Explore remote islands, view an abundance of wildlife, and discover breathtaking landscapes on this 10-day expedition on board Le Lapérouse. Sail from Auckland and discover the stunning scenery, intriguing history and rich flora and fauna of the Chatham Islands. Described as one of the world’s premier bird islands and best known for the endemic black robin and millions of storm petrels, sooty shearwaters, and broad-billed prions. Next, sail to the volcanic islands of the Antipodes which are home to a wide variety of sea and land bird species including two species of parakeet. The seabirds range from the tiny storm petrel to the Antipodean wandering albatross, one of the largest flying birds in the world. Amongst the islands of the Southern Ocean, the Snares are a remarkable haven for wildlife boasting more nesting seabirds than the entire realm of the British Isles. On your final stop, before this expedition ends, you will discover Ulva Island, which boasts many species of rare plants and birds, including the flightless Stewart Island Weka, South Island saddleback, yellowhead, and Stewart Island robin. Your voyage ends on your return to Dunedin, where you can explore the old city and its renowned wildlife reserves.
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A$800 per stateroom off your first PONANT voyage or double your past guest discount if you have already travelled with us.
30% PONANT Bonus and No Single Supplement charge for solo travellers!
Day 1. Auckland, New Zealand. Embarkation.
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest, most populated and busiest city. Located on an isthmus linking the peninsula of Northland to the expansive North Island, it seems to float between land and sea. It is one of the few cities in the world to have two separate harbours: Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. You will understand why Auckland is known as the ‘City of Sails’ when you see the forest of masts in the marina. The 328 metre-high Sky Tower offers splendid views of the city. Surrounded by dormant volcanoes such as Mount Eden, Auckland is noted for its abundant nature and magnificent black-sand beaches. A blend of Māori, European and Asian cultures give the city a vibrant atmosphere.
Day 2-3. At Sea.
Day 4. Chatham Islands, New Zealand - afternoon Zodiac excursions.
Your ship will reach the remote Chatham Islands in the afternoon, allowing for some Zodiac® excursions around the area. The Chatham Islands are renowned for their stunning scenery, intriguing history, geology, flora, and fauna. Located 800 kilometres to the east of the South Island, the ancient 80 million year old archipelago consists of about ten islands within an approximate 60-kilometre radius, the largest of which are Chatham Island and Pitt Island. Much of the natural character of the Chatham Islands is protected in a network of areas set aside for conservation.
Day 5. Chatham Islands - morning Zodiac excursions & Bounty Islands.
You will enjoy more Zodiac® excursions around the Chatham Islands in the morning, before enjoying a sail-pass along the Bounty Islands. These remote islands are the least visited on New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands, and home to the endemic Bounty Island Shag- the world’s rarest cormorant as well as being the primary breeding ground for erect-crested penguins and 75,000 pairs of Salvins Albatross. Guests will marvel at this oceanic eden and enjoy viewing the spectacle from the comfort of the outer decks or the observatory lounge.
Day 6. Antipodes Islands, New Zealand Subantarctic Islands.
The volcanic islands of the Antipodes Island group lie 860 km to the southeast of New Zealand. The group consists of one main island, Antipodes Island, Bollons Island to the north, and numerous small islets and stacks. The islands are home to a wide variety of sea and land bird species including two species of parakeet. The seabirds range from the tiny storm petrel to the Antipodean wandering albatross. Large colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals can be seen on the rocks or swimming close to shore. Landing on the Antipodes is not permitted, however you will enjoy Zodiac® outings to witness the coastal environments and view the prolific wildlife, if time and weather permit.
Day 7. At Sea.
Day 8. The Snares, New Zealand Subantarctic Islands.
Amongst the islands of the Southern Ocean, the Snares have the distinction of being the only forested group without introduced mammals, not even mice. Consequently, it is a remarkable haven for wildlife. The island boasts more nesting seabirds than the entire realm of the British Isles. Over 2 million Sooty Shearwaters breed here in the summer months. Four species of Albatross are listed as breeding on the Snares along with 35,000 endemic Snares crested penguins. Landing on the Snares is not permitted, however you will enjoy Zodiac® outings to witness the coastal environments and view the prolific wildlife, if time and weather permit.
Day 9. Ulva Island, Stewart Island, New Zealand.
The island has never been logged and was declared pest free in 1997, becoming one of the few predator-free sanctuaries in New Zealand. The island is now a haven for many species of birds and plants that are rare, or have died out on the mainland of New Zealand. Bird species regularly encountered include: the flightless Stewart Island Weka, South Island saddleback, yellowhead and Stewart Island robin. Ulva Island is not only a bird enthusiast’s paradise, it is also one of the few offshore islands with a largely undisturbed podocarp forest. Well-maintained tracks offer easy walking for most people providing a unique opportunity to see rare birds and plants at close quarters in a safe environment.
Day 10. Dunedin, New Zealand. Disembarkation.
The Silverpeaks hinterland to the North West provides a picturesque backdrop and The Otago Peninsula, which lies within the city boundaries, has internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainlaind breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross. Le Lapérouse will be alongside the inner city wharf in Dunedin.