New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands: Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: Oct 22—Nov 07, 2011

Aboard the M/V Orion

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Auckland
Ends: Hobart
Tour Limit: 30
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (282.4 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 67 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have t...


Barry Lyon

Barry Lyon's passion for the outdoors and birding has its roots in his childhood where he gr...

To Be Announced

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Royal & King Penguins, Macquarie Island

Royal & King Penguins, Macquarie Island— Photo: Orion Expedition Cruises


A voyage to New Zealand and the southern Pacific Ocean features seabird spectacles, spectacular Fjordland, remote subantarctic islands, and the comforts of a small adventure cruise ship.

The Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand are a naturalist's treasure trove. Rising from the depths of the vast Pacific Ocean, a series of island clusters, hundreds of miles from the nearest land, have existed in isolation for millions of years. Harboring marvelous communities of birds and plants, these islands are proving grounds of evolution where species that colonized these outposts in the distant past have developed into unique varieties found nowhere else.

We will travel to the bottom of the world on this extraordinary birding and natural history cruise. Embarking at the tip of New Zealand's South Island, we will follow a route through some of the world's richest ocean waters where plankton, the foundation of all marine ecosystems, support a flourishing web of seabirds and marine mammals. Our itinerary includes visits to some of the most remote islands in the world—locations that hold remarkable wildlife spectacles and that carry significant historical connotations.

We will visit Stewart Island—home to towering native forests and some of New Zealand's most marvelous birds including Saddleback, Bellbird, and Yellowhead; the Snares—forest-covered citadels home to millions of albatrosses, shearwaters, diving petrels, and Snares Penguins; Enderby Island—featuring Yellow-eyed Penguins, rata forests, endemic landbirds, and a colony of New Zealand sea lions; Campbell Island—renowned for its remarkable introduced predator eradication program, nesting Royal Albatrosses, and flightless ducks; and Macquarie Island, most southerly of all, and home to splendid scenery, colonies of King and Royal penguins, and beaches clad with sparring elephant seals.

MV Orion

MV Orion— Photo: Orion Expedition Cruises

This voyage also features two days of cruising the majestic waterways of Fjordland on the southwestern coast of New Zealand. At the foot of the breathtaking Southern Alps, we'll weave a path through protected waterways of unimaginable beauty. Dramatic Milford Sound, with its plunging waterfalls and soaring snow-capped ridges, presents large doses of scenic splendor, while Dusky and Doubtful sounds reveal serene waterways, lush sea level forests, and impossibly beautiful waterfalls and rivers emptying into the ocean. 

Similar departures we operated in two of the last three years produced spectacular results. Both voyages recorded numbers of penguins and albatrosses and a range of other petrels, storm-petrels, shearwaters, and prions. A voyage through these waters is the world's greatest seabirding trip. But no trip to this region should be considered a birding trip exclusively. Awaiting the visitor is a wealth of additional marine life that includes seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales.

Complementing our stellar itinerary, we'll travel aboard the MV Orion, an elegant small-size expedition cruise ship offering comfort, class, and stability. Thanks to an experienced expedition staff, and Orion's history of operating in New Zealand, we feel that there simply isn't a more trusted vessel on which to explore this dynamic corner of the globe.

This cruise presents a rare opportunity to explore a seldom-visited part of the world while traveling in the paths of such illustrious explorers as James Cook and William Bligh in search of adventure!

All meals and accommodations aboard ship; activities include lengthy inter-island transits, Zodiac cruises, and shore excursions; mixed weather and sea conditions expected; temperatures mild to cold, but not frigid.

This cruise may be taken in conjunction with New Zealand: North Island Pre-trip, October 17-24, 2011.