(Dunedin, Bluff (Invercargill))
Experience Dunedin before you board on an expedition trip to Antractica. During the peak of the southern hemisphere summer, travellers are offered a unique opportunity to venture to the Continent of Antarctica. You sail from Australia, crossing the Antarctic Circle to places redolent with history and adventure, following in the wake of explorers Shackleton and Scott who made the journey 100 years earlier. Along the way the wildlife you encounter will astound you. The Sub-Antarctic islands are home to penguin breeding colonies numbering in the millions, to Elephant Seals and Hooker Sea Lions, and the endangered Wandering Albatross.
Available Cruise Departure Dates:
Jan 25, 2013.
Meet your private vehicle and driver for a transfer between the airport and your Dunedin hotel.
With its exciting, sometimes scandalous and tragic history, magnificent carved ceilings, New Zealand antiques and breathtaking views, Larnach Castle offers you a vision of the past and present. Today, the Castle is the home of the Barker family, who have spent over forty years lovingly restoring the building and recreating the beauty of the 14 hectares of gardens and grounds.
This morning you'll be picked up from your hotel and taken on a day-long sightseeing journey through the Catlins, en route to Bluff. You'll depart Dunedin and take a scenic drive through Brighton Beach, Taieri Mouth, Balclutha and Owaka, to see Kaka Point, a small settlement at the northern edge of the Catlins. You'll venture on to see the Nugget Point lighthouse, as well as Purakanui Falls, and the Tautuka Boardwalk where you can possibly spot one of New Zealand's Fern birds. Your drive will continue to the beautiful Niagara Falls area, followed by a stop at the District Museum. Afterward you'll drive to Curio Bay, an impressive petrified forest which offers the possibility to see penguins or Hectors dolphins. Afterward you'll continue your Caitlins journey on to Cannibal Bay, a notable wildlife and beach area. One final stop is the Waipapa Point Lighthouse and sea lion breeding ground. Continue to your hotel in Bluff.
Ascot Park Hotel (4*) is a stylish, modern and environmentally-conscious Invercargill hotel and Southland’s largest Conference Centre. Located on the outskirts of thriving Invercargill, Ascot Park is just five minutes drive from the city centre and next to the Ascot Park Racecourse. Take a dip in Ascot Park’s indoor heated pool, enjoy a sauna or spa, stroll the beautiful gardens or get out and about in Invercargill. At the end of the day, relax at Emberz Bar or try your luck at the Sportsmans Bar and Lucky Clover Gaming Bar.
You'll be picked up at your hotel by your private driver for a sightseeing tour of Invercargill en route to your awaiting cruise ship later today. Your tour will take you to see the tuatara breeding enclosure to the Invercargill Museum and Queens Park & Art Gallery. You'll see the city's historic water tower, and drive through the city centre. You'll continue along the NZ State Highway 1 lands to see Bluff Hill, and finally conclude with a drop-off at the port.
Welcome aboard your ship. As you get settled in today you will also have a chance to meet you ship mates.
Technically and aesthetically, Orion is arguably the most sophisticated vessel in its class. The Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships guide describes her as "the latest in the quest to build the ideal expedition cruise ship". Constructed by the world-leading Cassens Shipyard in Emden, and launched in November 2003, she boasts a host of advanced design features including technology that sets new standards in sustainable marine environmental practices. Although custom-made for expedition cruising, Orion is the epitome of elegance. No expense has been spared when it comes to the quality of fittings and furnishings, and the range and calibre of onboard recreational facilities are nothing short of five-star. Orion's luxurious appointments means she is more mega-yacht than cruise ship and her guests are few; around just 50 couples, all cared for in 5-star comfort by a crew of 75. Chart your own path less travelled.
Days at sea aboard Orion are less structured than a typical cruise ship. Rise at your leisure and select from a variety of breakfast options. Late morning consider joining a presentation in the Lecture Theatre by one of the Expedition Staff or a Guest Speaker. Luncheon is served both indoors and out and the timeless tradition of afternoon tea is observed at 4:00pm.
Enjoy a lecture from your expedition team today regarding the magnificent Macquarie Island, your destination for tomorrow, where you'll have a rare opportunity to experience its natural splendor.
Today you will be taken by Zodiac to Sandy Bay, situated halfway down the Macquarie island's eastern seaboard. The Zodiacs will traverse breakwaters of giant kelp before reaching rocky beaches where landing. This island has been designated a World heritage site since 1997.
A second visit to Macquarie Island is planned for today. Sandy Bay with its rugged backdrop of mountains and tussockcovered headlands, is home to 20,000 breeding pair of royal penguins, king penguins, rock hopper penguins, gentoo penguins and elephant seals.
Today you continue on your path into the Antarctic circle. Begin your evenings by joining your fellow travellers in the lounge for a pre-dinner drink and a briefing on your next destination and shoreside expedition options by the expedition team. Some are included in your fare, others (marked Optional, if available) offer a range of differing experiences to suit a variety of interests.
Enjoy your relaxation time on board as your vessel sails through the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean. The Restaurant opens for dinner at 7:00pm, though there is no rush, allowing you to dine when and with whom you choose. After dinner you will find a duo in the Lounge playing a selection of music ideally suited to conversation over a cognac, or dancing, should the mood take you.
This is your final day of sailing before you reach the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. Settle in with a book, or enjoy a lecture by the expedition team.
Scott's 1911 Terra Nova Hut is the largest historic building in Antarctica. Used in the 1910 to 1913 British Antarctic Expedition, it served as the base for extensive scientific research and surveys as well as Scott's journey to the South Pole. Entering the hut provides a glimse into the age of Antarctic exploration and discovery.
Cape Adare was discovered by Captain James Ross in 1841. You will visit Borchgrevink's Hut from the British Southern Cross Expedition, the first to ever spend winter in the Antarctic, in 1899. Up to 1,000,000 Adelie Penguins have reclaimed the site, which is spectacular, surrounded by black volcanic hills.
Today you will attempt a landing to see Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds which was constructed during the British Antarctic Nimrod Expedition in 1907-1909. He selected Cape Royds for winter quarters. Adelie Penguins are slowly reclaiming the site which is the world's southernmost penguin rookery.
Todays goal will be to make a landing at the rarely visited small and craggy Possession Islands. One of these, Foyn Island, is covered with Adelie Penguins. The islands were discovered by James Clark Ross and Francis Crozier in 1841 during their expedition to locate the south magnetic pole.
Following an intricate approach to Cape Hallett through thick pack ice, you will land to inspect the site of an abandoned US/New Zealand base established during the International Geophysical Year in 1957-58. It is a magnificent area with giant glaciers and surrounding mountains of over 4,000 metres. Weddell Seals and Adelie Penguins abound.
Landing today at Terra Nova Bay which was first discovered by Scott during his 1901-1904 expedition, the site is now occupied by an Italian base which operates a summer research station. If permission is granted, you will visit the base. It is then intended to cruise by the massive Drygalski ice tongue, which extends 70km out into the Ross Sea as part of the David Glacier.
Rich with an impressive Antarctic frontier experience under your belt, your cruise ship now heads back north, into the sub-Antarctic Islands region. Relax and enjoy the jacuzzi on the sun deck as you navigate the open seas.
Enjoy the wonderful cuisine on board as you swiftly glide through the the northern limits of the Antarctic Circle. A day at sea will provide you with the opportunity to sit in on a lecture in the lounge on upcoming excursions and regions you will visit.
Today is another relaxing day at sea. Join a lecture from your expedition team, or take to the sun deck with a good book. The day is yours to enjoy as you see fit.
Today you will visit Campbell Island. It was first discovered in January 1810 by Captain Frederick Hasselburg, master of the sealing brig, Perseverance. He named the island after his employers Robert Campbell and Co. of Sydney. Campbell is a volcanic island with fascinating rock formations. 50 years ago, between 2 and 3 million Rock Hopper Penguins were nesting on the island but since then 90% have been decimated by bacterial infection. Less than 20 pairs of Wandering Albatross nest are found here. Over 40 other bird species make their home here.
You will be taken by Zodiac to explore in Port Ross. You may visit an abandoned Maori settlement, a German expedition observation point at Terror Cove and a WWII coast watching station at Ranui Cove. You may also cruise to Victoria Passage, a dramatic opening at the end of Carnley Harbour. The birdlife of Auckland Island is profuse. Be sure to bring your camera.
Visit the Snares Islands by Zodiac this morning. The islands are made up of two small rocky islands, North East and Broughton. The islands are covered with heavy tussock grass and wind-beaten forests of tree daisies. You will cruise along the sheltered eastern coastline as the island's wildlife protection program precludes landings. The Snares are home to huge numbers of breeding birds, 99 recorded species including albatross, Antarctic Terns and Snares Crested Penguins.
Today you will arrive in the port of Bluff, where you will disembark your ship and say farewell to your shipmates and the crew.
Meet your private vehicle and driver for a transfer between the Bluff port and the Invercargill Airport.
VISA/PASSPORTU.S. and Canadian citizens eligible for a visa waiver do not need a visa for tourist stays of three months or less.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of New Zealand for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/new-zealand.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Wellington. Government: Constitutional monarchy since 1907. Language: English is the common and everyday language, but other languages are also spoken, including Maori, which is New Zealand’s second official language (spoken by the indigenous Maori people who constitute approximately 15% of the population). Religion: 55% Christian: Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Methodist are all represented. Time: New Zealand: GMT + 12 (GMT + 13 from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April). Chatham Island: GMT + 12.75 (GMT + 13.75 from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April). Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Most hotels provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. Telephone: Country code: 64. Most public phones take cards purchased from bookstalls; some also accept credit cards, but very few still accept coins. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good. Internet: There are Internet cafes in cities and smaller town central business districts. Travelers may access the Internet at many hotels and youth hostels.
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