Tours for 2024

LEADERS: Hamish Campbell & Chris Adams

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Maximum 22 participants (including leaders)

Dates For 2024

  • TRIP 1: Wednesday 28th August – Monday September 2nd
  • TRIP 2: Wednesday 4th September –  Monday 9th September  

Chris Adams and I first ran this excursion in 2002 as a post-conference excursion for the 11th International Gondwana Geology Symposium held in Christchurch in August that year. Hence these excursions have traditionally been run in late winter – early spring. 2020 was the 18th consecutive year. We have run about 34 trips involving more than 700 participants.  


Chris Adams began life in Bedfordshire, England, and was educated at London and Oxford universities. He came to New Zealand as a young research scientist with the Institute of Nuclear Sciences, DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1926-1992), in 1969, specialising in geochronology. He has diverse interests and is well-known as an artist specialising in mezzotint print-making. He lives in Portobello, Otago Peninsula.

Pitt Island Rocks
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Hamish Campbell grew up in Dunedin and was educated at Otago, Auckland and Cambridge universities. He commenced life as a research scientist with the New Zealand Geological Survey (DSIR) in 1978, specialising in palaeontology. He is perhaps best known as a science communicator through his role as ‘the geologist’ at Te Papa (1998-2019), author (Awesome Forces; In search of ancient New Zealand; Zealandia: our continent revealed), and as a co-presenter on the TV documentary series Coast New Zealand. He lives in Ngaio, Wellington.

Both Chris and Hamish enjoy Emeritus Scientist status within GNS Science and are still actively involved in scientific research.


Chris and I are geologists and hence the excursion has a geological bent. However, we have a long association with the Chathams and can assure you that this excursion is much more than geology. We embrace all aspects of the Chatham Islands: the people, culture, history, cuisine, art, farming, fishing, politics, economics …the natural environment, wildlife, botany, ecology, climate, conservation…. and geology.

We will be visiting a range of inland and coastal environments including farm-land, cultivated gardens, karaka forest, coastal forest, dune lands, wetlands, peat lands, rocky coasts, sandy beaches, Te Whanga Lagoon, etc. We will visit several DOC reserves, as well as various private properties. There we will encounter plenty of plants and birds, including species native to the Chathams, some of which are quite rare.

The Chathams are of particular interest from a geological perspective because they are so removed from the active plate boundary that runs through mainland New Zealand. In this sense, they are probably the most stable part of New Zealand. In the context of our continent, they represent Eastern Zealandia.

Think of the excursion as 4 one-day trips in a row to all four corners of the island. On our travels, we will be visiting some of the better-known tourist sites.

The Chatham Island attractions we will visit include:

On Pitt Island we shall endeavour to do the following:

  • Visit Flowerpot Bay and Flowerpot Bay Lodge
  • Traverse the island by car
  • Visit Waihere Bay and the oldest sedimentary rocks exposed in the Chathams
  • Visit Glory Cottage (a DOC project)
  • Walk up Hakepa Hill (Walk’em Up), the first inhabited place in the world to greet the new day.


The tour package includes almost everything: air fares (Wellington-Chatham return), accommodation and all meals at Hotel Chathams, vehicle transport on Chatham Island, fees for tourist activities and traversing private land to visit key localities, return travel to Pitt Island, transport on Pitt Island, costs of the leaders, organisation and administration costs.

The only things not covered are refreshments (beverages, including alcohol and fine coffee) and travel insurance.


Please contact: Hamish Campbell

Phone: 04 9702123 (home) 
Mobile: 027 2218817