first_imgIn 2018 there will be just one opportunity for guests to join Ponant‘s extraordinary Sub Antarctic Islands expedition. The unique voyage departs Dunedin 5 January and will explore New Zealand’s fiords and the World Heritage-listed Sub Antarctic Islands. Ponant’s environmentally accredited 200-passenger expedition ship, L’Austral, explores the modern way, in luxury, visiting World Heritage-designated sites, some where access, by permit only, is strictly restricted.Far flung they may be, yet far from barren. These islands, protected by their remoteness, throb with life. Crucial breeding grounds for vast colonies of penguins, home to pods of orcas, seals and sea lions.Guests will wander black volcanic sand beaches on Macquarie Island where 800,000 locals mingle, unconcerned by their presence. Royal penguins are as interested in you as you are in them. Or visiting a small far-flung island, Snares, with more birdlife than that found in the entire British Isles. Perhaps there will be a ‘Day of the Triffids’ moment on Campbell Island when encountering giant mega-herbs characterised by their great size, huge leaves and colourful flowers.“Almost half the world’s albatross and penguin species reside here in a pristine environment where tourism, frankly, does not exist,” observes Ponant Expedition Leader Mick Fogg.Along with Macquarie Island and Fiordland National Park, the Sub Antarctic islands represent the best of the world’s natural heritage, rating alongside the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon, Galapagos and Mount Everest – with far fewer visitors.There are no hardships encountered being a modern-day explorer on L’Austral. Instead guests enjoy French luxury and ambience on board one of the world’s youngest fleet of ships afloat, and experience the difference small ship luxury expedition cruising offers.This expedition voyage has been designed for those to whom the essence of travel means being rewarded with rare experiences, sharing the day’s adventures with family, friends or like-minded curious travellers and the stimulation of mixing with informed, passionate speakers and knowledgeable Expedition Team members, all the while travelling in luxury.The 6-night Sub Antarctic Islands voyage departs Dunedin 5 January 2018 bound for the famous Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds and then on to Australia’s own Macquarie Island via Snares Islands. This expedition includes Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes and Bounty Islands en-route to Wellington.© Mick Fogg© Nath Michel© Nath Michellast_img read more