Wildlife Cruise of New Zealand Subantarctic Islands

New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands are a lost world of enormous, flowering mega herbs, penguin rookeries and sea lion colonies, surrounded by the expanse of the Southern Ocean.
Snares, Enderby, Auckland & Campbell Islands Many penguin & pelagic bird species including several endemics Flowering mega herbs Optional: climb Mount Honey or walk to Col Lyall Saddle Dolphin & whale sightings Sea lions
US $5475ToUS $5850 excluding flights
8 Days
More info
Includes: landing fees, pre/post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation (twin share room, dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals, house beer, wine & soft drinks with lunch & dinner and all expedition shore excursions.
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Description of Wildlife Cruise of New Zealand Subantarctic Islands

New Zealand’s Subantarctic islands are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in recognition of the remarkable vegetation and wildlife that inhabits them. Uninhabited and remote, just a few hundred visitors are permitted to set foot on the islands each year in order to conserve their unique biodiversity. On this eight-day wildlife cruise of the Subantarctic Islands, the expedition ship the Spirit of Enderby transports you to some of the most remote scraps of land on earth.

Departing from New Zealand’s southern tip, our first port of call is the Snares Islands. Enormous colonies of Snares crested penguins gather along the islands’ rugged coastlines, the only place in the world where they can be found.

Continuing on to the Auckland Islands, we’ll head inland to trek through the surreal, fairytale scenes of the native rata forest, accompanied by birdsong. We’ll stop at Enderby Island to meet the inquisitive residents: yellow-eyed penguins and Hooker’s sea lions. We’ll discover the human history of these archipelagos at Carnley Harbour, where shipwrecks, castaway relics and coastwachers huts dating back to WW2 can still be seen.

Birders will be delighted by our next stop: Campbell Island, where the magnificent southern royal albatross resides, alongside the Campbell Island flightless teal and the snipe. The island’s strange mega herbs were proclaimed by the English botanist and friend of Charles Darwin, Sir Joseph Hooker, to be “second to none outside of the tropics”, though less careful visitors over the years have threatened the mega herbs with the introduction of foreign species. Conservation efforts are focusing on removing all non-native wildlife from the island to protect its unique, natural vegetation.

Expedition highlights:
- The Snares Islands, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island
- Endemic mega herbs, wildflowers and rata forests
- Carpets of flowering endemic daisies on Campbell Island
- Hiking on Enderby Island
- Yellow-eyed and Snares crested penguins
- Hooker’s sea lions and shy mollymawks (albatross)
- Human history of the early settlements,, shipwreck tales and coastwatchers’ huts
- Option to climb Mount Honey or hike Col Lyall Saddle
- Option to kayak around the wildlife-rich coastlines (additional cost)


Price information

US $5475ToUS $5850 excluding flights
Includes: landing fees, pre/post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation (twin share room, dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals, house beer, wine & soft drinks with lunch & dinner and all expedition shore excursions.
Make enquiry

Check dates, prices & availability

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1 Reviews of Wildlife Cruise of New Zealand Subantarctic Islands

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 09 Jan 2023 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Privileged to see lots of rare and endangered plants and animals in pristine environments

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Protect against sand flies and don’t worry about too many thermals. We were lucky to have great weather. Maybe a second water proof jacket because of the spray when in the zodiacs

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely. Lots of care was taken to Have as little impact on the environment as possible and have animals the right of way all the time.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Superb! There was always a choice of activities depending on fitness levels and how you felt. The meals were high class with plenty of choice. Diets were catered for fantastically. The crew were outstanding. The organisation of activities worked on a timely schedule with very little time lost in queues.

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


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.


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.
n 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”.

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