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A 30-day itinerary that explores the Ross Sea region of Antarctica – one of the most remote places in the world, and one of the most fascinating parts of the Great White Continent.
The Ross Sea – usually filled with impenetrable pack ice – is only navigable two months of the year during austral summer, meaning that few people have ever ventured this far. It has long been an area of interest for explorers however, and some fascinating relics remain from early explorations, such as Robert Falcon Scott's in 1901-04 and Ernest Shackleton's in 1907-09.
You’ll embark the ship in Port of Bluff in New Zealand and set sail on your adventure, visiting many wonderful places, including The Snares and Auckland Islands, before arriving at the Frozen Continent and being awe-struck by its formidable landscapes and plethora of incredible wildlife, including large colonies of Adelie penguins.
Day 1: Invercargill
Day 2: Port of Bluff
Day 3: The Snares – North East Island
Days 4 to 5: Auckland Islands
Day 6: At Sea
Days 7 to 8: Macquarie Island
Days 9 to 12: At Sea
Days 13 to 22: Antarctica’s Ross Sea Region
Days 23 to 26: At Sea
Days 27 to 28: Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
Day 29: At Sea
Day 30: Invercargill or Christchurch
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You’ll arrive at Invercargill, known as New Zealand’s southernmost city. You’ll get together with the crew and your fellow travellers over dinner in this fascinating city filled with rich Scottish history.
In the morning, you’ll enjoy breakfast at the hotel restaurant and explore some of the local attractions before heading to the Port of Bluff, where you will board your ship. Use this time to settle into your cabin. You’ll later join your expedition team and the captain for a welcome on board.
The Snares are a small group of uninhabited islands home to a plethora of nesting seabirds, including the endemic Snares crested penguin, the Cape petrel and Buller’s albatross, all of which you'll spot nesting on the imposing cliffs. You’ll zodiac cruise along the coast and learn all about these fascinating islands.
The ship will continue its journey to the Auckland Islands. You’ll spend the day ashore on Enderby Island – one of the most beautiful of all the Subantarctic Islands, characterised by huge imposing towering cliffs and sea stacks, and where wildlife is plentiful. You’ll have the opportunity to spot parakeets flitting over colourful wild flowers, and playful New Zealand sea lions and albatrosses on the beaches below.
You’ll spend this day at sea. This is a chance for you to learn more about the biology and history of the region through lectures and presentations provided by experts. The Southern Ocean is filled with remarkable birdlife, including five or six kinds of albatross and numerous species of petrel.
This island is a remote and rocky outpost with a high concentration of wildlife. You’ll have the opportunity to observe four different species of penguins – the King, the Royal, the Rockhopper and the Gentoo penguin. These wonderful creatures have no fear of humans, so you’ll be able to observe many of them, as well as elephant seals, all along the beaches.
You’ll spend this day at sea. This is a chance for you to learn more about the biology and history of the Ross Sea region and beyond through the lectures and presentations provided by experts on board. Extraordinary iceberg-strewn landscapes will start to appear and you'll take your first ice photographs as you cross the Antarctic Circle.
As you arrive at the Great White Continent, the unpredictable ice and weather conditions do not allow for a day-by-day itinerary, but the captain will assess the conditions daily and will take every opportunity to make landings and enable you to discover all the incredible sights of Antarctic.
You’ll visit places like Cape Adare where you'll find Antarctica’s largest population of Adelie penguins; Cape Hallett and its enormous Admiralty Range – mountains that stand over 13,000 feet high (4,000 metres) and are surrounded by huge glaciers; Franklin Island –desolately beautiful and rugged, and home to a large Adelie penguin population as well as many nesting seabirds; and the Ross Ice Shelf – the world’s largest body of floating ice and a natural barrier, whose daunting presence prevented many early explorers from venturing further south.
You’ll spend these days at sea, resting and enjoying life on board. This is a chance for you to learn more about the biology and history of your final destination through lectures and presentations provided by experts, and to be on the lookout for some pelagic bird spotting!
The ship will drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour, an occasional refuge for southern right whales who come here to calve. You’ll also have the opportunity to walk to the nesting site of the southern royal albatross and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs on the hills – huge wild flowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions of the region, and have unusual colourings and oddly-shaped leaves. You’ll be able to observe remarkable wildlife such as Campbell Island shags, light-mantled sooty albatross and sea lions.
This final day at sea will be the time to relax and reflect on a remarkable journey, as you join our experts for a summary of everything you’ve seen and experienced over the past month in this fantastic part of the world, before enjoying a farewell dinner in the evening.
Today you’ll disembark the ship and bid farewell to the crew and your fellow travellers. Voyages disembark in either Invercargill or Christchurch, and you can decide whether you want to fly straight back home or spend some time discovering what this part of New Zealand has to offer. Ask our Travel Specialists for ideas on places to go and what there is to see in this beautiful part of the world.
Heritage Expedition's flagship Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel. Built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research, it is perfect for expedition travel. Carrying just 50 passengers, Heritage Expeditions is one of the few remaining companies still offering true, small ship exploration.
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