The American Birding Association has a New Zealand birding safari to 3 islands in the Subantarctic region. This is the Subantarctic Island cruise. The association is offering these cruises because the islands are part of a forgotten part of the world. Awareness needs to be raised to bring about attention to the sheer amount of birding species to be seen on the Subantarctic Island cruise. The cruise is very scarce in that not many tour companies offer it as a birding destination in their tour packages. The area is so heavily protected that is it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Further to this, permission is required from local authorities to be able to go ashore and tour the islands. Doing the Subantarctic Island cruise with the ABA is a sure-fire way to ensure you gain access. The Subantarctic Island cruise is no ordinary birding tour. Besides being afforded the opportunity of seeing massive amounts of endemic New Zealand birding species with all accommodation, transport and meals, tour guides covered, representatives of the American Birding Association comes along for the duration of the cruise.
These include senior members who take the opportunity to address the issue of conservation in this long forgotten part of the world to ensure the safety and survival of localized birding species. Birders from around the world get the chance to liaise with them and get a first-hand account on the work of the ABA.The Subantarctic Island cruise is not afforded yearlong for 2 reasons. Firstly the tour must take place in the spring and summer months when it is much warmer and there is much more birding activity. Secondly, the ABA Subantarctic Island cruise brings along the senior members and they are only available for part of the year to be able to partake in the adventure.
Although they are major birding experts, their role on the Subantarctic Island cruise is more in the realm of conservation. These 2 factors may mean now, that spaces are very, very limited for the Subantarctic Island cruise as birding tours take only around 6 people per tour. This is not the case here. In total there will be around 100 people who will be taking the tour. Around 60 will be made up of tour guests, 3 from the American Birding Association, 3 birding guides, with the remainder being the ship crew.
The Subantarctic Island cruise begins in Auckland where guests will fly to and then board the ship. Safety drills, itinerary explanations and some social gathering is done before venturing off. First stop, Stewart Island. New Zealand’s 5 birding families from native kiwis, parrots and wattlebirds can be found in just one place. This eliminates the hassle of having to travel to multiple places in the country to get a chance to view them. The Subantarctic is a very diverse area with dozens of islands, however, along with Stewart and Campbell, the Snares are the only 3 which are explored during the cruise for their massive birding opportunities.