Ross Sea + NZ Subantarctic Islands

Ross Sea - In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton plus NZ Subantarctic Islands 28 days

Prices From £22,990pp
January to February | 29 nights

Single Cabins Available

Ross Sea - In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton plus NZ Subantarctic Islands 28 days

Aboard: Heritage Adventurer

The Ross Sea region of Antarctica is one of the most remote places on Planet Earth and one of the most fascinating places in the continent's human history. With shipping restricted by impenetrable pack ice to just two brief months each austral summer, few people have ever visited this strange and beautiful territory, with opportunities for non-scientific personnel limited to a handful of tourist expedition ships.
The Ross Sea takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross who discovered it in 1841. The British Royal Geographical Society chose the Ross Sea for the now famous British National Antarctic Expedition in 1901-04 led by Robert Falcon Scott. That one expedition spawned what is sometimes referred to as the 'Race to the Pole'. Ernest Shackleton almost succeeded in 1907-09 and the Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase tried in 1910-12. Scott thought it was his, but was beaten by his rival, Norwegian Roald Amundsen in the summer of 1911. Shackleton's Trans-Antarctic expedition in 1914-17 marked the end of this 'heroic' or 'golden age' of exploration, but many of the relics of this era, including some huts, remain. The dramatic landscape described by these early explorers is unchanged. Mt Erebus, Mt Discovery and the Transantarctic Mountains are as inspiring today as they were 100 years ago. The penguin rookeries described by the early biologists fluctuate in numbers from year to year, but they still occupy the same sites. The seals, which are no longer hunted for food lie around on ice floes seemingly unperturbed. The whales, which were hunted so ruthlessly here in the 1920s, are slowly coming back, but it is a long way back from the edge of extinction, and some species have done better than others. Snow Petrels, Wilson's Storm-Petrels, Antarctic Prions and South Polar Skuas all breed in this seemingly inhospitable environment.

There is so much to do and so much to see here, from exploring historic huts and sites to visiting penguin rookeries, marvelling at the glacial ice tongues and ice shelves, and understanding the icebergs and sea ice. Then there are all the seabirds, seals and whales to observe and photograph, modern scientific bases and field camps to visit and simply the opportunity to spend time drinking in the marvellous landscape that has always enthralled visitors.

Lying like stepping stones to the Antarctic continent are the little known Subantarctic Islands. Our journey also includes The Snares, Auckland, Macquarie and Campbell Island. They break our long journey, but more importantly, they help prepare us for what lies ahead, for these islands are part of the amazing and dynamic Southern Ocean ecosystem of which Antarctica is at the very heart. It is the powerhouse which drives this ecosystem upon which the world depends.

Highlights

  • Rare landings in NZ Subantarctic islands
  • Spectacular Ross Sea region of Antarctica
  • Historical exploration sites
  • Myriad avian and marine wildlife

What's Included

  • Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
  • Transfers to and from ship
  • Full board accommodation on board ship - house beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • All zodiac and shore excursions
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists.

Single Cabins Available

This vessel offers single occupancy cabins, which is a perfect option for solo travellers. Travelling alone is often the best way to see the world. No responsibilities, no difficult choices and no trying to please anyone else…just you, your itinerary and your adventurous spirit!

Our popularitinerary Suggestions

All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable

Queenstown
1Day

Queenstown

Arrive at Queenstown, New Zealand’s world famous alpine resort town. Guests should make their way to the designated hotel where we will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of our expedition team.

Invercargill & Bluff
2Day

Invercargill & Bluff

Today we enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant and have the morning free to explore Queenstown before returning to the hotel for lunch and departing for the Port of Bluff to embark your ship. You will have time to settle into your cabin and familarise yourself with the ship; we will also take the opportunity to conduct a number of safety briefings. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as we set our course to The Snares and our adventure begins.

The Snares
3Day

The Snares

Your first port of call will be North East Island, the largest of the Snares and home to more nesting seabirds than in all of the British Isles. Enjoy a Zodiac cruise around the coast to see Snares crested penguins, Cape petrel and Buller's albatross.





Auckland Islands
4Day

Auckland Islands

The Auckland Islands group was formed by two volcanoes which erupted some 10-25 million years ago. They have subsequently been eroded and dissected by glaciation creating the archipelago as we know it today. Enderby Island is one of the most beautiful islands in this group and is named after the same distinguished shipping family as one of our own vessels. This northern most island in the archipelago is an outstanding wildlife and birding location and is relatively easy to land on and walk around. The island was cleared of all introduced animals (pests) in 1994 and both birds and the vegetation, especially the herbaceous plants, are recovering both in numbers and diversity. Our plan is to land at Sandy Bay, one of three breeding areas in the Auckland Islands for the Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion, a rare member of the seal family. Beachmaster bulls gather on the beach, defending their harems from younger (ambitious) males, to mate with the cows shortly after they have given birth to a single pup. Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion numbers are in a slow decline, for reasons which are not obvious but most probably connected with a nearby squid fishery. During our day ashore there will be several options, some longer walks, some shorter walks and time to spend just sitting and enjoying the wildlife. The walking is relatively easy. A boardwalk traverses the island to the dramatic western cliffs, from there we follow the coast and circumnavigate the island. Birds that we are likely to encounter include the following species: Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Auckland Island Shag, Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Auckland Island Banded Dotterel, Auckland Island Tomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Red-crowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguin and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. There is also a very good chance of seeing the Subantarctic Snipe.

At Sea
5Day

At Sea

At sea, learn more about the biology and history of the Subantarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean through a series of lectures and presentations. We will be at sea all day, so it is another opportunity to spot pelagic species including (but not limited to) the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Shy and White-capped Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross and Black-browed Albatross, Whitechinned Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Cape Petrel, diving-petrel, Grey-backed and Black-bellied Storm-petrels. This is potentially some of the best pelagic ‘birding’ on the expedition.

Macquarie Island
6 - 7Days

Macquarie Island

The remote Macquarie Island supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere, with millions of breeding penguins, large groups of Elephant Seals and other wildlife inhabiting the sandy beaches and the tussock grass. As well as exploring the island in search of wildlife encounters you can also visit the Australian Antarctic Base and meet with the park rangers to find out more about this remarkable wildlife paradise.

At Sea
8 - 10Days

At Sea

During your days at sea heading towards Antarctica you can enjoy informal lectures and presentations about the incredible Ross Sea region, and spend time on deck looking out for the soaring albatross and petrels that follow the ship. Drifting icebergs with vivid colours announce your arrival into the Antarctic and as you cross the Antarctic Circle make sure your camera is ready for the first of many ice photographs.

Ross Sea Region
11 - 22Days

Ross Sea Region

Due to the unpredictable nature of ice and weather conditions, an exact day-by-day itinerary in the Ross Sea is not possible, but we take advantage of every opportunity to make landings. Your programme will emphasise wildlife viewing, key scientific bases and historic sites, as well as the spectacular scenery. Visit the huts of Scott, Shackleton and other explorers as well as modern research stations, and see myriad birds and extensive wildlife, including penguin rookeries with over 1,000,000 birds. Each day will bring fantastic shore walks and Zodiac boat excursions.

Although our course will be mostly dictated by conditions, during your time here there are a number of exciting areas that you can expect to visit including the compelling site of Cape Adare which is home to the largest colony of Adelie penguins in Antarctica and Carsten Borchgrevink’s Hut, the oldest in Antarctica. On Cape Hallett our arrival will be heralded by the enormous Admiralty Mountains. Here we will land at an abandoned base site to see the area’s colossal glaciers and large numbers of Adelie Penguins and Weddell Seals before moving on to the desolately beautiful and rugged Franklin Island to see another large Adelie penguin colony and the rarely visited Possession Islands which are home to tens of thousands more penguins.

Of course no voyage to this part of the world would be complete without a visit to the majestic spectacle of the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest body of floating ice, where we will be cruising just 800 miles from the South Pole. The hazardous conditions here can make it hard for a landing but your robust expedition ship will ease along the 30m high ice cliffs with some time on deck hopefully rewarding in the memorable sight of icebergs calving off the shelf.

The historic and scientific elements of our time here will bring us to Ross Island where we hope to see the monstrous active volcano of Mt Erebus and visit Shackelton’s Hut as well as Scott’s Hut and a scientific field station, and Terra Nova Bay where we hope to enjoy an exploration around the Italian research station here.

At Sea
23 - 25Days

At Sea

After the excitement of Antarctica’s Ross Sea region it’s time to relax as your ship heads towards Campbell Island and one final adventure. Enjoy entertaining lectures and pelagic bird and whale watching en-route.

Campbell Island
26Day

Campbell Island

The last landing of our thrilling expedition will bring us to Campbell Island where we will go ashore at Perseverance Harbour to enjoy a walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs that grow on the hills here. These huge wild flowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions have unusual colourings and intriguingly-shaped leaves. While we explore around the area we will be on a constant lookout for the Southern Right Whales who occasionally come here to calve, as well as sea lions and rare birds such as Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and Campbell Island Shags.

At Sea
27Day

At Sea

As your epic adventure comes to an end it’s time to head back towards mainland New Zealand. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight with your crew and new-found friends and reflect upon the remarkable sights that you will have seen on your expedition.

Invercargill/Queenstown
28Day

Invercargill/Queenstown

As your fantastic wildlife, birding and history expedition comes to an end your ship will arrive at the Port of Bluff in the early morning, where after breakfast you will bid a fond farewell and join the included transfer to Invercargill Airport or to a downtown location.

A view from Above

All Aboard

Heritage Adventurer
Mid range vessel

Heritage Adventurer

Previously known as the MS Hanseatic, the Heritage Adventurer is a renowned authentic expedition ship. Purpose-built with ice-strengthened hull, the vessel combines the highest passenger ship iceclass rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Designed to match Heritage’s signature experiential expedition travel, the ship accommodates up to 140 guests in welcoming and spacious cabins that feature outside views, separate lounge areas, TVs, en-suite bathrooms and double or twin beds.

Communal areas include a lounge, two restaurant areas including an al-fresco bistro, gym and spa, lecture theatre, library, passenger lifts and outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi.

we work hard to earn passionate reviews from our clients.

4.9
44 Google reviews

Now that I am back from my odyssey voyage, I thought I would let you know that after all that planning it really did exceed my expectations – we managed landings everywhere even on Tristan da Cuhna and had great bird sightings. The guides all knew what they were talking about too and made sure I got some great photos – still sorting them all out! Thanks for everything and see you at Birdfair!

Dave Martin

Overall I think that it was an excellent trip that was well worth the price paid and I would have no hesitation recommending your company to others.

Steve Sutton

Just a quick note to express my sincere thanks to you and all your staff for making this an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. Truly a mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken.

Mr J Borg, Malta

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With countless travel experiences and an enduring hunger for adventure, Amy knows exactly what’s needed to craft a holiday of a lifetime. Her experience and generosity of spirit are legendary and she’ll help you build an itinerary that will make all your dreams come true.

Simon Rowland Senior Travel Expert

As Senior Travel Expert, Simon has an absolute wealth of experience in adventure travel in some of the most fascinating places in the world. With in-depth knowledge and fantastic organizational skills, Simon’s first-hand experience and genuine passion drive him to work to create your perfect itinerary.

Michael Gardiner Senior Travel Expert

Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.

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Ready to start planning youronce in a lifetime trip?

Call us - 0800 195 3385
Outside the uk? + 44 1625 5811 43
+ 44 1625 5811 43 Call us - 0800 195 3385

Chat Now

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callback

Fill in our
Enquiry form

Book Consultation

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Consultation

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