“Right-ee-oo” came over the two-way radio. We were in a caravan of seven land rovers heading to Volunteer Point on East Falkland Island to see one of the largest colonies of King Penguins with over 1,000 breeding pairs.
Nyree Heathman was giving directions to her father on how to navigate through the off-road route to this remote area. “Dad go to the left around the rocky point, then head straight” shouts out his confident daughter.
Estancia Excursions is a Falkland Islands tour business run by Nyree Heathman, a 7th generation Falkland Islander whose family owns and runs one of the largest ranches on the island, a 13,000 acre Estancia Farm where they run sheep for wool production.
Her company provides day trips to Volunteer Point for visiting cruise ship passengers, as well as excursions to numerous other East Falkland locations and airport transfers to and from both the local and international airports.
With many years experience in the tourism industry they offer a reliable, friendly, and more importantly, an affordable service.
Winner of Luxury Travel Guide Global Awards and rated the #1 Top Tour in the Falkland Islands by Trip Advisor, Estancia Excursions offers a variety of tours from exploring nature, wildlife and battlefield tours.
The Falkland Islands consists of 740 islands where you will find pristine landscapes, a natural safe haven for hundreds of wildlife species.
We were on the Eastern Falkland Island and heard Volunteer Point was a drive worth taking to see all of the King Penguins. This tour is a MUST – truly amazing to see this huge colony of penguins, and a totally different experience to seeing just one or two. You also get a short tour of Stanley on our return. The King’s don’t migrate so are there all year round.
Volunteer Point is also home to numerous Gentoo and Magellanic penguins and a large variety of other birdlife, as well as boasting a long white sand-beach on which you can occasionally find a Sea Lion lurking.
Nyree points out….
“The tour is usually around 6 to 6.5 hours in total, which includes two hours of travel in each direction. For cruise ships that are in port for less than 8 hours, the amount of time actually spent at Volunteer Point can be reduced to still allow you the opportunity to visit this beautiful location with its amazing wildlife.
The first hour of your journey, from the pier where you come ashore, to the privately owned Johnson’s Harbour farm of which Volunteer Point is a part, is on gravel roads. Upon reaching Johnson’s Harbour we then travel off-road for the remaining 12 miles to Volunteer Point. This ‘track’ is a little bumpy but is certainly nothing like the images often portrayed of off-roading on television.
All of our drivers who double as your guide during the journey are extremely experienced at off-road driving, and many spent their childhood on farms learning to drive at a very young age. They all own their own vehicles, usually 4×4 Land Rovers, are fully insured, and carry four passengers each.
During the journey your driver will answer any questions that you may have, and tell you about sites and features on the way. Part of the gravel road on which you will travel passes beside the mountains made famous during the Liberation of the Falklands from the invading Argentinian forces in 1982. You will also pass by our farm Estancia, and see many of the unusual natural rock formations called Stone Runs.
Upon arriving at Volunteer Point your driver will advise you of any areas in which you may not walk, tell you your departure time, and provide you with your light packed lunch. You are then free to wander and photograph the amazing wildlife this location has to offer. You are asked to remain 6m from all wildlife at all times so as to not cause them any undue disturbance. There are Wardens in high visibility clothing positioned around the sand beach and penguin rookeries that can answer any questions that you may have at the time. These Wardens are also there to ensure that you do unintentionally get too close to the wildlife or enter areas that you are not permitted to. Please listen to their advice when given.
The penguins particularly the chicks are curious by nature and will often approach you if you sit quietly observing them. The area of Volunteer Point itself is fairly flat and easy walking and the car park is very close to the penguins.
Whilst our drivers make every effort to drive carefully and make your journey as smooth as possible, please bear in mind that due to the long ‘whitegrass’ covering much of the off-road section of the track, it is not always possible to see every hole and bump, and we ask that if you have a back or neck injury that you understand the risks involved.
Dressing in layers is always best so that you can add or remove layers depending on the conditions on the day, and if possible bring a waterproof jacket in case of rain showers. Additional bags, jackets etc can be left safely in the vehicles. The winds can be chilling so hats and gloves are always a good idea. Flat footwear, such as trainers, or light walking shoes/boots are advised. Restrooms are available at Volunteer Point as is a small room with a gas heater to warm up in should you get cold.
Time permitting, upon our return to Stanley your driver will give you a short tour of the town pointing out the highlights before dropping you off at the pier where we met you in the morning, or alternatively at a location of your choosing – Museum, gift shops, pub etc – all very close and within easy walking distance of the pier.”
Book a Reservation with Nyree Heathman at Estancia Excursions
Email Nyree, click here
Website click here
Ph: +500 52400
Global Adventuress thanks Estancia Excursions for a fantastic tour!