Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific with Heritage Expeditions

Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific with Heritage Expeditions

From USD $4,875


You won’t find them mentioned in a travel brochure on your high street; you won’t find them in most guidebooks, you probably don’t know anyone that has ever been there and they don’t even appear on some maps of the New Zealand’s South Pacific – these are the ‘forgotten islands’. Despite their low profile, they are among the most remarkable wildlife reserves in the Southern Ocean, 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.

Departing the Port of Bluff, Invercargill, the first of these islands we visit are The Snares. No landings are permitted because the islands are honey-combed with seabird burrows. Of particular interest are the Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbird – all of which are endemic. We should see them all as we enjoy the dramatic coastline and tree daisy forest from our Zodiac cruise.

In the Auckland Islands, the largest of the island groups, we will have the chance to spend the day ashore on Enderby Island, arguably the most amazing Subantarctic Island.

Here you can hike through the windswept Rata forests, and along the exposed coastal cliffs. The wildlife is never far away and its lack of fear means close encounters, great for photography and observations. In Carnley Harbour, in the south of the Auckland Islands, there are a number of fascinating sites including a Shy Albatross colony, abandoned Coastwatcher’s huts, a shipwreck and castaway depots that we can visit. The weather will dictate what we do.

Campbell Island, the southernmost island of this expedition, is an example of what can be achieved in restoring islands. Over the years sheep, cattle, cats and finally rats have all been eradicated with the island rapidly recovering. The great English botanist Sir Joseph Hooker, a friend of Charles Darwin, visited Campbell Island in the 1840s and described the flowering fields of megaherbs as “second to none outside of the tropics”. We can now say the same following the removal of these introduced animals. This island is also the home of the majestic Southern Royal Albatross, and the endemic Campbell Island Flightless Teal and Snipe.

These islands represent a priceless ecosystem. Joining this expedition redefines natural history travel and will leave you wishing you could have spent more time there.

Trip Name
Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific with Heritage Expeditions
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1: Queenstown
Guests should make their way tothe designated hotel where wewill spend the first night of theexpedition. This evening there willbe an informal get-together atthe hotel for dinner; an excellentopportunity to meet fellowadventurers on your voyage andsome of our expedition team.
Day 2 - Day 2: Port of Bluff
Today we enjoy breakfast inthe hotel restaurant and havethe morning free to exploreQueenstown before returning tothe hotel for lunch and departingfor the Port of Bluff to embark yourship. You will have time to settleinto your cabin and familariseyourself with the ship; we will alsotake the opportunity to conducta number of safety briefings. Youare invited to join the expeditionteam in the Observation Loungeand up on the Observation Deckas we set our course to CampbellIsland and our adventure begins.We will sail past Ruapuke Island,formerly a local Maori strongholdsupporting a population of over 200people. We will also be able to seeStewart Island. Despite appearingquite small on most maps it is reallyquite large and has a 700 kilometer coastline. Seabirds that we mayencounter at this early point in thevoyage include: albatross, petrels,cormorants, gulls and Little BluePenguins.
Day 3 - Day 3: At Sea
As we make our way throughthe Southern Ocean we take theopportunity to learn more aboutthe flora and fauna as we preparefor our arrival at Campbell Island.En route there are great birdingopportunities which may includethe Wandering Albatross, RoyalAlbatross, Black-browed Albatross,Light-mantled Sooty Albatross,Salvin’s Albatross, Campbell IslandAlbatross, Northern and SouthernGiant Petrel, Sooty Shearwaterand Little Shearwater. There shouldbe plenty of petrels and againthe hard to identify prion species.We can expect some of the bestpelagic birding on this leg of thejourney from Bluff to CampbellIsland with great views during thecrossing.
Day 4 - Day 4: Campbell Island
We have a full day to exploreCampbell Island, New Zealand’ssouthernmost Subantarctic territory.Its history is as rich and varied as theother islands we visit. Discoveredin 1810, it was soon occupied bysealers who introduced rats and cats. Farming followed from 1895to 1934 when it was abandoned.Coastwatchers were stationedon the island during the war andat the end of the war the stationwas taken over by the NewZealand Metrological service. Theymaintained a manned weather/research station there until 1995.In the early 1970s the removal offarm animals commenced and allwere eventually removed by 1990.The vegetation recovered quicklyand the cats died out naturally.In a very ambitious (and neverbefore attempted on such a largescale) eradication programmethe New Zealand Department ofConservation successfully removedthe rats. With the island declaredpredator free, the way was clearto reintroduce the endangeredCampbell Island Flightless Teal,which had been rediscovered onan offshore island in 1975. Snipe,which were formerly unknown fromthe island but were discoveredon another offshore island,recolonised the islands themselves.The vegetation which the greatEnglish botanist Sir Joseph Hookerdescribed in 1841 as having a“Flora display second to none outside the tropics” is flourishingand is nothing short of spectacular.We will offer a number of optionswhich will enable you to explorethe island including an extendedwalk to Northwest Bay. There willalso be an easier walk to the ColLyall Saddle. All of these optionswill allow you the opportunity andtime to enjoy the Southern RoyalAlbatross which nest here in largenumbers. We also visit areas of theisland which contain outstandingexamples of the megaherbs forwhich the island is renowned.
Day 5 - Day 5: Auckland Islands – Carnley Harbour
In the south of the archipelagothere is a very large shelteredharbour rich in human historyincluding shipwrecks, treasurehunters, Coastwatchers and, ofcourse, scientific parties. We planto arrive mid-morning enteringthe harbour through the easternentrance which is guarded onboth sides by dramatic cliffs and rugged, tussock-covered hills. Ouractivities here today are weatherdependent. We have a number ofoptions. If the weather is fine therewill be an opportunity for the moreenergetic expeditioners to climbto the South West Cape and visitthe Shy Mollymawk colony. Thisclimb provides magnificent viewsin all directions, especially overthe western entrance to CarnleyHarbour, Adams Island and WesternHarbour. For those not making the climb there will be an opportunityto Zodiac cruise along the coast ofAdams Island, Western Harbour andVictoria Passage.Other options include the TaguaBay Coastwatcher’s hut andlookout which was occupied duringthe Second World War. We couldvisit Epigwatt and the remains ofthe‘Grafton’which was wreckedhere in 1864. All five men aboardsurvived and lived here for 18months before sailing their modifieddinghy to New Zealand to get help.Two of the survivors wrote booksabout their ordeal, their first-handaccounts tell us a lot about theirtime here. Later this evening we willsail up the eastern coast, makingour way to Port Ross in preparationfor our landing at Enderby Island.
Day 6 - Day 6: Auckland Islands – Enderby Island
The Auckland Islands group wasformed by two volcanoes whicherupted some 10-25 million yearsago. They have subsequently beeneroded and dissected by glaciationcreating the archipelago as weknow it today. Enderby Island is oneof the most beautiful islands in thisgroup and is named after the samedistinguished shipping family as oneof our own vessels. This northernmost island in the archipelagois an outstanding wildlife andbirding location and is relatively easy to land on and walk around.The island was cleared of allintroduced animals (pests) in 1994and both birds and the vegetation,especially the herbaceous plants,are recovering both in numbersand diversity. Our plan is to land atSandy Bay, one of three breedingareas in the Auckland Islands forthe Hooker’s or New Zealand SeaLion, a rare member of the sealfamily. Beachmaster bulls gatheron the beach, defending theirharems from younger (ambitious)males, to mate with the cowsshortly after they have given birthto a single pup. Hooker’s or NewZealand Sea Lion numbers are ina slow decline, for reasons whichare not obvious but most probablyconnected with a nearby squidfishery. During our day ashorethere will be several options, somelonger walks, some shorter walksand time to spend just sitting andenjoying the wildlife. The walkingis relatively easy. A boardwalktraverses the island to the dramaticwestern cliffs, from there we followthe coast and circumnavigate theisland. Birds that we are likely toencounter include the followingspecies: Southern Royal Albatross,Northern Giant Petrel, AucklandIsland Shag, Auckland IslandFlightless Teal, Auckland IslandBanded Dotterel, Auckland IslandTomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Red-crowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguinand Light-mantled Sooty Albatross.There is also a very good chanceof seeing the Subantarctic Snipe.Other more common species wewill see include the Goldfinch,Song Thrush, Blackbird, EuropeanStarling, Red-billed Gull andRedpoll. On Derry Castle Reef wewill look for migratory waders whichcould include Bar-tailed Godwit,Turnstone and possibly vagrants.
Day 7 - Day 7: The Snares – North East Island
The closest Subantarctic Islandsto New Zealand, they wereappropriately called The Snaresas they were once considered ahazard for sailing ships. Comprisingof two main islands and a groupof five islands called the WesternChain; they are uninhabited andenjoy the highest protection asNature Reserves. It is claimed bysome that these islands are hometo more nesting seabirds than allof the British Isles together. We planto arrive in the morning, and aslandings are not permitted, we willZodiac cruise along the shelteredeastern side of the main island ifthe weather and sea conditionsare suitable. In the shelteredbays, we should see the endemicSnares Crested Penguin, SnaresIsland Tomtit and Fernbirds. Thereare hundreds of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters nesting on TheSnares; the actual number is muchdebated. Buller’s Albatross breedhere from early January onwards.There will be opportunities to viewthe forests of large tree daisyOlearia lyalliiwhich forms a canopyover much of the island group.Tonight we enjoy a farewell andcelebratory dinner with newfoundfriends with time to reflect on awealth of new experiences andrecap on what amazing wildlife,plant life, landscapes and historywe have enjoyed.
Day 8 - Day 8: Stewart Island/ Invercargill/Queenstown
Spend the morning exploringStewart and Ulva Islands. Rich inhistory and wildlife, Ulva Island hasbeen predator-free since 1997 andits bird song and wildlife is someof the best in New Zealand. Sayyour farewells be transferred toeither Invercargill or QueenstownAirport. In case of unexpecteddelays, we ask you not to bookany onward travel from Invercargillbefore 3pm or before 6pm fromQueenstown. Note: During ourvoyage, circumstances may makeit necessary or desirable to deviatefrom the proposed itinerary. Thiscan include poor weather andopportunities for making unplannedexcursions. Your Expedition Leaderwill keep you fully informed.
Day 9 - Please Note:
During our voyage,circumstances may make itnecessary or desirable to deviatefrom the proposed itinerary.This can include poor weatherand opportunities for makingunplanned excursions. YourExpedition Leader will keepyou fully informed. Landings atthe Subantarctic Islands of NewZealand are by permit only asadministered by the Governmentof New Zealand. No landings arepermitted at The Snares.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $4,875MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $5,195SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $5,850SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 4
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $6,150SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $7,175MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $7,575SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $7,595WORSLEY SUITES
28-12-202204-01-2023USD $11,575HERITAGE SUITES
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $6,095SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 4
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $6,495SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $7,575MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $7,895WORSLEY SUITES
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $7,895SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $12,250HERITAGE SUITES
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $5,075MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
20-12-202327-12-2023USD $5,450SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS


    • Enjoy Campbell Island
    • Travel to Auckland Islands
    • Visit The Snares
    • Discover Stewart Island