Subantarctic Discovery



Perched on the Antarctic Convergence, Australia and New Zealand’s subantarctic islands are home to some of the most abundant and unique wildlife on Earth. From Hobart, explore Tasmania’s south coast, from dramatic coastlines on Bruny Island to gannet rookeries and fur seal haulouts on Pedra Branca, and wilderness treks in Recherche Bay and New Harbour. Delight in World Heritage-listed Macquarie Island, home to a tumble of elephant seal pups, leopard seals, the endemic royal penguin and king penguin rookeries more than a quarter million strong. Crossing to New Zealand, marvel at the courtship displays of magnificent royal albatross on Campbell Island, and sea lions, yellow-eyed and rockhopper penguins on Enderby. Zodiac-cruise the Snares’ labyrinth channels to spy magnificent tree daisies and Snares crested penguins. Enjoy a warm welcome from Stewart Island locals and visit nearby Ulva Island, a sanctuary for plants and animals including South Island Saddlebacks and kiwis. Then immerse yourself in the magnificent Fjordland as you explore Dusky and Doubtful Sounds.

This expedition is subject to regulatory approval and only open to Australian and New Zealand residents.

Package Inclusions

  • 17 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)

Cruise Highlights

From the comfort of your floating base camp, make your first forays to the picturesque Cloudy Bay at Bruny Island. Enjoy picturesque coastal walks through flowering heathlands and eucalypt forests, a more leisurely stroll on long stretches of pristine sand, or a more active tramp up the headland for sweeping views of the bay and beyond to the Southern Ranges. Weather permitting, we hope to sail our ship past the tiny, windswept islet of Pedra Branca - and its busy shy albatross and Australasian gannet colonies - in evening light.

Near the extreme south-eastern corner of Tasmania, the idyll of Recherche Bay offered French explorer, Bruni D’Entrecasteaux, refuge, replenishment, and scientific discovery. Learn more about his exploits, including the well-documented, amicable encounters and mutual observation between the expedition members and the indigenous Lylequonny people. Enjoy a hike towards the extreme southern tip of Tasmania or towards Fishers Point past the impressive bronze whale sculpture that commemorates the area’s early whaling history.

Having rounded South East Cape, experience untamed wilderness of Southwest National Park from the shores of New Harbour with various walking and Zodiac-cruising options. Perhaps explore a short section of the famed South Coast track, enjoy a stiff walk up Cox Bluff, or simply revel in the isolation and wildness of these remote and windswept shores.

From the comfort of the ‘mother ship’, enjoy a ship cruise at the Maatsuyker Island Group in the evening. Spy Australia’s most southerly lighthouse at Maatsuyker Island, and delight in the majesty of soaring shy albatross in the skies. If conditions allow, Zodiac-cruise near Mewstone Island, first sighted and named by the Dutch navigator Abel Janzoon Tasman in 1642 who wrote that it “resembles a lion”. Today it holds nesting colonies of shy albatross, fur seals and possibly southern elephant seals.

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.

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. After breakfast, Zodiac cruise protected Northeast Harbour to photograph waterfalls, yellow-eyed penguins and possibly the reintroduced endemic Campbell Island snipe. After lunch, land at the seasonal research station in Perseverance Harbour and hike up a boardwalk through flowering megaherb meadows to breeding southern royal albatross. Sit quietly and watch as they unfurl their three-metre wingspan, clack their beaks and issue their unforgettable, mournful cries.

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.

This small group of islands has no introduced mammals ­– the only such group in the Southern Ocean, making it a highly-protected and extraordinary haven for wildlife, especially seabirds. We Zodiac-cruise (no landings are allowed) protected waterways, binoculars and cameras ready for sightings of the endemic Snares crested penguins, Snares Island tomtit, fernbirds and many more. Early summer, the Buller’s albatross arrives to nest. Even the plants are magical, like the giant tree daisy that forms a canopy five metres high. In the evening, hundreds of thousands of sooty shearwaters fill the sky as they return to their burrows for the night.

Sail overnight to reach Stewart Island, New Zealand’s third largest island. Anchoring in Half Moon Bay, we visit laid-back Oban, the island’s only town and land on Ulva Island, one of the few pest-free, open sanctuaries in the country. The island offers threatened native species a safe haven including kiwis, wekas, colourful parakeets and South Island saddlebacks.

Packed into the western third of Southland, is Fiordland, a spectacular region where the Southern Alps reach the sea in a series of steep-sided, glacier-carved and now flooded valleys called ‘sounds’. Explore the largest, Dusky Sound, its waterways home to pods of dolphins and whales, and Doubtful Sound, nicknamed the ‘Sound of Silence’, renowned for its stunning waterfalls, like 619-metre-high Browne Falls, bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins. In the evening celebrate your final night with the Captain’s Farewell dinner as we head to our last port.

Prices and Departure Dates

Departs Hobart on 22 March 2022

Prices start from A$24,655 per person share twin in a Balcony Stateroom Cat C. Please note that all prices are subject to availability and subject to change without notice at any time.


Cruise Category
  • Expedition
  • Soft Adventure
  • Gratuities
  • Meals + Wine
  • Medical Services
  • On-Board Lecturer
  • Shore Excursions
Itinerary Map Image

Trip itinerary

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Bruny Island, Recherche Bay
New Harbour, Maatsuyker Island
At Sea
Macquarie Island
At Sea
Campbell Island
Auckland Islands
The Snares
Stewart & Ulva Islands

Technical Details

  • Built Date 2019
  • Capacity 132
  • Length 104M

Cruise Category

  • Expedition Style
  • Soft Adventures

Greg Mortimer

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.