Subantarctic Islands Expedition

Save up to $2,800* per couple

A Christmas holiday you’ll never forget, by small ship to the Subantarctic Islands, marooned in the Southern Ocean off the coast of New Zealand. Visit Campbell Island, the Snares, the Auckland Islands and Macquarie Island, all World Heritage-listed and with large colonies of rare seabirds. Return to New Zealand via the spectacular Milford Sound.

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From $17,595* per person, twin share

12 days Auckland to Queenstown 


  • Experiences in 12 destinations
  • 15 nights aboard the MS Caledonian Sky with excursions on Zodiac vessels
  • Locally inspired dining – a total of 45 meals and a wide range of onboard beverages
  • Services of an APT Expedition Leader and Team
  • Celebrate New Year’s Eve in the seldom-visited Subantarctic Islands
  • Look for albatross on Campbell Island and take a nature walk at Enderby Island
  • With two days on Macquarie Island, explore beaches teeming with penguins and meet the people who live and work on the island
  • Cruise New Zealand’s Fiordland region, winding between forests and mountains along the entire length of Milford Sound

Departures: 21 December 2021

Trip code:  XPCSUA17


Day 1: Arrive Auckland, Embark Ship

You will be met on arrival in Auckland and transferred to your ship. Meet your captain and crew at tonight’s welcome reception and dinner.

Stay: 15 nights, MS Caledonian Sky

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: At Sea

Spend a full day at sea as your ship cruises along the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Explore the facilities on board your ship and take in the passing scenery.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Wellington

With your ship anchored close to the city centre, step ashore for a guided walk through Wellington. See St Paul’s Cathedral and the parliament buildings, then stroll through the Botanical Gardens. Also pay a visit to the Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand. After some free time, return to your ship for lunch as it sets sail.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Christchurch

Arrive in the port of Lyttleton, which services greater Christchurch. Explore the city on a guided tour and visit the International Antarctic Museum. With some free time to explore, perhaps visit Quake City, a museum dedicated to the Canterbury earthquakes.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: At Sea, Christmas Day

Welcome the most wonderful time of the year as you venture beyond New Zealand’s mainland. Raise your glass to the spirit of discovery, enjoying Christmas entertainment and festive feasts.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6:  Stewart Island, Ulva Island, Bluff

Land at Oban on Stewart Island, where you’ll get to wander through the shops and see the Rakiura Museum. Alternatively, drive to explore some of the island’s most beautiful locations, including Observation Rock, with views over Iona and Ulva islands, as well as the beaches lining the east coast. After lunch, head for Ulva Island where you may choose from a number of guided walks with our local guides. This evening, clear New Zealand customs at Bluff before setting off towards the Subantarctic Islands.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: At Sea

As your ship heads closer to the Subantarctic, visit the bridge to watch for whales, browse the library, or listen to a variety of engaging talks from your crew.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Campbell Island

Reach the most southerly of the Subantarctic Islands. Campbell Island is known for its six species of albatross, as well as the world’s largest population of nesting southern royal albatross. Look for Hooker’s sea lions, as well as the endemic Campbell teal and Campbell snipe, which were previously believed to be extinct.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: At Sea

Relax on board as your ship charges through the Southern Ocean on the way to Macquarie Island.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10: Macquarie Island

World Heritage-listed Macquarie Island awaits. Governed by Australia and part of the state of Tasmania, the island is one of Australia’s truly great wilderness areas. We have two days to explore the area using our fleet of Zodiacs, hoping to view king, royal, gentoo and rockhopper penguins, as well as sea lions, leopard seals and southern elephant seals.

 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11: Macquarie Island, New Year’s Eve

Wake to another full day on Macquarie Island. Since 1948 the Australian Antarctic Division has maintained a permanent base on the island consisting of 30 separate buildings. Meet the people who live and work here and continue exploring the wilderness with onboard naturalists who will run a series of walks. Tonight, get ready to ring in the New Year with special celebrations on board.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12: At Sea

Enjoy some much-deserved downtime today as your ship cruises to Enderby Island, part of the Auckland Islands. Despite their name, the islands are situated 465 kilometres south of the mainland and have no connection to the city of Auckland.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13: Auckland Islands

Spend the day on Enderby Island, one of the most diverse wildlife areas fringing the Antarctic. Join a nature walk through lush vegetation and rata forest to view the nesting sites of the southern royal albatross. Keep your eyes peeled for giant petrels, shags, parakeets and tomtits as you walk. Discover beaches covered with Hooker’s sea lions and seek out shy yellow-eyed penguins.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14: The Snares, Bluff

Jump aboard Zodiacs for a morning cruise around the islands of The Snares. Look for endemic Snares penguins on the shore and endemic Buller’s albatrosses overhead. After lunch, your ship makes its way back to Bluff where you’ll clear customs and head back to the mainland.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 15: Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound

A full day dedicated to the incredible wilderness of Fiordland National Park. Only accessible by sea, it is one of the most remote and most beautiful regions of New Zealand. While our exact route is weather dependent, we hope to visit Astronomers Point, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound. We’ll make use of Zodiacs to reach remote landing sites and to explore deeper into the fiords. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 16: Milford Sound, Disembark Ship, Queenstown

Witness the staggering beauty of Milford Sound as our ship glides serenely through this magnificent fiord. Also known by its Maori name, Piopiotahi, this is one of New Zealand’s most treasured natural landmarks. Our journey ends at the head of the fjord, where we’ll disembark to waiting coaches and transfer to our hotel in Queenstown. Tonight, you have free time to explore Queenstown and try one of the many great restaurants within walking distance of your accommodation.

Stay: Novotel Queenstown Hotel

Meals: Breakfast

Day 17: Depart Queenstown

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals: Breakfast


*Terms and Conditions: Valid until 31 March 2021 or sold out. Offer valid when booking Tour Code(s) XPCNZA12, XPCNZM12, XPCSUA17, departing December 1 2021 to January 4 2022. A non-refundable deposit of $1000 per person is due within 7 days of booking. Final payment is due 100 days prior to the tours departure date. Offers are available for travellers departing from Australia. All pricing and save amounts are in Australian Dollars. Information correct as at 23 December 2021 but may fluctuate due to changes in surcharges, taxes or currency. A strictly limited number of offers are available on selected itineraries and departure dates in selected suites/staterooms/cabins/room categories. Offers are subject to availability, not combinable unless specified, available on new bookings only and may be withdrawn at any time. For more information, contact your travel agent. SUPPLIER: APT