Falklands & South Georgia wildlife wonders
This voyage is specifically timed to coincide with the arrival of spring as the region emerges from the long and frigid winter. It is an exceptional time to visit the sub-Antarctic islands and Antarctica. The early season marks the beginning of the wildlife migration and commencement of the breeding cycle for many species. In South Georgia, scenes of male elephant seals battling for control of the beaches (and the female harems), and the intimate and beautiful courtship rituals of the albatross, will have you believing you are ‘on the set’ of your very own wildlife documentary. Indeed, it is no surprise that many of the famous wildlife documentaries of the region are filmed at this time of year.
To the south lies Antarctica where the ice and snow conditions are in pristine condition. This is an incredibly dynamic time to experience the Antarctic eco-system. Penguins are returning and busy re-establishing their rookeries, breeding and nesting precious eggs. Seals are on the move and busy feeding as the sea ice breaks up. Early season, whales are starting to return. Explore on shore in the company of expert guides – including naturalists, marine biologists, ornithologists and adventurers as well as our resident photography professional.
Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 1. Punta Arenas, Chile
Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile, where our Antarctic journey commences, make your way to our signature hotel for an included pre-voyage stay. This evening, we encourage you to visit the welcome desk set up in the lobby of the hotel to check in with the OOE representative and to collect luggage tags for your voyage. Punta Arenas is the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, facilitating easy exploration of the region pre-voyage.
DAY 2. Punta Arenas, Chile - embark RCGS Resolute
Our journey begins this morning in a central location with a transfer to the pier to embark our expedition ship. After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead. [B,D]
DAY 3. At Sea towards the Falkland Islands
Sailing east towards the Falkland Islands we are joined by hundreds of seabirds, including the wandering albatross, who we come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of the Southern Ocean and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days. [B,L,D]
DAYS 4-5. The Falkland Islands
Having arrived in the Falkland Islands overnight, we launch the Zodiacs and are excited to make our first shore excursion this morning. Our plan will be to explore several locations in the West Falkland archipelago. These remote islands are home to a proliferation of seabirds and migratory birds including the stunning black-browed albatross. Our first penguin sightings will be on West Point Island with its bustling rookeries of rockhoppers. On Carcass Island or Saunders Island we may observe nesting Magellanic penguins as well as oystercatchers, geese and the striated caracara – a bird of prey. The following morning we arrive in Stanley, the capital of the Falklands Islands. As we wander through the charming streets of brightly painted houses, we learn how this quiet harbour was once a major port in the 19th century for tall ships rounding the fabled Cape Horn. There are several interesting activities to enjoy today. Stanley has an excellent museum that outlines the historic events that took place during the conflict with Argentina in 1982. The waterfront memorial built to commemorate the lives of the British servicemen killed during the war is a sobering reminder of recent history. Stanley’s famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps is another interesting diversion. [B,L,D]
DAYS 6-7. At Sea towards South Georgia
We chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds once again join us in the Southern Ocean. Our educational presentations continue and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We will also learn about polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our One Ocean Expeditions’ guides and crew. [B,L,D]
DAYS 8-10. Explore South Georgia
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest. South Georgia is a thrilling location for history lovers and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us. We hope to observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here we visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer will be a highlight of the trip. An excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the restored church built by the original Norwegian whalers provides a fascinating glimpse into the past. [B,L,D]
DAYS 11-13. At sea towards Antarctica
Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica, leading us perhaps to the South Orkney Islands or Elephant Island. As with all of our itinerary planning, our Expedition Leader and Captain will make a decision based on the conditions at the time. The South Orkney Islands represent the peaks of a submarine mountain range called the Scotia Arc, connecting South Georgia to the South Shetland Islands. Often shrouded in fog and surrounded by ice much of the year, a chance to visit these islands doesn’t come often. As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. If conditions allow, we will hope to see the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. Shackleton and his men were encamped here for many months, having lost HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. From the tiny beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and five companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing is considered one of the greatest in history. If conditions allow, we will attempt a landing at Point Wild on Elephant Island. [B,L,D]
DAYS 14-17. South Shetland Islands and Antarctica
Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland we find the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sitescould include King George Island, Half Moon Island or Yankee Harbour. Weather conditions permitting we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration. [B,L,D]
DAYS 18-19. At sea towards the Falkland Islands
Sailing northeast towards the Falkland Islands we are joined by hundreds of seabirds, including the wandering albatross, who we come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. As we make our way back to Stanley, the educational presentations continue, and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts at the multimedia station and download your precious images. Approaching the coast of the Falkland Islands in the early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. [B,L,D]
DAY 20. Arrive Stanley, Falkland Islands - Voyage Concludes - Fly back to Santiago, Chile
This morning we find ourselves back in the port of Stanley. We say goodbye to our crew and after some free time in town, make our way to the airport for our return charter flight to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago our journey comes to an end. Onward regional and international flight connections may be possible this evening. Discuss the options with your booking agent. A transfer is provided to a downtown location for those choosing to stay and explore Santiago and the delights of Chile. [B]
Please Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a ‘guide only’ and may change. The ship’s Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.
We include the use of an expedition gear package free of charge. Containing around $US900 worth of essential equipment, this kit includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants plus insulated rubber boots designed for extended walking. We also include a set of binoculars and a trekking pole for use when on shore. A waterproof backpack completes your package. This kit saves you buying expensive clothing and equipment you may only ever use once, and means more weight allowance for your main luggage.
- Charter flight from Stanley to Santiago
- All cruising on board the RCGS Resolute
Accommodation & Meals
- 1 night pre-cruise accommodation in Punta Arenas
- 18 nights on board the RCGS Resolute
- 19 breakfasts, 17 lunches and 18 dinners
- Antarctic gear hire package including waterproof/windproof jacket, bib-pants, insulated comfortable rubber boots, binoculars, trekking pole and waterproof backpack for use on shore
- Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
- Transfer from the hotel to the port on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport on disembarkation day
- Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
- 24 hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in cabin tea and coffee making facilities
- Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
- Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
- Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
- Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits
- Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). On board or on shore
- Resident photography guide available to assist all guests
- Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
- An emergency trained Physician on board every voyage
- Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
- On board sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments)
- Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
- End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
- Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
- Any international or local airfares unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary.
- Visa and passport expenses.
- Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
- Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
- Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
- Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
- Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
- Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day
Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices
|Valid From:||This tour does not include flights from Australia to Chlie. Please contact our office for the latest special fares to match your independent tour.|
|Other departure cities:|
|Tips:||Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day|
|Single supplement:||On application|
Single Travellers, please note:
- No single supplement is required if you are happy to share. You would be matched up with a fellow expeditioner of the same gender. If there is no-one suitable to share, you will have sole use of the cabin at no extra cost.
- If you prefer exclusive use of the cabin a single supplement would apply which is 1.5 x the cabin price or 2 x cabin price for suites.
- Triple share cabins are also available for single travellers on a limited basis.
Cabin upgrades and itinerary length variations may be available, please contact Bunnik Tours for more details.
Fitness to Travel
Let's Talk Fitness
At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.
Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation
In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas
Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats
ON BOARD CRUISE SHIP
Sea kayaking - $795.00pp US
Sea kayaking allows you to experience another side of Antarctica and highly professional guides will introduce you to a slower paced, quieter polar experience. Kayak excursions are offered whenever weather conditions permit and you can expect to get out around six or seven times over the course of your voyage, for periods up to three or four hours. The programme is directed at any passenger with an adventurous spirit and a some previous paddling experience.
Please note: This option MUST be reserved at the time of booking and attracts an additional charge of $795 US per participant. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous paddling experience. Ask us for a copy of this document if you are interested in the sea kayaking programme.
Accommodation is subject to change and every effort is made to avoid this. However if a change does become necessary, accommodation of a similar standard will be used.
One Ocean RCGS Resolute
NEW: 360 Degree Virtual Ship Tour. With the highest possible ice classification, a proven track record for stability and safety, large indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, and exceptional manoeuvrability, RCGS Resolute is ideally equipped to carry you through the world’s most pristine regions. RCGS Resolute carries a maximum of just 146 passengers in great comfort, with an array of amenities, educational opportunities and all of the well known One Ocean Expeditions activities tailored to guests’ particular interests, as well as personalised service. The ship features two expansive full-view dining areas, a forward observation lounge with 180 degree panoramic windows, bridge access, a fleet of 14 zodiacs, multimedia room, modern gym, and wellness centre with massage therapy, steam room, jacuzzi and Finnish sauna.
Please note, a Reciprocity Fee is payable upon arrival in Chile for Australian passport holders. Please check with your travel agent for further details.
- Australian passport holders
- A Chile Reciprocity Fee of $117pp US is payable upon arrival by cash or credit card.
- Non-Australian passport holders
- Please check with your travel agent on visa requirements.
The following government websites are also a handy source of general information.
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- Enjoy the rich wildlife of the Falkland Islands
- Visit Stanley and learn about the historic Argentinian conflict of 1982
- Explore South Georgia, the “Serengeti of the Southern Ocean”
- Wander around the rusting relics of old whaling stations
- Be amazed at the huge King penguin colony in Salisbury Plain
- Visit the resting place of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton
- Explore South Shetland Islands, an amazing wildlife sanctuary
- Cruise past towering icebergs
- Enjoy time whale spotting
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Polar Expedition ship
Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day
Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The ship's Captain and Expedition Leader will adjust the itinerary to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlifeView Tour Map