Luxury Ross Sea & New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands Expedition 22 DaysAboard: Le Soleal
Prepare for an extraordinary adventure as you set sail for the wildly remote and seldom-visited Ross Sea region aboard a luxury Polar expedition ship. Following in the wake of legendary Polar explorers, you will sail from Dunedin in New Zealand towards the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Macquarie Island and New-Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands (Campbell and the Snares islands). Here you will discover spectacular endemic flora and fauna, including six species of albatross, and wonderful scenery at every turn.
Your adventure then continues in earnest as you make your way to the incredible Ross Sea, the southernmost sea on earth, where breathtaking scenery of enormous icebergs, thundering glaciers and the world’s largest ice shelf combines with enchanting Antarctic wildlife to create a truly unforgettable and privileged experience. Enjoy thrilling Zodiac cruises and land excursions, visit historic buildings including Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds, and learn all about this astonishing area’s history and unique natural environment. With impenetrable pack ice allowing access to this area for just a short window each year, you will find yourself amongst a very small number of people to have ever had the chance to explore around this unparalleled region!
Various departures available. Please enquire for full dates and rates.
- Thrilling exploration of the incredible Ross Sea region, where few have explored before!
- Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Macquarie Island and New-Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands
- Follow in the footsteps of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration as you visit the historic huts of Scott, Shackleton and Borchgrevink
- See an incredible array of wildlife including 7 species of penguin, 6 species of albatross, seals, sealions and an abundance of seabirds
- Dramatic scenery at every turn – from verdant landscapes of wildflowers and bird cliffs to towering icebergs and the world’s largest ice shelf
- Enjoy exciting Zodiac cruises and land visits in the company of a team of experienced naturalist guides
- Learn all about the history and natural world of these fascinating areas
- Full board accommodation on board, including bar/beverage service
- Zodiac cruises and shore excursions
- Entertainment and expert lecture programme
- Loan of rubber boots
- Expedition parka
So much to experience
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All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Dunedin - Embark
Your epic Subantarctic Islands and Ross Sea expedition begins in the New Zealand city of Dunedin where you will arrive independently and make your way to the port in the afternoon to embark your luxury Polar cruise vessel. Settle in to your comfortable cabin, familiarise yourself with the ship and prepare for adventure as we set sail into the wilderness.
Dunedin is New Zealand’s oldest city and we recommend arriving a day or two ahead of departure to sample some of the city’s unique charms and Scottish heritage.
Your first full day on board will be spent sailing towards Campbell Island, one of New Zealand’s UNESCO World Heritage Subantarctic Islands. Take the time to enjoy the many amenities on board. You could enjoy some downtime in the spa, make use of the onboard fitness centre, browse the shopping boutique, or meet the onboard photographers in their dedicated space and learn about their practices. You may also wish to join some of the talks and presentations that will be provided by a team of experts as you sail. These talks will introduce you to some of the many wonders that can be experienced at the destinations that lie ahead. Alternatively, you may wish to simply relax in the bar or spend some time on deck or in the panoramic lounge watching the seas and searching for sightings of marine animals.
Your first stop will take you to the beautiful Campbell Island, the most southerly of the five New Zealand subantarctic groups, where a landscape of perennial wildflowers and megaherbs will greet you. Described by the English botanist Joseph Hooker as having a "flora display second to none outside the tropics”, the colourful flowers and plants have adapted to the harsh weather conditions on the islands and you can learn all about that adaptation as you enjoy a guided walk on the Col Lyell Saddle boardwalk and a memorable zodiac tour around the coastline of Perseverance Harbour. You can also be on the lookout for an abundance of birdlife including six species of albatross, and several critically endangered endemic birds including the Campbell Island teal and snipe.
We will now spend 2 days at sea sailing towards Antarctica and the excitement will build as we get closer to the Ross Sea area and the pinnacle of our voyage. Take time to relax and soak up the views as you prepare for the adventures that lie ahead.
Ross Sea Region
Welcome to the awe-inspiring Ross Sea region, the southernmost sea on earth, where a world of towering icebergs, thundering glaciers and the largest ice shelf on the planet awaits. Inaccessible for 10 months of the year, the Ross Sea region is rarely-explored and your time here will see you become one of only a few people to have ever traversed this enigmatic area. Enjoying unforgettable cruising and thrilling Zodiac rides, you will spend your days soaking up the most pristine, spectacular landscapes you could imagine, and searching for wildlife including the world’s largest Adelie penguin rookeries and Weddell seals relaxing and hunting on the icefloes.
Your team of expert guides will invite you to learn all about the area’s fascinating history and natural environment, and you will have the chance to visit historic buildings including Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds, and reflect on the heroic polar journeys of some of the world’s most intrepid polar explorers.
There are several emblematic sites we will hope to visit during your time here, including Cape Adare at the northern end of the Borchgrevink coast, Franklin Island, Terra Nova Bay where the Italian and South Korean scientific stations are located to the north and the Drygalski Ice Tongue to the south, Inexpressible Island where you can learn all about the exceptional survival conditions of the Terra Nova expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott, and Ross Island where more historical insights await. Each day will hold a new unforgettable adventure!
Take time to relax after what will have been a very busy and adventurous week. Collate the countless photos you will have no doubt taken in Antarctica, spend time on deck looking for marine wildlife, put your feet up with a drink or join some more talks and presentations on the areas you have yet to visit on your journey back north.
Your next adventure brings you to the Balleny Islands, an extremely remote series of volcanic islands which straddle the Antarctic Circle some 270 kilometres north of the Antarctic mainland. Heavily glaciated throughout the year, the islands receive few human visitors which has resulted in a magnificent diversity of wildlife at home within the rich waters surrounding the islands, including elephant, Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, and fin, minke and humpback whales. The islands are also home to large colonies of chinstrap and Adélie penguins which we will hope to encounter during one of your Zodiac cruises along the spectacular coastline.
You will now spend approximately 2 days at sea sailing towards the magnificent Macquarie Island.
Renowned as being one of the nature wonder spots of the world, your next stop will bring you to the wonderful Macquarie Island, home to beautiful landscapes and an outstanding natural diversity. A breeding place for more than 3.5 million seabirds, most of which are penguins, you can spend some time here searching for royal, king, gentoo and rockhopper penguins as we hope to land ashore for a close-up view. There are also three types of fur seals and one seventh of the world's population of elephant seals breeding on the Island.
At Sea & The Snares
After a relaxing day at sea, your final stop will take you to the unique wildlife sanctuary of The Snares, part of the Unesco World Hertiage New Zealand Subantarctic islands group. This remarkable wildlife haven is the only forested group without introduced mammals, and so birdlife is prolific here. As you explore along the coastline by Zodiac (shore landings are prohibited), you can hope for sightings of some of the over 2 million Sooty Shearwaters that breed here in the summer months, four species of albatross, and over 35,000 endemic Snares crested penguins. There are also approximately 1,000 New Zealand fur seals and 500 New Zealand sea lions.
Dunedin - Disembark
Your adventure concludes back in Dunedin where it will be time to disembark and bid a fond farewell to your crew and new-found friends.
A view from Above
Sailing under the French flag, this magnificent yacht of only 132 staterooms and Suites, with balconies, is new in June 2013. Contemporary decor inspired by the luxury yachting world, with fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white. There are passenger lifts to all decks. The ship is a purpose-built luxury expedition ship with ice-strengthened hull suitable for sailing in polar waters.
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Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Antarctica, New Zealand adventure for you.
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.
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.
Simon’s deep passion for and first-hand knowledge of a vast range of destinations all over the world gives him the ideal skills to help you create a truly unforgettable wildlife inspired adventure to the most exciting places on the planet.