To distant shores

New Zealand Geographic and Heritage Expeditions invite readers to experience some of New Zealand’s most remote southern shores on our next special voyage. Departing on March 1 2024, the eight-day itinerary combines three amazing destinations – Stewart Island, Fiordland and The Snares – into one journey, with ex-director general of DoC and renowned conservationist Lou Sanson joining as our onboard expert.

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Rich in history and wildlife, Stewart and Ulva Islands are home to a unique range of birdlife including the Stewart Island brown kiwi. There will be opportunities to listen to the native bird song and enjoy the golden beaches, before taking a closer look at the history of Paterson Inlet.

The Snares, the closest Subantarctic Island to New Zealand, got their name as they were once considered a hazard for sailing ships. Comprising two main islands and a group of five islands called the Western Chain, they are uninhabited and enjoy the highest protection as Nature Reserves. It is claimed by some that these islands are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together.

In the sheltered bays, guests can see the endemic Snares crested penguin, Snares Island tomtit and fernbirds. There are hundreds of thousands of sooty shearwaters nesting there (the actual number is much debated) and Buller’s albatross breed here from early January onwards. There will be opportunities to view the forests of large tree daisy Olearia lyallii which forms a canopy over much of the island group.

In the calm waters of Fiordland, guests can expect to encounter playful New Zealand fur seals, curious Dusky dolphins, and elusive birds. 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, before arriving at historic Luncheon Cove – a location of New Zealand firsts including the first sealing gang, the first European settlement and the first ship built. Zodiac cruises will also take guests to Resolution Islands and the tiny islands of Dusky Sound, where orchids, flametipped Rata and clusters of alpine tree daisies put on an impressive floral display.

Joining the voyage is special guest Lou Sanson, a man synonymous with conservation in New Zealand and Antarctica.

His career, spanning 40 years, commenced as a research scientist in mountain land management for the Forest Research Institute, before being instrumental in the formation of our current Department of Conservation as the Conservator for Southland. A move to chief executive at AntarcticaNZ for 11 years was followed with eight years as the director general of DoC.

As Southland regional conservator he led New Zealand’s work on the Subantarctic Islands and initiated and saw the establishment of the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands as a World Heritage Area. His
tenure oversaw Stewart Island becoming Rakiura National Park and Fiordland’s development of Marine Protected Areas. In 2002, he led what was at the time the world’s biggest predator free operation on
Campbell Island.

Within the Antarctic context he played key roles in the creation of the world’s largest Marine Protected Area – the Ross Sea MPA, and the McMurdo Dry Valleys Antarctic Specially Managed Area, which is larger than Fiordland National Park. His international collaboration with the USA, Italy, Germany and New Zealand culminated in the world’s largest Antarctic climate change drilling programme, ANDRILL, resulting in New Zealand’s largest tranche of high profile Antarctic research papers.

In his time leading DoC, he saw a doubling of resources for New Zealand conservation, launched Predator Free NZ 2050 and established the focus on large landscape-style conservation programmes working with Iwi, Hapu and Whanau, community conservation, philanthropic and commercial partners.

His current contribution has been formally recognised in his award as a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in the 2022 Honours. He loves conservation, history, photography and storytelling, so guests can be assured there will be a good mix of education and entertainment on this trip.


DURATION: 8 days

SHIP: Heritage Adventurer

DEPARTURE: 1 March 2024 

Click here for more information and to book your spot



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