Western Pacific Odyssey: New Zealand to Japan cruise - Heritage Expeditions

South Pacific & New Zealand


30 nights Cruise Only



The Complete WESTERN PACIFIC ODYSSEY RETURNS - Including Bonin Islands!
Known in birding circles simply as the `WPO`, this expedition incorporates many of the key birding areas in the South West Pacific. First offered in 2007, it is now considered one of the `must do` expeditions for any birder because of its opportunities to see some of the rarest pelagic seabirds in the world, plus many island endemics. But it is not just for `birders`. The cetacean list can only be described as outstanding. And if you ever tire of birding or cetacean watching then there are options for snorkelling, swimming and relaxing.

Cruise only package prices include:
- One way transfer from a Tauranga meeting point to the port at Tauranga for embarkation
- 30 night expedition cruise aboard the Spirit of Enderby (50 guests) from Tauranga to Yokohama
- All shipboard main meals
- All off ship expedition shore excursions and zodiac rides with a team of experts in the region
- One way transfer from Port of Yokohama to railway station after disembarkation

There are shared cabins on this ship with shared bathrooms, we have not included these prices, but if you are interested in this style of travel, please contact our office for rates and availability. All prices here begin with cabins using private facilities.

Discovery Fund: A discovery fund fee of US $600 is payable onboard and not included in your cruise fare.


Cruise 30 nights with the Spirit of Enderby on a small ship expedition cruise from New Zealand to Japan.

30 Night Cruise sailing from Tauranga to Yokohama aboard Spirit of Enderby.

Day 1: Tauranga, New Zealand
Embark the ship. Settle into your cabin and join your expedition team and captain for a welcome on board.

Day 2: Hauraki Gulf
Our seabirding will start in the Hauraki Gulf where we will look for the critically endangered New Zealand Storm-Petrel as well as Little Penguin, Grey Ternlet, Buller’s, Fluttering and Little Shearwaters and Grey-faced and Black Petrels.

Days 3 to 4: At Sea
En route to Norfolk Island, we have a good chance of finding Gould’s, Black-winged, Kermadec, White-necked and Grey-faced Petrels, plus Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwaters.

Day 5: Norfolk Island
After clearing Australian Customs, we plan to visit Norfolk Island’s remnant forest, home to four endemics – the Norfolk Island Parakeet, Norfolk Gerygone, Norfolk Robin and Slender-billed White-eye.

Day 6: At Sea
At sea on a northward course, we cross a large underwater seamount, a productive area for seabirds including Tahiti, Collared, White-necked, Providence and Kermadec Petrels.

Day 7: New Caledonia
We visit the Parc de la Rivière Bleue National Park where we will search for the endemics including the incomparable Kagu and highly range-restricted Crow Honeyeater. Other birds could include New Caledonian Goshawk, Horned and New Caledonian Parakeets, New Caledonian Imperial Pigeon, Southern Melanesian and New Caledonian Cuckoo-shrikes, Yellow-bellied Robin and Red-throated Parrotfinch.

Day 8: New Caledonia and At Sea
This morning on the forested slopes of Mount Koghi we will be looking for New Caledonian Goshawk, South Melanesian Cuckooshrike, Streaked Fantail, Southern Shrikebill, New Caledonian Crow and New Caledonian Grassbird. We then plan to sail around the southern tip of New Caledonia looking for the New Caledonian Storm-petrel. This intriguing bird was first found on the WPO expedition in 2008 and has been seen several times since. Although seemingly closely related to New Zealand Storm-petrel, there are a number of important differences and it is now considered a long-lost species collected in Samoa more than 200 years ago, and not seen since!

Days 9 to 10: At Sea
Enjoy leisurely days at sea, new seabirds could include Polynesian Storm-petrel, Tropical Shearwater, Providence Petrel, Vanuatu Petrel, Collared Petrel and Tahiti Petrel.

Day 11: Nendö – Temotu Province
The largest of the Santa Cruz Islands, Nendö has several localised endemics, during our time ashore we hope to find Temotu Whistler, Sanford’s White-eye and Santa Cruz White-eye. Other possibilities include Red-bellied Fruit-dove, Pacific Imperial-pigeon and Cardinal Myzomela.

Day 12: Santa Ana, Solomon Islands
Santa Ana is one of the most easterly of the main islands in the Solomon Islands archipelago and has a distinctive avifauna. We can expect birds such as Silver-capped Fruit-dove mixed with Makiran endemics. Santa Ana is home to an endemic and highly distinctive subspecies of Rufous Fantail, and we will also be looking for Sanford’s (Solomon) Sea-eagle and Oriole Whistler.

Day 13: Anuta Island in the Makira Group
Anuta is a small inshore island on the western side of Makira Island. Birding treasures that we can expect to see including the White-headed Fruit-dove, Chestnut-bellied Imperial pigeon, Makira Honeyeater (San Cristobal Melidectes), San Cristobal Starling, Makira Flycatcher, Makira Cicadabird, White-collared Monarch, Sooty Myzomela and Mottled Flowerpecker. Other species could include Red-knobbed and Island Imperial-pigeon, Brahminy Kite, Pied Goshawk and Pacific Baza. We will also enjoy the local hospitality.

Day 14: Honiara, Guadalcanal
We will anchor off Honiara and depart before dawn for Mount Austin. The birding here is exceptional and the specialities we could see include Ultramarine Kingfisher, Solomons Cuckooshrike, Chestnut-bellied Monarch, Steel-blue Flycatcher, Midget Flowerpecker, Brown-winged Starling and Black-headed Myzomela. There should also be numbers of parrots and pigeons, including the Yellow-bibbed Lory, Ducorps’ Cockatoo and Red-knobbed Imperial-pigeon.

Day 15: Tetepare Island
Tetepare is a community run reserve located in the New Georgia islands. There are a number of new Solomon endemics to look for here including the highly localised Dark-eyed White-eye. Other possibilities include Melanesian Scrubfowl, Claret-breasted Fruit-dove, Island Imperial-pigeon, Buff-headed Coucal, Crimson-rumped Myzomela, Cockerell’s Fantail and Kolombangara Monarch. If we are extremely fortunate, both Nicobar Pigeon and Solomons Nightjar may be seen.

Day 16: Kolombangara Island
We intend to head into the hills to visit the Imbu Rano Conservation Area to explore dense upland forest. We hope to see the spectacular Sanford’s (Solomon) Sea-eagle, Cardinal, Duchess and Meek’s Lorikeets, White-capped Monarch, Crimson-rumped Myzomela, Ducorps’ Cockatoo and Metallic and Singing Starling. We may also look for the elusive Roviana Rail as we leave the reserve and will be scanning the cetacean-rich seas for whales and dolphins. Birders will also want to keep a lookout for Heinroth’s Shearwater.

Day 17: Off the coast of Bougainville
Today we are at sea off Bougainville and hope to see Heinroth’s Shearwater. These waters are also great for cetaceans including Sperm Whale, False Killer Whale and Fraser’s Dolphin.

Day 18: Off the coast of New Ireland
Today we cruise along the coast of New Ireland, where our target is the critically endangered and poorly known Beck’s Petrel with an additional chance for spotting the Heinroth’s Shearwater. Cetaceans to look for include Melon-headed Whale, Dwarf and Pygmy Sperm Whales and Orca.

Days 19 to 20: At Sea
Crossing the Equator we will be on the lookout for the following species: Bulwer’s Petrel, Tropical Shearwater, White-tailed Tropicbird and the Sooty Tern.

Days 21 to 22: Caroline Islands
On Weno Island we hope to find Purple-capped Fruit-dove, Oceanic Flycatcher, Caroline Reed Warbler, Caroline Islands Swiftlet, Caroline Islands White-eye, Micronesian Myzomela and Micronesian Starling. There may also be an optional excursion to Tol South to look for the endemic Teardop (or Great Truk) White-eye and Chuuk Monarch.

Days 23 to 26: At Sea
The birding can be quiet but as we head northwards, new species could include Matsudaira’s Storm-petrel, Bonin Petrel as well as Bannerman’s and Christmas Shearwaters. As we approach the Bonin Islands, we stand a good chance of finding Humpback Whales.

Day 27: Chichi-jima Island
After clearing into Japan at the largest of the Bonin Islands, Chichi-jima, we will looking for Japanese Bush Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Brown-eared Bulbul and Japanese White-eye. This afternoon we will look for the critically endangered Bryan’s Shearwater, this species is only known to breed on a small islet off Chichijima. We should also see good numbers of Bannerman’s Shearwaters.

Day 28: At Sea
Seabird possibilities today could include the Tristram’s Storm-petrel, Bonin Petrel and Bannerman’s Shearwater.

Day 29: Torishima Island
Landings are not permitted but we cruise offshore and hope to find Short-tailed Albatross. Other species could include Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses, Streaked Shearwater, Tristram’s and Matsudaira’s Storm-petrels.

Day 30: Hachijō-jima Island
Located in the Izu Islands archipelago, Hachijo-jima is home to the endemic Izu Thrush, Ijima’s Leaf-warbler and Owston’s Tit. We will also look for Japanese Wood Pigeon, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Japanese (Izu) Robin and Japanese Murrelet.

Day 31: Yokohama, Japan
After breakfast and Japanese arrival formalities, you disembark the ship and board a complimentary transfer to Yokohama railway station.

Please select your cabin type to enquire

Pricing (per person)

  • All (4)

Superior Cabin

US $11,630

Superior Plus

US $12,260

Mini Suite

US $14,570

Heritage Suite

US $15,570

Terms & Conditions

*Conditions Apply: All prices shown here are per person share twin in USD, based on best available cruise fare at time of publication (25Jan21). Some cabins may have obstructed views. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry. All passports, vaccinations and visas are the responsibility of the travelling guest to secure prior to departure from Australia. Please note that the prices shown here are not shown in real time. Transfers only included if guests are arriving/departing by air at specific airports on exact package dates. Offer subject to availability at time of booking. We reserve the right to correct errors without penalty.