Explore Antarctica from New ZealandDunedin, New Zealand
Chances are, if you’ve done any investigation into taking an expedition cruise into Antarctica, you’ve mainly come across journeys that start in southern Argentina and the city of Ushuaia. But if you’re not keen on long plane flights there is another option.
How does departing New Zealand sound? National Geographic Explorer’s 15-day Fiordland and the Sub Antarctic Islands expedition on the environmentally friendly Le Laperouse leaves from Dunedin on the South Island. Make sure you arrive a couple of days early, because this southern city is renowned for both its Maori and Scottish histories.
Not surprisingly, this one tracks a different course to most polar voyages, but it one that is equally as breathtaking. First, you’ll head around the southern tip of the country, passing through the Foveaux Strait, then sail north again along the epic landscape of Fiordland National Park. From Milford Sound it’s off to the Snares Islands and the journey’s southernmost point, Macquarie Island. The wildlife – elephant seals, fur seals and penguins of the king, royal and yellow-eyed varieties – is pretty special, but this remote tract of land is also home to more than 3,500,000 seabirds, including Gibson’s albatross, giant petrels and the Auckland shag (yeah, we laughed too).
Other sub-Antarctic stops include Campbell Island and Auckland Islands. All of them are explored on Zodiac expeditions and, because nearly everyone else does their cruise from South America, you might find you and your fellow guests have the whole place to yourself.
The next Fiordland and the Sub Antarctic Islands cruise departs New Zealand on 2 February 2020.