New Zealand is a remarkable place for wildlife. So many of the animals and plants found here are not found anywhere else in the world. Many of the endemic species are also the rarest of their kind. All of this makes for a recipe for wildlife adventure like nowhere else on the planet. Today, our expedition took us to Enderby Island, home to two of these very rare animals: the New Zealand sea lion and the yellow-eyed penguin. Both animals are extremely rare, and both are only found on New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands. In the Sub-Antarctic, circumstances align–weather, sea state, and, of course, wildlife–that allow us to see unique flora and fauna. Today, circumstances were ideal for a great morning visit to Enderby Island.
National Geographic Orion
Our destination today was Rotorua, Bay of Plenty: A neighboring town with rich cultural heritage - Rotorua nui a Kahumatamomoe. Some of the highlights from our visit to Rotorua included the visit to Te Puia. It was exceptional, featuring a comprehensive 90 minute guided tour encompassing the art school, kiwi conservatory, geysers, and captivating stories of Tūtanekai & Hinemoa told through waiata (song). The tour concluded with a scrumptious buffet filled with traditional Māori cuisine, enhancing the cultural immersion. Following our visit, we ventured into the town center to visit the picturesque lake, absorbing the natural beauty and tranquility. We then headed back to the ship to enjoy an educational session with our Underwater Sea Specialist , Gail, who presented an engaging session on kelp, enlightening us with insights into this marine life. The day concluded with the captain’s farewell cocktail hour, a briefing for the following day's activities, and beautiful dinner as customary. Later, we enjoyed the heartwarming film, The Whale Rider, accompanied by delicious popcorn and hot cocoa.