Join Heritage Expeditions, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising, as we explore New Zealand’s remote southern backyard on this special 8-day voyage. Discover the time-forgot rawness of wildlife-rich Stewart Island/Rakiura, Zodiac cruise the rocky, inhospitable coast of The Snares – one of the world’s most important nature reserves, and experience the primordial majesty of Fiordland firsthand on this unforgettable adventure.
Heritage Expeditions pioneered expedition cruising in Fiordland more than 30 years ago. It was from these first, wild Kiwi wilderness adventures the Christchurch-based Russ family’s dream of genuine responsible tourism, which now spans some of the world’s most remote and rarely visited regions and wildlife hotspots from Antarctica through to, and including, the Arctic, was realised. After departing Bluff we set sail for Stewart Island, New Zealand’s third largest island, and predator-free Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara. Rich in history and wildlife, these wild and remote islands are home to a unique range of birdlife including Bellbird, Tui, Kaka, Tomtit, Rifleman, Stewart Island Robin, Saddleback, Mohua and of course, the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (or Southern Tokoeka). There will be opportunities to listen to the native bird song and enjoy the golden sandy beaches, before taking the time to take a closer look at the history of Paterson Inlet.
Rarely visited and one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, The Snares is internationally renowned as a wildlife haven where we should see the Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbird, New Zealand Fur Seals and tree daisy forest as we Zodiac cruise its jagged coastline. Travelling north we will cruise around South West Cape and the Muttonbird/Titi Islands, an archipelago of three rocky island chains named after the Sooty Shearwater which famously breed here. We hope to make several landings at these remote and sandy beaches and Zodiac cruise the coastline including Codfish Island/Whenua Hous with its history including sealing and, more recently, as one of the most important strongholds of critically endangered Kākāpō.
As we expedition cruise up the lower west side of New Zealand’s South Island, we prepare for the grand scale scenery of Fiordland. Exploring these remote ice carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords, it is easy to see why this incredible region inspired our dream for responsible travel. In the calm waters of Fiordland, and away from the crowds, we can expect to encounter playful New Zealand Fur Seals, curious Dusky Dolphins, elusive birds and enjoy endless stunning vistas.
During our time here we plan to Zodiac cruise glittering waterways amid the podocarp forest cloaked spines of Anchor and Resolution Islands and the tiny islands of Dusky Sound where orchids, flame-tipped Rata and clusters of alpine tree daisies put on an impressive floral display.
On predator-free Anchor Island, home to half the world’s population of Kākāpō as well as Little Spotted Kiwi, we’ll walk around Lake Kirirua, its surface reflecting the surrounding forest, before arriving at historic Luncheon Cove - a location of New Zealand firsts including first sealing gang, first European settlement and first ship built in the country. Discover hidden inlets, coves and beaches as we Zodiac cruise Sportsman Cove and explore Cooper Island and experience Fiordland from above with an optional helicopter extension. Discover unseen New Zealand on this iconic Kiwi adventure to rarely visited shores.
Make your way to the Hilton
Queenstown Resort & Spa where
we will spend the first night of
the expedition. This evening an
informal dinner at the hotel is an
excellent opportunity to meet
fellow adventurers and some of
your expedition team.
Today we enjoy breakfast in
the hotel restaurant after which
you will be transferred to Milford
Sounds stopping at Mirror Lakes,
Knobs Flat and Homer Tunnel
before enjoying a spectacular
3-hour nature cruise of Milford
Sound under the shadow of
mighty Mitre Peak. After this we
will transfer you to the ship.
The captain and expedition team
will be waiting for your arrival at
the ship to greet you and show
you to your cabin. You will have
the opportunity to familiarise
yourself on board and there will
be formal introductions to the
team followed by safety briefings.
Join the captain on the bridge or
fellow travellers on deck as we set
sail for Doubtful and Dusky Sounds.
We have three days to explore
the incredible wilderness of fiords
in the south-west corner of the
South Island. This is an area rich
in history, majestic scenery and
abundant in wildlife. Fiordland
was well known to local Maori
people, with the demi-god Tu-teraki-whanoa being said to have
used his adze, Te Hamo, to carve
out the region’s fiords. Captain
Cook and his crew landed here
on HMS Resolution in 1773, they
were the first Europeans to visit
Fiordland, subsequently spending
five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook’s
records of his discovery and maps
attracted sealers and whalers not
long after who then formed the
first European settlements of New
Zealand, historically this region is
very important and shaped the
future of the country.
Fiordland’s coast is only
accessible by sea, making it
the most remote region of New
Zealand’s mainland. Waterfalls,
streams, rivers and fiords are
enveloped with misty veils that
come and go, revealing steep
gradients of mountain peaks
and sheltered valleys. A rugged
terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens
and mosses. Bottlenose Dolphins,
Fiordland Crested Penguins and
Little Penguins are all residents of
the fiords; during our time here
we will look out for them. Our
schedule gives us the flexibility to
visit as much as possible, areas
we plan to visit during our time
in Fiordland include Doubtful
Sound, Dusky Sound and Acheron
Passage, Astronomer’s Point and
Pickersgill Harbour. During our
time in Dusky Sound there will be
the opportunity to experience
an unforgettable helicopter flight
through the Sound swooping
down alongside Cooper Island
and Cook Channel with a landing
on Mt Pender where spectacular
vistas of islands stretching into the
horizon and dotting the winding
fiords can be enjoyed.
Today we plan to Zodiac cruise
the craggy coastline of these
ancient granite islands on an
unforgettable wildlife safari. You’ll
soon discover why these pristine
nature reserves have been
afforded both UNESCO World
Heritage status and the highest
level of government protection
as we explore sea caves and
observe wildlife in spectacular
numbers. Highlights include Snares
Crested Penguins navigating
the treacherous ‘Penguin Slide’,
New Zealand Fur Seals lazing on
jagged rocks, inquisitive Hooker’s/
New Zealand Sea Lions which
may approach our Zodiacs
and looking for endemic Snares
Fernbirds and Tomtits among the
large tree daisy forests. Sooty
Shearwaters are often seen in
incredible numbers rafting on the
water and Buller’s Albatross have
also been observed nesting and
soaring above these priceless
New Zealand’s third island is well
off the usual beaten tourist track.
It is a wonderfully tranquil place
and with 85 per cent of the island
designated national park, the
scenery of untouched bushland is
stunning. Despite its small stature
on most maps, Stewart Island
has 700-kilometres of coastline
so there is much to explore and
Enjoy the impressive bird song
as we explore Ulva Island, rich
in history and wildlife, which has
been predator-free since 1997.
Some of the wildlife you may get
to see while walking its tracks and
exploring Boulder and West End
Beaches, Post Office Bay and
Sydney Cove include Stewart
Island Robin, Stewart Island Weka,
South Island Kaka, Kereru (wood
pigeon), Mohua (yellowhead),
Red-crowned Parakeet, Fantail,
Bellbird and Tui. There are many
more species that may also
be seen, our knowledgeable
expedition guides will be listening
for bird calls and keeping a close
watch in overhead canopies and
the surrounding shrubs to identify
In Paterson Inlet visit the historic
Norwegian whaling station in Prices Inlet and Kaipipi Bay, where
from 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea
Whaling Company of Sandefjord,
Norway ran a repair base where
chaser boats were serviced in
preparation for the Antarctic
summer. Discover quirky town
centre Oban in Halfmoon Bay
where a drink with a view can be
enjoyed at the historic and iconic
South Sea Hotel.
Our final plan will be determined
by the weather. The Captain and
Expedition Leader will work hard
to make the best use of our time
in this incredible region of New
Zealand, including areas that few
New Zealanders have visited. The
isolation of Fiordland has been
beneficial because its beauty
remains unspoiled and its historic
On the evening of Day 7 we will
enjoy a celebratory dinner with
newfound friends and reflect on a
wealth of new experiences from
We arrive at the Port of Bluff early
in the morning. After breakfast
there will be a last minute
opportunity to bid farewell
to your expedition team as
you disembark and board our
complimentary coach transfer
to either a central city point or
to the airport. Our adventure
ends but memories will last long
In case of unexpected delays
due to weather and/or port
operations we ask you not to
book any onward travel from
Invercargill until after midday.
During our voyage,
circumstances may make it
necessary or desirable to deviate
from the proposed itinerary.
This can include poor weather
and opportunities for making
unplanned excursions. Your
Expedition Leader will keep you
30 January, 2021 to 06 February, 2021
Main deck triple cabin: This cabin has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and washbasin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main deck cabins.
Cabins have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk, washbasin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main deck cabins.
Cabins have one bunk (an upper and lower – two), wardrobe, drawers, a desk, a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Cabins have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
A small bedroom with a 3/4 bed and a single bed in the lounge, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower. toilet and washbasin. This suite has windows.
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views.
Spirit of Enderby
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 72 metres
Passenger Capacity: 50
Built / refurbished: 1984 / 2018
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.
She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in November 2004 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800’s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
a) our fleet of RIB’s, (rigid inflatable boats) sometimes referred to as zodiacs. These extremely safe and stable craft will land you at some of the most amazing places.
• Voyage on board in selected cabin cateogy
• Pre/Post cruise transfers
• Experienced expedition leader and team
• All meals while on board
• All expedition shore excusions
• International and Domestic flights, both commercial and charter
• Travel insurance
• Passport and visa costs if applicable
• Beverages on board
• Any items of a personal nature including laundry
• Helicopter Excursion NZ$450 pp