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Fiordland, the Snares and Stewart Island Cruise

8 day Expedition Cruise Departing 05 March 2021 Onboard Spirit of Enderby

Join Heritage Expeditions, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising, as we explore New Zealand’s remote southern backyard on this special 8-day voyage. Discover the time-forgot rawness of wildlife-rich Stewart Island/Rakiura, Zodiac cruise the rocky, inhospitable coast of The Snares – one of the world’s most important nature reserves, and experience the primordial majesty of Fiordland first hand on this unforgettable adventure.

Heritage Expeditions pioneered expedition cruising in Fiordland more than 30 years ago. It was from these first, wild Kiwi wilderness adventures the Christchurch-based Russ family’s dream of genuine responsible tourism, which now spans some of the world’s most remote and rarely visited regions and wildlife hotspots from Antarctica through to, and including, the Arctic, was realised. After departing Bluff we set sail for Stewart Island, New Zealand’s third largest island, and predator-free Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara. Rich in history and wildlife, these wild and remote islands are home to a unique range of birdlife including Bellbird, Tui, Kaka, Tomtit, Rifleman, Stewart Island Robin, Saddleback, Mohua and of course, the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (or Southern Tokoeka). There will be opportunities to listen to the native bird song and enjoy the golden sandy beaches, before taking the time to take a closer look at the history of Paterson Inlet.

Rarely visited and one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, The Snares is internationally renowned as a wildlife haven where we should see the Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbird, New Zealand Fur Seals and tree daisy forest as we Zodiac cruise its jagged coastline. Travelling north we will cruise around South West Cape and the Muttonbird/Titi Islands, an archipelago of three rocky island chains named after the Sooty Shearwater which famously breed here. We hope to make several landings at these remote and sandy beaches and Zodiac cruise the coastline including Codfish Island/Whenua Hous with its history including sealing and, more recently, as one of the most important strongholds of critically endangered Kākāpō.

As we expedition cruise up the lower west side of New Zealand’s South Island, we prepare for the grand scale scenery of Fiordland. Exploring these remote ice carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords, it is easy to see why this incredible region inspired our dream for responsible travel. In the calm waters of Fiordland, and away from the crowds, we can expect to encounter playful New Zealand Fur Seals, curious Dusky Dolphins, elusive birds and enjoy endless stunning vistas.

During our time here we plan to Zodiac cruise glittering waterways amid the podocarp forest cloaked spines of Anchor and Resolution Islands and the tiny islands of Dusky Sound where orchids, flame-tipped Rata and clusters of alpine tree daisies put on an impressive floral display.

On predator-free Anchor Island, home to half the world’s population of Kākāpō as well as Little Spotted Kiwi, we’ll walk around Lake Kirirua, its surface reflecting the surrounding forest, before arriving at historic Luncheon Cove – a location of New Zealand firsts including first sealing gang, first European settlement and first ship built in the country. Discover hidden inlets, coves and beaches as we Zodiac cruise Sportsman Cove and explore Cooper Island and experience Fiordland from above with an optional helicopter extension. Discover unseen New Zealand on this iconic Kiwi adventure to rarely visited shores