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10 Nights | Departs Wellington 21 January 2024 | Arrives Milford Sound 31 January 2024 | Onboard Coral Geographer
Discover the captivating coastline of New Zealand’s South Island that abounds with marine life as we make our way to the deep and quiet fiords of Murihiku (Southland). This journey explores New Zealand’s charming east coast towns and will discover wildlife in their natural habitats along the way, including legions of bird species.
Aboard Coral Geographer, experience New Zealand from a different perspective with the ability to customise your expedition from a choice of all-inclusive experiences ranging from walks through historic cities to wilderness hikes guided by our knowledgeable expedition team. Enjoy access to remote and difficult-to-reach wilderness areas within the Marlborough Sounds and Fiordland and visit sheltered coves and islands to find fur seals, kakapos, and pods of friendly dolphins.
Join us as we return to these pristine regions with the greatest respect and care.
|CORAL GEOGRAPHER||TWIN SHARE PER PERSON||SOLE USE|
|Bridge Deck Balcony Suite||$19,190||n/a|
|Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom||$14,290||$21,435|
|Promenade Deck Stateroom||$10,720||$16,080|
|Coral Deck Stateroom||$8,920||$13,380|
Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. Limited sole use occupancy available.
Embark: Board Coral Geographer at Wellington at 4:00 pm for 5:00 pm departure
Disembark: Arrive and disembark at Milford Sound at 8:00 am (coach transfers to Queenstown available)
This itinerary includes 2 days at sea. During sea days, relax or join our Expedition Team for a program of interactive workshops and presentations.
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions, and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling.
After a pre-cruise SailSAFE check-in, board Coral Geographer in Wellington at 4:00pm. Depart at 5:00pm and cruise towards the Marlborough Sound while you settle into your stateroom and relax. Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard before meeting your fellow travellers, the Captain and crew for the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.
The ancient river valleys that form the Marlborough Sounds make up 20% of New Zealand’s coastline. The webs of sunken channels are surrounded by forest-cloaked peaks and vineyards, all of which present a breathtaking view from any perspective. This lush region produces much of New Zealand’s seafood, and 80% of its wine. The fertile soil in this region supported the country’s first known Polynesian settlement in the late 1200s AD at Wairau Bar.
Here, cruise the fiord-like Queen Charlotte Sound (Totaranui). Follow the path of Captain Cook’s exploratory voyages, including a stop at Cook’s favourite New Zealand base, Ship Cove, where he spent a total of 120 days. Discover the dolphins and seals of the sounds with marine spotting from the Xplorer and enjoy wonderful birdwatching on walks through Motuara Island birdlife sanctuary. Guided by our expedition team and lecturers, there will be options to hike a section of the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track, or shorter walks available. The history of the region is also brought to life with our visit to Ship Cove.
This evening, enjoy Captain’s Farewell Drinks in the beautiful surrounds of Marlborough, before crossing the Cook Strait overnight.
This morning, cruise into Hawke’s Bay and anchor at the city of Napier, which contains one of the largest concentrations of art deco architecture in the world. In 1931 Napier was destroyed by an earthquake that shook Hawke’s Bay for more than 3 minutes, flattening the city. Rebuilding began, and the new buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – stripped classical, Spanish mission and art deco. Few other places in the world have such a deep identity with these architectural styles, and Napier’s stylish shops and fabulous restaurants and bars echo the classic atmosphere.
Napier is surrounded by the award-winning wineries of the Hawke’s Bay Region, one of the world’s great wine regions. With a temperate maritime climate and plentiful sunshine, the region is similar to Bordeaux, France, and produces a wide range of different styles but is best known for red blends and Chardonnay.
Two tour options are available here – choose between a city tour to uncover the remarkable architecture and history of the city – from the earthquake and rebuilding, through to the growth of the vibrant wine industry, and finishing with a flight of wines at New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate Winery. Alternatively, enjoy an excursion to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, with spectacular views of this dramatic coastline.
This morning, sail into the long harbour of Akaroa, formed by the breached volcanic crater that makes up the Banks Peninsula. The village of Akaroa has the unique identity of being the only French settlement in New Zealand, and its charming cottages and French street names still carry that identity today.
Ringed by the pastoral rolling hills of the Peninsula, the scenic village was once a bustling whaling outpost. Here enjoy a harbour cruise with a local operator to spot marine wildlife. Guests will also have free time to explore the scenic village, and visit cafes inspired by French cuisine. A variety of short walks are available into the surrounding nature reserves, guided by our expedition team.
Dunedin, settled in and around an ancient volcanic crater, is known for its Scottish and Maori heritage. Named after the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the city’s heritage buildings, cathedrals, and charming atmosphere share an old-world atmosphere. Dunedin City is regarded as New Zealand’s architectural heritage capital.
The Otago Peninsula is an area of exceptional diversity, and as we enter the long Otago Harbour, we will be welcomed with sights of the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a colony of yellow-eyed penguin – the world’s rarest penguin – as well as Hookers sea lions. and various other unique species.
You will have time to explore the city at your own leisure: perhaps visit the famous Speight’s Brewery, art gallery, museum, and New Zealand’s oldest botanic gardens. There will also be a choice of included excursions with local operators – choose between a coach tour of the Otago Peninsula’s most scenic beaches and Dunedin’s highlights, or a railway journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge.
Known in Maori mythology as Te Punga o Te Waka – The Anchor Stone of Maui’s Canoe’ – Stewart Island (Rakiura) is New Zealand’s little known ‘third island’. Apart from the communities on the island, many people never venture to remote Stewart Island. Nearby Ulva Island is also found within the Rakiura National Park, offering a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including South Island Saddleback, Stewart Island Weka, New Zealand Pigeon/Kereru, South Island Kaka, Yellow- and Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki), Morepork, Rifleman (New Zealand’s smallest bird), New Zealand Fantail, South Island Tomtit, Stewart Island Robin, Yellowhead (Mohoua), Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler, New Zealand Bellbird and Tui.
On Ulva Island, a guided walk will provide the opportunity to spot a vast array of birdlife and hopefully a few fur seals lazing on the shore during the tour. There will be free time to explore the village of Oban, and a guided Xplorer cruise to Prices Point Whaling Station will unveil the history of the region.
This morning, we sail into our subantarctic anchorage at the Snares Islands. This small group of islands, also known as Tini Heke, are the most northern of New Zealand’s subantarctic islands and are mostly bordered by steep cliffs except on the eastern side. They are one of the most pristine places in New Zealand, as they were unaffected by whaling and sealing in the 19th century. These islands are protected as part of the Subantarctic Island World Heritage Site and landing ashore is prohibited.
If weather permits, we will cruise along the sheltered eastern side of the island to observe the seabirds that breed on the forested North East Island. The island is forested by mega herbs, some of which are rare and unique, such as the large tree daisy and stilbocarpa, and is home to many endemic bird species, including the Snares Penguin, which has more than 100 colonies on the islands. The sooty shearwater nests here in enormous numbers and are joined by Buller’s Albatross, the mottled petrel and the brown skua. The exposed coastlines also provide breeding and resting area for New Zealand fur seals and New Zealand sea lions.
Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site once described as the Eighth Wonder of the World, is characterised by 14 fiords carving through just 215km of coastline. These fiords were carved by glaciers over thousands of years, and you will see waterfalls cascading down the sheer cliffs, rainforest cloaking the steep ridges, and granite peaks reflected in the deep shimmering waters.
These mostly inaccessible and awe-inspiring landscapes were the mysterious source of powerful pounamu (New Zealand jade), gathered by Maori from the riverbeds and boulders of the South Island – the only place it occurs. While some European settlers took shelter here, the deep isolation and rugged terrain thwarted all except the toughest from staying. Many of the flora and fauna species have developed in relative isolation, so many of the diverse plants and animals are unique to the area.
Enter Fiordland National Park at dramatic Tamatea / Dusky Sound, and cruise among towering cliffs and sheer granite walls of Facile Harbour, cascading waterfalls, pass some of the 365 small islands and explore the depths of the inlets in the zodiacs. Inaccessible by road, Tamatea / Dusky Sound is the largest and most complex of the Fiordland Sounds. It is also a designated Important Bird Area for the Fiordland Penguins that breed here.
We will discover the fur seals of Luncheon Cove and cruise Astronomer’s Point – Captain Cook’s base when exploring Fiordland. We may have the opportunity to visit the site where the scientific team from HMB Endeavour set up their equipment.
In the afternoon, trace Acheron Passage to Breaksea Sound, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes on all sides as we retrace Cook’s journey. It is easy to imagine the small wooden Endeavour being dwarfed by the steep-sided fiords and encircled by the blanketing silence of the fog-cloaked peaks.
Doubtful Sound / Patea is the deepest and widest fiord, flanked by towering cliffs and adorned by cascading waterfalls. The stillness and silence of this Fiord is compelling and unforgettable. We will cruise into Doubtful Sound / Patea, and past the outer Seal Islands, Nee Islets and through ‘the Gut’, before cruising by Blanket Bay. You may spot fur seals lounging on the rocks, pods of dolphins, and the Fiordland penguin. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Drinks.
This morning, we arrive at Milford Sound to disembark at 8:00am. Complimentary post-cruise transfers to Queenstown is available.
|Departure||Departure||Arrival||Arrival||Cost Per Person||Cost PP||Ship||Availability|
|21 January 2024||21 Jan 2024||31 January 2024||31 Jan 2024||$8,920 to $19,190||$8,920 to $19,190||Coral Geographer||Available||Book|
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Following your expedition, you will receive a link by email to free download the images taken throughout your voyage by our Expedition Team. Please make sure that you have provided our reservations team with your relevant email address.
This cruise begins and ends in New Zealand, with one call in an Australian Territory (Macquarie Island). The currency is New Zealand Dollar (NZD) – You cannot use Australian (AUD) in New Zealand. Please note, all purchases on board will still be in AUD.
The official languages of New Zealand are Māori and English. New Zealand is known for its friendly and laid-back inhabitants. The culture of New Zealand is primarily western, with strong influences from the indigenous Maori and the waves of multi-ethnic migration which followed the British colonisation.
Entry into NZ requires a passport. As of October 2019, the NZ government is introducing an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) and International Visitor Conservation & Tourism Levy (IVL). Australian citizens are exempt from the ETA & IVL, however any other passport holder will have to organise the ETA/IVL prior to travelling to NZ.
Some nationalities are not eligible to obtain an ETA and must apply for a visa. Please consult the NZ immigration website or your travel agent for more information. It is the responsibility of all guests to ensure they meet visa/ETA requirements ahead of arrival to NZ.
Our Expedition Team will advise walking conditions and fitness requirements prior to each excursion. There are several walking/hiking options available on this departure at:
Please refer to the CDC website for up to date information: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/new-zealand