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SUBANTARCTIC ISLANDS CRUISE ITINERARY
SUB ANTARCTIC ISLANDS TRAVEL INFORMATION
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE IN THE SUB ANTARCTIC ISLANDS OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND?
The cruise itinerary illustrated in this trip review includes the islands of The Snares, Enderby, Auckland, Macquarie and Campbell, belonging to Australia (Macquarie) and to New Zealand (all the others). These islands, lost in the stormy southern ocean, are a wildlife paradise populated by millions of penguins, including the endangered yellow-eyed penguin, and hundred thousands of other endemic birds, like albatross, petrels, prions, cormorants and much more. The islands are also the home for several species of sea lions, elephant seals and other marine mammals. Just on Macquarie, a tiny island 34 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide, live more than 800000 pairs of Royal penguins, the only world's population, in addition to king and rockhopper penguins. The sub-antarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia are thus a fantastic destination for any nature enthusiast, for who likes the idea to hike on uninhabited remote islands unknown by mass tourism, and for who is looking for extreme birding trip.
HOW TO GET TO THE SUB ANTARCTIC ISLANDS?
There are no passenger flights getting to the subantarctic islands and the only way to reach them is through one of the few cruise ships available during spring and summer. Most of the islands are inside a national park area, protected by severe laws that limit also the number of tourists allowed there each year.
As the cruise ship departing for the sub antarctic islands will not wait for you in case your flight to New Zealand will be delayed, it's advisable to get to New Zealand at least 2-3 nights before the departure of the ship. This isn't usually a problem because New Zealand is a fantastic country with lot to offer, and this trip review includes a sample itinerary starting from Christchurch, to Mt. Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound and ending in Dunedin, where I've boarded the Spirit of Enderby ship bound for the islands.
WHAT IS THE BEST SEASON TO GO TO SUB ANTARCTIC ISLANDS?
The best time to visit the sub antarctic islands (and also the only time when cruises are available) is during austral spring and summer, when the weather is better and when the wildlife is at its best.
WILL I SEE PENGUINS IN THE SUB ANTARCTIC ISLANDS?
SUB ANTARCTIC ISLANDS CRUISE REVIEW AND PHOTOS
|<<-- GO From Queenstown I reach Dunedin by bus in about five hours. After a short city tour of Dunedin, I board the Spirit of Enderby, a Russian cruise ship carrying 48 passengers, that is about to sail south to the sub-antarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia for the next 13 days.|
|<<-- GO The Spirit of Enderby reaches The Snares (also called Snares Islands) early in the morning. Because of the unique ecosystem found on the island, with many endemic species not present in any other part of the world, it is not permitted to land on the island, but only to do a zodiac cruise along part of the coast.|
|<<-- GO The Auckland archipelago is a group of New Zealand subantarctic islands, featured by an unique vegetation and fauna, including several endemic species that cannot be found elsewhere. During the cruise, we will visit Enderby and Auckland islands.|
|<<-- GO Macquarie island, belonging to Australia and isolated from the rest of the world by thousands of kilometers of water in any direction, is the home for millions of penguins, including the endemic Royal penguin, as well elephant seals. The first landing is made at Sandy Bay.|
|<<-- GO The exploration of Macquarie island continues, today with a landing in the Australian ANARE scientific base and then with a zodiac cruise along Lusitania bay, where there is one of the largest King penguin colony of the world.|
|<<-- GO Campbell island is the New Zealand's southernmost subantarctic territory and has a unique ecosystem, hosting more species than any other subantarctic island, except Crozet. There are six species of Albatross, the rare Hookerii sea lion, yellow eyed penguins and an unique flora.|