Heritage Expeditions, a family-owned expedition travel company, was established in 1985 by Rodney and Shirley Russ, with the aim of promoting natural world awareness and conservation through responsible tourism.
Rodney, a former biologist for the New Zealand Wildlife Service, recognised the need to expose people to wilderness areas so they could champion conservation efforts. He firmly believed in the synergy between responsible travel and conservation. Today, operated by their sons Aaron and Nathan, Heritage Expeditions manages two ships, the 140 Guest Heritage Adventurer and the 18 Guest Heritage Explorer.
Heritage provides small-ship expedition cruises to numerous destinations within the Southern Hemisphere including Antarctica, the Subantarctic Islands, the islands of Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Philippines, Australia's Kimberley Coast and coastal New Zealand.
Every expedition is meticulously planned to educate travellers about the region, whilst ensuring minimal environmental impact.
Heritage Expeditions commits to conservation, respect for local customs and responsible waste management in all their operations.
Since 2011, Heritage Expeditions has partnered with BirdLife International as a Species Champion for the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, as well as contributing annually to the New Zealand Department of Conservation, Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service and Antarctic Heritage Trust.
Heritage Expeditions maintains small groups with a guide-to-client ratio of 1:12, using environmentally responsible expedition equipment. All waste generated is responsibly managed in line with MARPOL regulations and recycling practices.
Moreover, in partnership with True Young Explorer, Heritage Expeditions provides scholarships for young people to join their expeditions. The company holds active memberships in conservation and travel organisations such as the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird, all promoting responsible travel and conservation.