Galapagos of the Southern Ocean aboard Heritage Adventurer

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean aboard Heritage Adventurer

From USD $9,250


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.

As a young biologist, Heritage Expeditions founder Rodney Russ first visited these islands in 1972 with the New Zealand Wildlife Service. He organised New Zealand’s first commercial expedition there in 1989 and it was only natural that his family should travel with him, what wasn’t predicted was that they would join him in the business and be as passionate about the conservation of this region as he is.

Now, many years and over 100 expeditions later, Rodney’s sons Aaron and Nathan continue their father’s enthusiasm and legacy for this region with Heritage Expeditions. As the original concessionaire we enjoy good 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.

This renowned expedition includes four of the Subantarctic Islands: The Snares, Auckland, Macquarie and Campbell. Each one is different, and each one is unique – just like this expedition.

Trip Name
Galapagos of the Southern Ocean aboard Heritage Adventurer
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
Passengers should make their wayto the designated hotel wherewe will 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 The Snaresand our adventure begins.
Day 3 - Day 3: The Snares – North East Island
The closest Subantarctic Islandsto New Zealand, they wereappropriately called The Snaresas they were once considereda hazard for sailing ships.Comprising of two main islandsand a group of five islandscalled the Western Chain; theyare uninhabited and enjoy thehighest protection as NatureReserves. It is claimed by somethat these islands are home tomore nesting seabirds than all ofthe British Isles together. We planto arrive early in the morning and,as landings are not permitted,we will Zodiac cruise along thesheltered eastern side of themain island if the weather andsea conditions are suitable. In thesheltered bays, we should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin,Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds.Cape Pigeons, Antarctic Ternsand White-fronted Terns are alsopresent in good numbers. Thereare hundreds of thousands ofSooty Shearwaters nesting onThe Snares; the actual numberis much debated. The Buller’sAlbatross breed here from earlyJanuary onwards.
Day 4 - Day 4: Auckland Islands – Enderby Island
The Auckland Islands groupwas formed by two volcanoeswhich erupted some 10-25million years ago. They havesubsequently been eroded anddissected by glaciation creatingthe archipelago as we know ittoday. Enderby Island is one ofthe most beautiful islands in thisgroup and is named after thedistinguished shipping family.This northern most island in thearchipelago is an outstandingwildlife and birding location andis relatively easy to land on andexplore on foot. The island wascleared of all introduced animals(pests) in 1994 and both birds andthe vegetation, especially the herbaceous plants, are recoveringboth in numbers and diversity.Our plan is to land at Sandy Bay,one of three breeding areasin the Auckland Islands for theHooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion,a rare member of the seal family.Beachmaster bulls gather on thebeach, defending their haremsfrom younger (ambitious) males,to mate with the cows shortlyafter they have given birth to asingle pup. 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 follow the coast and circumnavigatethe island.Birds that we are likelyto encounter include the followingspecies: Southern Royal Albatross,Northern Giant Petrel, AucklandIsland Shag, Auckland IslandFlightless Teal, Auckland IslandBanded Dotterel, Auckland IslandTomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Red-crownedParakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguinand Light-mantled Sooty Albatross.There is also a very good chance ofseeing the Subantarctic Snipe.
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,of course, scientific parties. Weplan to arrive early morningfrom our anchorage at EnderbyIsland. We enter the harbourthrough the eastern entrancewhich is guarded on both sidesby dramatic cliffs and rugged,tussock-covered hills. Ouractivities here today are totallyweather dependent. We havea number of options. The climbto the South West Cape to visitthe Shy Mollymawk colonyprovides magnificent views in alldirections, especially over thewestern entrance to CarnleyHarbour, Adams Island andWestern Harbour. There is alsothe Tagua Bay Coastwatcher’s hut and lookout (the former isderelict) which was occupiedduring the Second World War. Wecould also visit Epigwatt and theremains of the‘Grafton’whichwas wrecked here in 1864. All fivemen aboard survived and livedhere for 18 months before sailingtheir modified dinghy to NewZealand to get help. Two of thesurvivors wrote books about theirordeal. Their first-hand accountstell us a lot about their time here.Alternatively we may visit theErlagan clearing where a GermanMerchant ship cut firewood tofire its boilers after slipping itsmoorings in Dunedin on the eveof the Second World War. Anotherpotential site is Camp Cove where we can see the remains of thecastaway depots establishedand maintained by the NewZealand government betweenthe 1860s and early 1900s. Laterthis afternoon we depart forMacquarie Island.
Day 6 - Day 6: At Sea
As we make our way souththrough the Furious Fifties, alsoknown as the Albatross latitudes,the birding, especially south ofthe Auckland Islands, shouldbe good. We will have a seriesof lectures on the biology andhistory of the SubantarcticIslands. We will also prepareyou for our visit to MacquarieIsland. Species that we may seeinclude the Wandering Albatross,Royal Albatross, Black-browedAlbatross, Light-mantled SootyAlbatross, Salvin’s Albatross,Grey-headed Albatross, Northernand Southern Giant Petrel, SootyShearwater and Little Shearwater.There should be plenty of prionsincluding Fairy, Fulmar andAntarctic, identifying them is noteasy – but we should get somegreat views. Other species to beon the lookout for include theSoft-plumaged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel,Grey-faced Petrel, White-chinnedPetrel, Grey-backed Storm-petrel,Wilson’s Storm-petrel and Black-bellied Storm-petrel.
Day 7 - Days 7 to 8: Macquarie Island
The great Australian AntarcticExplorer Sir Douglas Mawson oncecalled Macquarie Island “One ofthe wonder spots of the world”.You are about to discover whyas we spend two days exploringthis amazing Island. It was one ofthe first of the Subantarctic Islandsto obtain World Heritage Statusand that was largely due to itsunique geology. It is one of thefew places on earth where mid-ocean crustal rocks are exposedat the surface due to the collisionof the Australian and PacificPlates.Macca, as it is affectionatelyknown by its resident rangerpopulation, was discovered in 1810and was soon ravaged by sealerswho introduced various animalsincluding rats, mice, cats andrabbits. The native bird populationwas virtually eliminated and plantsdestroyed. The Tasmanian NationalParks and Wildlife Service , whoadminister the island, embarked ona very ambitious 7-year eradicationprogramme resulting in the islandearning pest-free status in 2014.Both the birds and plants haveresponded and it is amazing towitness the regeneration and theincrease in the number of birds.Macquarie Island is home to fourspecies of penguin, Kings, Royals,Gentoo and Rockhopper, withthe Royal Penguin occurringnowhere else in the world. Duringour visit we will land at two sites(subject of course to weatherand sea conditions) and you willget a chance to observe andphotograph all four species,although the Rockhopper ismuch harder to capture thanthe others. Macquarie also has a large population of SouthernElephant Seals. Pups are bornin October and weaned inNovember when the breedingadults return to sea. The weanersand sub adults lie around on thebeaches. The weaners go to seasometime in January, running thegauntlet of Orcas or Killer Whaleswaiting offshore. We also plan alanding at the Australian AntarcticResearch Base at Buckles Baywhere you will be able to meetwith scientists and base staff. Theoriginal base was established in1947 and the island has been‘manned’ since then. It is one ofthe longest continuously occupiedbases in the Subantarctic.
Day 8 - Day 9: At Sea
There will be briefings and lectureson Campbell Island in preparationfor our visit there and opportunitiesfor pelagic birding and/or simplyrelaxing
Day 9 - Day 10: Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
We have all of today to exploreCampbell Island, New Zealand’ssouthernmost Subantarcticterritory. Its history is as rich andvaried as the other islands wehave visited. Discovered in 1810(by the same sealing captain whodiscovered Macquarie Island) ittoo was soon occupied by sealerswho introduced rats and cats. In 1895 the New Zealandgovernment advertised the islandas a pastoral lease. The lease wastaken up by an entrepreneurialNew Zealand sheep farmer whostocked the island with sheepand cattle. The farming practices,which included burning the scrub,modified the island considerably.The farming lasted until 1934when it was abandoned.Coastwatchers were stationed onthe island during the war, at theend of the war the station wastaken over by the New ZealandMetrological service and theymaintained a manned weather/research station on the islanduntil 1995.In the early 1970s the island wasfenced in half and stock wasremoved off the northern half.The impacts of the remaininganimals were monitored and theywere all eventually removed in1990. The vegetation recoveredquickly and the cats died outnaturally. In a very ambitious(and never before attempted onsuch a large scale) eradicationprogramme the New ZealandDepartment of Conservationsuccessfully removed the rats.With the island declared predatorfree in 2003, the way was clearto reintroduce the endangeredCampbell Island Flightless Teal,which had been rediscoveredon an offshore island in 1975.Snipe, which were formerlyunknown from the island but werediscovered on another offshoreisland, recolonised the islandsthemselves. The vegetation whichthe great English botanist SirJoseph Hooker described in 1841as having a “Flora display secondto none outside the tropics” isflourishing and is nothing short ofspectacular.We will offer a number of optionsto explore the island. There will be extended walks to Northwest Bayand possibly Mt Honey. There willalso be an easier walk to the ColLyall Saddle. All of these optionswill allow you the opportunityand time to enjoy the SouthernRoyal Albatross which nest herein large numbers. We also visitareas of the island which containoutstanding examples of themegaherbs for which the island isrenowned.
Day 10 - Day 11: At Sea
At sea en route to the Port ofBluff, take the opportunity torelax and reflect on an amazingexperience. We will recap thehighlights of our expedition andenjoy a farewell dinner tonight aswe complete the last few miles ofour journey.
Day 11 - Day 12: Invercargill/Queenstown
Early this morning we will arrivein the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast and completingCustom formalities we bid farewellto our fellow voyagers and take acomplimentary coach transfer toeither Invercargill or QueenstownAirports. In case of unexpecteddelays due to weather and/orport operations we ask you not tobook any onward travel until aftermidday from Invercargill and after3pm from Queenstown.
Day 12 - 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
23-11-202204-12-2022USD $9,250MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
23-11-202204-12-2022USD $9,750SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
23-11-202204-12-2022USD $11,250SUPERIOR CABINS. From
23-11-202204-12-2022USD $13,575MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
23-11-202204-12-2022USD $13,995SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
23-11-202204-12-2022USD $14,595WORSLEY SUITES
23-11-202204-12-2022USD $21,000HERITAGE SUITES
18-12-202229-12-2022USD $13,575MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
18-12-202229-12-2022USD $13,995SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
18-12-202229-12-2022USD $14,595WORSLEY SUITES
18-12-202229-12-2022USD $21,000HERITAGE SUITES
18-12-202229-12-2022USD $9,250MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
18-12-202229-12-2022USD $9,750SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
18-12-202229-12-2022USD $11,250SUPERIOR CABINS. From


    • Visit The Snares – North East Island
    • Explore Auckland Islands – Enderby Island
    • Discover Macquarie Island
    • Travel to Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour