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.
Now, after a 15 year absence from mainland New Zealand, we are excited to return, in full circle, to where Heritage Expeditions’ legacy began and this time the expedition will also include New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands, which has 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. We will travel the calm waters of Fiordland in solitude, away from the crowds, on the 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 will 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 expedition 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.