This is a fascinating place to visit as there is continuous thermal activity on the surface of the island, with boiling pools, pot holes of sulphuric acid, steam and natural gas vents.
Located 48km offshore, White island has built up over 15,000 years of ongoing volcanic activity. About 70 percent of the volcano remains under the sea, making this massive volcanic structure the largest in New Zealand.
After a Zodiac transfer we will don our safety equipment and explore the slopes of White Island Volcano.
The regional feature is the town of Napier, famous for its concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco. Almost leveled by an earthquake in 1931, Napier rebuilt and today has one of the most outstanding collections of 1930's architecture to be seen anywhere in the world. This is a living film set where you can step back in time to an elegant era.
To take advantage of the intriguing Art Deco architecture that makes Napier so special, a guided Art Deco walk will be included for all Orion guests today.
Optional Excursion: Napier Gannet Safari ($125), Napier Big Picture Wine Experience ($60)
For centuries, Marlborough has offered safe harbour to travellers. First to Maori traders and war parties; then to European explorers, such as Captain James Cook and Dumont D'Urville; and now Orion guests seeking new landscapes and rejuvenating experiences.
This relaxed sojourn will provide opportunistic Zodiac exploration and landings, including historic Ship Cove (Endeavour Inlet) where Captain James Cook was based for a period during his 1770 voyage, and Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary.
Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary is predator free making it a bird-lovers paradise with blue penguins, kereru, bellbirds, yellow-crowned parakeets (kakariki), South Island saddleback, bellbirds and South Island robins encountered along the trail during your guided walk to the top for the amazing view across Cook Strait to the North Island.
A gentle stroll around the village will reveal fascinating colonial architecture, interesting craft stores to explore and intimate cafés - perfect for reflection and contemplation. The beautiful harbour, home to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hectors Dolphin, dominates the landscape.
The Otago region was settled by Maori's over four centuries ago, with Scottish migrants establishing a small town in 1848. After gold was discovered Dunedin rapidly developed to (then) become New Zealand's biggest city and the country's industrial and commercial heart, with many ornate heritage buildings dating from this period still standing today. It was the first city outside the to have its own tram system. The Botanic Gardens, New Zealand's first, are located at the northern end of the city on the lower slopes of Signal Hill.
Orion will make her way along the sheltered eastern coast of Stewart Island (Rakiura), 96% of which is designated as Rakiura National Park. We will anchor in Paterson Inlet to visit the quaint fishing village of Oban in Halfmoon Bay with its art and craft shops and the wildlife sanctuary on Ulva Island.
Optional Excursions: Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary Guided Walk, Oban Village & Bay Tour, please contact us for rates.
At 421 metres depth, Doubtful is the deepest of these fiords. Exuding a peaceful serenity it is sometimes called “the Sound of Silence”. Abundant in both flora and fauna, these fiordlands are renowned for their excellent dolphin and seal viewing opportunities, either from Orion or onboard one of Orion's Zodiacs. Fiordland Crested Penguins are often seen on many of the small islets at the entrance of the fiord and at Nee Islets there is a fur seal colony.
Doubtful and Dusky both include spectacular ship based cruising as Orion winds her way through the fiords. Due to strict national park controls Zodiac cruising is tightly monitored but does allow us to include a cruise and a landing at Astronomer’s Point where a short walk is possible.
Along with the festivities onboard, Orion guests will enjoy amazing ship based and Zodiac cruising which will allow you to fully explore the famous Milford Sound.