Subantarctic Discovery

Perched on the Antarctic Convergence, Australia and New Zealand’s subantarctic islands are home to some of the most abundant and unique wildlife on Earth.

Perched on the Antarctic Convergence, Australia and New Zealand’s subantarctic islands are home to some of the most abundant and unique wildlife on Earth. From Hobart, explore Tasmania’s south coast, from dramatic coastlines on Bruny Island to gannet rookeries and fur seal haulouts on Pedra Branca, and wilderness treks in Recherche Bay and New Harbour. Delight in World Heritage-listed Macquarie Island, home to a tumble of elephant seal pups, leopard seals, the endemic royal penguin and king penguin rookeries more than a quarter million strong. Crossing to New Zealand, marvel at the courtship displays of magnificent royal albatross on Campbell Island, and sea lions, yellow-eyed and rockhopper penguins on Enderby. Zodiac-cruise the Snares’ labyrinth channels to spy magnificent tree daisies and Snares crested penguins. Enjoy a warm welcome from Stewart Island locals and visit nearby Ulva Island, a sanctuary for plants and animals including South Island Saddlebacks and kiwis. Then immerse yourself in the magnificent Fjordland as you explore Dusky and Doubtful Sounds.
This expedition is subject to regulatory approval and only open to Australian residents.

Subantarctic Discovery

Hobart to Bluff 
Onboard Greg Mortimer
07 March 2022
18 Days


per person, twin share in a balcony stateroom
Price includes save 10%


  • Make forays to Bruny Island’s Cloudy Bay and explore the pristine wilderness at remote New Harbour
  • Zodiac-cruise off Lusitania Bay, Macquarie Island, surrounded by thousands of bathing king penguins and keep watch for hungry leopard seals
  • Sit quietly on Campbell Island, as magnificent royal albatross unfurl their wings and cry an eerie song
  • Skirt beaches busy with New Zealand sea lion harems, to reach gnarled rata forests where yellow-eyed penguins are found
  • Tread softly to see scampering kiwis, Stewart Island robins, forest parrot and colourful parakeets on the island sanctuary, Ulva


You’re welcomed aboard the Greg Mortimer and shown your cabin before mandatory safety drills are carried out. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners at our voyage briefing this evening. Leaving Hobart, we cruise past the impressive cliffs of Cape Pillar and Tasman Island’s dramatic dolerite columns rising from the sea.
From the comfort of your floating base camp, make your first forays to the picturesque Cloudy Bay at Bruny Island. Enjoy picturesque coastal walks through flowering heathlands and eucalypt forests, a more leisurely stroll on long stretches of pristine sand, or a more active tramp up the headland for sweeping views of the bay and beyond to the Southern Ranges. Weather permitting, we hope to sail our ship past the tiny, windswept islet of Pedra Branca - and its busy shy albatross and Australasian gannet colonies - in evening light.

Near the extreme south-eastern corner of Tasmania, the idyll of Recherche Bay offered French explorer, Bruni D’Entrecasteaux, refuge, replenishment, and scientific discovery. Learn more about his exploits, including the well-documented, amicable encounters and mutual observation between the expedition members and the indigenous Lylequonny people. Enjoy a hike towards the extreme southern tip of Tasmania or towards Fishers Point past the impressive bronze whale sculpture that commemorates the area’s early whaling history.
Having rounded South East Cape, experience untamed wilderness of Southwest National Park from the shores of New Harbour with various walking and Zodiac-cruising options. Perhaps explore a short section of the famed South Coast track, enjoy a stiff walk up Cox Bluff, or simply revel in the isolation and wildness of these remote and windswept shores.

From the comfort of the ‘mother ship’, enjoy a ship cruise at the Maatsuyker Island Group in the evening. Spy Australia’s most southerly lighthouse at Maatsuyker Island, and delight in the majesty of soaring shy albatross in the skies. If conditions allow, Zodiac-cruise near Mewstone Island, first sighted and named by the Dutch navigator Abel Janzoon Tasman in 1642 who wrote that it “resembles a lion”. Today it holds nesting colonies of shy albatross, fur seals and possibly southern elephant seals.
Enjoy exciting days at sea, with entertaining talks on exploration and natural history. Spend time on deck photographing seabirds and relishing the sight of wandering and royal albatross in full, soaring flight.
This subantarctic jewel supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Ocean. Millions of penguins of four different species – king, rockhopper, gentoo and the endemic royal – breed here. Upon arrival, we hope to land at Sandy Bay where a boardwalk leads up to a royal penguin rookery teeming with showy birds displaying their golden head feathers. At the shore are stately king penguins and chicks, and above fly black-browed and light-mantled sooty albatross. Fur and elephant seals hide amongst thick tussocks that have come back to life, thanks to a successful pest-eradication program. The following day, we plan to Zodiac-cruise Lusitania Bay. The king penguin rookery here is a quarter of a million strong, noisy and spectacular. A welcoming committee will likely porpoise around our Zodiacs, and leopard seals often patrol the waters.
Catch your breath as we turn toward New Zealand’s subantarctic islands. Step out on deck to photograph Campbell, Salvins and white-capped albatross, seen in few other regions.
New Zealand’s most southerly subantarctic island is the highly eroded remnant of an ancient volcano that rises to 570 metres and cops some rough weather – gusts over 50 knots (96 kph) occur at least 100 days a year. After breakfast, Zodiac cruise protected Northeast Harbour to photograph waterfalls, yellow-eyed penguins and possibly the reintroduced endemic Campbell Island snipe. After lunch, land at the seasonal research station in Perseverance Harbour and hike up a boardwalk through flowering megaherb meadows to breeding southern royal albatross. Sit quietly and watch as they unfurl their three-metre wingspan, clack their beaks and issue their unforgettable, mournful cries.
First discovered in 1806 by British whaler Abraham Bristow, these remote specks of land in the Southern Ocean are a refuge for thousands of birds and sea lions. Depending on weather and sea conditions, Enderby Island, the most northern in the Auckland Islands, is our first landing. Hop aboard a Zodiac to cruise into Sandy Bay, land near a researcher’s hut, and be greeted by raucous New Zealand (Hooker’s) sea lions, the world’s rarest and most endangered of the five sea lion species. It’s breeding season, as 500-kilogram adult males fight for the favour of females, who form harems of up to 25 attended by a single dominant bull. Keep an eye out for newborn pups. Enter a forest fit for hobbits, walking among twisted trunks of southern rata trees. Stretch your legs on a hike across the island’s megaherb moors, spotting yellow-eyed penguins, light-mantled sooty albatross and royal albatross with a wingspan of nearly 3.5 metres. Our second day begins with an exciting Zodiac cruise through Victoria Passage, a lively channel separating Adams Island from Auckland Island (Motu Maha), and finishes with a walk into Erlangen Clearing, to hear of a German merchant ship that scavenged timber for its boilers hoping to escape to South America during World War II. After lunch, visit Carnley Harbour for superb Zodiac-cruising, and walks through rata forests alive with birdsong to historic sites from early sealers and World War II coastwatchers.
This small group of islands has no introduced mammals ­– the only such group in the Southern Ocean, making it a highly-protected and extraordinary haven for wildlife, especially seabirds. We Zodiac-cruise (no landings are allowed) protected waterways, binoculars and cameras ready for sightings of the endemic Snares crested penguins, Snares Island tomtit, fernbirds and many more. Early summer, the Buller’s albatross arrives to nest. Even the plants are magical, like the giant tree daisy that forms a canopy five metres high. In the evening, hundreds of thousands of sooty shearwaters fill the sky as they return to their burrows for the night.
Sail overnight to reach Stewart Island, New Zealand’s third largest island. Anchoring in Half Moon Bay, we visit laid-back Oban, the island’s only town and land on Ulva Island, one of the few pest-free, open sanctuaries in the country. The island offers threatened native species a safe haven including kiwis, wekas, colourful parakeets and South Island saddlebacks.
Packed into the western third of Southland, is Fiordland, a spectacular region where the Southern Alps reach the sea in a series of steep-sided, glacier-carved and now flooded valleys called ‘sounds’. Explore the largest, Dusky Sound, its waterways home to pods of dolphins and whales, and Doubtful Sound, nicknamed the ‘Sound of Silence’, renowned for its stunning waterfalls, like 619-metre-high Browne Falls, bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins. In the evening celebrate your final night with the Captain’s Farewell dinner as we head to our last port.
After breakfast, farewell your expedition team and disembark to be transferred to the airport or your hotel accommodation.

Important note: In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea state, ice and other conditions beyond our control.


Arrival transfer from airport or hotel to Greg Mortimer on Day 1
Departure transfer from Greg Mortimer to airport or hotel on last day
Onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
Gratuities for ship crew


International or domestic flights, not mentioned in the itinerary
Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
Airport arrival or departure taxes
Passport, visa, and vaccination charges
Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
Optional activity surcharges
All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges


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Pricing is correct as of 17/03/2021. Itineraries are subject to change and operation is subject to weather conditions, prevailing conditions and local arrangements may cause variation. Offer is subject to change or availability at the time of booking and may be withdrawn without notice. To confirm your booking, a completed booking form and a non-refundable deposit of AUD 2,500 per person is required within 7 days of reserved berth/s. All voyages are subject to regulatory approval and only open to Australian residents. Offer is only valid on new bookings and on select ship voyages only which must be booked and deposited by March 31st 2021. Promotion is subject to availability at the time of booking and capacity controlled. The promotion is only available in conjunction with the back to back voyage discount or the loyalty program offer, and not available with any other offer. The promotion can be withdrawn at any time and is not redeemable for cash. Prices and offers correct at time of printing and subject to change. Normal booking terms and conditions apply. To confirm your booking, a completed booking form and non-refundable deposit of $2,500 pp in the booking currency is required within 7 days of reserved berth/s. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Please visit for full terms and conditions. Travel insurance is recommended please ask us for a quote. Payment by credit card attracts a merchant fee. Full terms and conditions provided at the time of booking.