Heritage Expeditions pioneered expedition cruising in 1985 by cruising the rugged and unique southern coastline of New Zealand's South Island, including Fiordland and Stewart Island. From those first days exploring the wilderness from their tiny yacht base with just five travellers aboard, the Russ family realised their dream that responsible tourism, enacted in a genuine and responsible way in conjunction with local government, had the ability to assist in the protection of vulnerable areas. From there, Heritage Expeditions grew to escorting 50 conservation minded passengers per expedition to the world's most special regions but our passion for New Zealand's wilderness never diminished.
In 2018, after a 15 year absence from mainland New Zealand, Heritage Expeditions returned full circle to where its legacy began, this time the expedition also included New Zealand's Subantartic Islands, which had been a popular and essential part of Heritage Expeditions' programme for many years.
As we head back to explore the remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords of Fiordland, it will be easy to see why this incredible region inspired our dream for responsible travel. In the calm waters of Fiordland, away from the crowds, there are great opportunities to lookout for marine life, elusive birds and stunning vistas. Established in 1952, Fiordland National Park is now over 1.2 million hectares in size, and encompasses mountain, lake, fiord and rainforest environments. We plan to explore some of the most unique and wild parts of Fiordland as we sail though the beautiful fiords and landscapes.
We also explore Stewart Island's Ulva Island, free of introduced pests and home to a range of birdlife. Stewart Island, New Zealand's 3rd largest island is rich in history and wildlife, we will take the time to enjoy Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara, to listen to the native bird song and take a closer look at the history of Paterson Inlet.
These islands and region represent a priceless ecosystem and showcases the work that the New Zealand Government's Department of Conversation has and is undertaking to protect, preserve and re-introduce New Zealand's amazing wildlife, this is a once in a lifetime experience to explore remote parts of New Zealand's Southern region, an area known for its range of birdlife and jaw dropping scenery on a grand scale and where we hope to see a large number of New Zealand's Threatened Species.
This is your chance to directly contribute to the future of New Zealand's most precious regions. When you book, we'll donate 5% of the cabin price to the Department of Conservation's valuable work in the Subantarctic and Fiordland. Plus there will be the opportunity along the way to get your hands dirty for a few hours (should you wish) and personally help with the latest conversation projects in the area
Pre/Post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation, meals and all expedition shore excursions.
All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.
Our ship - The Spirit of Enderby:
The Spirit of Enderby 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 March 2013 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a recently updated combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room (March 2018). The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
Classification: Russian register KM ice class
Year built: 1984
Accommodation: 50 berths expedition
Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines),
Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
Bunker capacity: 320 tons
Please contact us for further Trip Reports
" Hi Cally and Ellen. You have been so good I thought you should get some feedback.
Impressions from an Oldie.
1. With modern medication, no need for seasickness!
2. Loved the food ,great variety, best of meat cooked to perfection, great service etc.
3. Being "manually " assisted into zodiacs took away all concerns.
4. All staff available, friendly and knowledgeable. Conveyed a sense of mutual co-operation.
5. Enjoyed the wide range of fellow passengers. Great that you give kids opportunities to participate.
6. Media releases,weather reports etc of great interest to mates back here.
Thanks Cally for pencilling in my name some time last year. Regards Ailsa "
" 'The megaherbs were an enormous surprise to us being considerably more spectacular than we could ever have anticipated. Contrary to the stunted growth of most vegetation in these climatic conditions, the megaherbs are large, flowering, brilliantly coloured and thriving.
On this trip we were totally spoilt for choice as far as expert knowledge is concerned. Leading specialists in botany, biology, ornithology, and conservation, delivered well prepared, fascinating lectures – and were always available to answer questions and enter discussions'
" As you can see, the weather was incredible and the trip was all I hoped for and more. I am enormously appreciative of this opportunity to visit the sub-antarctic islands and see first hand their stark beauty and extraordinary wildlife. The ship's crew and staff were outstanding both professionally and personally and I have made some great new friendships. I hope that we can continue to build our relationship with Heritage in the interests of conservation action in the sub-antarctic.
Chris Todd "
" “we have soared with the albatross, gamboled with the dolphins and felt what it takes to live in the Southern Ocean”. "
" Had a terrific trip to the southern islands and will certainly consider other expeditions with your company in future. "