I visited the Auckland Islands in 2010 and 2011, working as a biologist guide, lecturer and zodiac driver, as part of the expedition team on board Orion, and will return in 2017 with Ponant.
New Zealand is already an amazing country, with fantastic scenery and some fascinating animals and beautiful plants. But the best part of the country is little visited and hard to get to - the Subantarctic Islands. These are a chain of remote islands that stretch from the end of the South Island well into the Southern Ocean. They are full of wildlife such as seals and penguins. Some have huge colonies, and every island groups has a different set of species, and sometimes even their own endemics.
This island group includes Disappointment Island and Enderby Island.
The large beach here is home to hundreds of angry New Zealand (Hooker's) Sea Lions, the males of which are always slapping each other around.
The beach is also good for Yellow-eyed penguins.
The New Zealand subantarctic islands have some unusual endemic flowers. Some of the bigger ones are known as 'megaherbs'. If you walk across the island on the boardwalk, you should get some nice and close views of these special plants.