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Explore the stunning Milford Sound

Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Board the National Geographic Orion on this unforgettable 14-day expedition. New Zealand’s unparalleled natural beauty beckons with soaring peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and swathes of white-sand beaches. Travel through scenic fjords, bays, and sounds, witness plunging waterfalls and an abundance of whales, dolphins, and fur seals drawn by sparkling waters rich with marine life. New Zealand boasts flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. On guided walks through a rainforest, botanical gardens, and arboretums, learn about the country’s fascinating plant life. Visit sites important to Maori history and culture, Napier’s well-preserved Art Deco city center, and cosmopolitan Auckland, “The City of Sails.” New Zealand’s celebrated wines and culinary specialties add to the many pleasures of this inspiring expedition.
Visit beautiful AucklandSheep and landscapeObserve beautiful fur sealsExperience the local culture of New Zealand.Lupines on the shore of Lake TekapoCoastal beauty of DunedinExplore the stunning Milford SoundExplore the stunning Milford Sound
Highlights
  • Explore the diverse highlights of New Zealand's coast
  • Enjoy guided walks to learn about the unique flora and fauna
  • Learn about the vibrant Maori history and culture
  • Stroll through Napier's distinctive Art Deco city center
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 | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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: Bay of Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual, and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Day 4-5: Great Barrier Island | Exploring Coastal NZ

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Stretch your legs today as we explore Great Barrier Island on exploratory walks and hikes. 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 6: Gisborne

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 7: Napier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 8: Exploring New Zealand’s South Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today will be exploratory in nature as we discover the many hidden islands and treasures on the northern side of New Zealand’s South Island.

Day 9: Kaikoura

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In Maori, Kaikoura translates to ‘meal of crayfish.’ The region’s abundance of crayfish and nutrient-rich marine system draw impressive quantities of whales, dolphins, and fur seals to its waters. Today we’ll venture out in search of various resident and migratory marine mammals as well as the impressive albatross.

Day 10: Dunedin

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and boasting the world’s only mainland albatross colony, Dunedin sits on the verdant southeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Discover the world’s smallest penguin, the little blue penguin, and its endangered cousin, the yellow-eyed penguin, on an excursion to the beaches of the Otago Peninsula. Visit the fragrant Dunedin Botanic Gardens, and explore the Otago Museum’s exhibits on nature, culture and science.

Day 11: Stewart Island

  • Ship
  • 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 12-13: Dusky Sound | Doubtful Sound

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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 Doubtful Sound’s resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and penguins.

Day 14: Milford Sound | Disembark | Queenstown

Have lunch aboard the ship before disembarking and transferring to Queenstown 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
$23,330

Please confirm embark/disembark locations before reserving flights, as this itinerary operates in reverse on alternating departures.
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
  • 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 12 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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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor
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