Day 1 Auckland, New Zealand | Embark
Auckland is New Zealand's largest, most populated and busiest city. Located on an isthmus linking the peninsula of Northland to the expansive North Island, it seems to float between land and sea. It is one of ﾠthe few cities in the world to have two separate harbors. Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. The 328 meter-high Sky Tower offers splendid views of the city. Surrounded by dormant volcanoes such as Mt Eden, Auckland is noted for its abundant nature and magnificent black-sand beaches. A blend of Maori, European and Asian cultures give the city a vibrant atmosphere.
Day 2 Tauranga
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located to the north of Rotorua, Tauranga stretches the length of the Bay of Plenty, sheltered from the ocean by the island of Matakana. This coastal city boasts a flourishing economy thanks to its port and is a pleasant and pretty town with a peaceful, relaxed feel. The seafront area is contemporary and lively, dotted with cafés and restaurants. The town center reveals more picturesque charms, while the surrounding area is packed full of natural delights. Travel on to the town of Rotorua to visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland: a fantastic opportunity to experience an absolutely exceptional geothermal phenomenon.
ROTORUA THERMAL WONDERLAND
Join your coach and travel across the countryside for approximately 90 minutes from Tauranga to Rotorua towards Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Wai-O-Tapu (meaning “Sacred Waters”) is a world of its own - nestled in a natural bush setting, it has been sculptured over thousands of years by volcanic activity. With safety and the environment in mind, clearly defined tracks make up a series of walks. Visitors are provided with a detailed colored guide map, which identifies the walks and provides easily understood information on each of the unique volcanic features and vistas. During your walk, see the brilliantly colored “Champagne Pool”, renowned for its size, color, and texture, as well as steaming ground, huge volcanic craters, hot and cold colored springs. The Devil's Bath, the last feature before returning to the Visitor Centre, has a watercolor that has to be seen to be believed.
Reboard your tour coach and travel to Te Puia. Te Puia is home to the internationally renowned spouting Pohutu geyser and boasts silica terraces, pools of boiling mud and dramatic steam vents. Enjoy an exclusive Maori performance in their sacred meeting house, and witness their culture and traditions regarding visitors to their land. The performance includes the world-famous haka, a war dance designed to frighten an enemy and intricate hand games that are used to train young warriors.
Then, enjoy canape's whilst overlooking the world famous Pohutu Geyser, before making your way to your Maori inspired lunch. After lunch, enjoy some time visiting Te Puia's Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. Here, the students learn skills ranging from carving to weaving, along with creating flax skirts and patterned bodices, and you can see all this at close hand.
Day 3 White Island
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located in the Bay of Plenty, White Island is an active volcano which has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. It is possible to walk inside the main crater and experience nature's immense power, as gas and steam burst up from far below the Earth's crust. The smell of sulfur and the noise of steam emanating from the many fumaroles makes for an amazing sensory experience. The island has also been identified as an important bird area because of its breeding colony of Australasian Gannets. Depending on the level of volcanic activity and sea state, guests have an opportunity to land on White Island and take a guided walking tour through the crater and around the ruins of the old sulfur mine.
Day 4 Napier
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the east coast of North Island, south of Hawke’s Bay, find Napier. Mostly destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, reviving from its ashes in less than two years, it grew into a magnificent Art Deco style city, very in-vogue at the time. With its pure lines mixed with traditional Maori designs, the singular New Zealand character of this city intrigues you. Discover all this extraordinary architectural heritage as you take a stroll the city. Wine lovers are able to taste some of the best wines from the region, which is famous for its vineyards.
CAPE KIDNAPPERS & GANNETS
Begin your excursion with a drive down Napier’s beautiful Marine Parade with its stand of tall Norfolk pines. Continue along the Hawke’s Bay coast to Cape Kidnappers Station. From there, the unpaved road crosses rolling pastures, riverbeds and gullies. Stop just a few yards from the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, affording a close-up look at the birds. The gannet is a member of the booby family and is easily recognized by its distinctive black eye markings and pale gold crown. The birds arrive here at the colony in the latter part of July, and their chicks hatch in late November and December. Migration begins again in March. You can see gannets swooping and diving into the sea for food, while others preen themselves or perform the ritual dance of recognition. Cape Kidnappers is one of only two known mainland gannet colonies in the world. Following your gannet-watching experience, on the way back to the farm, enjoy light refreshments. Then relax for the 30-minute journey back to Napier with an orientation drive and a stroll through the Art Deco district, en route to your ship.
Met at the port of Napier by your Maori guide, and your tour begins with a 1-hour drive along the picturesque roads, fertile farmland, orchards, and vineyards.
As you approach the coastal village of Waimarama, the dramatic coastal landscape appears with breath-taking views of the island Motu O Kura, which sits just off the coast of Waimarama in the Pacific Ocean. Learn about its legend and its importance to the local Maori. Upon disembarking the coach and after a comfort stop, you can hear the sound of the conch shell signaling to the “home people” that you have arrived. The warrior can place a peace offering on the ground which is accepted by your elected chief. Your group must meet the warrior’s challenge before you can be greeted into the outdoor arena of the “Arch of the Ancestors” by the “home people”, and participate in the moving and powerful customs of the greeting ceremony.
Day 5 Wellington
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crowned with gentle green hills, Wellington harbor is located in the far south of North Island. This city offers a charming pell-mell of traditional and modern cultures, bestowing on the New Zealand capital, a unique atmosphere, at once friendly and avant-guard. Where some sites, like the large National Te Papa Tongarewa museum, reflect the city’s Maori past, others, like the many cafés and restaurants, affirm the inhabitants’ incredible lust for life.
WELLINGTON CITY SIGHTS
Enjoy the best of Wellington on this scenic tour. Leaving the port, make your way to the Wellington Botanical Garden. Over 64 acres (26 ha) of unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colorful floral displays and gorgeous specialist gardens. Visit the Duck Pond, Begonia House or the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Many paths to choose from. Start at Kelburn Station and meander through the garden and meet your coach at the Founders (Main) Entrance.
Continue on your scenic tour, taking in Wellington's impressive Parliament Buildings, known as the Beehive (photo stop). Your route also takes you past Wellington Cathedral before arriving at the former Old St Paul Cathedral. This traditional looking former parish church with its stunning stained glass windows and the carved oak pulpit is constructed entirely from New Zealand native timbers.
Have a brief stop here before continuing to Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's innovative and interactive museum, located on Wellington's spectacular waterfront. With your knowledgeable Museum host, explore the great treasures and stories of this country, it's unique environment, the vitality of Maori culture and its dynamic art heritage. With the combination of latest technology and classic storytelling, Te Papa educates, entertains and inspires. The Maori words “Te Papa Tongarewa” can be translated to mean “a container in which precious objects are held”. Have a 60-minute guided tour to discover the hidden treasures, or you can choose to stay here and return to the ship on your own.
After being completely closed for five years while constructing New Zealand's largest wind farm, access has been granted to Terawhiti Station. From the ship, embark your coach for the 30-minute drive to the farm. En route, travel past the Beehive and Parliament buildings, Botanic Gardens and Zealandia on your way to the suburb of Karori. Then it's off the main road and into Wellington's best scenery. Travel through the farm in air-conditioned vehicles, with guaranteed forward facing seats, and plenty of photo opportunities!
What can see along the way:
New Zealand Fur Seals: Stop for refreshments at a seal colony. While numbers fluctuate, seals are guaranteed year-round.
Wind Turbines: You travel through New Zealand's largest wind farm. Get right up to the towering 367 feet (111 m) turbines, harnessing the wind to generate clean, renewable electricity.
Terawhiti Farm, one of the North Island's largest farms and has been in the same family since 1850. Learn about the fascinating history of the area and its connections to Wellington. There are over 3,000 wild goats on the property
Great views: from Tinakori Hill, lookout over the city and harbor.
Visit where the power cable comes across the Cook Strait and joins the North to the South Island. Also, learn about the local Maori history of this area.
Day 6 Picton
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A must-see entry point to South Island, Picton is a little coastal town girded by gentle hills, located on the south side of the Queen Charlotte inlet. The cafés and restaurants which border the charming waterfront give a very lovely view of the fjord. You can also decide to get some height above sea level and walk in the surrounding areas. However, Picton is above all an opportunity to explore the unique Marlborough fjords. This interweave of submerged valleys, making numerous different navigable routes are among the most beautiful natural wonders of New Zealand.
QUEEN CHARLOTTE SOUND CRUISE
The Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island are one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in New Zealand. Richly endowed with jewels of natural beauty, this intricate maze of waterways with its attractive beaches and lush greenery provides the perfect nature experience.
Your excursion starts with a 30-minute coach ride to Picton Marina, where you board a catamaran and travel through Queen Charlotte Sounds. Take in the natural beauty and tranquillity of this fantastic area and enjoy a commentary on the history of Marlborough Sounds and the pioneering people who have settled here over six generations. Among the variety of wildlife, you may see terns, shags, blue penguins, and even dolphins and seals. The skipper points these out as you cruise the Queen Charlotte Sounds.
During your journey, pass by a Salmon Farm and learn how this world-class product is grown in the Marlborough Sounds. Depending on the sea conditions, guests may have the opportunity to step onto the Salmon Farm and feed the fish. Marlborough is the Greenshell Mussel capital of the world, see what a Greenshell Mussel farm is and your boat captain explains why this delicacy grows so well in the Marlborough Sounds.
Continue your cruise and enjoy a tasting of local salmon products served as nibbles and also try some fresh steamed NZ Greensheel Mussels which is matched with a crisp glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
MARLBOROUGH AVIATION, HISTORY & SIGHTS
Marlborough is known as New Zealand’s Gourmet Province and is the nation’s leading producer of fine wines, garlic, olives, cherries, salmon, and mussels. Today, you will see the best of what this sunny region has to offer. From Picton, travel through the rich farmlands of the Koromiko Valley to Blenheim, the main town of the Marlborough province. Start with a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, a stunning complex best described as a movie set with amazing exhibits of World War I aircraft skilfully brought to life. Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre houses a display like no other, and you don’t have to be an aviation buff to enjoy it! Human stories from the Great War come to life in a theatrical treatment, which is innovative and visually stunning. Captivating scenes depict the aircraft in context, some recreating actual incidents. The rare memorabilia are worthy of any national collection and range from beautifully crafted “trench art” through to personal items belonging to the famous Red Baron himself.
Then it’s time to go and visit Forrest Estate. The estate’s Marlborough winery and tasting room are nestled in amongst the vineyards in the heart of Sauvignon Blanc country, just outside of the town of Renwick. At the entrance to Forrest, wines stand a prominent stone wall built of the very stones that come from the surrounding area of the Wairau Valley. Beyond the wall, the driveway winds through the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vineyard, over the small stone bridge, and into a beautiful park setting, with willow trees and a duck pond. The winery prides itself on providing informative discussions about its wines, winemaking, and the region. Your time here includes a premium tasting with a winemaker, plus a hosted walk in the vines (weather permitting) before leaving this tranquil area and heading back to the ship.
Return to Picton via Spring Creek and Tuamarina. Head through to Rarangi beach and enjoy a slow walk along the beach at Rarangi on the rugged coast of Cloudy Bay. Walk over to Monkey Bay an easy 10-minute walk where you can have fantastic sweeping views down the coastline.
QUEEN CHARLOTTE CRUISE & WALK
Enjoy a bush hike of approximately one and a half hour on an easy to moderate trail. Your excursion begins with a 15-minute walk to the wharf, from where you take a 45-minute cruise across the Queen Charlotte Sound. Cruise across to Mistletoe Bay. Your 1 ½-hour walking tour follows a trail which loops around a peninsula with spectacular coastal views. The loop is part of the renowned Queen Charlotte Track system that attracts visitors from all over the world.
The trail leads through regenerating native forest, with some large stands of tree ferns, manuka and beech trees. Some sections may be somewhat steep, rough or muddy therefore strong footwear is necessary. The song of native birds is the only sound to disturb the peaceful surroundings. Nearby you can be able to venture into a fully protected “James Vogel” reserve section of native rainforest to experience what the forest on the peninsula can be like in hundreds of years to come.
On your return journey, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit while exploring some secluded bays only accessible by boat.
Day 7 At Sea
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they are able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 8-9 Milford Sound fjord | Doubtful Sound | Dusky Sound
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Milford Sound fjord is among one of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand. So much beauty quite simply take your breath away. Located on the south-west coast of South Island, in the Fiordland National Park, this sumptuous inlet carved out by glaciers advances over at least 15 kilometers inland, in the Southern Alps. Majestic cliffs seem to surge out of the dark waters, rising several hundred meters high: an abrupt relief from where impressive waterfalls cascade.
Day 10 Dunedin, New Zealand | Disembark
Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest city and is often referred to as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. This city of the south wears its Scottish heritage with pride. The city contains some of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The picturesque Silverpeaks hinterland to the North West provides a picturesque backdrop and The Otago Peninsula, which lies within the city boundaries, has internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross. Disembark after breakfast and continue your independent trip back home.