On return from a walk amongst the albatross on Campbell Island, one of our travellers exclaimed that it felt like he had just been to church. And in a way he was completely justified, these magnificent birds with the largest wingspan known to man, give the Sub-Antarctic Islands their rationale. Being in the presence of an albatross infuses a penetrating sensation that can only be described as serenity and for this reason alone Longitude 80 has designed a Dream Journey that is completely unique in its own right. This is not a cruise, this is a pilgrimage of nature.
Part of our Wildlife Series of itineraries, like China's Pandas and Borneo's Orangutans, our Seabirds itinerary will take you across both North and South islands of New Zealand. New Zealand has the highest concentration of seabirds found in any region of the world with 92 endemic species. Of those 92 species, more than half are facing extinction. Over seven days, a handful of New Zealand’s leading conservationists, scientists and veterinarians will take you under their “wing” visiting four reserves across remote islands and coastlines of the country. You will be involved in all aspects of tracking, tagging and release along with predator management and rehabilitation. All whilst enjoying the best scenery, cuisine (and wines) and comfortable accommodation New Zealand has to offer.
By the conclusion of this trip, you will be an expert in the field. One that is able to use conservation dogs to locate nests of black petrels. One that has narrowly avoided being a toilet target whilst walking to the largest mainland colony of Australasian Gannets in the world. One that has mastered the art of carpentry in building a kitset house for the smallest penguin on Earth and is able to determine if a fluffy ball is in fact one chick or two. Finally we designate a set period of time for you to sit alone and learn the local dialect of the world's rarest penguin - The Hoiho (Yellow Eyed Penguin).
We also offer the option (for those who have the time) to join a Sub-Antarctic expedition to the Campbell, Auckland and Macquarie Islands which can be added to the mainland itinerary. Having defeated all attempts of human settlement, these islands offer rich natural history, complete silence and a chance to discover your less domesticated side. At sea, your backyard will become a 360 degree horizon line. This region of the world is known for its large swells so we have chosen a boat that is fit for the task - none other than a Russian icebreaker staffed with guest speakers and seasoned veterans of these isolated islands. You will be allowed to land on restricted access islands where few people have set foot and watch royal albatrosses, sea lions and penguins amongst other weird and wonderful creatures in complete wilderness.
Polar explorer Scott once said that, “it is good to know that there remain wild corners of this dreadfully civilised Earth," and throughout this Dream Journey, Longitude 80 will aspire to show you a handful of those last untouched places. Join us on a voyage full of pivotal moments, adventure, and a seabird or two.
Our mainland New Zealand itinerary is offered from November to March. The Sub-Antarctic Islands Expedition option is restricted to the months of November and December.
The mainland New Zealand part is eight days (five on the North Island and three on the South Island). You will need a minimum of eight days to account for the voyage down to the Sub-Antarctic Islands.
WHERE DOES IT START?
Auckland is your main international connection. We will arrange domestic flights within New Zealand. The boat departs from, and returns to either the port of Bluff near Invercargill or Port Chalmers near Dunedin depending on the Islands that you choose to visit.
A WORD OF ADVICE
The mainland part of the trip is not an issue other than occasional wet weather event. But the optional expedition to the Sub-Antarctic Islands will take you to wild and untamed places where you will be at the mercy of the elements and sea conditions and we cannot be held responsible for delays or itinerary changes outside our control. No two voyages are alike. In addition, from our experience we expect a small percentage of people to get seasick and then recover for the remainder of the voyage.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wandering albatrosses have a wingspan of 11 feet, that is the biggest of any bird in the world.