Board the Coral Discoverer in Wellington this evening. As you depart, enjoy spectacular views of New Zealand’s scenic capital city as you your way along the islands of the Cook Strait. Meet your fellow travelers, the Captain, and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome cocktail hour.
Explore an array of spectacular waterways, including the fjord-like Queen Charlotte Sound. Retrace the history of Captain Cook and visit Ships Cove, a regular stop on his voyage of discovery. The day offers a multitude of explorations aboard the Xplorer and inflatable Zodiacs under the guidance of your Expedition Leader. Visit Moturoa Island and enjoy an abundance of birdlife. Bid farewell to the dark hills and blue-green waters of the Sounds with an evening cruise through the scenic Tory Channel.
The scenic coastal town of Kaikoura, renowned as one of the world’s best destinations for whalewatching, is one of few places where it is possible to view the giant Sperm Whale in its natural environment. Join a special cruise to discover these majestic mammals, along with Fur Seals, dolphins and other migratory whales, an experience never to be forgotten. Stroll around the pretty coastal town before reboarding Coral Discoverer and continuing your journey south.
Cruise into secluded Akaroa Harbour, a very scenic village nestled in the heart of an active volcano. Stroll through the village to discover its French history, cozy cafes and excellent craft stores. Enjoy optional shore excursions and hope to swim with one of the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world: the Hector’s or New Zealand Dolphin.
Cruising past the world’s largest mainland albatross colony at Tairoa Heads, which is also the home of the world’s rarest penguin, the Yellow Eyed Penguin. Dunedin offers a great diversity of experiences, varying from its abundant wildlife to the historic Edwardian and Victorian architecture, the Otakou Maori Marae, the famous Speights Brewery, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Settlers Museum and New Zealand’s oldest botanical gardens. Enjoy a full day ashore and explore at your own pace.
Discover the natural delights and scenic beauty of Stewart Island, a large island which is almost entirely wilderness. The island is home to a vast number of seals, birds and other wildlife. Land at Paterson Inlet and join a guided walk to encounter native birds such as the Weka, Tui, Bellbird, Kaka, and New Zealand’s iconic national bird, the kiwi. Unlike other species of kiwis, the Stewart Island Kiwi is active both during the day and night and is often seen foraging on the beach for sandhoppers and other insects.
Experience Fiordland National Park as you enter Dusky Sound. Spend the day in awe of the spectacular and dramatic wilderness as you cruise amongst the sheer cliffs and tumbling waterfalls of this beautiful landscape. Enjoy the view from the Coral Discoverer or choose to explore the inlets from Xplorer or zodiacs. Continuing northward, anchor for the evening at the entrance to spectacular Doubtful Sound.
Awaken to the magnificent scenery of Doubtful Sound. The deepest of the sounds, Doubtful Sound was named by Captain Cook in 1770 and is often described as Fiordland’s most spectacular waterway. Join guest lecturers aboard Xplorer as you cruise amongst the towering peaks and explore a maze of hidden waterways, home to myriad marine and bird life. This evening, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail as you make your way to world-famous Milford Sound, your final stop on this memorable journey.
Savor breakfast as your ship cruises the dramatic 14 mile length of Milford Sound. The calm waters of the sound mirror the sheer peaks that rise all around, including the instantly recognizable Mitre Peak, towering some 5,250 feet above the water. At 8:00 AM, disembark in Milford Sound and bid farewell to the Captain and crew. Join your chartered coach for the drive through Fiordland National Park and along the shores of Lake Te Anau before arriving in Queenstown. Enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery and pass through the remarkable 3,940 foot long Homer Tunnel, a fantastic way to conclude your journey exploring 'the land of the long white cloud.'