Unseen Fiordland, Stewart Island & the Snares with Heritage Expeditions

Unseen Fiordland, Stewart Island & the Snares with Heritage Expeditions

From USD $5,275


Join Heritage Expeditions, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising, as we explore New Zealand’s remote southern backyard on this special voyage. Discover the time-forgot rawness of wildlife rich Stewart and Ulva Islands before exploring the primordial majesty of Fiordland where clouds scud ragged peaks of glacier-cleaved mountains only accessible by expedition ship, and the rare opportunity to combine these iconic destinations on one voyage.

Rich in history and wildlife, Stewart and Ulva Islands are home to a unique range of birdlife including Bellbird, Tui, Kaka, Tomtit, Rifleman, Stewart Island Robin, Saddleback, Mohua and of course, the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi. There will be opportunities to listen to the native bird song and enjoy the golden sandy beaches, before taking the time to take a closer look at the history of Paterson Inlet.

As we expedition cruise up the lower west side of New Zealand’s South Island, we prepare for the grand scale scenery of Fiordland. In the calm waters of Fiordland, and away from the crowds, we can expect to encounter playful New Zealand Fur Seals, curious Dusky Dolphins, elusive birds and enjoy endless stunning vistas.

During our time here we plan to Zodiac cruise glittering waterways amid the podocarp forest-cloaked spines of Anchor and Resolution Islands and the tiny islands of Dusky Sound where orchids, flame-tipped Rata and clusters of alpine tree daisies put on an impressive floral display.

On predator-free Anchor Island, home to half the world’s population of Kakapo as well as Little Spotted Kiwi, we’ll walk around Lake Kirirua, its surface reflecting the surrounding forest, before arriving at historic Luncheon Cove – a location of New Zealand firsts including first sealing gang, first European settlement and the first ship built.

Discover hidden inlets, coves and beaches as we Zodiac cruise Sportsman Cove and explore Cooper Island. Our passion for helping protect and share New Zealand’s special wilderness remains as strong as it was back in 1985. Join us as we discover the real Fiordland and Stewart Island.

Trip Name
Unseen Fiordland, Stewart Island & the Snares 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 StewartIsland and our adventure begins.
Day 3 - Day 3: Stewart Island – Paterson Inlet/Ulva Island
New Zealand’s third island is welloff the usual beaten tourist track. Itis a wonderfully tranquil place; thescenery of untouched bushland isstunning. We will enjoy a morningexploring Ulva Island which is rich in history and wildlife, being apredator-free island from 1997 thebird song and wildlife is some ofthe best. In Paterson Inlet you willhave time to explore the sandybeaches of Boulder Bay and WestEnd Beach or just enjoy some timearound Post Office Bay and SydneyCove. Some of the wildlife you mayget to see while walking the trackson Ulva Island include StewartIsland Robin, Stewart Island Weka,South Island Kaka, Kereru (woodpigeon), Mohua (yellowhead), RedCrowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbirdand Tui. There are many morespecies that may also be seen, ourknowledgeable expedition guideswill be listening for bird calls andkeeping a close watch in overheadcanopies and the surroundingshrubs to identify further species.In the afternoon we turn ourattention to other parts ofPaterson Inlet and visit the historicNorwegian whaling station inPrices Inlet and Kaipipi Bay, wherefrom 1923 and 1933 the Ross SeaWhaling Company of Sandefjord,Norway ran a repair base in PricesInlet where chaser boats wereserviced in preparation for theAntarctic summer. There may be anopportunity to explorequirky towncentre Oban in Halfmoon Bay wherea drink with a view can be enjoyedat the iconic South Sea Hotel.
Day 4 - Day 4: The Snares – North East Island
The closest Subantarctic Islandsto New Zealand, they wereappropriately called The Snares asthey were once considered a hazardfor sailing ships. Comprising of twomain islands and a group of fiveislands called the Western Chain;they are uninhabited and enjoythe highest protection as NatureReserves. It is claimed by some thatthese islands are home to morenesting seabirds than all of the BritishIsles together. We plan to arrive inthe morning, and as landings arenot permitted, we will Zodiac cruisealong the sheltered eastern side ofthe main island if the weather andsea conditions are suitable. In thesheltered bays, we should see theendemic Snares Crested Penguin,Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds.There are hundreds of thousands ofSooty 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 daisyOlearialyalliiwhich forms a canopy overmuch of the island group.
Day 5 - Days 5 to 7: Fiordland
We have three days to explore theincredible wilderness of fiords in thesouth-west corner of the South Island.This is an area rich in history, majestic scenery and abundant in wildlife.Fiordland was well known to localMaori people, with the demi-godTu-te-raki-whanoa being said tohave used his adze, Te Hamo,to carve out the region’s fiords.Captain Cook and his crew landedhere on HMSResolutionin 1773,they were the first Europeans to visitFiordland, subsequently spendingfive weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook’srecords of his discovery and mapsattracted sealers and whalers notlong after who then formed thefirst European settlements of NewZealand, historically this regionis very important and shapedthe future of the country. Fromthe middle of the 19thCenturythis unexplored interior Fiordlandcoastline attracted the attentionof those in search of hiddengreenstone or New Zealandjade, and surveyors seeking tounderstand this region further. Fiordland’s West Coast is onlyaccessible by sea, making it the mostremote region of New Zealand’smainland. Waterfalls, streams, riversand fiords are enveloped with mistyveils that come and go, revealingsteep gradients of mountain peaksand sheltered valleys. A ruggedterrain, the thickly forested floorsare covered with ferns, lichensand mosses. Bottlenose Dolphins,Fiordland Crested Penguins andLittle Penguins are all residents ofthe fiords; during our time here wewill look out for them. Our schedulegives us the flexibility to visit as muchas possible, areas we plan to visitduring our time in Fiordland includeDoubtful and Dusky Sounds, AcheronPassage, Astronomer’s Point andPickersgill Harbour. Our final plan willbe determined by the weather. TheCaptain and Expedition Leader willwork hard to make the best use ofour time in this incredible region ofNew Zealand, including areas thateven few New Zealanders havevisited. The isolation of Fiordland hasbeen beneficial because its beautyremains unspoiled and its historicsites undisturbed.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 6 - Day 8: Invercargill/Queenstown
Early this morning we will arrivein the Port of Bluff. After a finalbreakfast we bid farewell toour 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 7 - 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
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $5,275MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $5,595SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $6,250SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $6,550SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $7,575MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $7,975SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $7,995WORSLEY SUITES
28-02-202307-03-2023USD $11,975HERITAGE SUITES


    • Explore Stewart Island – Paterson Inlet/Ulva Island
    • Enjoy The Snares – North East Island
    • Spend 3 days discovering Fiordland