties, but they are also known as the Albatross Latitudes and with good reason. Ten of the world's albatross species breed in the region; five of them nowhere else but here! In fact, this zone where the air is never still hosts the most diverse collection of seabirds in the world. More than 40 species breed here - that is at least 11 per cent of the entire world's seabird population.

With the exception of the Chathams, the islands are all designated UNESCO World Heritage sites and are afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments, so passage to their shores is not granted lightly. There are also islands that we visit within the Chatham Islands' Archipelago with similar status and protection.

This expedition has huge appeal to pelagic enthusiasts, penguin fanatics and those interested in island endemics. Though you don't have to be a keen birder to enjoy this voyage. People interested in islands and island ecology, botany, geology and an increasing number of photographers have enjoyed this trip immensely, as have those interested in the history of southern ocean discovery and exploration.

This is one of our ‘signature expeditions' which has operated annually for more than 20 years, so you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise gained over that time.

 

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2019 ITINERARY
Birding Down Under: Subantarctic and Chatham Islands
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Day 1: Invercargill
This evening there will be an informal get together at the hotel for dinner, an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers and some of our expedition team.

Day 2: Port of Bluff
Take breakfast at your leisure in the hotel restaurant before exploring the local attractions and transferring to the Port of Bluff where we board the Spirit of Enderby.

Day 3: The Snares – North East Island
Cruise by Zodiac, if weather and sea conditions are suitable, along the sheltered eastern side of North East Island. We should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. We should also see Cape Pigeons, Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns and Red-billed Gulls. There are hundreds of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters nesting here and the Buller’s Albatross also breed here from late December onwards.

Day 4: Auckland Islands – Enderby Island
Enderby Island is a great place to view birds and wildlife. We visit Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the rare New Zealand (Hooker’s) Sea Lion and just one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands. There are chances to observe the Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Auckland Island Shag, Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Auckland Island Banded Dotterel, Auckland Island Tomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Red-crowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguin and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. We will also keep a lookout for the rare Subantarctic Snipe. On Derry Castle Reef there is a good chance of seeing the Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone and other migratory waders.

Day 5: Auckland Islands – Carnley Harbour
These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by, and harbour tales of castaways and Coastwatchers. If weather and sea conditions are suitable, energetic expeditioners are able to climb to the South West Cape Shy Albatross colony where Gibson’s Wandering Albatross often nest among the tussocks above the colony.

Day 6: At Sea
We can expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey from the Auckland Islands to Macquarie Island with great views of species such as the Royal Albatrosses, Wandering Albatrosses, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, White-chinned Petrel, diving-petrel, Little Shearwaters, storm-petrel and, to confuse everybody, numerous prion species.

Days 7 to 8: Macquarie Island
The only place in the world where the regal Royal Penguin breeds, this remote outpost supports a breath-taking concentration of wildlife. You will never forget your first experience of visiting a noisy ‘penguin city’ where you will be witness to a thousand chattering, feeding chicks, territorial disputes, petty pilfering and courtship displays: King, Gentoo and Rockhopper Penguins can be seen here. We meet with Park Rangers and seek out the thousands of Southern Elephant Seals lolling on the beaches and along the coast, Redpolls and Imperial Shag can often be spotted.

Day 9: At Sea
We will be keeping a keen lookout for cetaceans, albatross and petrels today, relax in the ship’s bar or catch up on your reading in the library.

Day 10: Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
We drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour. Once on shore we walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross or to Northwest Bay, passing beautiful megaherbs on the hills. During the day we should see the Campbell Island Shag and Teal, Southern Skua, Antarctic Tern, Dunnock, New Zealand Pipit and, hopefully, the elusive Campbell Island Snipe.

Day 11: At Sea
Join us on the bridge, where we keep a keen lookout for species commonly seen in this area: Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and Little Shearwater. There should be plenty of petrels and, again, the hard to identify prion species.

Day 12: Antipodes Islands
One of the most isolated, least known and rugged of the Subantarctic Islands; landings are not permitted here, so we cruise along the coast looking for the endemic Antipodes Island and Reischek’s Parakeet. We may also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand Pipit, and with half the world population of Erect-crested Penguins here, we should encounter one or two as well as Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls.

Day 13: Bounty Islands
These inhospitable granite islets are home to thousands of Salvin’s Albatross, Erect-crested Penguins, Fulmar Prions and the endemic Bounty Island Shag, the world’s rarest. At sea we should spot Wandering Albatross species, Northern Royal Albatross, Mottled Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, White-chinned Petrel and Black-bellied Storm-Petrels as well as Wilson’s Storm-Petrel.

Day 14: At Sea and Pyramid Rock
We continue north towards the Chatham Islands, with similar species accompanying us as yesterday. Towards evening, as we approach the islands, we are closer to the Subantarctic and sub tropical convergence and will see a subtle change in the species composition. Late this afternoon we arrive at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross.

Day 15: Chatham Islands – Waitangi
This morning we go ashore on the main island where we might see the endemic Chatham Island Shag and along the coast the Chatham Island Oystercatcher. We visit a private bush reserve on the south coast to see the Chatham Island Warbler, Chatham Island Pigeon and Tui. This afternoon we have another look for the Magenta and Chatham Island Petrels.

Day 16: South East Island and Mangere Islands
Arrive early morning at South East Island, one of the world’s greatest nature reserves, here we plan to Zodiac cruise to see the endangered Shore Plover. We will also keep our eyes peeled for the Pitt Island Shag. Before we depart the archipelago we visit the Mangere Islands from where the endemic Black Robin was rescued.

Days 17 to 18: At Sea
En route to Dunedin we will cross the Chatham Rise, here nutrient-rich waters allow for an overlap between northern pelagic species and birds from southern latitudes. We can expect to see Royal Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Westland Black Petrel, Cook’s Petrel and much more.

Day 19: Dunedin
Our adventure ends at this historic Otago Harbour. Early this morning we arrive in port and after a final breakfast we say our farewells before disembarking and transferring by complimentary coach to either a central city point or to the airport. Enquire for a full itinerary and/or a Bird and Mammal List.

Our ship: Spirit of Enderby

The Spirit of Enderby (Professor Khromov) is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel. She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in May 2019 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows o...

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Pricing

Birding Down Under - 13 Nov 2019 to 1 Dec 2019 - Spirit of Enderby

Cabin Category Price USD Description Availablity
Main Deck Triple $11,250 Has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and wash basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main Deck cabins. Waitlisted
Main Deck $12,150 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private washbasin. Shared shower and toilet facilities nearby with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole. Waitlisted
Superior $13,650 One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Waitlisted
Superior Plus $14,700 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Limited
Mini Suite $15,400 Separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows. Waitlisted
Heritage Suite $16,500 Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views. Waitlisted
Additional fees

Landing Fees (All prices are per person in USD): $800.00pp

Includes:

Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (inc. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions.

Excludes:

All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

Birding Down Under - 12 Nov 2020 to 30 Nov 2020 - Spirit of Enderby

Cabin Category Price USD Description Availablity
Main Deck Triple $11,250 Has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and wash basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main Deck cabins. Available
Main Deck $12,150 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private washbasin. Shared shower and toilet facilities nearby with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole. Available
Superior $13,650 One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Waitlisted
Superior Plus $14,700 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Limited
Mini Suite $15,400 Separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows. Waitlisted
Heritage Suite $16,500 Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views. Waitlisted
Additional fees

Landing Fees (All prices are per person in USD): $800.00pp

Includes:

Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (inc. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions.

Excludes:

All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

Trip Reports

Looking for a taste of what you can expect on our expeditions or want to relive your voyage? Our Trip Reports offer a detailed, day-by-day account of all of our previous expeditions tracking the voyage route and highlighting the numerous wildlife and cultural encounters experienced along the way.

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What out travelers are saying:

Thank you for a very enjoyable trip to the Subantarctic Islands- and particularly for having the patience to wait for me and not discouraging me from making the climb on the Auckland Islands to see the White Capped and Gibson's albatrosses. It was a great experience and the effort was well worthwhile. READ MORE
CHRIS
We all have dreams, most never see the light of realisation. It was on this voyage that I was to feel the excitement of fulfillment of my life long dream to see the birds of this long forgotten part of the world. READ MORE
ANONYMOUS
Initially I thought I was on a journey to see some of the most hard to see species of birds in the world. I was mistaken. Along with the world class birding was the absolute grandeur of the subantarctics and the warmth and camaraderie that the Heritage team which made this a truly special experience. READ MORE
ANONYMOUS
I cannot speak too highly of Rod and his team. They got us close to a multitude of species that I will only see once in my lifetime. The warmth and knowledge added to what can only be described as the world’s most unique birding experience. READ MORE
ANONYMOUS
A quest of a life time was realised when we saw the rare Magenta Petrel at sea. To get close to such rare and majestic species is a true privilege. READ MORE
ANONYMOUS
It was the passion of the staff which has further fuelled my interest in the area, it has made me think of post-graduate study in the area. Heritage is passionate for the conservation and protection of the islands and passes this on to the passengers. READ MORE
NIC
Everyone did his or her job so well, what a team. I admired Nathan and Adam enormously, watching them take a cart load of (mainly) oldies and keep them safe whilst showing them such special places, was a pleasure. READ MORE
LOU
This was my third incredible Heritage Expeditions voyage aboard the Spirit of Enderby, two of them completed in Jan-Feb 2014 (In the Wake of Scott and Shackleton) and March 2014 (New Zealand's Remote Islands) and my earlier Russia Far East Voyage Across The Top of World in August 2012. I was very excited to read about the forthcoming special sailing to the Antipodes, the Bounties and the Chath... READ MORE
NGAIRE LAWSON (HART)
Fabulous trip, taking in the little visited islands of Chatham, Bounty, Antipodes, Campbell, Maquarie, Auckland and Snares. The ship is fairly basic, but comfortable with lots of storage space in the cabin. Third level cabins share toilets and showers. The staff were very good, and lectures were interesting. The chefs were excellent, and the food was delicious. READ MORE
HOLLY FAITHFULL
13 Dec 2018
The recent 'Birding Down Under' #1860 expedition aboard 'Spirit of Enderby' has concluded. The Species List for this voyage is now available throug...READ MORE
14 Dec 2017
The recent 'Birding Down Under' #1761 expedition aboard 'Spirit of Enderby' has concluded. The Species List for this voyage is now available throug...READ MORE
16 Dec 2016
The recent 'Birding Down Under' #1660 aboard 'Spirit of Enderby' has concluded. The Species List for this voyage is now available through the li...READ MORE
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