(Dunedin, Bluff (Invercargill))
Antarctica is the driest, coldest, windiest continent on earth. It is also a fascinating world of living creatures and scientific discovery. Your destination on this cruise is the Australian station at Commonwealth Bay- the place Sir Douglas Mawson called “the home of the blizzard”. Your Antarctic experience will follow in the steps of this great explorer and his companions a century ago. You will gain an insight into the life of these explorers at the historic base camp hut. There is a great sense of awe in walking in the footsteps of these brave men, standing in their rough huts left exactly as they were when the explorers departed a century ago. This is a world only a privileged few will experience as visitor numbers are strictly limited to preserve the fragile environment. With literally millions of penguins and seals, schools of whales, and thousands of icebergs of all shapes and sizes, nothing can prepare you, for there is nothing that is comparable. Whether it’s cruising around a school of killer whales off the spectacular Mertz Glacier or landing the Zodiacs to observe penguin rookeries on one of the sub-Antarctic islands, it is impossible not to be moved by the spirit of this harsh and uncompromising continent, earth’s last frontier. Includes private pre and post cruise tours with expert guide.
Available Cruise Departure Dates:
(2013): Jan 7
(2014): Jan 3,21
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 cruise vessel!After embarkation, meet some of your fellow cruise passengers and get settled in.
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.
Two small rocky islands, North East and Broughton, comprise The Snares, the closest sub-Antarctic islands to New Zealand. The islands are covered with heavy tussock grass and wind-beaten forests of tree daisies. Weather permitting the team will launch the Zodiacs for an exploration of 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.
Sites in Port Ross may be visited including an abandoned Maori settlement, a German expedition observation point at Terror Cove and a WWII coast watching station at Ranui Cove. In Carnley Harbour castaway depots at Camp Cove, are marked by an A frame building built in 1887 by the crew of the Awarua, inscribed with the names of people from the French Bark Angou wrecked in 1905. You may cruise to Victoria Passage, a dramatic opening at the end of Carnley Harbour. The birdlife of Auckland Island is profuse.
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.
The sub-Antarctic island of Macquarie has been said to rival South Georgia in its magnificence, scenic diversity and prolific wildlife. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and a World Heritage Site in 1997, Macquarie now operates a full-time manned station where biological and meteorological research is conducted. The station, located on the isthmus at Buckles Bay, is from where you will collect the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife rangers who will be your guides for the day.
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 Commonwealth Bay region of Antarctica. Settle in with a book, or enjoy a lecture by the expedition team.
On 8 January 1912 Sir Douglas Mawson landed on the Antarctic continent after a journey from Hobart that took 36 days aboard the Aurora, a ship of just 612 tons. Over the next five days your cruise ship will be positioned in and around Commonwealth Bay on the Adelie coast of Antarctica. Your expedition team will lead a variety of opportunistic landings which may include sites at Cape Denison, Cape Jules, Mertz Glacier, Port Martin and Dumont d'Urville. In each instance landings ashore and Zodiac explorations are wholly subject to prevailing weather conditions, in an area Mawson described as "the home of the blizzard".Enroute to Port Martin, Orion maneuvers through a large gallery of up to 100 grounded icebergs of various sizes, making it possible for close proximity views and photography. Port Martin is the former site of the French Antarctic base. Built in 1950 by the third French expedition to Terre Adelie, the region was so named by Dumont d'Urville for his wife. The area is in the small French Antarctic claim, sandwiched between the two Australian claims. The base was abandoned after it was partially destroyed by fire on the night of 24 January 1952. The site is scattered with artifacts and has an Adelie Penguin rookery, nesting McCormack Skuas, a spectacular backdrop of ice cliffs and a snow ramp to the Antarctic Plateau.
Your expedition leaders Don and Margie McIntyre have called Cape Denison home, having spent more time there than any other person alive today. It is the windiest place on the face of the earth and is surrounded by spectacular ice cliffs. The area is home to 60,000 Adelie Penguins, Snow Petrels, Giant Petrels, Wilsons Storm Petrels and Cape Pigeons. Weddell, Leopard and Elephant seals may be seen stretched out on the ice. Cape Denison is the site of Sir Douglas Mawson's hut from the historic 1911-13 expedition. This is one of the Antarctic's least visited sites and, as the first Australian scientific base on the Antarctic, is of great historical significance and the subject of an ongoing multi-million dollar preservation program. Apart from the main living hut and workshop, there is the absolute magnetic hut, the magnetograph house, the transit hut and the memorial cross erected in memory of Ninnis and Mertz who died tragically in 1913. The main hut is surrounded by historic debris and artifacts including clothing, shoes, food crates, sleds, ropes and kerosene tins.
The French scientific base at Dumont d'Úrville is on Petrels Island, located at the south-eastern end of the Geologie Archipelago. The base is named for French explorer Jules- Sebastien-Cesar Dumont d'Urville and was built in 1956 to replace the base at Port Martin some 100km to the east. The spectacular area is an important centre for the study of the rich local wildlife, including seals, petrels and penguins - the Adelie Penguin being named after Dumont d'Urville's wife. Emperor Penguins may be observed on some ice-floes behind the controversial and now unused airstrip (the French destroyed some Adelie Penguin rookeries to build it). Adelie Penguins abound around the base - in fact right up to the front door of most buildings!
Get up close to Mertz Glacier, first discovered by Sir Douglas Mawsom, who named it after Xavier Mertz, a crew member who lost his life during the 1911-1913 expedition. The glacier itself is approximately 72km long, turning into a glacial tongue as it extends into the Southern Ocean.
Enjoy some Zodiac cruising at Cape Jules, a rocky cape first discovered during an 1837-40 French expedition by Captain Jules Dumont d'Urville, later chartered by Mawson.
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. In two days you will have the rare and exclusive opportunity to visit Macquarie Island, often described as one of the "wonder spots" of the world.
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 is a day at sea, cruising back north in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean. Review the wonderful photographs you were able to capture on this amazing expedition.
Enjoy the facilities on board as you cruise back toward your final destination, Hobart, Australia. Appreciate the company of your fellow cruisemates for one final evening before disembarkation tomorrow.
Today you'll arrive at the port of Hobart, where you will disembark from your ship, and say farewell to your fellow cruisemates.
You will be transferred to/from the port in your private vehicle.
Enjoy a scenic drive with Premier Travel Tasmania to the Tasman Peninsula. Visit Port Arthur Historic Site – the remains of Tasmania’s famous convict settlement. The site features many attractions and our experienced guide will bring its history alive. After lunch visit the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park and meet Tasmania’s enigmatic character. You will gain an understanding of Devil conservation and also see many other Tasmanian animals up close. Before returning to Hobart, there may be time to view some of the interesting geology of the Tasman Peninsula.
The Mercure Hobart is located in the city centre, only two blocks from the main shopping mall. The hotel features local artwork in a contemporary setting, while the 140 rooms have recently been re-decorated to create a modern fresh feel and offer either city or mountain views. It is only a short walk to Salamanca Place on Hobarts historic waterfront, an area well known for the many restaurants, cafes, bars and the famous Saturday market.
Transportation between Hobart airport and your hotel.
VISA/PASSPORTAmerican and Canadian citizens are required to have a valid passport to enter Australia. Americans and Canadians must enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It may be obtained for a small service fee. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to apply for ETAs on behalf of travelers. Please note that American citizens who overstay their ETA or visa, even for short periods, may be subject to exclusion, detention, and removal.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check information about the ETA, other visas, and entry requirements with the Embassy of Australia 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/australia.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Canberra. Government: Constitutional Monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1901. Language: The official language is English. Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages. Religion: 27% Roman Catholic, 21% Protestant and smaller minorities of all other major religions. Time: Australia spans three time zones: GMT + 10 (GMT + 11 from October to March, except Queensland; starts a month earlier in Tasmania). GMT + 9.5 (GMT + 10.5 from October to March, except Northern Territory). GMT + 8 (GMT + 9 from October to March, three-year trial in Western Australia until 2009 followed by referendum). Some states operate daylight saving time during the Australian summer. Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use, however sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adaptor socket may be needed. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances are found in most hotels. Telephone: Country code: 61. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in and around populated areas; access in some of the more isolated, outback and rural areas is limited. US handsets are not compatible. Internet: Available throughout Australia. Internet cafes are prevalent in all capital cities and tourist towns, and individual hotels may also provide facilities. Wi-Fi access is increasing in cities and is mainly found in hotels, bars and cafes.
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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