Join conservationist, plantsman & presenter of ABC’s Gardening Australia Jerry Coleby-Williams on a unique and magical 21-day journey which will take you from the fjords of Norway to the pack-ice of Svalbard in search of Arctic plants, puffins and polar bears
Gardening since the age of four, and trained by the world’s foremost botanic garden - the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - and by the Royal Horticultural Society - the world’s foremost horticultural society - Jerry is qualified in horticulture, conservation, arboriculture, garden design and botanical sciences, and he has a degree in management. He is also an experienced leader of small group tours and his passion and knowledge combine to make him the perfect host for this ‘blooming marvellous’ Arctic adventure.
Your journey will begin in the Norwegian capital of Oslo where, with Jerry by your side, you will wander through its’ manicured botanical garden; visit Vigeland Park and listen to tales of the Viking people whilst admiring the wonderful exhibits at the Viking Ship Museum. After flying to Longyearbyen – the northernmost settlement on Earth – you will view the Svalbard Seed Vault from the outside before embarking on a 10-day expedition cruise around the Svalbard archipelago on board the Sergey Akademik Vavilov – a comfortable, ice-strengthened polar research vessel.
As the midnight sun grazes the horizon you will be mesmerized by the spectacular scenery of Spitsbergen. During shore excursions on zodiacs you will cruise past towering glaciers, thundering waterfalls and hulking icebergs. The wildlife experiences in this part of the world are second to none too. Have close encounters with whales and walrus whilst searching for majestic polar bears, and as it is home to a tremendous variety of feathered friends Svalbard is a ‘twitchers’ paradise.
As trees and shrubs are absent on Svalbard the ground vegetation becomes more visible. Approximately 164 vascular plant species have been documented on the archipelago. With Jerry pointing out delicate Arctic blooms and other interesting flora - explaining how they have adapted to this harsh environment - the expedition will be an informative and memorable one, highlighting natural wonders which you may have overlooked otherwise.
An additional feature of the ‘Spitsbergen Encounter’ voyage will be a shipboard photography symposium which will provide everyone from iPhone users to SLR experts with tips and tricks to make your images of the scenery, wildlife and fascinating flora stand out.
After saying farewell to Svalbard you will fly to picturesque Tromsø to visit the northernmost botanic garden on Earth. Located 350 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden in Tromsø has been included in the Top 10 botanic gardens in the world by the BBC and The Guardian. With an emphasis on plant life from the polar regions and high mountains, it is here that you and Jerry will get the opportunity to view plants which cannot be grown at other botanic gardens around the world.
Colourful houses blanket the mountainsides above the historic waterfront in beautiful Bergen, the next stop on your Norwegian adventure. Visit the Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Milde, where rhododendrons flourish and the largest collection of roses in Norway can be found. From Bergen you will board an express boat to cruise along the magnificent Sognefjord – the world’s deepest fjord and the longest in Norway – to discover charming villages nestled amongst the mountains and glaciers of this incredibly scenic corner of Scandinavia. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful train trips in the world, you will then board the Flåm Railway as it meanders towards Oslo where the journey of a lifetime will come to an end.
Accommodation in Oslo, Longyearbyen, Tromsø; Bergen & Balestrand; 10-day ‘Spitsbergen Encounter’ voyage with One Ocean Expeditions; tours with entrance fees as per itinerary; economy class internal flights with Scandinavian Airlines & Widerøe Airlines (Oslo-Longyearbyen-Tromsø-Bergen); transfers as per itinerary; specified meals; interesting conversations and plenty of laughs with Jerry Coleby-Williams.
International flights; arrival / departure taxes or reciprocity fees; visa fees; travel insurance; tips.
Prices are detailed below, subject to availability;
Twin share price (twin semi private cabin on the cruise)
From AUD$14,650 per person for bookings made prior to 30 Sep 2017
Regular price AUD$15,950 per person
Twin share price (twin private cabin on the cruise)
From AUD$15,800 per person for bookings made prior to 30 Sep 2017
Regular price AUD$17,100 per person
Twin share price (superior cabin on the cruise)
From AUD$17,150 per person for bookings made prior to 30 Sep 2017.
Regular price AUD$18,450 per person
Triple share price (triple cabin on the cruise, twin share in hotels) *
From AUD$12,950 per person for bookings made prior to 30 Sep 2017.
Regular price AUD$14,250 per person
Optional single supplement for hotels **
(Oslo, Longyearbyen, Tromsø, Bergen & Balestrand)
From AUD$1,195 per person
Optional single supplement for the cruise **
From AUD$4,800 per person on top of the twin semi private cabin price
* Please note triple cabins are single sex and not suitable for couples, unless you are happy to be in a different cabin to your partner. If travelling solo you can choose the triple price however you would need to pay the single supplement on the hotels unless we can find someone of the same sex who is happy to share.
** Single supplement on the cruise is optional as you can choose to share with a member of the same sex who we will pair you with. If we cannot find anyone then you will have a cabin to yourself without any supplement. If you wish to guarantee a cabin to yourself then you must pay the single supplement which is on top of the twin semi private cabin price. Prices for a single supplement on other cabin types are on request.