Situated midway up the east coast of Australia is Brisbane, capital city of Queensland. With the Gold Coast beaches to the south and the Sunshine Coast to the north, Brisbane is well situated to commence your Orion journey and it is well worth arriving a few days prior to enjoy the city and surrounds.
Norfolk Island is rich in History and Culture from Captain Cook's discovery in 1774 to modern times. When the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in January 1788, Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of fifteen convicts and seven free men to take control of the island and prepare for its commercial development. They arrived on 6 March 1788.
Although much of the land has been cleared for cropping and pasture, the once-dominant Norfolk Island pines remain a notable feature of the landscape. The island has a wide variety of flora and fauna including geckos, bats, turtles, plentiful fish and many seabird species.
Before European colonization, most of Norfolk Island was covered with subtropical rain forest, the canopy of which was made of Norfolk Island Pine. Historic attractions include museums, the penal settlement and the culture arising from the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives, who settled on Norfolk after the mutiny of the HMS Bounty.
On the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand you will enjoy a fine taste of Aotearoa. Here a coastline of bays and white sandy beaches embraces a sea dotted with 150 islands. The Maoris believe that the Bay of Islands was originally discovered by their legendary navigator Kupe. This is where the Maoris first arrived, and not so long ago was a base for whalers, sealers and sailors, preparing the way for a fusing of Maori and European culture.
Today Orion guests can explore the picturesque Bay of Islands town of Russell at your leisure, or join a guided historic tour of the township. This tour offers an insight into New Zealand’s earliest European history all in one memorable hour. Russell was originally named Kororareka by a Maori chief, it was renamed in 1844 and the town is very conscious of its unique heritage.
Today Russell is a peaceful retreat with an old world charm - though it bristles in summer with vacationers, and crewmen from yachts and launches anchored off shore. This area is also famously known as being the home of the Treaty of Waitangi, the first official agreement between Maori and the British. A Zodiac transfer will be available to Waitangi (on the opposite side of the bay to Russell) for those who would like to visit this historic site.
In the Maori language Auckland is known as Tamaki Makau Rau, the city of 100 lovers, having earned the name because it was a place desired by all and conquered by many. The setting is spectacular, the city being nestled upon three harbours - the Waitemata, the Manukau and the Kaipara. Don't miss the chance to dine out in Auckland as the city has perfected the style of cuisine called "Pacific Rim", blending Asian and Pacific flavours. Seafood features prominently on restaurant menus so be sure to try New Zealand green lipped mussels and succulent Clevedon Coast oysters - all matched with an excellent New Zealand wine.