Small Group Safari

Antarctic Ross Sea Expedition

Explore in the wake of Shackleton and Scott on this extraordinary adventure to some less-visited areas of Antarctica, including the incredible Ross Sea.

Duration 30 days
Price From $21,704
When Jan - Mar 2019
Destination Antarctica

Safari Overview

A month long expedition to untouched parts of Antarctica. Starting in Invercargill, New Zealand, you head south exploring some of the most rugged and wild landscapes known to exist on the planet. Followed by huge numbers of seabirds, make your way towards the impressive Ross Sea, stopping en-route at the Auckland Islands, Campbell Island and more. Touching down in some of the most wildlife rich areas in the world, watch as each species thrives in this seemingly inhospitable habitat, whilst discovering the journeys of Shackleton and Scott, and even visiting research stations on the way.

Your expedition vessel, and home for the month, the Spirit of Enderby, provides an excellent base. Ice strengthened and small enough to navigate to some of the narrower areas, it provides the utmost in comfort whilst staying intimate, with just 30 cabins.

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • Departs from New Zealand for a completely different tour of the Sub Antarctic region.
  • Only a handful of expedition ships get to do this route each year, making it very unique.
  • See vast penguin colonies, including ‘penguin city’ where the dapper inhabitants are fearless of strangers, and the largest colony of Adelie penguins in existence.
  • Visit The Snares, Auckland Islands and the spectacular Ross Sea Ice Shelf.
  • See a huge variety of birds in huge concentrations.

A unique expedition in Antarctica that departs just once per year.

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Day by day

Day 1

Invercargill, New Zealand

Beautiful Invercargill is where you start your adventure. As New Zealand’s southernmost city, and in fact one of the most southern cities in the world, it is easy to navigate, and peppered with sheep and dairy farms. On arrival, make your way to the Kelvin Hotel for your first night. This evening, meet your fellow travellers and some of your expedition team at a welcome dinner, before staying overnight at the hotel.

Day 2

Join the expedition ship

Take it easy this morning, with breakfast at your leisure in the hotel restaurant before heading to the Port of Bluff. Prior to embarking your expedition ship, the Spirit of Enderby, you’ll have time to enjoy a visit the Southland Museum & Art Gallery to see the sub-Antarctic display. Once on board your home for the next few weeks, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin and unpack before we conduct some safety briefings. You’ll then be invited to join the expedition team on the bridge as your trip of a lifetime begins, by setting course to The Snares…

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby L,D

Day 3

North East Island (The Snares)

Arriving at The Snares early in the morning, we head to North East Island; the largest of the islands, and home to more nesting seabirds, than the entire British Isles. Conditions dependent, you’ll cruise the rugged eastern coastline by Zodiac, watching for endemic Snares crested penguins, Snares Island tomtit, and fernbirds. Other birds here include Cape pigeons, Antarctic terns, red-billed gulls, sooty shearwaters and much more.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 4-5

Enderby Island & Carnley Harbour

The Auckland Islands are rugged and wild, formed between 10-25 million years ago by two volcanoes. The towering cliffs have borne witness to numerous shipwrecks in their time. Enderby Island is thought to be the most beautiful of the Auckland Islands, if not of all the sub Antarctic islands. Landing at Sandy Bay (one of just three breeding areas in the Auckland Islands for the New Zealand sea lion), watch as these rare sea lions defend their territory and mate. Behind the beach is a forest, home to friendly tomtits, bellbirds and even yellow-eyed penguins, which are often seen scuttling across the beach building their nests. Here you have a good chance of seeing the Auckland Island flightless teal and Sub Antarctic snipe. Moving on to Carnley Harbour, hopefully conditions allow climbing to a shy albatross colony.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Day 6

At Sea

Today is a sea-borne travelling day, which means you’ll have time on board to discover more about the history of the Sub Antarctic Islands and the animals that call them home, with a series of lectures and presentations. This can be some of the best pelagic birding anywhere, species here include: shy, royal, white-capped, light-mantled sooty, grey headed and black-browned albatross, diving, cape and grey-backed petrel.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 7-8

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island has some of the highest concentrations of wildlife anywhere in the southern hemisphere, and is in fact home to ‘penguin city’, where the inhabitants show no fear as you sit and wait for them to approach you. Here there are four penguins species; king, royal, rockhopper and Gentoo and the plan is to spend time between the two approved landing sites (Sandy Bay and Buckles Bay), and enjoy a zodiac cruise at Lusitania Bay where you’ll find a king penguin rookery. You will also meet the park rangers, and enjoy a guided tour of the Australian Antarctica Division Base on Buckles Bay, established in the late 1940s. Blubbery elephant seals dot our landings sites, and you may get to watch the young ones spar in the shallow water for practise.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 9-12

At Sea

With three days at sea, you’ll have plenty of time to watch the circling petrels and albatross from the ship, as well as drifting icebergs. You’ll often be taken in for a closer look at these extraordinarily vivid and unique ice formations, an excellent opportunity for photographers. Lectures and presentations now focus on Antarctica and the Ross Sea region, building the anticipation for what is to come…

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 13-22

Ross Sea Region

The Ross Sea is wild, relatively unexplored and totally unpredictable, so we can’t give you an exact itinerary. However, whenever opportunity arises, you will be out in the Zodiacs exploring, with a strong focus on the wildlife. Areas we hope to visit include Cape Adare, home to the largest adelie penguin rookery in Antarctica; Cape Hallet, where mountains rear up from the sea at a towering 4,000 metres; Franklin Island for adelie penguins, other nesting seabirds, and a climb to the summit of the island; the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest body of floating ice; Ross Island, dominated by a 13,000ft high volcano (Mt Erebus) to visit Shackleton’s hut and see penguins; Terra Nova Bay, for the best espresso in Antarctica at an Italian summer research station.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 23-25

At Sea

Out at sea again heading towards Campbell Island, lectures will be available to prepare you for your time there. Make sure you take some time out to relax and, again, enjoy the abounding seabirds.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 26-27

Perseverance Harbour (Campbell Island)

Days 26-27: Perseverance Harbour (Campbell Island) This is New Zealand’s southernmost territory, and take a day to explore on foot. Home to unique flora and abundant fauna, this is a wonderful spot. From dropping anchor at Perseverance Harbour, occasionally home to southern right whales, as well as Campbell Island shags, penguins, fur seals and Hooker’s sea lions, to walking to the hilltop breeding sites of southern Royal albatross, which have the largest wingspan in the world, and are surprisingly approachable, great for photos.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 28-30

At Sea - Depart

Back at sea, you are now on your way to the Port of Lyttelton in Christchurch. Relax, and maybe take some time out to download and edit your photos whilst they are fresh in your memory. On the evening of day 29, enjoy a farewell dinner with your travel companions and guides, and recap some of your amazing highlights. You’ll arrive in port early on day 30, and have time to enjoy breakfast before bidding farewell to your travel companions. A coach will be organised for you, either heading t a central city point, or to the airport, however in case of unexpected weather delays, we advise you do not book any onward travel until after midday at the earliest.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Trip Details

Dates and Prices

This is a small group departure on the Spirit of Enderby, leaving on set departure dates. A very special departure, best booked in advance.

2019 Departures  Prices
Jan 11 – Feb 9 From £16,825 per person 
Feb 9 – Mar 10 From £16,825 per person 

Note that all prices exclude international flights.

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