South West Pacific Odyssey

Days

18

Style

Cruise

Ex

Tauranga – Rabaul

From

USD$6,800.00

swpacificHighlights

  • Papua New Guinea via Norfolk Island
  • New Caledonia
  • Melanesia and the Solomon Islands
  • Papua New Guinea via Norfolk Island
  • New Caledonia

Join us on a journey that has become famous in birding circles as a ‘must do’ voyage searching for some of the rarest seabirds in the world. The itinerary affectionately known by birders as the ‘WPO’ has now evolved to include a number of intriguing new locations
appealing to all travellers.

This voyage takes us from the temperate waters of New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf to the tropical seas of Papua New Guinea. Along the way we will observe how vegetation and wildlife adapt to the gradual change in climate as we explore pristine forests. We will also
learn about the culture and history of the people who call these scattered islands home.

Lazy days at sea are best spent relaxing with a good book or patrolling the decks on the lookout for wildlife. The expedition will be accompanied by some of the best pelagic birding guides in the world, several who have travelled this route many times and are keen to share their extensive knowledge of the birds in this region.

There will be plenty of opportunities ashore to immerse yourself in local village life, visit historic sites, wander through verdant forests, join an early morning bird excursion, snorkel colourful reefs and swim on deserted beaches.

Day                      Activity

1                           Tauranga, New Zealand

Arrive in Tauranga and transfer to the Spirit of Enderby. Settle into your cabin and join your expedition team and captain for a welcome aboard as we cruise north up the coast of New Zealand.

2                           Hauraki Gulf

Cruise past the Mokohinau Islands where we look for Grey Ternlet, Little Penguin, Grey-faced and Black Petrels, Little, Fluttering and Buller’s Shearwaters, and the recently rediscovered New Zealand Storm-Petrel.

3-4                        At Sea

Keen birders will want to spend time out on deck for a good chance of seeing Gould’s, Black-winged, Kermadec, White-necked, Black and Grey-faced Petrels and Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwaters. During the days at sea our specialists will provide an entertaining variety of lectures on the history, culture, marine mammals and birdlife of the region.

5                           Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island’s rugged coastline, golden sand beaches, lush native bush and fascinating history also offers us a chance for three endemics – the Norfolk Island Parakeet, Norfolk Gerygone and Slender-billed White-eye.

6                           At Sea

Bearing north, we’ll cross a large underwater seamount where you are most welcome to join the expedition staff looking for wildlife from the bridge of the Spirit of Enderby.

7                           New Caledonia

We will visit the forests of the Rivière Bleue National Park searching for New Caledonian endemics such as the unique Kagu and highly range-restricted Crow Honeyeater as well as the Horned Parakeet, Cloven-feathered Dove, Yellow-bellied Robin and New Caledonian Imperial-Pigeon.

8                           The Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia

Enjoy a glimpse into the Kanak way of life, which retains its authenticity on this remote island. Our day’s activity should include snorkelling the lagoons and coral reefs, jungle walking, Zodiac cruising mangrove wreathed lagoons and meeting the locals. Birders will want to look for the two species which are only found on this island, the Large Lifou White-eye and Small Lifou White-eye.

9-10                      At Sea

Two leisurely days at sea offer time to relax, sort through photos, catch up on reading and sleep. We will also keep a look out for Polynesian Storm-Petrel and an interesting range of marine mammals and flying fish.

11                         Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

We land expecting the full village welcome on the small coral island of Santa Ana, with colourful warriors, music and rhythmic dancing. Once formalities are completed, enthusiastic children will be keen to show off their home as they escort us around the village. Try snorkelling at the reef edge or just stretch the legs on a walk across the island to visit the other settlements or look for a new selection of exotic birds

12                         Anuta Island in the Makira Group

Anchoring at Anuta for a morning ashore seeking out the Sooty Myzomela, San Cristobal Melidectes, San Cristobal Starling, Makira Flycatcher, Makira Cicadabird, White-Collared Monarch, Mottled Flowerpecker, White-headed Fruit-Dove and Chestnut-bellied Imperial-Pigeon. Later we will visit the idyllic Anuta Village.

13                         Honiara

Birders depart early for nearby Mount Austin known for an exceptional list of endemics and localised specialities including Ultramarine Kingfisher, Blyth’s Hornbill, Solomon Islands Cuckoo-shrike, Chestnut-bellied and Black-and-white Monarchs, Steel-blue Flycatcher and Yellow-faced Myna. The later risers enjoy a tour of Honiara.

14                         Santa Isabel Region, Barora Fa Island, Poru Channel

Explore Santa Isabel and its surrounding islands, said to be amongst the most picturesque places in the Solomon Islands. We will Zodiac cruise through an amazing channel where the rainforest comes down to the water’s edge and should see a range of parrots and other wildlife, including a chance of Dugong. We plan to visit Vakao Island where there will be an opportunity to explore the verdant rainforest and look for some localised birds such as Red-capped Myzomela and Yellow-throated White-eye.

15                         Kolombangara Island

Kolombangara’s Imbu Rano Conservation Area offers a walk through dense forest to view picturesque waterfalls and grottos. More endemic birds can be found here including Pale Mountain Pigeon, Duchess Lorikeet and White-capped Monarch. An afternoon sailing finds us scanning the sea for dolphins and hopefully the highly localised and rare Heinroth’s Shearwater.

16                         Shortland Islands

We call in at the rarely visited Shortland Islands which was a Japanese seaplane war-time base and will have the opportunity to see the impact of World War II on the remote atolls and local settlements.

17                         Off the coast of New Ireland

Cruising off the coast of New Ireland gives us our best chance of finding the recently rediscovered Beck’s Petrel as well as Heinroth’s Shearwater.

This region can also be excellent for cetaceans and previously we have seen Melon-headed Whales as well as both Pygmy and Dwarf Sperm Whales.

18                         Kokopo/Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

After breakfast we will disembark the Spirit of Enderby and the expedition concludes.

NB: The above itinerary may be varied according to conditions and advice.

1st – 18th April 2017

  • Transfer to ship to airport or hotel before the
    cruise
  • Transfer from ship to airport or hotel after the
    cruise
  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All shipboard meals
  • All shore excursions
  • Basic medical services, if required
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information

To make a booking download a booking form and return it to us via email/post or by clicking here to fill out the form online.