trip
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1
Discovery and Cruising
Activities
  • 7 days expedition cruising
Accommodation
  • 7 nights aboard Heritage Explorer
Meals
  • 7 Dinners
  • 6 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days$4610USD

Hit the trails with confidence

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COVID-19 safety measures
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Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally


 
 
Trip Code: HEF

Trip highlights


  • Watch for wildlife including Yellow-eyed penguins and both Hooker and New Zealand Fur Seals
  • Spend three days exploring Port Pegasus
  • Bird watch with the aim of spotting Kiwi, Stewart Island Robin, Stewart Island Weka, South Island Kaka, Kereru (wood pigeon), Mohua (yellowhead), Red-crowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbird and Tui.
  • Cruise the remote Lords River region

Discover the time-forgot rawness of wildlife-rich Stewart Island/Rakiura and Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara on this exclusive 8-day voyage aboard the 18-guest expedition yacht Heritage Explorer. Described by botanist Leonard Cockayne in 1909 as being "an actual piece of the primeval world", his comment still rings true today. Just 30 kilometres from the Mainland and with more than 85% of the island dedicated National Park, New Zealand's third island combines stunning landscapes spanning towering granite cliffs to unspoiled wilderness (more than half the island is covered by podocarp and rimu, miro, kamahi and southern rata dominant forests), 700-kilometres of coastline, beaches, hidden bays and coves, with abundant wildlife, numerous conservation success stories, rich history, epic sunrises and sunsets and the rightly famous hospitality of the friendly locals. And with its Maori name, Rakiura, translating to 'the land of the glowing skies', there's also the opportunity to experience the spectacular Aurora Australis which often puts on a mesmerising show as it famously paints the southern skies.


Make your way to the Invercargill airport where you will meet your fellow travellers before catching your charter flight (times will be confirmed with your voyage documents) to Oban. The Captain and Expedition Leader will be waiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer at Oban and show you to your cabin as you settle into life aboard your home away from home.

Meals:  D

Awake refreshed this morning after your first night on board and enjoy breakfast among the wide open spaces and serenity of Stewart Island’s primeval landscape. Today we plan to explore Paterson Inlet, its near 100-kilometre square expanse features bush-clad bays, beaches and inlets, is studded with around 20 islands and its waters frequently visited by Bottlenose Dolphins. During our time here there will be opportunities to visit the historic Norwegian whaling station in Prices Inlet and Kaipipi Bay, where from 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea Whaling Company of Sandefjord, Norway ran a repair base where chaser boats were serviced in preparation for the Antarctic summer, walk one of the many forest trails and explore predator-free bird sanctuary Ulva Island with our knowledgeable guides and marvel at the variety of birdlife flourishing here.

Meals:  B,L,D

Exploring southwards along the eastern coast of Stewart Island there are several well protected and important harbours for us to visit, with Port Adventure being the first of these we reach. Popular for fishing, hunting and diving this bay once housed a small Maori settlement who arrived from The Neck in 1843. Here opportunities could include visiting the Port Adventure Hunters Hut in the Northern Arm, Zodiac cruising the coastline and the spectacular Heron River, along with adventures ashore on foot.

Meals:  B,L,D

Over the following two days we plan to leisurely expedition cruise through Dusky Sound visiting the some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand as well as marvelling at the majestic scenery as we sail deep into the heart of Fiordland. A navigation through Acheron Passage, which separates Resolution Island from the mainland, is sure to be one of the highlights or our time in Fiordland. Predator-free Anchor Island homes half of the world’s population of Kakapo and Little Spotted Kiwi and is also the location of historic Luncheon Cove and a number of New Zealand firsts including New Zealand’s first sealing gang, the building of New Zealand’s first European homestead and first European designed ship, the 16-metre Providence built here and launched in 1795. On nearby on Pigeon Island learn the history of Richard Henry and his pioneering live transfer of birds to island refuges – an international first in wildlife conservation. While his attempts were unsuccessful due to stoats swimming over to the island, it is heartening to learn the island is now pest free and a sanctuary for native birdlife, with Henry’s vision fulfilled.

Meals:  B,L,D

Returning northwards along the shores of Stewart Island’s east coast, Heritage Explorer ventures into the sheltered waters of Lords River, the longest navigable river on Stewart Island at 8 kilometres. Considered one of the most spectacular and unspoilt areas of New Zealand and the country’s Amazon, a historic deed was signed in 1999 to protect the area’s 3,515 hectares of virgin native forest. Here we will take the opportunity to enjoy a Zodiac safari up this fascinating winding estuary with its tannin-stained water reminiscent of Fiordland as it snakes its way to the ocean from the interior of Stewart Island.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning Heritage Explorer returns to Oban where, after a final breakfast and farewells, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your charter flight to Invercargill. In case of unexpected delays, we ask you not to book any onward travel from Invercargill until after midday. Note: During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Return charter flight from Invercargill to Oban
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
  • House drinks (beer, wine, soft drinks and spirits)
  • Expert on board naturalist guides
  • All sightseeing and shore excursions from the boat
  • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
  • Pre-departure information

  • Travel to and from start /end point of trip
  • Visa, passport and vaccination charges, and airport departure taxes
  • Accommodation and meals or other services not included in the ship cruise itinerary
  • Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as laundry and phone calls
  • Emergency evacuation charges
  • Customary end of voyage tips

Cabins


Departure dates

* Guaranteed status denotes minimum trip numbers have been met, however the trips operation will be subject to there being no COVID-19 restrictions or other government travel advisories. Please contact us for further information.


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Total Priceper person from

$4610USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Salvin Double or Twin Cabin supplementUSD$535
  • Wandering Single Cabin supplementUSD$785
  • Royal Suite supplementUSD$1710
  • Premium Drink PackageUSD$175
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Unseen Stewart Island trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

Thoughtful Travel

Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

Ultimate Value

 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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