Discover amazing endemic wildlife, meet the locals and experience conservation in action as we journey through the incredibly-diverse archipelagos of the Chatham, Antipodes and Bounty Islands.
Their first inhabitants, the Moriori, called them ‘Rekhou’ (misty skies), the Europeans who rediscovered them in 1791 named them the Chatham Islands after their ship, while Maori, who didn’t settle the islands until 1835, called them ‘Wharekauri’. Today, most New Zealanders know them as the last place mentioned in their daily weather forecast, but some might also know them as the home of the endangered Black Robin.
The Chatham archipelago (made up of at least 12 islands, plus numerous islets) lies 870 kilometres east of New Zealand and runs 45 minutes ahead of the rest of the country. The history of these islands and their rich natural history is unique, and it is only recently that these precious islands have begun to be understood and appreciated. Several books, including Rodney Russ’ Galapagos of the Antarctic – Wild Islands to the South of New Zealand capture some of their beauty and mystique, but it is only by visiting these remarkable islands that one can truly appreciate what they have to offer. During explorations around the archipelago we will hear remarkable stories of rediscovery and population recovery with the Black Robin and its rescue from the brink of extinction, and the once thought to be extinct Chatham Island Taiko (Magenta Petrel). The ongoing careful management of these critically endangered species serve as beacons of hope and inspiration for conservationists everywhere. Heritage Expeditions has an excellent track record of sighting a number of Chatham Island Taiko during its voyages to the Chatham archipelago and we hope to continue the good fortune during this expedition.
Visiting the Chatham Islands is not difficult, but this expedition is unique and rare, as it includes the seldom visited (and almost impossible to get to) outlying islands. Our journey is also guided by a team of Chatham Island experts whose knowledge will add another dimension to your experience.
This expedition also includes designated UNESCO World Heritage sites The Antipodes and Bounty Islands, which are afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the New Zealand Government (there are also islands that we visit within the Chatham Islands’ archipelago with similar status and protection). While no landings are possible at these remote outcrops, islets and stacks, we plan to Zodiac cruise their shorelines if weather conditions are favourable.