Highlights: King Penguins at Volunteer Point trip would be one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever had. I just love these animals and the wonderful photos they afforded me. Yes it is a long time on very bumpy 4x4 terrain but if you're fit and able just go and do it. But there are other not so strenuous options by visiting other parts of the main island and enjoying other animal experiences. Just search Viator or Tours by Locals etc to find out what private or group tours are available.
Tours we booked - April 2019: Visit to Volunteer Point by 4X4 to see King Penguins - booked through our ship but there were available vehicles at about US$250 approx per person on the wharf when we arrived on land if we had wanted to save some money. But be aware sometimes the bigger cruise ships take all available 4x4 resources so we were told.
Going to see the King penguins meant early start at 7am and it was off to the tender as soon as the ship was cleared by customs for a 20 min ride to the wharf. Stanley is a pretty little town nestled on the rise up from the harbour side. A lovely calm day after a fairly active trip up from Antarctica I must say. We met our 4x4 driver - a farmer who with her husband and like most islanders, become tour guides when the cruise ships arrive. There was a fleet of about 40 Land Rover Defenders and a couple of Land Cruisers - very patriotic here still - and we all headed off for our trip to Volunteer Point to see the King Penguins. They are only found here and South Georgia Islands about 1000km south east of here. A two and a half hour "bumpy' trip each way it said in the description and bumpy it was. The bitumen ran out about 2km out of town and it was dirt road for the next 30 mins then an hour on rough peat paddocks - not for the faint hearted. As the crow flies it was about 5 km from Stanley but a long way by car around an inlet and then across a private farm. There are few trees here and I was reminded how similar it was to the Shetland Islands up to the north of Scotland. There are enormous fields of rocks everywhere too which I found rather different. But as the pictures will show, it was a lovely experience and worth the bumps - plus it added 16,000 steps to my FitBit for free!!!
It certainly was a lovely small town to wander around. Other travellers spoke highly of having a beer in the pub in the main street and enjoying the experience. We wandered the harbour side with limited time but had also driven the waterfront area on our return from Volunteer Point before we were dropped at the wharf. I certainly wish there was more time to explore and again the downside of traveling by ship sometimes is the limited time you have in a port before they sail usually late afternoon. South Georgia Islands are on my to do list also, but if you get the opportunity to stop here by ship, it certainly is worth considering.