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Beautiful view of Akaroa

The Best of New Zealand: An Intimate Exploration Cruise of New Zealand's Islands

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Adventurer
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Aboard Heritage Adventurer, discover the hidden jewels of Aotearoa/New Zealand and its three main islands (the North Island, South Island, and Stewart Island) on this amazing 15-day thrilling adventure of coastal New Zealand. From the ‘World's Coolest Little Capital' (Wellington) to Dunedin's avant-garde fashion, the unrestrained beauty of Fiordland and Stewart Island, Art Deco glamour of Napier, and the golden beaches and island conservation sanctuaries of the upper North Island this voyage showcase the best of New Zealand.
Auckland, the City of SailsSheep on a hillside overlooking Marlborough SoundsA beautiful view of Milford Sound.A quiet morning near DunedinExperience the local culture of New Zealand.Whangaroa HarbourBay of IslandsMarlborough SoundsBay of IslandsQueen Charlotte SoundMarlborough SoundsBeautiful view of Akaroa
Highlights
  • Experience the vibrant energy and stories of Maori culture.
  • Explore four of Fiordland’s most beautiful sounds,
  • Encounter many species of endemic birds and marine wildlife,
  • Explore Gisborne New Zealand’s most renowned fruit and vegetable growing regions.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Queenstown, New Zealand

  • 1 Dinner
Guests should make their way to the designated hotel where we will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of our expedition team.

Day 2: Queenstown | Invercargill | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant and have the morning free to explore Queenstown before returning to the hotel for lunch and departing for the Port of Bluff to embark your ship. You will have time to settle into your cabin and familiarise yourself with the cruise ship. Join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as the ship set sail for our adventure. We will sail past Ruapuke Island, formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of over 200 people.

Day 3-4: Fiordland

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Explore the incredible wilderness of fjords in the southwest corner of the South Island. This area is rich in history, majestic scenery, and abundant wildlife. Fiordland was well known to local Maori, with the demi-god Tuteraki-whanoa being said to have used his adze, Te Hamo, to carve out the region’s fjords. Captain Cook and his crew landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773 were the first Europeans to visit Fiordland, subsequently spending five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook’s records of his discovery and maps attracted sealers and whalers not long after they formed the first European settlements of New Zealand. Historically, this region is very important and shaped the future of the country. Fiordland’s coast is only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand’s mainland. Waterfalls, streams, rivers, and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go, revealing steep gradients of mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. A rugged terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens, and mosses. Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins, and Little Penguins are all residents of the fiords; during our time here we will look out for them. Our schedule gives us the flexibility to visit as much as possible, areas we plan to visit during our time in Fiordland include Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and Acheron Passage, Astronomer’s Point, and Pickersgill Harbour. Our final plan will be determined by the weather. The Captain and Expedition Leader will work hard to make the best use of our time in this incredible region of New Zealand, including areas that even a few New Zealanders have visited. The isolation of Fiordland has been beneficial because its beauty remains unspoiled and its historic sites undisturbed.

Day 5: Stewart Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
New Zealand’s third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track. It is a wonderfully tranquil place; the scenery of untouched bushland is stunning. We will enjoy a morning exploring Ulva Island, which is rich in history and wildlife, being a predator-free island from 1997. The bird song and wildlife are some of the best. In Paterson Inlet, you will have time to explore the sandy beaches of Boulder Bay and West End Beach or just enjoy some time around Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove. Some of the wildlife may get to see while walking the tracks on Ulva Island include Stewart Island Robin, Stewart Island Weka, South Island Kaka, Kereru (Wood Pigeon), Mohua (Yellowhead), Red-crowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbird, and Tui.

Day 6: Dunedin

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, set sail into the beautiful Otago Harbour, watch closely for Northern Royal Albatross at the Tairoa Head Albatross Colony. From our berth at Port Chalmers explore the famed, fashion-forward city of Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the south, and its rich history as the gateway to Otago. Explore the scenic Otago Peninsula where sea lions rest and Yellow-eyed penguins can be spotted in one of their last strongholds where the beautiful farmed hills roll down towards white sand beaches. Alternatively, venture towards the interior of Otago through the scenic Taieri Gorge.

Day 7: Lyttelton

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The bustling port of Lyttelton is the maritime gateway to Canterbury and famously the setting for Sir Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners starring Michael J Fox. Depart Heritage Adventurer and travel along the shores of Lyttelton Harbour to the acclaimed gardens of Sir Miles Warren at Ohinetahi. Travel across the Port Hills with its commanding views across the city and plains to explore the Botanic Gardens and the bustling post-quake city on the rebuild with its distinctly English setting around the Avon River, as well as visiting some of the region’s most acclaimed private gardens of the ‘Garden City. Alternatively, venture north to the acclaimed wine region of Waipara and discover what makes this region so well suited for the growing of Pinot Noir and Riesling. During our time in North Canterbury, we will also visit one of the many long-established sheep farming families.

Day 8: Marlborough Sounds

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning Heritage Adventurer sails into the sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds, a beautiful labyrinth of waterways intersecting the northern shores of the South Island. Take the opportunity to explore a coastal trail through the lush regenerating forest and watch for native birds including Saddleback, Parakeets, and Robins on one of the island nature reserves.

Day 9: Nelson

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The spiritual home of Heritage Expeditions and one of the best, yet seldom-visited ports of New Zealand, join your naturalists to discover the incredibly beautiful coastal scenery of the Abel Tasman National Park or take the opportunity to discover the regions culinary delights, artisan crafts, and world-class wines.

Day 10: Wellington

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The capital of New Zealand and an exceptional natural harbor, Heritage Adventurer will be docked in the center of the action from where you can easily explore the vibrant city on foot. Visit the cable car, explore the world-renowned Zealandia nature reserve, discover the Botanic Gardens and visit Te Papa New Zealand’s national museum.

Day 11: Napier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Art Deco capital of New Zealand, and possibly the world, the post-quake city of Napier lies at the heart of the thriving Hawkes Bay. Immerse yourself in the Art Deco world of central Napier with its quaint shops and unrivaled architecture before venturing to the world-renowned wineries of Hawkes Bay famed for their exceptional Syrah and Chardonnay vintages. Alternatively, join your naturalists on a visit to the exceptional Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony.

Day 12: Gisborne

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Despite being named “Poverty Bay” by Captain Cook, the region is endowed with an exceptional climate and rich soils meaning it is one of New Zealand’s most renowned fruit and vegetable growing regions. A visit to Eastwoodhill Arboretum in the hills behind the town is not to be missed; the result of one man’s passion and dedication is now the National Arboretum. As we are in Ngati Porou country you will be traditionally welcomed by the iwi.

Day 13: Great Barrier Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, discover one of New Zealand’s hidden gems as we explore Great Barrier Island and the beautiful Port Fitzroy. Enjoy the opportunity to discover the sub-tropical forests that predominate here with stands of majestic Kauri tree and a verdant understory of ferns. Take a walk along with one of the trails around the harbor for outstanding views or join your naturalists for a Zodiac exploration of one of the finest harbors in the north.

Day 14: Bay of Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the last day of New Zealand discovery amongst some of the most beautiful coastal scenery to be found anywhere, as the name suggests Islands dot the bay where clear blue waters lap against golden sand beaches. It was here that much of New Zealand’s early history both Maori and European unfolded, including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Visit the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi and discover the significance and stories surrounding the region.

Day 15: Auckland | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning Heritage Adventurer arrives in Auckland, the City of Sails, where she will berth in the central city waterfront, following breakfast disembark and head to the airport or continue your exploration of New Zealand. In case of unexpected delays, we ask you not to book any onward travel until after midday today. During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Adventurer

Heritage Adventurer
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,345
Heritage Adventurer - Superior Triple
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Superior Triple
Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Main Deck Triple
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Main Deck Triple
Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Deck 4 Superior
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Deck 4 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 4 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Deck 5 Superior
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Deck 5 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Main Deck Single
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Main Deck Single
Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Superior Single
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Superior Single
Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Worsley Suite
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Worsley Suite
Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaise-style lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Heritage Suite
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Heritage Suite
Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table, and chairs, and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub, and shower, large writing desk, floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Included
  • 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Complimentary Parka 
  • Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
     
  • Complimentary boot rental is available. However, due to the limited supply of boots available aboard the ship, it is recommended that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. Youth size boots are not available.
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Required Visas if applicable
  • Discovery Fund / Government Landing Fees 

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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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