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New Zealand Auckland to Milford Sound

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New Zealand | Auckland - Milford Sound | 12 Nights


East Coast Expedition of New Zealand

12 Nights | Departs Auckland 26 November 2020 | Arrives Milford Sound 08 December 2020

Come and join us in 2019 and experience New Zealand from a very different perspective. Coral Discoverer avoids well-trodden tourist trails and offers you access to remote and pristine wilderness areas, and encounters with Maori culture. With over 7000 km of stunning coastline to be explored, you will cruise the sheltered sounds, and marine reserves and arrive in the dramatic beauty of the Fiordland. Our expert Expedition Team and local rangers will introduce you to wildlife including dolphins, seals, kiwis and keas.

Adjoining Cruise: South Island Expedition: Milford Sound to Wellington. 10 nights, departs 8 December 2020. Save 10% off both cruises when you take an adjoining cruise.

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Expedition highlights

  • Experience the grandeur and remote beauty of Fiordland National Park
  • Spend two days exploring the more inaccessible and spectacular areas of the Marlborough Sounds
  • Encounter the Maori culture and learn about New Zealand’s history and landscape
  • Visit remote Stewart Island and encounter some of New Zealand’s iconic wildlife
  • Explore some of the beautiful and historic east coast cities such as Dunedin and Napier
  • Get close to marine wildlife in their natural environment in Akaroa, Kaikoura, and Fiordland



Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $15,340 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category A) $13,150 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category B) n/a $18,075
Main Deck (Category A) $11,500 n/a
Main Deck (Category B) $10,960 n/a

Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST.  *Limited sole use occupancy available.



The Itinerary

Embark: Board at Auckland Harbour at 4:00pm for 5:00pm departure.
Disembark: Arrive and disembark at Milford Sound Harbour at 08:00am for coach transfers to Queenstown (approx arrival 1:30pm).

Our itinerary is crafted to be flexible, allowing the Captain and Expedition Team to respond quickly to favourable weather conditions, and immerse you in the very best of New Zealand’s flora, fauna and wild coastline.

Sightseeing is included in your Coral Discoverer cruise, and in key locations, there are opportunities for guests with special interests to enhance their cruise experience through the purchase of additional shore excursions.

The below itinerary is indicative. No two cruises with Coral Expeditions will be the same, with each expedition crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders. 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.


Day 1: Auckland

Make your way to Auckland Harbour to board Coral Discoverer at 4:00 pm. We depart the ‘city of sails’ at 5:00 pm to make our way into the Hauraki Gulf; with its string of islands guarding the harbour, including the iconic Rangitoto Island – a dormant volcano. Take in the sights while enjoying the captain’s welcome drinks and meeting the crew and your fellow passengers.

Day 2: Waimangu Valley

Enjoy views of mysterious and beautiful Inferno Crater which rises and falls as it heats and cools. See the delicate sinter terraces growing from minerals solidifying out of the hot spring water. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is home to Frying Pan Lake, one of the largest hot water springs in the World.

Brilliantly coloured microbes cloak the hot rocks. Tiny springs and geysers play. Immerse yourself amongst the rare and unusual plants that grow on the hot earths of Waimangu, amongst the regenerating native forests.

Day 3: Gisborne

Gisborne is rich in historical significance. It is where the first Polynesian canoes landed, where captain cook first came ashore from the Endeavour and where Maori and European settlers first encountered each other. Venture to a small marae (Maori meeting place) where we will be treated to a traditional Maori welcome and the Kapa Haka cultural show. After the show you will have the opportunity to explore Gisborne; undertake a self-guided journey through the city’s gorgeous gardens, tour wineries or sample first-rate produce.

Day 4: Napier

This morning we cruise into Hawke’s Bay, home to one of the purest art deco cities in the world, Napier.  Here you will have time to explore the city at your own leisure.

In 1931 Napier was destroyed by an earthquake that shook Hawke’s Bay for more than 3 minutes, flattening the city. Rebuilding began almost instantly, and modern buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – stripped classical, Spanish mission and art deco.
Napier is also known for its award-winning red wines and is home to one of the world’s largest mainland gannet colonies at Cape Kidnappers (optional guided tours at extra cost).

Day 5 & 6: Marlborough Sounds

Explore the spectacular waterways of Marlborough Sounds including the fjord-like Queen Charlotte Sound. Follow the path of Captain Cook’s exploratory voyages, including a stop at Ships Cove. You will enjoy a considerable number of interpreted explorations on the Xplorer and zodiac vessels, guided by the expedition team and guest lecturers. On our travels, we will visit Moturoa Island with its plentiful native birdlife and other remote coastal towns and locations often only accessible by boat.

Day 7: Kaikoura

The picturesque town of Kaikoura is located between rugged mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean. Renowned as possibly the best whale watching destination in the world, Kaikoura is one of the very few places it is possible to observe the Giant Sperm Whale. Aboard a small specialised vessel, we explore the ocean in search of the Giant Sperm Whale and hoping to see more amazing mammals like fur seals, other migratory whales and dolphins.

Day 8: Akaroa

Today we sail into the Banks Peninsula, named for botanist Joseph Banks, and discover the history of Akaroa. This scenic village, built on the edge of a sunken volcanic crater, was once a bustling French colonised whaling community. A leisurely walk through the village discovering its obscure French history, friendly cafes and great craft stores. Optional shore excursions are offered at Akaroa, such as swimming with the smallest and rarest dolphin – the Hectors Dolphin.

Day 9: Dunedin

Before docking in Dunedin, we are welcomed to the Otago Peninsula with sights of the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a colony of the world’s rarest penguin, the yellow-eyed penguin and various other unique species.
Dunedin City is regarded as New Zealand’s architectural heritage capital. You will have time to explore all that the city has to offer including the Victorian and Edwardian structures, art galleries and botanical gardens.

Day 10: Stewart & Ulva Islands

Stewart Island (Rakiura) is New Zealand’s little known third island. There is a very small settlement of people on the island, but most ‘mainland’ New Zealanders have never ventured to the curious wild land. Ulva Island is also found within the Rakiura National Park, offering a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including South Island Saddleback, Yellowhead, Rifleman, Stewart Island Robin, and the iconic Kiwi; the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi birds are known to venture out in daylight. On Ulva Island, we take a guided walk to encounter this vast array of birdlife and hopefully spot a few fur seals lazing on the shore during the tour.

An optional tour can be taken ashore Stewart Island at additional cost.

Day 11: Dusky Sound

We enter the Fiordland National Park at the dramatic Dusky Sound. You will be in awe of the sheer rugged beauty of the Fiordland. We cruise among towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, pass some of the 365 small islands and explore the depths of the inlets in the zodiacs.
Later in the evening we head north and drop anchor at the beautiful Doubtful Sound.

Day 12: Doubtful Sound & Thompson Sound

Awake to the magnificent scenery of Doubtful Sound. Today we explore the Fiordland’s most spectacular and deepest waterway. Board the Xplorer and cruise through a maze of hidden channels home to dolphins, seals and penguins. We sail from Doubtful Sound into Thompson Sound to discover further scenes of breathtaking wilderness in these ancient glacial fiords. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Dinner while we steam to our last port of call.

Day 13: Milford Sound & Queenstown

Cruise the length of Milford Sound and view iconic Mitre Peak, towering some 1600 feet above the glassy waters. It is here we say goodbye and disembark at 8:00 am before transferring by coach to Queenstown. The coach arrives in Queenstown at approximately 1:30 pm.

November 2020

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
26 November 2020 26 Nov 2020 08 December 2020 08 Dec 2020 $10,960 to $15,340 $10,960 to $15,340 Coral Discoverer Available Book

December 2020

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
26 November 2020 26 Nov 2020 08 December 2020 08 Dec 2020 $10,960 to $15,340 $10,960 to $15,340 Coral Discoverer Available Book


  • Expedition voyage aboard Coral Discoverer as described in the itinerary
  • Expert Expedition Team
  • Daily guided excursions on the Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels, and kayaks where conditions allow
  • All meals, prepared fresh by our chefs
  • Showcase wines, selected beers and soft drinks with lunch and dinner service
  • 24 hour coffee and selection of teas
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access with the Captain
  • Guided sightseeing in each destination
  • All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
  • Post-cruise transfers to Queenstown



  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Pre-cruise transfers
  • Various optional extra activities at some destinations
  • Alcoholic drinks including beer and wine outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Internet services (available at a cost)
  • Laundry service (available at a cost)
  • Entry visas or travel permits
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted) laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Tipping not required

Our friendly reservations specialists are on hand to assist with your booking arrangements to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible. Contact our team on 1800 079 545 during business hours in Australia or email

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive Travel Insurance is strongly recommended for all travellers as protection against any unforeseen events that may necessitate the cancellation or interruption of your holiday and should be purchased at the same time as you purchase your cruise. It should also include emergency evacuation and repatriation cover.

We recommend Travel Insurance by SureSave. SureSave, is an Australian company who specialise in travel insurance designed for travellers. SureSave provides world assistance through a customer support team, a claims team and an in-house 24/7 Emergency Assistance division. Underwritten by Lloyds of London, you get peace of mind knowing your security is guaranteed. Please note: SureSave Travel Insurance policies may only be purchased by Australian residents. For international travellers, please discuss your policy requirements with your local insurance provider.