This is without doubt one of the most inspirational and informative journeys or expeditions into the Southern Ocean ecosystem that one can make anywhere in the world. Long recognised for their rich biodiversity, the Subantarctic Islands lying to the south of New Zealand are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
This places them in a select group of only 250 natural sites that have been designated as ‘the most important and significant natural habitats’ on the planet. They are also afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments and access to these islands is by permit only. On this expedition we offer you the unique chance to explore, photograph and understand these wonderful places in the company of some of the most knowledgeable and passionate guides.
Heritage Expeditions organised our first commercial expedition to these islands in 1989, now, many years and over 100 expeditions later, Galapagos of the Southern Ocean has become one of our signature voyages. As the original concessionaire we enjoy excellent relationships with the conservation departments and some of the access permits we hold are unique to these expeditions. The name we have given to this voyage ‘Galapagos of the Southern Ocean’ reflects the astounding natural biodiversity and the importance of these islands as a wildlife refuge. (The book ‘Galapagos of the Antarctic’ written by Rodney Russ and Aleks Terauds and published by Heritage Expeditions describes all of these islands in great detail.) The islands all lie in the cool temperate zone with a unique climate and are home to a vast array of wildlife including albatross, penguins, petrels, prions, shearwaters and marine mammals like sea lions, fur seals and elephant seals. The flora is equally fascinating; the majority of it, like the birds, is endemic to these islands. Explore, encounter and photograph rowdy penguin breeding grounds and flowering fields of megaherbs, watch sunbathing seals, sea lions and elephant seals and a myriad of unique, unusual and rare birds. Our journey takes us from Hobart to Australia’s icy outback Macquarie Island, where we are introduced to four different species of penguin at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and continues on to three of New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands: The Snares, Auckland, and Campbell.
Each of the Subantarctic Islands we explore is different, and each one is unique – just like this expedition.