Pre Cruise Package Highlights/Inclusions:
• 3 days car rental, Toyota RAV 4 (or similar), Dunedin to Invercargill
• 2-nights accommodation at Mohua Park, Catlins Coast
Landing fees, pre and post cruise charter flights and coach transfers, all on board ship accommodation with meals and all shore excursions and activities. GST, house drinks and expert on board naturalist guides. Pricing per person in NZ$.
All items of a personal nature, laundry, domestic flights, extensions and travel insurance.
Day 1: Dunedin – Catlins (D)
Collect your rental vehicle on arrival at Dunedin Airport.
The Catlins Coast encompasses from Waipapa Point to Nugget Point, it is one of the wildest places in the country. It is also the best place to watch seals, sea lions or yellow-eyed penguins in the wild. Occasionally you will see whales and dolphins.
Overnight at Mohua Park, 1 bedroom cottage
Day 2: Catlins Coast (B,D)
Day at leisure to enjoy the sights of the Catlins.
Visit Nugget Point, Surat Bay, Mclean Falls, Jacks Blowhole Track, Florence Hill Lookout, Cathedral Cave, Slope Point and Curio Bay.
Overnight at Mohua Park, 1 bedroom cottage
Day 3: Catlins Coast – Invercargill
Check out of your accommodation and make your way to Invercargill airport to drop off your car and meet the group for departure on your Heritage Expedition cruise.
Day 3: Invercargill/Oban (Cruise Embarkation)
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.
Day 4: Paterson Inlet
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.
Day 5: Port Adventure
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.
Day 6-8: Port Pegasus
Sure to be one of the highlights of our voyage, we have three days to explore the remote, undisturbed beauty of Port Pegasus. (Note: voyage #221102 departing 2 November 22 spends two days exploring Port Pegasus) Isolated at the southern end of the island, with access predominantly by sea, there is much to explore and experience among this undisturbed wilderness over the following three days. Boasting an expansive harbour laced with waterways, arms and channels, several waterfalls and three main islands – Pearl Island (the largest) in the north, Anchorage Island in the centre, and Noble Island in the south, provides an unrivalled opportunity to immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of Stewart Island. We will spend our time exploring Zodiac and kayak, venturing into hidden coves and landing on pristine white sand beaches where few have set foot before. There are also a number of excellent walking options including exploring the Granite Domes of Gog and Magog, or venturing onto the southern extension of the subalpine Tin Range, the eastern area of which would become the last refuge for Kākāpo in the second half of the twentieth century. The marine life here abounds with Hooker’s/New Zealand Sea Lions and Yellow-eyed Penguins regularly seen. For those who enjoy fishing there will be ample opportunity to try your luck at catching a meal for the table.
Day 9: Lords River
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 hecatres 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.
Day 10: Oban/Invercargill
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.