Follow in the wake of Australia’s greatest polar pioneer. Departing Tasmania’s glorious south coast, sail to New Zealand’s Auckland Islands to encounter sea lion harems and yellow-eyed penguins. On Campbell Island, delight in royal albatross courting amidst megaherb meadows. Sail south into pack ice, skirt the Mertz Glacier Tongue and enjoy the wildlife-rich waters leading to Commonwealth Bay. Ice and katabatic winds allowing, Mawson’s Hut transports you back to the Heroic Age, where the ghosts of Sir Douglas’s team await. Cruise west along the East Antarctic coastline searching for emperor and Adélie penguins, snow petrels, seals and orcas. Sailing north, drop into Macquarie Island, where vast king penguin rookeries, nesting albatross and elephant seal wallows await.
This expedition is subject to regulatory approval and only open to Australian and New Zealand residents.
- 24 night voyage aboard Greg Mortimer departing from Hobart
- Arrival transfer from airport 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
PLUS! Ultimate Cruising guests also receive:
- $500 per booking air credit per booking
- 1 night accommodation pre-cruise
- Chauffeur driven luxury car transfers from your home to the airport and return (within 35km)
AUCKLAND ISLANDS & CAMPBELL ISLAND
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.
Campbell Island,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. Wind and weather permitting, we plan to Zodiac cruise the protected Northeast Harbour to photograph waterfalls, yellow-eyed penguins and possibly the reintroduced endemic Campbell Island snipe. At Perseverance Harbour, an opportunity to hike up a boardwalk through flowering megaherb meadows to breeding southern royal albatross allows us to sit quietly and watch as they unfurl their three-metre wingspan, clack their beaks and issue their unforgettable, mournful cries.
Ice and weather permitting, we enter Commonwealth Bay, dubbed the ‘Home of the Blizzard’ by Mawson. We hope to land at Cape Denison, where the hut was built for his 1911-14 expedition and has withstood katabatic winds since then, thanks to the efforts the Mawson Hut Foundation. If calm enough conditions prevail, we plan to land and walk across to Mawson’s Hut. Step inside and immediately feel connected with the era and men of that incredible expedition. With luck we may see Wilson's storm petrels, Weddell seals, Adélie penguins and perhaps some skuas. Since Mawson’s day, the South Magnetic Pole has migrated off the land and is now located out to sea. Ice and weather permitting, our Captain will attempt to manoeuvre the Greg Mortimer Iinto position over the South Magnetic pole.
EAST ANTARCTIC COAST
Heading east, we hope to stop at the rocky toehold of Point Martin on the Antarctic Plateau, usually out of reach of Commonwealth Bay’s notorious katabatic winds. Here we may visit the French Base abandoned after a fire in the 1950s, and now home to a lively Adélie penguin colony. On Christmas Day, we continue towards Petrel Island, home of the French research station Dumont D’Urville, and nesting grounds of snow and Wilson’s storm petrels. The station was named after French explorer Dumont D’Urville, who proclaimed the territory for France in January 1840. He also named the Adélie penguin after his wife. We hope to walk the island shores and perhaps board our Zodiacs to admire the ice-front of the Astrolabe Glacier. Finally, before heading northwards, we plan to sail past the ice tongue of Mertz Glacier, which floats kilometres out to sea before disgorging icebergs into the Southern Ocean. Just over a decade ago, the massive iceberg designated B09B collided with the ice tongue and knocked 80 percent off its length, leaving a 20 km stub. Nonetheless, this natural barrier continues to attract wildlife, including the larger whale species. Should the opportunity arise, we take a closer look at its crevassed ice cliffs from our Zodiacs.
Douglas Mawson set up his communication base here in December 1911, and now 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.
Prices and Departure Dates
Departs Hobart on 11 December 2021
Prices start from A$36,355 per person share twin in a Balcony Stateroom.** Must be booked by 30 June 2021 **
Please note that all prices are subject to availability and subject to change without notice at any time.
- Meals + Wine
- Medical Services
- On-Board Lecturer
- Shore Excursions
- Built Date 2019
- Capacity 132
- Length 104M
- Expedition Style
- Soft Adventures
Purpose-built for expeditions to the most remote places on earth, Greg Mortimer was the first passenger ship to feature the revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW, allowing the ship to cross oceans more comfortably and efficiently, with expansive observation decks to bring you closer to the environment, inviting communal areas and unsurpassed environmental credentials. The Greg Mortimer offers the perfect base camp for adventures at the outer limits of human exploration.
Accommodating an average of 132 expeditioners per voyage within 76 cosy, comfortable cabins – all cabins have a view of the ocean and 85% of cabins have their own balcony. The ship also features a modern lecture lounge, multiple observation areas, zodiac launching platforms, a restaurant serving excellent meals, a gym and wellness centre, jacuzzis, a mudroom and many other amenities.
The Greg Mortimer has redefined expedition cruising for the future.
Meals + Wine