“This 13-day expedition into the furthest reaches of the Southern Ocean revelas islds bursting with life: endemic penguins, petrels, albatross, giant herbs and elephant seals.”
Island groups: Snares, Auckland, Campbell & Macquarie | Many different penguin species | Nesting site of southern royal albatross | Flowering megaherbs | Remains of early settlements & coastwatcher's huts | Sea kayaking round the coast | Elephant seals | Seabirds including Antarctic & white-fronted terns, red billed gulls, fernbirds, tomtits, eight species of petrel, six species of albatross & more | Whale watching from the ship's bridge | Meeting park rangers on Macquarie Island
Description of New Zealands Subantarctic Islands cruise, including Macquarie
These remote specks of land, peeking out of the waves far below New Zealand, have been coined the ‘Galapagos of the Southern Ocean’ – and with good reason. Our 13-day expedition cruise takes you to the Snares, Auckland, Campbell and Macquarie Island groups to discover the incredible and unique biodiversity that few people will ever witness.
The islands are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and are protected by the governments of Australia and New Zealand in recognition of their value as wildlife refuges. This conservation status is hugely important – as the only dry land for many miles, they provide important nesting, feeding and breeding grounds for seabirds, seals, sea lions and penguins.
The Subantarctic Islands are in a cool, temperate zone of the Southern Ocean, a harsh environment that nonetheless has supported thriving wildlife and surreal megaherbs. Surprisingly, they also have a rich human history which you will learn about during the expedition. Macquarie Island is known as ‘one of the wonder spots of the globe’, is the most remote – and for many passengers it is the highlight of the trip.
Voyage highlights: * See a variety of penguin species including king, royal, Snares crested, gentoo and rockhopper * Witness the seabird nesting extravaganza on North East Island, The Snares * Explore wildlife-rich rugged coastlines by sea kayak * Nesting site of southern royal albatross on Campbell * Human history - Coastwatcher’s Huts, early settlements and shipwreck tales * Sea lions, fur seals and elephant seals * Rolling hills of flowering megaherbs
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Responsible tourism: New Zealands Subantarctic Islands cruise, including Macquarie
This Southern Ocean program visits the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia, and the Antarctic Continent. All of the islands are nature reserves, and the majority are World Heritage Sites. With our long involvement in these islands (over 35 years) we have been instrumental in developing responsible visitor guidelines.
We work closely with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to ensure that our impact on New Zealand's National Parks and reserves is minimal. We are an approved concession holder, ensuring that your visit with us to conservation areas adheres to best practice and contributes to the management of these protected areas.
All waste generated on our expeditions is disposed of in a responsible manner. The vessel complies with MARPOL where possible and allowable we practice recycling, otherwise all non-recyclable waste is brought back for disposal at approved sites.
Our goal in managing our vessel is to minimise fuel consumption and emissions with regular servicing and a proactive maintenance programme. We annually clean and antifoul our vessel's hull to reduce the risk of biofouling. When selecting our specialist expedition equipment, we research this carefully to ensure that they are the most suitable and environmentally responsible.
Group sizes are kept small to minimize impact and enhance visitor experience.
This particular trip takes us to Macquarie Island where we have strict provisions set by AQIS and TASPAWS. We must ensure we follow these conditions which include the management of visitor numbers, food distribution and rubbish removal.
We work very closely with the New Zealand Department of Conservation and the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service to assist with the administration and protection of the Subantarctic Islands.
Government representatives are onboard each of our visits to the islands on this voyage. They act within an observer role and report back to the New Zealand Department of Conservation as to the standards of environmental consideration we make on our voyages. To date our standards have been impeccable as this is part of the objective of our operations.
In March 2016, we operated a conservation voyage in partnership with Forest & Bird to the Kermadec Islands where a portion of the voyage's profits go towards Forest & Bird's valuable conservation work. We have also operated a "Cruise for Conservation" to the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands and 5% of the fare is given to a specific conservation cause. The following agencies have benefited: Save the Albatross, Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and Marine Mammal Research Trust.
We provide heavily subsidized transport for conservation workers and equipment to the Southern Ocean islands. Money is raised from the sale of photographs, books and DVD’s to support the reforestation of an area of native New Zealand forest purchased by the company. The company employs a part-time Conservation Officer.
We partner with Enderby Trust to provide Scholarships for young people, who could not otherwise afford to travel, to join their expeditions. We also have active membership in a number of conservation and travel organizations, including IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators).
We have taken a proactive role in research, funding and publishing books on these islands. To date the company has published two books, “Straight through from London” a history of the Bounty and Antipodes Islands; and the “Galapagos of the Antarctic – Wild Islands south of New Zealand”.