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About Heritage Expeditions

Heritage Expeditions was formed in 1985, as a way of increasing awareness and conservation of the natural world through responsible expedition travel. Founded by Rodney and Shirley Russ, Rodney was a biologist working for the New Zealand Wildlife Service. Through his work with Kakapo, Chatham Island Black Robin and other ....more

Reasons to tour with Heritage Expeditions

Heritage Expeditions pioneers conservation-driven small ship expedition cruises to some of the most wild, least-explored and biologically rich regions on the planet

Whether you’re a birder, photographer, wildlife enthusiast, conservationist, or simply an adventurous spirit, these expeditions offer an unparalleled travel experience.

We are family-owned and we operate our own ships - 140-guest expedition ship Heritage Adventurer and 18-guest expedition yacht Heritage Explorer

Each expedition cruise is meticulously planned and led ensuring expeditioners maximise every opportunity they have to learn and experience as much as possible about the region, while at the same time minimising the impact of their visit.

A world-renowned team of naturalists, botanists, historians and experts to interpret the natural and human history discovered during each voyage

Travelling with Heritage Expeditions is to travel responsibly. As biologists and ornithologists, we are intimately aware of the many issues that confront animals and their habitats, the world's oceans and isolated ethnic groups.

Accreditations and Associations

Adventure Travel Trade Association Member, Australian Geographic Society, International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, Bird Life International, Sustainable Travel International, New Zealand Geographic, Antarctic Heritage Trust, Forest & Bird, Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, Cruise Lines International Association, Department of Conservation Te Papa ....more

Our Story

Heritage Expeditions was formed in 1985, as a way of increasing awareness and conservation of the natural world through responsible expedition travel. Founded by Rodney and Shirley Russ, Rodney was a biologist working for the New Zealand Wildlife Service. Through his work with Kakapo, Chatham Island Black Robin and other ....more

Responsible Tourism

Travelling with Heritage Expeditions is to travel responsibly. As biologists and ornithologists, we are intimately aware of the many issues that confront animals and their habitats, the world's oceans and isolated ethnic groups.

Cultural Preservation

We partner with True Young Explorer to provide scholarships for young people, who could not otherwise afford to travel, to join our expeditions. Heritage Expeditions holds active membership in a number of conservation and travel organisations, including the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) which promotes responsible travel to ....more

Environmental Sustainability

We travel in small groups and endeavour to maintain a guide-to-client ratio of 1:12. Each expedition is led by an experienced Expedition Leader who is familiar with the region being visited. When selecting our specialist expedition equipment, vehicles and vessels, we research carefully to ensure that they are the most ....more

What We Offer

For more than 35 years, Heritage Expeditions has pioneered conservation-driven small ship expedition cruises to some of the most wild, least-explored and biologically rich regions on the planet including Antarctica, Japan & SE Asian islands, South Pacific, Australia's Kimberley Coast and New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands, Fiordland and Stewart Island, and ....more

Economic Impact

We actively contribute to the conservation of the places we visit in several ways; we 'buy local' and employ locally; we make sure that travellers are respectful of local customs and traditions; and we dispose of waste responsibly.

Covid Policies

Please contact us for our latest Covid-19 policies.

Social Responsibility

Heritage Expeditions supports conservation by providing advocacy through responsible travel and providing funds and logistical support for research and management. Since 2011 we have continued BirdLife International as a Species Champion for the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. In addition providing transport and logistics for several researchers, we are committed to ....more


Heritage Expeditions Reviews

Anne Carroll (Google Reviewer)  

06-Sep-2023

I’ve just returned to Canada after an absolutely stupendous trip to the Kimberley region of Western Australia aboard the Heritage Adventurer. Everything from booking the trip to exiting the ship on our last day was first class and run like a well-oiled machine. The guides were informed, interesting, interested, enthusiastic, friendly, and made us guests feel like we were part of the ship family. Every day I wondered how they could top the daily activities, and the next day was another mind-blowing experience. The daily recaps were well-presented and always so interesting. We always knew what was coming up next - everything was very well organized. The camaraderie amongst the guides was obvious and that translated into a truly remarkable experience for me and the many other guests I met and befriended on board. The ship crew were always smiling and quickly learned our names and preferences. To a person, they were delightful and couldn’t have done more to ensure a fabulous experience for all. Great staff, lovely ship and absolutely amazing daily experiences. Wildlife, stunning landscapes, ancient art sites, and guides who explain in detail what we are seeing whether it’s insects, birds, rocks, whales, crocodiles, plants, fish and so much more. I came away with a much deeper appreciation for nature and how we humans are affected by and have an effect on nature. The cruise was ten days, but it felt like I had a month worth of experiences. I’d jump at the chance to explore any place with this company. I’m now hooked on the small ship cruise experience! Thank you Heritage Expeditions!

Sally Adams  

In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton: Ross Sea Antarctica “A Fantastic Voyage!”

01-Mar-2023

It was a fantastic voyage! The weather was amazing, the ship was stable, all the staff were terrific, the lectures were really interesting the food was excellent & I met many wonderful fellow travellers, some of whom I am keeping in touch with. And now I am belatedly reading a book about the Antarctic explorers it means a lot more, having been to the area, seen the huts etc. So thank you very much for a memorable experience.

Emily P  

The Best of New Zealand: An Intimate Exploration Cruise of New Zealand's Islands “One of the greatest experiences of my life!”

01-Mar-2023

“The expedition was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We journeyed to many incredible parts of Aotearoa that I wouldn't have otherwise sailed to, hiked, or photographed. I loved how the daily itinerary responded to the weather conditions and different abilities so that we could all have a meaningful time in each place. The vessel is stunning and the crew took excellent care of us, as did the expedition team. Getting to know them and our fellow adventurers was a special part of the trip. It still feels like a dream!”

Graham Barrie (Google Reviewer)  

28-May-2021

Have just booked a trip later in the year and the service I had with the staff and Emma in particular has been wonderful. Thank you 😊

Lorraine Knowles (Google Reviewer)  

10-Oct-2022

Our trip on Hertiage Explorer to the Southern Fiords was awesome. There was not one aspect that we could fault. The food, crew, expeditions ashore, fellow passengers and the knowledge of our guides was A+. We will definately book with you again - 2024 around the Bay of Islands.

Heritage Expeditions Ships

Heritage Adventurer

Heritage Explorer

Frequently Asked Questions

What fitness level is required?

Guests are required to have a reasonable level of fitness in order to participate in landings. While not strenuous, travellers who participate on excursions must be able to climb a ship-side gangway, get in and out of Zodiacs and be able to stand unaided. Each landing and excursion caters to all fitness levels ranging from easy to challenging, ultimately each guest is able to decide how active or relaxing their voyage is.

Is any clothing included?

Thermally-insulated Muck Boots are provided for use on all our Southern Ocean voyages while guests travelling to the Ross Sea are supplied with an Antarctic grade jacket during their time in Antarctica.

What policies are in place for Covid-19?

Please contact us for our latest Covid-19 policies

Is there a doctor on board?

Yes, on Heritage Adventurer there is an on board doctor with a small infirmary and on many voyages a First Responder will travel with guests on excursions. Heritage Explorer does not have a doctor on board, however our crew are trained in first aid.

Are drinks included?

Yes, house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner on all Heritage Expeditions voyages. Complimentary drinks can also be enjoyed during special events on board while bar purchases can also be charged to your stateroom.

What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

Travelling with Heritage Expeditions is to travel responsibly. As biologists and ornithologists, we are intimately aware of the many issues that confront animals and their habitats, the world's oceans and isolated ethnic groups. We also take action: we actively contribute to the conservation of the places we visit in several ways; we 'buy local' and employ locally; we make sure that travellers are respectful of local customs and traditions; and we dispose of waste responsibly.

Is there a gym on board?

Yes, Heritage Adventurer has a gym, pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and Spa on Deck 7. While there is no gym on Heritage Explorer, guests have plenty of opportunity to stretch their legs on shore or take the kayaks out, weather permitting.

What is the onboard currency?

Heritage Adventurer operates in US$ while Heritage Explorer is NZ$.

Does a single supplement apply?

Heritage Adventurer has 20 dedicated single cabins (12 x Main Deck Single Staterooms on Deck 3 and 8 x Superior Single Staterooms on Deck 5). Heritage Adventurer also has the option of guests sharing in our Main Deck Triple (Deck 3) and Superior Triple (Deck 5) Staterooms. There may also be the option to share a Deck 4 or Deck 5 Superior Stateroom with another solo-travelling guest of the same gender. Heritage Explorer has 2 dedicated single cabins, Wandering, and if these are booked there may be availability to book a Salvin’s Twin/Double or Buller’s as a single at 1.8 times the published per person rate.

How long has the tour company been trading?

Heritage Expeditions was formed in 1985.

Is there Wi-Fi on board?

Yes, there is Wi-Fi available on both ships. Heritage Adventurer has a connection via satellite and vouchers can be purchased from reception. Wi-Fi is included on Heritage Explorer.

Are all excursions included?

Yes, all standard excursions are included in the voyage cost. All you will need to pay for on board is anything of a personal nature, laundry, drinks and gratuities.

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Book With Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Heritage Expeditions requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    If you need to cancel your tour, tourhub doesn't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of Heritage Expeditions charges.

    Up to 91 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit
    At 90 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of tour cost
  • Secure payments

    All payments are deposited into an externally regulated Trust account.

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