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Kaikoura

South Island & Fiords of New Zealand

Bluff to Wellington12 nightsAll InclusiveFrom $10,720.00* PP

Join Coral Adventurer to explore the natural beauty of New Zealand’s South Island and Fiords departing Bluff. Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the renowned World Heritage region of the Fiordland National Park, as you explore the stunning Dusky Sound, Milford Sound, and Doubtful Sound on the remote west coast of New Zealand.  Visit the spectacular Milford Sound, where the sheer cliffs plunge into the glacial waters and cascading waterfalls spring from the lush mountain surrounds. This is truly one of the world’s most spectacular natural landscapes. Stroll through the serene forests of Ulva Island and catch a glimpse of some of the country’s most iconic birds. Explore historic Dunedin with its rich blend of both Māori and Scottish heritage. At days end, return to Coral Adventurer and indulge in New Zealand’s renowned produce and wine. An expedition by small ship is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the remote wonders of the New Zealand coast.

  • Cruise past Solander Island, a trio of uninhabited volcanic islets with rare wildlife, ferns, orchids, and birds such as Buller’s albatross, Fiordland crested penguins, and tomtits
  • Explore Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site with 14 fiords carved by glaciers over thousands of years. Our voyage visits the iconic Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds over three epic days
  • Take a guided tour or enjoy time to yourself in Dunedin, a city settled in and around an ancient volcanic crater, with rich Scottish and Māori heritage and unique cathedrals and architecture
  • Stroll through the quiet forests of Ulva Island to spot New Zealand’s iconic birds, including the Stewart Island Weka, South Island Saddleback, Yellow-and Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki) and Rifleman (New Zealand’s smallest bird)
  • Visit Kaikoura, renowned as amongst the best whale watching destinations in the world to sight the breaching sperm whales
  • Enjoy a special Christmas at sea as we sail by Solander Island and ring in the New Year with a memorable day in Akaroa, a small and scenic settlement with a unique French heritage

Itinerary

Coral Expeditions_Fiordland and The South Coast_Wellington_Bluff_10 & 12 Nights

CA

Enjoy a complimentary transfer by coach from Queenstown check-in to board at 4:00pm at Bluff, New Zealand. There is time to settle into your stateroom before our 5:00pm departure towards Dusky Sound cruising past Solander Island. Spend the day exploring Coral Adventurer and all her facilities. Take in the sights while enjoying Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow passengers.

Solander Island

On our day at sea, we will cruise past Solander Island. The Solander Islands, with the Māori name Hautere translating to ‘flying wind’, are a trio of uninhabited volcanic islets that lie just beyond New Zealand’s South Island. Aboard the Endeavour, Captain James Cook spotted the islands in early 1770, and was named after a Swedish scientific crew member on board, Daniel Solander. The islands have only been known to be inhabited briefly due to marooning or shipwreck.

With one third of the wildlife on the islands being incredibly rare, the bulk of the species include ferns and orchids along with Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki), Weka, Buller’s albatross, Fiordland crested penguins, and tomtits. These islands are being declared an Important Bird Area as it is a breeding site for common diving petrels and Buller’s albatrosses amassing some 5000 pairs. The area is well-known for whale migration with sightings of extraordinarily large sperm whales.

Dusky Sound

Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site once described as the Eighth Wonder of the World by author Rudyard Kipling, 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 Māori 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 sheet 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 also encounter the fur seals of Luncheon Cove.

Milford

This afternoon, we enter Milford Sound / Piopiotahi to a world-famous view of Mitre Peak, rising some 1,682 meters. Its triangular silhouette rises opposite beautiful Stirling Falls, falling from the top of a 162m high cliff between two towering ridges into the inky dark water. You may have a chance to feel the spray from the waterfall – according to Māori legend, it will make you ten years younger! The steep overhanging cliffs are awe-inspiring as we cruise to Harrison Cove, where an ancient glacier entered the fiord, and visit Bowen Falls.

Doubtful

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 and into Te Awa-o-Tū / Thomson Sound. You may spot fur seals lounging on the rocks, pods of dolphins, and the Fiordland penguin.

Stewart Island

Known in Māori 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.

Spend two days interacting with local communities, exploring national parks, and spotting some of the endemic and endangered local wildlife.

Dunedin

Dunedin, settled in and around an ancient volcanic crater, is known for its Scottish and Māori 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 we will be welcomed with sights of the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a colony of the rare, yellow-eyed penguin. There will be a choice of included excursions with local operators – choose between a coach tour of the Otago Peninsula or Dunedin City Highlights. Alternatively, take time to explore the city at your leisure: Visit the famous Speight’s Brewery, art gallery, or New Zealand’s oldest botanic gardens.

Akaroa

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, choose between two included excursions: a harbour cruise to spot marine wildlife, or a tour to visit the world’s largest colony of little penguins at Pohatu Bay, with the chance to learn more about the conservation efforts that are protecting them. A variety of short walks are available into the surrounding nature reserves, guided by our expedition team.

Surrounded by the breathtaking snow-dusted Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, the picturesque town of Kaikoura is 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 Sperm Whale. Aboard our Xplorer tender vessels, explore the ocean in search of these amazing mammals, as well as fur seals, dusky and Hector’s dolphins and other migratory whales.

Kaikoura means ‘to eat crayfish’, and you may have the opportunity to taste the seafood available here. You will also have the opportunity to walk through this small town to visit the museums, galleries, and cafes, before joining the expedition team on a guided walk over the peninsula to marvel at the spectacular scenery.

marlborough

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.

Anchor at historic Ship Cove on your first morning here, before spending the day exploring Queen Charlotte Sound. Over the next two 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. Be 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, where informative storyboards tell of Captain Cook’s time here.

Wellington

This morning, as we arrive into Wellington, farewell Coral Adventurer, crew, and new-found friends as we disembark. A complimentary post-cruise transfers to the airport or CBD will be available.

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.



Fares & Availability

Bridge-Deck-Suite---Coral-Adventurer

Bridge Deck Balcony Suite

Private Balcony - 55.8m2

Last Stateroom

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 21.4m2

Fully Booked
Explorer-Deck-Stateroom---Coral-Adventurer

Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 21.4m2

Available

Promenade Deck Stateroom

Picture Window - 17m2

Available

Coral Deck Stateroom

Porthole Window - 17m2

Available
Book this Departure

Prices are per person twin share, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD).  Booking Terms & Conditions >
For solo traveller rates see our Solo Traveller Program.


Additional Information

Inclusions:

  • All excursions with our Expedition Team
  • Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and Kayaks
  • Daily lectures and briefings with Guest Lecturers
  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
  • Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
  • 24-hour barista-style coffee and tea station
  • All entrance fees to National Parks, ports, traditional owner fees and charges imposed by governing authorities
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Use of all onboard facilities, incl. a reference library
  • Expedition diary, along with a photo and video gallery documenting the highlights of your voyage
  • Post-cruise transfers (in most destinations)

Not Included:

  • Pre-cruise transfers
  • Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
  • Pre and post cruise accommodation
  • Travel Insurance
  • Entry visas & travel permits for the country you are travelling to/from
  • Alcoholic drinks (including beer and wine) outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Internet services (available at a cost)
  • Laundry service (available at a cost)
  • Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
  • Optional Extras (in some destinations)

OTHER INFORMATION

Coral Adventurer carries a maximum of 120 guests, delivering Coral Expeditions’ renowned warm Australian hospitality, intimate onboard atmosphere, and world-class expedition experience.  More About Coral Geographer >

Travel Insurance is not included in your cruise fare. We highly recommend all guests to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with remote area evacuation coverage. Please refer to our Pre-Cruise Checklist page for facts that should be considered and shared when speaking with Travel Insurance suppliers regarding travel insurance.

At Coral Expeditions dining is a celebration of great food and good company enjoyed in extraordinary destinations. People and place are key to enjoyable dining experiences, where food becomes the vehicle for conversation and creating memorable occasions.

We now offer two wine selections that guests may purchase in addition to our new house selection of wines. These packages showcase contemporary choices of Australian wines and French Champagne. More About Cuisine & Wine >

  • A Taste of Australia Selection | 6 Bottles | $280.00
  • Connoisseur Selection | 6 Bottles | $400.00

Our Cruise Collection Merchandise including expedition gear is also available for purchase in our onboard gift shop. View our Cruise Collection here >

When it comes time for the exciting time of packing for your cruise, our packing lists are available to assist you. More specific information regarding weather conditions in your destination will be included in your Cruise Documentation which you will receive prior to your cruise.

Find your New Zealand packing list here.

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 Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Akaroa and Stewart Island.

An alternative excursion will always be offered in place of higher impact walks. The Expedition Team will advise walking conditions and requirements prior to each excursion. Should you have any physical limitations or mobility issues, please notify our reservations team in advance prior to your departure.

Please ensure your passport has at least 6 months validity from the time the expedition commences, and two blank pages. Please email a scanned colour copy of your passport identification page to our team at [email protected] no later than 45 days prior to your departure.

Important: Please bring your physical passport with you on all international departures.

The travel advice information below is for Australian guests only. If you are an non-Australian passport holder travelling on these departures, please contact your relevant government department, embassy or your travel agent for applicable information.
Travelling guests are fully responsible for arranging their own health and visa requirements to travel abroad. Further information will be provided closer to departure.

Wellington Post Cruise Transfer: A complimentary transfer is provided to CBD hotels or the airport. We recommend allowing sufficient time to arrive for your flight in the event of any delays in disembarkation.

Travelling guests are fully responsible for arranging their own health and visa requirements to travel abroad.  We recommend referring to the Smart Traveller website for New Zealand here. Please see your doctor or travel clinic to plan any vaccinations you may need at least 8 weeks before you leave.

We do not have currency exchange onboard. Guests are advised to exchange money into local currency prior to departure from their home port. Currency exchange and eftpos style point of sale is increasingly available in the regions we visit. We recommend carrying small denominations.

New Zealand: New Zealand Dollars (NZD)

  • The Penguin History of New Zealand – Michael King
  • The Bone People – Keri Hulme
  • Stewart Island: A Rakiura Ramble – Neville Peat
  • The Quest for Origins – K.R. Howe
  • Vaka Moana – Voyages of the Ancestors: The Discovery and Settlement of the Pacific – K.R. Howe
  • To the Is-land – Janet Frame
  • Journals of James Cook – Penguin paperback edition

We want to ensure that your journey with us is smooth and hassle-free. To help you prepare for your cruise, refer to our Pre-Cruise Checklist for more detailed information on the milestones leading up to your voyage.

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