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Coastal beauty of Dunedin

Southern Odyssey

Auckland to Dunedin - Example 20 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Navigate New Zealand’s verdant coastlines to encounter pristine beaches, quiet coves, and waters filled with whales, dolphins, and seals. The soaring peaks and countless waterfalls of the country’s dazzling fjords are at their jaw-dropping best in Fiordlands National Park, where you'll spend two days exploring Milford Sound and Dusky Sound. Step into an ancient rainforest, stunning national parks, and fragrant botanical gardens; learn about Maori history and culture and tour cosmopolitan cities. Explore the subantarctic islands: teeming with pelagic seabirds and animals and plants found nowhere else in the world, they burst with thousands of seals and millions of penguins. This unforgettable journey introduces you to the flora, fauna, cultures, and stunning landscapes of New Zealand. 
Visit beautiful AucklandSeal relaxing on shoreObserve beautiful fur sealsExperience the local culture of New Zealand.Explore the stunning Milford SoundA quiet morning near DunedinCoastal beauty of Dunedin
Highlights
  • Discover the history and dynamic culture of the Maori people of New Zealand
  • Explore the stunning fjords and waterfalls of Fiordlands National Park
  • Watch vibrant wildlife, especially seabirds, on sub-Antarctic islands
  • Spot unique species on excursions with expert naturalist guides
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Auckland, New Zealand

Arrive in Auckland, where we check in to our hotel. Join us for a welcome briefing this evening to meet your fellow travelers.

Day 2: Auckland, New Zealand | Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour of this vibrant city center. We’ll stop for lunch midday before embarking National Geographic Orion in the late afternoon.

Day 3-4: Exploring Coastal New Zealand

As we continue south along the North Island’s verdant coast, we let nature guide us as your Captain and Expedition Leader choose our next site for exploration.

Day 5: Gisborne, New Zealand

Today we delve into the cultural riches of Gisborne – the site of the first European landing place in New Zealand in 1769. The city’s warm, sun-filled climate reflects its disposition and complements its rich soils, bountiful islands, miles of sandy beaches and resource-rich oceans. Visit a local Marae and gain insight into the history and culture of the people of this region. In the afternoon, discover the greenery of a local arboretum, and cap the day off with a wine tour and tasting.

Day 6: Napier, New Zealand

Spend the morning getting to know Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. Choose to discover the city’s unique architecture on an art tour, or leave the city behind and join us on a Gannet Safari Tour where we’ll have close encounters at a large Australasian gannet colony.

Day 7: Abel Tasman National Park

Today we arrive at the South Island of New Zealand where golden beaches and dense rainforests border the snow-capped Southern Alps. We begin discovering this stunning island in Abel Tasman National Park, exploring on hikes and walks with our naturalists. 

Day 8: At Sea

Spend the day at sea as we sail south toward Fiordland National Park.

Day 9-10: Fiordlands National Park, New Zealand

Over the course of two days we will explore Fiordland National Park, home to fourteen individual fiords. Here we’ll discover hundreds-meter high waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and we’ll hope for a glimpse of the Sounds’ resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and penguins. Explore beautiful Milford Sound and Dusky Sound. 

Day 11: Snares Islands, New Zealand

Located south of the New Zealand mainland in the remote Southern Ocean, today we begin our exploration of the wild and beautiful sub-Antarctic islands. These remote islands play host to abundant and unique wildlife, with many species of birds, plants and invertebrates found nowhere else in the world. Two small rocky islands, North East and Broughton, comprise The Snares, the closest subantarctic islands to New Zealand. The islands are covered with heavy tussock grass and wind-beaten forests of tree daisies. The Snares are home to huge numbers of breeding birds: the 99 recorded species include albatross, Antarctic terns and Snares crested penguins.

Day 12-13: Auckland Islands, New Zealand

Spend the next several incredible days discovering New Zealand and Australia’s subantarctic islands and their surrounding waters—the entire marine landscape designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have special permission to explore these strictly regulated islands, which are protected at the highest level of conservation status by the New Zealand government, and considered “bird central” among top ornithologists around the world. Keeping a flexible weather-dependent schedule, we plan to explore several intriguing islands.

The Auckland Islands are the largest of New Zealand’s subantarctic islands, with the richest flora, prolific birdlife, and an interesting human history. Conditions permitting, we cruise in Zodiacs to Enderby Island to view a large New Zealand sea lion colony with pups all jostling for position. If we are fortunate, we may see rare yellow-eyed penguins as they move to and from their nests in the forests beyond the beach.

Day 14-15: Macquarie Island, New Zealand

We will spend two days at remote Macquarie Island, a protectorate of Australia and a World Heritage site. Macquarie is home to a large variety of wildlife, including thousands of seals and millions of penguins. Four species of penguin breed here. The endemic royal penguin has a population estimated at 850,000. Gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins also breed here. And imagine landing on a single beach with 100,000 pairs of king penguins, the third largest such colony in the world!

Day 16: At Sea

With whales beneath and birds above, our time at sea between islands presents an opportunity to head up to the bridge to spot marine life and watch the calm business of navigation. Or spend these days enjoying the ship’s spa, and fitness center. Take some time to browse the library or play a board game in the glass-enclosed observation lounge. And listen to a variety of engaging talks from our staff, including photo talks.

Day 17-18: Campbell Island Group, New Zealand

  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
A large island, surrounded by 4 smaller islands and innumerable rocks and islets, the Campbell Island group is officially the southernmost territory of New Zealand. Covered with endemic grasses and thick vegetation and boasting steep terrain, Campbell is dramatic and beautiful. Here we will find six species of albatross, an endemic duck (the Campbell Island teal), and an endemic snipe, as well as numerous songbirds and sea birds who breed on the island. Three species of penguin also make their home on here, and southern right whales breed in the surrounding waters.

Day 19: Stewart Island, New Zealand

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Stewart Island, known in Maori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Today we’ll explore the island’s rare native birdlife as well as it’s well preserved podocarp forest. In the afternoon, discover Stewart Island’s nearby neighbor, Ulva Island, where we’ll hike with naturalists to discover its unspoiled rainforest.

Day 20: Dunedin, New Zealand | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Today we disembark on New Zealand’s South Island in Dunedin, known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Have breakfast aboard before transferring to the airport for flights home.

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Orion

Keep in shape in the exercise room aboard the National Geographic Orion
The National Geographic Orion is sleek and at your service
The lovely National Geographic Orion

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$30,250 2-3 travelers
Rates are subject to change without notice. Book early to get the best rate.
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1
Cat 1 #316, 318-321. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
Your  Category B Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 1 Single
Cat 1S #301, 322, 323. These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, except for #301 which has a double bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a roomy shower stall with a glass door.
A Category A Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 2
Cat 2 #302-312, 314, 315, 317. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized, and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
A lovely category 3 suite on the National Geographic Oion
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Category 3
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419. These suites feature a sitting area with a large window, a sofa–except slightly smaller #401 & #402–an armchair or two, writing/laptop desk, reading lamps, flat screen TV, & climate controls. Beds are configurable (call for details). Marble bathrooms include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512. This solo suite features two beds and two large windows, plus two armchairs and small table, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls. The marble bathroom is generously sized and includes a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Cat 4 Deluxe Suite with Window #511, 515. These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a chair and armchair and a two-cushion sofa facing an expansive window. Beds are configurable (call for details). Ample storage, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities.
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Cat 5 Suite with French Balcony #501, 503-506, 508. These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors opening to a shared French balcony. Beds are configurable (call for details.) A sitting area with arm chairs and a sofa, a writing/laptop desk, well-placed reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the decor.
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Cat 6 Owner’s Suite with French Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510. These large, elegant suites feature a French balcony, with the exception of #509 which has double windows. Each provides a separate living area with a sofa and two arm chairs, except for #502, which uniquely offers a 'soaking tub with a view' in addition to a shower stall and expansive vanity.

Notes

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available but is subject to availability.
Included
  • 19 Breakfasts, 18 Lunches, 18 Dinners
  • 18 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Assistance by the onboard National Geographic Photography Expert
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the ship. We are also pleased to offer a selection of super premium wines and liquors that are available for purchase.
  • Crew gratuities
  • Complimentary Starlink-enabled Wi-Fi internet is available to all guests aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, enabling email, messaging, and social media.
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
  • Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
  • Guidance and company of leading expedition staff
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic  where available
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • We strongly recommend our guests to take Travel Protection Plan. A Plan with comprehensive coverage to protect you from cancellation fees, costs incurred due to trip delays/interruption, damaged or lost baggage, medical assistance, and evacuation during your travels
  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
  • Enhanced and premium Wi-Fi plans, which may enable video chat, web browsing, and streaming (connectivity permitting)

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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