New Zealand Antipodes & Sub-Antarctic Islands

Silver Discoverer
Silver Discoverer
Sub-Antarctic Islands

Expedition Highlights:

• Visit the world’s largest mainland Gannet colony.
• Hike across the crater of an active volcano.
• Experience the best pelagic birding on the planet.
• Snap a portrait of huge elephant seals lolling about on the beach.
• Witness the awkward flight forays of young albatross and the graceful soar of their elders.
• Walk through tall stands of rata trees, among giant ferns and into the twisted world of elfin forests on Campbell Island.
• Look for eight species of penguins including the rare Yellow-eyed Penguin.
• Revel in the grandeur of Milford Sound, which Rudyard Kipling called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
• Enjoy numerous nature walks and Zodiac tours, which reveal stunning and awe-inspiring wildlife.

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1Auckland, New Zealand
Day 2White Island, New Zealand
Day 3Napier, New Zealand
Day 4At Sea
Day 5Chatham Island, New Zealand
Day 6Pitt Island, Chatham Islands, New Zealand
Days 7 & 8 Bounty Island/Antipodes Islands, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands
Day 9 At Sea
Day 10 Campbell Island, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands
Day 11 Enderby Island & Auckland Island, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands
Day 12 The Snares, New Zealand
Day 13 Dusky Sound & Fiordland, New Zealand
Day 14 Ulva Island, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Day 15 Dunedin, New Zealan

Day 1 — Auckland, New Zealand

Once all guests have embarked, we depart on our spectacular 15-day, New Zealand Antipodes & Sub-Antarctic Islands expedition. This afternoon you will be introduced to your expedition team and participate in the safety drill. Tonight we invite you to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.

Day 2 — White Island, New Zealand

After a Zodiac transfer, we don our safety equipment and set off on foot across the crater floor of New Zealand’s only active volcano. The spectacles are surreal: hissing fumaroles, lava bombs, glittering yellow sulphur crystals, bubbling mud pots and a spectacular steaming lake. Our guide will explain the history and volcanic formations. We will also visit an old sulphur-mining factory, abandoned because of a devastating explosion in 1914. About 70% of the volcano remains under the sea, making this massive volcanic structure the largest in New Zealand.

Day 3 — Napier, New Zealand

The iconic Cape Kidnappers is home to the world’s largest mainland Gannet Colony. Get up close to these amazing birds on a drive along the stunning coastline of Hawke’s Bay to Cape Kidnappers. We stop within just a few yards of the colony to watch the entertaining antics of these huge birds. You will see gannets swooping and diving into the sea for food, while others preen themselves or perform the ritual dance of recognition. Enjoy the scenery and learn the history of the region on our way back to Napier. The country’s oldest winemaking region is renowned for its award-winning red wines, fresh produce and artisan food producers. Napier is known as the “Art Deco Capital of the World” and we’ll admire the world-class collection of architecture before returning to the ship.

Day 4 — At Sea

A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. You’ll hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable guides are experts in a variety of scientific fields.

Day 5 — Chatham Island, New Zealand

Located 466 miles (750 km) east of New Zealand's South Island, these isolated islands are renowned for their peace and tranquillity. Relax on deserted beaches, explore moody landscapes, catch fish, hike through scenic reserves and discover unique plant and bird life. The islands were first inhabited by the Moriori people, Polynesians with similar origins to the New Zealand Māori. European sealers and whalers were the next to arrive, followed by Māori from the New Zealand mainland. Today Chatham islanders share both Moriori and Māori ancestry and there are two Marae (centers for the community), on the main island.

Day 6 — Pitt Island, Chatham Islands, New Zealand

The second largest island in the Chatham Archipelago, Pitt Island is surprisingly different from Chatham Island. The indigenous Moriori called the island Rangiaotea or Rangihaute; their archaeological remains are found almost everywhere here. Look for the Pitt Island Shag, endemic to these islands.

New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Islands
The five islands in New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic (the Snares, Bounty, Antipodes Auckland and Campbell Island) are home to a huge abundance and diversity of seabirds and marine mammals. UNESCO collectively designated them as a World Heritage Site, “The most diverse and extensive of all sub-Antarctic archipelagos.” Here you can find the most significant populations of many species, such as the Southern Royal Albatross, Yellow-Eyed Penguin, Erect Crested Penguin and the New Zealand sea lion. They also offer a bounty of volcanic and glaciated geography—including cave-riddled basalt cliffs, pristine sugar-sand beaches, wind-and-water-chiseled monolithic rock formations and windswept grassy headlands.

Days 7 & 8 — Bounty Island/Antipodes Islands, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands

In 1788, shortly before the famous mutiny on the Bounty, Captain William Bligh landed here and named the island group after his ship. This bare and windswept group of 22 slippery granite rocks is the most remote and least visited of New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Island. Yet in spite of their hostile environment, the islands manage to host thousands of seabirds in summer, including the world’s most rare cormorant, the Bounty Island Shag. The islands are also the strongholds for Erect-crested Penguin, which breeds among the albatross. All Bounty Islands are designated “minimum-impact islands,” with no tourist landing; therefore a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline is on offer today.

Day 9 — At Sea

A day at sea under the midnight sun presents even more opportunities to see the pelagic diversity of this region. Grab your binoculars and spend some time out on deck, where you may glimpse a startling diversity of birds, from Wandering and Royal Albatross to the auk-like Diving petrel. Attend an ornithology lecture and learn more about the endemic birds of these islands. Remember to save some time to indulge in the luxurious amenities aboard Silver Discoverer. A relaxing massage might be in order today.

Day 10 — Campbell Island, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands

Campbell Island, New Zealand’s southernmost sovereign territory was farmed and used for sealing and whaling until 1954 when it became a reserve and World Heritage Site. With six breeding species of albatross and mollymawks, Campbell is outstanding among the world’s albatross islands, and supports the main population of southern royal albatrosses. Take a walk in rata forests and among lofty ferns, and see Rockhopper Penguins as well as the Yellow-eyed Penguin, probably the most rare penguin, as well as several species of shags including the world’s rarest cormorant.

Day 11 — Enderby Island & Auckland Island, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands

Enderby Island is perched on the Campbell Plateau and is composed of eroding volcanic remains, much like the main Auckland Island. Here we look for the Yellow-eyed Penguin, New Zealand Bellbird and Red-Crowned Parakeet, as well as Southern Royal Albatross which nest on the plateau. Auckland Island is the primary breeding ground for the world’s most rare and endangered sea lion, the New Zealand (Hooker), and it’s also the breeding ground for 30% of the world’s population of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin.

Day 12 — The Snares, New Zealand

Unlike other Sub-Antarctic islands that were greatly affected by the whaling and sealing industry in the 19th century, The Snares remain one of the last near pristine areas in New Zealand. The islands are home to endemic bird species such as the Snares Crested Penguin, the Snares Island Snipe, the Snares Fernbird and the Snares Black Tomtit, as well as several endemic invertebrates.

Day 13 — Dusky Sound & Fiordland, New Zealand

Today you will explore Dusky Sound. While seals and dolphins are often sighted in these waters, you may be witness to the occasional visiting whale. However, keep your eye on land as well, this is a prime-breeding site for the Fiordland Penguins.

Using Zodiacs and the ship to explore, your Captain and Expeditions Leader work together to create the perfect schedule for your day.

Day 14 — Ulva Island, Stewart Island, New Zealand

Ulva Island delivers a wonderful natural history encounter, free of any invasive species. You’ll enjoy a spectacular walk while marveling at the endemic plants and birdlife. Our natural history walks today will go in search of endemic plants and birdlife in this world-renowned open bird sanctuary.

Day 15 — Dunedin, New Zealand

Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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