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 5 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, from Antarctica to the Arctic, but our passion for New Zealand’s wilderness never diminished.
Reinstated in 2018, after a 15 year absence from mainland New Zealand, this expedition returns, in full circle, to where Heritage Expeditions’ legacy began. Exploring the remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords of Fiordland, it is easy to see why this incredible region inspired our dream for responsible travel. In the calm waters of Fiordland, and away from the crowds, there are great opportunities to lookout for marine life, elusive birds and stunning vistas. This expedition also includes New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands, which has been a popular and essential part of Heritage Expeditions’ programme for many years, and Stewart Island’s Ulva Island that is home to a range of birdlife and free of introduced pests. Tick this once in a lifetime experience off your travel bucket list; 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.
The Subantarctic Islands are the wildlife and history rich regions of Southern New Zealand, they are impossible to visit without an expedition like this.
They are not mentioned in a travel brochure on your high street; and rarely will you find them listed in guidebooks, few people have been to them and they don’t even appear on some maps of the South Pacific. Despite their low profile, they are among the most remarkable wildlife reserves in the New Zealand, designated UNESCO World Heritage sites and afforded the highest protection of any nature reserves in New Zealand.
Remote, uninhabited and on no regular shipping route, access is further restricted by a strict Management Plan which limits the number of people allowed ashore each year.