Friday 29 January 2016

CruiseAlong Sub-Antarctic voyage package aboard Ponant L'Austral

CruiseAlong announces an unforgettable voyage beyond the boundaries of traditional cruising

What constitutes a truly unique cruise these days when much of the planet is traversed by flotillas of enormous ships that dwarf their surroundings and flood predictable destinations with tourists?

Small ship expedition cruising is the alternative - the chance to go to places, to see and do things you will never forget, travelling far beyond the boundaries of traditional cruising. A memorable voyage arranged through cruise experts CruiseAlong to the little visited Sub Antarctic Islands on PONANT's luxury expedition ship L'Austral falls into this category.

Consider this exclusive 17 night voyage, departing in January 2017 to explore the Sub Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia - a voyage where each destination is a recognised World Heritage site - perfect for a memorable holiday or for keen photographers, bird watchers or adventurous group of friends.

Traverse the Southern Ocean between Lyttelton and Milford Sound in New Zealand, visiting New Zealand's stunning fiords and remote Sub Antarctic islands - designated National Nature Reserves, the highest possible conservation status. Along with Macquarie Island and Fiordland National Park, honoured with World Heritage status, these Sub Antarctic islands represent the best of the world's natural heritage, rating alongside the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon, Galapagos and Mount Everest.

Far flung they may be, yet far from barren, these islands, protected by their remoteness, throb with life, flora and fauna. Crucial breeding grounds for vast colonies of penguins, seals and sea lions, while in the sky albatross, skuas and mollymawks dart and dive. Remarkably, such is the density, Snares Island alone, just 3km in length, has a concentration of bird life equal to that of the entire United Kingdom.

Here is an opportunity to observe and photograph endangered wildlife, including both the world's rarest penguin, the Fiordland Crested, and the second rarest, the Yellow Eyed penguin. While some species are endangered others are prolific, exampled by the vast colonies of Royal Penguins (estimated at 850,000), endemic to Macquarie Island, standing shoulder to shoulder on the volcanic black sand, with another 100,000 breeding pairs of King Penguins and 500,000 pairs of Rock-hopper Penguins thrown in for good measure. An abundance of wildlife with no fear of man, where your wide-angle lens will be used more than a telephoto lens!

Guests, limited to 200 for this voyage on PONANT's L'Austral, will feel a sense of rare privilege, comprising some of just a small group of visitors permitted to visit these islands each year. Access is restricted, by permit only: in 2013/14 just 700 people visited the Snares, and 950 Macquarie Island. To put this in perspective, by comparison 180,000 people visited the Galapagos Islands while 35,000 managed to climb to Everest Base Camp. The Sub Antarctic Islands remain pristine, a region where tourism, frankly, does not exist.

It is not just about the wildlife and the remarkable photo opportunities. Making the most of L'Austral's 12 Zodiacs join with the specialist Expedition Team headed by marine biologist Mick Fogg to explore Doubtful Sounds with its pristine, untouched, Gondwana rainforest. On Campbell Island,  discover unusual mega-herbs – herbaceous, perennial wildflowers characterised by their great size, huge leaves and colourful flowers. Campbell Island was described by the English botanist Joseph Hooker as having a "flora display second to none outside the tropics."

Generous time ashore is scheduled to allow exploration of Australia's UNESCO-listed Macquarie Island. Geologically unique, it is the only place on earth where rocks from the earth's mantle (6 km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea-level. On shore, signs remain of rampant commercial exploitation of penguins and seals during the 1800's, but now the island is home to scientists, researchers and prolific wildlife.

For those to whom the essence of travel means being rewarded with rare experiences far from mainstream tourism, sharing the day's adventures with friends or like-minded travellers and the stimulation of mixing with informed, passionate speakers and knowledgeable Expedition Team members, then this expedition has been designed with you in mind.

Voyage overview: 17 night CruiseAlong package departing Lyttleton 7 January 2017 bound for Auckland Islands and then on to Australia's own Macquarie Island. This remarkable voyage continues with Campbell Islands and the Antipodes Islands followed by Bounty Islands and The Snares before heading to fiord land - Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound with the voyage ending in world famous Milford Sound.

Pricing INCLUDES flights from/return to any major Australian Capital City, 1 night's accommodation in Christchurch, breakfast, transfers to the ship, accommodation and all meals onboard L'Austral, Open Bar, transfers from Milford Sound to Queenstown, accommodation and transfers before flying back to Australia.

Pricing from: $14,300pp but BOOK NOW and pay $12,570 saving $1,730 - includes flights and Stay Free offer. Accommodation on L'Austral is in a Balcony Cabin, Deck 4.

Some Single Occupancy accommodation available on request at supplementary cost.

• Please note that all pricing is per person, twin share.


Australia:  Lance Mumby, 1300 662 002 or email

CruiseAlong Pty Ltd
PO Box 43
Broadway NSW 2007
(A Cruise Holiday Affiliate)

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