Aurora Expeditions
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Aussie expedition line Aurora moves ship to Australia and announced big itinerary line up

Australian owned expedition operator Aurora is moving a ship to Australian waters for the first time, and has announced an extraordinary line up of itineraries.

The Greg Mortimer will lead a program of fresh sailings in Australian waters, starting from June 2021, in a first for the company,

The itineraries will include off-the-beaten-track voyages around Australia, Commonwealth Bay and Ross Sea (East Antarctica). Destinations will include Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, the Coral Coast, Antarctica (featuring the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay), South West Edge, Ningaloo Reef, and the Bass Strait Islands.

The vessel will also join a big line-up in the Kimberley, which includes Coral Expeditions, already successfully sailing a huge increase in itineraries around Australia, APT’s Caledonian Sky and Ponant. Silversea is also thought to be bidding to get to the Kimberley.

Apart from Coral Expeditions, all voyages are subject to approval by Federal Government health and state government authorities.

“After three decades at the forefront of polar expedition travel, we are beyond excited to be launching a season of incredibly unique expeditions that explore our beautiful island home.” says Aurora Expeditions CEO, Monique Ponfoort.

“Our highly experienced Australian team has crafted exceptional voyages of discovery and will deliver once-in-a-lifetime adventures as well as an unrivalled array of immersive activities by sea, land and air to our passionate expeditioners.”

 

Activity programs include sea kayaking, paddling in clear bottom kayaks, snorkelling (including with Sea Lions in Hopkins Island and Dolphins in Kangaroo Island), scuba diving, shark diving, climbing, helicopter rides over incredible waterfalls and more.

The Ross Sea & Commonwealth Bay will be uniquely accessible from Australia and is being offered exclusively by Aurora Expeditions on a selection of voyages, operating as a round trip from Hobart.

Bookings open on Thursday 11th March 2021. Expressions of interest is now open here.

Details of some of the season’s itineraries:

Kimberley in Depth

Departures: Darwin to Broome: 8 Jul 2021 – 20 Jul 2021 (13 Days) and Broome to Darwin: 19 Aug 2021 – 31 Aug 2021 (13 Days)

Highlights:

  • One of a kind itinerary
  • Explore the majestic King George River below towering sandstone cliffs to its 80-metre-high King George Falls
  • Contemplate the enigmatic Wandjina and Gwion Gwion beings at Aboriginal rock art galleries.
  • Experience the remote north-western reaches of the Kimberley coast, with its striking scenery and vast human history
  • Scan the shorelines, mangroves, woodlands and skies for an abundance of birdlife, including terns, herons, egrets, flycatchers, frigatebirds, boobies, pelicans and sea eagles
  • Discover Montgomery Reef – Australia’s largest in-shore reef – and the diversity of its lively marine life
  • Delight in Mother Nature’s artistry displayed in the contorted and weathered rock sculptures around Yampi Sound
  • Optional add-on activity: Mitchell Falls Helicopter Ride

Kimberley Coast

Departures: Broome to Darwin: 20 Jul 2021 – 30 Jul 2021 (11 Days), Darwin to Broome: 30 Jul 2021 – 9 Aug 2021 (11 Days) and Darwin to Broome: 31 Aug 2021 – 10 Sep 2021 (11 Days)

Highlights:

  • Explore the majestic King George River below towering sandstone cliffs to its 80-metre-high King George Falls
  • Contemplate the enigmatic Wandjina and Gwion Gwion beings at Aboriginal rock art galleries
  • Experience the natural phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls, described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”
  • Discover the remote Prince Regent National Park – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – with its range of bird species and striking scenery
  • Zodiac-cruise alongside lush mangrove forests listening to a morning birdsong chorus
  • Experience Montgomery Reef – Australia’s largest in-shore reef – and the diversity of its lively marine life
  • Optional add-on activity: Mitchell Falls Helicopter Ride

Kimberley Explorer

Departure Broome to Broome: 9 Aug 2021 – 19 Aug 2021 (11 Days)

Highlights:

  • One of a kind itinerary
  • Enjoy Mother Nature’s artistry displayed in the contorted and weathered rock sculptures around Yampi Sound
  • Visit Careening Bay’s iconic ‘Mermaid’ tree and discover the outstanding biodiversity of the Prince Regent National Park
  • Explore Montgomery Reef – Australia’s largest in-shore reef – and the diversity of its marine life
  • Keep an eye out for some of the estimated 40,000 humpback whales returning from Antarctica to give birth in the warmer waters of Lalang-Garram/Camden Sound Marine Park
  • Marvel at the thousands of brown boobies that call the Lacepede Islands their breeding home
  • Optional add-on activity: Michell Falls Helicopter Ride

Ningaloo Reef Adventure

Departure Broome to Broome: 10 Sep 2021 – 19 Sep 2021 (10 Days)

Highlights:

  • Zodiac-cruise, snorkel, kayak or dive among spectacular coral reefs, lagoons and canyons of Rowley Shoals Marine Park
  • Dawn birdwatching to spy red-tailed tropic birds, ruddy turnstones, white-throated needle-tails and more
  • Snorkel and dive the magnificent coral gardens of Ningaloo Reef – part of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, and designated Mission Blue ‘Hope Spot’
  • Stroll pristine beaches and discover underwater treasures in the Muiron Islands Nature Reserve
  • Enjoy the Dampier Peninsula’s maze of waterways alive with hawksbill turtles, dolphins and shy dugongs
  • Optional add on activities include diving and kayaking. Snorkelling complimentary for all

Western Australia & the Coral Coast

Departure: 19 Sep 2021 – 1 Oct 2021 (13 Days)

Highlights:

  • Enjoy the Dampier Peninsula’s maze of waterways alive with hawksbill turtles, dolphins, and shy dugongs
  • Snorkel and dive the magnificent coral gardens of Ningaloo Reef
  • Discover sea lion colonies, seabirds and exquisite waterways in the adventure playground of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
  • Dawn birdwatching to spy red-tailed tropic birds, ruddy turnstones, white-throated needle-tails and more
  • Explore and learn about the unique marine ecosystems designated as “Hope Spots” by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team, including the Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo Coast and the Houtman Abrolhos Islands’
  • Zodiac-cruise, snorkel or dive among the spectacular coral reefs, lagoons and canyons of Rowley Shoals Marine Park
  • Optional add-on activities include scuba diving and kayaking. Snorkelling complimentary for all

Southern Australia Coastal Discovery

Departure: 4 Oct 2021 – 15 Oct 2021 (12 Days)

Highlights:

  • Explore and learn about the unique marine ecosystems designated as “Hope Spots” by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team, including the ‘Great Southern Reef’, Salisbury Island and Kangaroo Island
  • Cruise the nutrient-rich waters of Bremer Bay’s deep-sea canyons that attract orcas, sharks, dolphins, sperm whales and giant squid
  • Trek on the wilderness islands of the Recherche Archipelago, discovering pink lakes, sea lion colonies and stories of sealers, whalers and pirates that preceded you
  • Enjoy spectacular birdwatching in the Investigator Group, renowned for its endangered fairy tern, Cape Barren geese, rock parrots and more
  • Delight in the playfulness and grace of Australian sea lions as you snorkel in the waters off Hopkins Island (included activity)
  • Inspect bushfire recovery on Kangaroo Island, with the return of koalas, short-beaked echidnas and tammar wallabies

Kangaroo Island Explorer

Departures Adelaide to Adelaide: 15 Oct 2021 – 21 Oct 2021 (7 Days) and 21 Oct 2021 – 27 Oct 2021 (7 Days)

Highlights

  • One of a kind itinerary
  • Swim or snorkel with dolphins, Australian sea lions and long-nosed fur seals
  • Marvel at the artistic works of locals, from Janine MacIntosh’s ‘assemblages of nature’ to Indiana James’s sculptures
  • Participate in habitat restoration, bird banding and other citizen science projects, and enjoy encounters with koalas and short-beaked echidnas
  • Experience remote coastlines few have seen before you, and learn about Kangaroo Island’s unique geology, including the highly eroded granite of Remarkable Rocks and unique fossil record at Emu Bay
  • Discover the unique ecosystems designated as “Hope Spots” by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team, including the ‘Great Southern Reef’ and Kangaroo Island’s North Coast
  • Enjoy the warmth and gratitude of the locals as you help their recovery efforts
  • Options add-on activities include snorkelling, kayaking and scuba diving

Kangaroo Island & the Tasman Sea

Departure: 27 Oct 2021 – 3 Nov 2021 (8 Days)

Highlights:

  • Delight in the playfulness and grace of Australian sea lions as you snorkel in the waters off Hopkins Island (included activity)
  • Witness how Kangaroo Island’s ecosystem – including its wild koala and glossy black cockatoo populations – is recovering from the recent devastating bushfires
  • Cruise the waters around Black Pyramid and experience its immense Australasian gannet colony – estimated at over 12,000 pairs, or 20 percent of the world’s population
  • Enjoy a quiet beach stroll, invigorating hike or a Zodiac-cruise against the backdrop of the Freycinet Peninsula’s spectacular scenery
  • On Maria Island, keep an eye out for all but one of Tasmania’s 12 endemic bird species, and an abundance of native wildlife
  • Explore and learn about the unique ecosystems designated as “Hope Spots” by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team, including the ‘Great Southern Reef’ and Kangaroo Island’s North Coast
  • Optional add-ons include snorkelling (except the included Sea Lion snorkel), kayaking, scuba diving and climbing

Bass Strait Islands & East Coast Discovery

Departures: Hobart to Melbourne: 3 Nov 2021 – 9 Nov 2021 (7 Days) and Melbourne to Hobart: 9 Nov 2021 – 15 Nov 2021 (7 Days)

Highlights:

  • Visit remote and rarely-visited islands in the Bass Strait – the remnants of a land bridge that once joined Tasmania to the Australian mainland
  • Marvel at the mystique of the Kent Islands – often missed on conventional maps – from its petrels, little penguins and short-tailed shearwaters to its historic lighthouse and stories of sealers, sailors and shipwrecks
  • Enjoy Maria Island’s abundance of native wildlife and keep an eye out for all but one of Tasmania’s 12 endemic bird species
  • Head off the ‘mother ship’ each day for a range of adventures and explorations that may include hiking options, wildlife watching, Zodiac cruises, diving, snorkelling, kayaking and climbing
  • Learn how the waters of Bass Strait and Tasmania fit into the vast and unique ecosystem known as the ‘Great Southern Reef’ – part of a “Hope Spot” designated by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team
  • Optional add-ons include snorkelling, scuba diving, climbing and kayaking

Tasmania Circumnavigation

Departures Hobart to Hobart: 15 Nov 2021 – 28 Nov 2021 (14 Days) and 28 Nov 2021 – 11 Dec 2021 (14 Days)

Highlights:

  • Head off the ‘mother ship’ each day for a range of adventures and explorations that may include hiking options, wildlife watching, Zodiac cruises, diving, snorkelling, climbing or kayaking
  • Access some of the best (and least) known walks in Tasmania, including those on Bruny, Flinders and Maria Islands, and the Hunter and Kent Island Groups
  • On Maria Island – nicknamed Tasmania’s “Noah’s Ark” – enjoy an abundance of native wildlife, keeping an eye out for all but one of Tassie’s 12 endemic bird species
  • Cruise the waters around the remote Maatsuyker Island Group, and spy the southernmost lighthouse in Australia
  • Learn about Tasmania’s long human history, fascinating geology, and unique biota from our onboard experts
  • Learn how the waters of Tasmania fit into the vast and unique ecosystem known as the ‘Great Southern Reef’ – part of a “Hope Spot” designated by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team
  • Optional add-ons including snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking and climbing

Tasmania South East Coast Discovery

Departure Hobart to Hobart: 26 Feb 2022 – 7 Mar 2022 (10 Days)

Highlights

  • From the comfort of your floating base camp, make Zodiac forays to the white beaches and striking scenery of South Bruny Island and idyllic Recherche Bay near South East Cape
  • Experience the untamed wilderness of Southwest National Park from the remote shores of New Harbour
  • Marvel at the mystique of the far-flung Kent Islands and discover its treasures – from seals to shipwrecks
  • On Maria Island – nicknamed Tasmania’s “Noah’s Ark” – enjoy an abundance of native wildlife, keeping an eye out for all but one of Tassie’s 12 endemic bird species
  • Learn how Tasmania fits into the vast and unique ‘Great Southern Reef’ ecosystem – part of a “Hope Spot” designated by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team
  • Optional add-ons include snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking and climbing

Mawson’s Antarctica

Departure Hobart to Hobart: 11 Dec 2021 – 4 Jan 2022 (25 Days)

Highlights:

  • One of a kind itinerary – only way to access East Antarctica from Australia
  • Skirt beaches busy with New Zealand sea lion harems, to reach gnarled rata forests where yellow-eyed penguins are found
  • Navigate a maze of pack ice alive with Weddell and leopard seals, Adélie and emperor penguins and hunting orcas to reach Mawson’s Hut, Commonwealth Bay
  • Zodiac-cruise off Lusitania Bay, Macquarie Island, surrounded by thousands of bathing king penguins alert to hungry leopard seals
  • Optional add-on activity – kayaking

Antarctica featuring the Ross Sea

Departures Hobart to Hobart: 5 Jan 2022 – 30 Jan 2022 (26 Days) and 31 Jan 2022 – 25 Feb 2022 (26 Days)

Highlights:

  • One of a kind itinerary – only way to access East Antarctica from Australia
  • Delve into New Zealand’s hobbit world of stunted rata forests on Enderby Island where shy, yellow-eyed penguins shuffle and sea lions roar, and witness Campbell Island’s royal albatross ballet
  • Stand quietly in huts little-changed since Scott, Shackleton, Mawson and others wintered there, then launched desperate journeys that would define the Heroic Age
  • Gaze in wonder at ethereal, ice-clad summits of the Transantarctic Mountains, in the unique ‘Ross Sea’ ecosystem – part of a “Hope Spot” designated by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue team
  • Optional add-on activity – kayaking

Subantarctic Discovery

Departure Hobart to Hobart: 7 Mar 2022 – 24 Mar 2022 (18 Days)

Highlights:

  • One of a kind itinerary – only way to access Sub Antarctic islands from Australia
  • Make forays to Bruny Island’s Cloudy Bay and explore the pristine wilderness at remote New Harbour
  • Zodiac-cruise off Lusitania Bay, Macquarie Island, surrounded by thousands of bathing king penguins and keep watch for hungry leopard seals
  • Sit quietly on Campbell Island, as magnificent royal albatross unfurl their wings and cry an eerie song
  • Skirt beaches busy with New Zealand sea lion harems, to reach gnarled rata forests where yellow-eyed penguins are found
  • Tread softly to see scampering kiwis, Stewart Island robins, forest parrot and colourful parakeets on the island sanctuary, Ulva
  • Optional add-on activity – kayaking

Aurora Expeditions has recently updated its health and safety protocol, as well as implementing a new deposit protection scheme. Further information can be found here: https://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/why-travel-with-us/health-safety/

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