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Natural treasures of New Zealand

Auckland - Dunedin - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Le Soleal
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Sail from Auckland to Dunedin aboard Le Soléal for a 13-day cruise. From Tauranga, discover Rotorua's many wonders, including volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, rivers, gorges, and lakes ranging from deep blue to orange-tinged. Sail to Wellington, New Zealand's capital, to discover more about the Maori people. The Marlborough region, known for its wineries and submerged valleys, can be found at Picton. Visit Akaroa, a submerged volcano crater, before entering the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park. End your cruise in Dunedin, New Zealand's oldest city, which is commonly known as "New Zealand's Edinburgh."
Visit AucklandLake and mountains in Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealandcruising at Doubtful SoundUlva IslandA quiet morning near Dunedin
Highlights
  • Discover sublime New Zealand landscapes with exceptional diversity
  • Explore the Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Meet the Maori people, brave warriors with ancestral traditions and customs
  • Visit the incredible Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington
  • Explore the Marlborough region, famous for its vineyards and its valleys
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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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 the few cities in the world to have two separate harbors : Manukau Harbor on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbor on the Pacific Ocean. You will understand why Auckland is known as "the City of Sails" when you see the forest of masts in the marina. 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

  • Ship
  • 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.
 

Day 3: Gisborne

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Gisborne, called “Gizzy” by the locals and Teoneroa by the Maori, is located to the north of a large bay surrounded by fertile hills and long, wild beaches that attract walkers and surfers. At the southern end of the bay, the magnificent cliffs of Young Nick’s Head majestically keep watch over the ocean’s tides. In Ngatapa, a few kilometers north of the city, the Eastwoodhill Arboretum stretches out over more than 130 hectares (320 acres) and is home to magnificent exotic and native plants. In the city, you can learn about Maori culture and the local history at the Tairawhiti Museum or enjoy some of the products of this rich farming region, renowned in particular for its Chardonnay.
 

Day 4: Napier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the east coast of the North Island, south of Hawke’s Bay, you’ll 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 will intrigue you. You’ll discover all this extraordinary architectural heritage as you take a stroll through the city. Famous for its vineyards, wine lovers will be able to taste some of the best wines from the region.
 

Day 5: Wellington

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crowned with gentle green hills, Wellington Harbor is located in the far south of the North Island. This city offers a charming mix of traditional and modern cultures, bestowing on the New Zealand capital, a unique atmosphere, both 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.
 

Day 6: Picton

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A must-see entry point to the 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 Sounds. This interweaving of submerged valleys in this area, has creating numerous navigable routes, wich are among the most beautiful natural wonders of New Zealand.

 

Day 7: Kaikoura

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on the South Island of New Zealand, the small town of Kaikōura stretches between the South Pacific and the snow-capped Kaikōura mountain chain, in the heart of a natural and preserved environment that is home to rich and varied wildlife. The peninsular has spectacular limestone formations, and many marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, as well as sea birds can be found near its shores. Initially populated by the original Maori inhabitants for almost a thousand years, the rocky coastlines of Kaikōura then served as an observation post for whalers between the 18th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
 

Day 8: Akaroa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set on the east coast of South Island, Christchurch is New Zealand's second-biggest city. You can soak up its easy-going atmosphere in one of the many parks and gardens that give Christchurch its nickname "the garden city", or dally a while in Cathedral Square to see how the city is transforming itself after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Attractions such as the International Antarctic Centre and Christchurch Gondola ride are as popular as ever, while pop-up cafes, the Cardboard Cathedral and community art projects showcase the citizens' resilience. The beautiful port of Akaroa, where ships dock, is about 90-minute drive from Christchurch on the Banks Peninsula.
 

Day 9: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 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 will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment

Day 10: Doubtful Sound | Dusky Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Referred to as the Sound of Silence, there is a secluded serenity that surrounds Doubtful Sound in contrast with the better-known Milford Sound. Lieutenant James Cook named 'Doubtful Harbor' in 1770 as he was uncertain if it was navigable under sail. Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords with a maximum depth of 421 m. It contains three distinct 'arms' and several outstanding waterfalls in the area from Deep Cove to the open ocean. Your ship will spend time navigating around Secretary Island through both Thompson and Doubtful Sounds. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery from the outer decks.

Dusky Sound is one of the most isolated fjords in Fiordland National Park. This huge, protected natural zone situated in the south-west quarter of New Zealand’s South Island is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. The sheer cliffs, waterfalls, shimmering lakes and primitive forests here are each more beautiful than the next. These spectacular landscapes sculpted by successive glaciations are a source of endless wonder. In 1773, the British navigator James Cook spent a few weeks at Dusky Sound, as demonstrated by a plaque that can be seen at Astronomer’s Point. During your sailing, observe the richness of the local wildlife: cormorants, seagulls, New Zealand fur seals, but also Fiordland crested penguins, a rare and endemic species.
 

Day 11: Milford Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Milford Sound fjord is among one of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand. So much beauty will quite simply take your breath away. Located on the south-west coast of South Island, in the Fiorldland 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 12: Ulva Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara) is the largest of 20 islands within Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, with an area of approx. 270 hectares. The island has never been logged and was declared pest free in 1997, becoming one of the few predator-free sanctuaries in New Zealand. The island is now a haven for many species of birds and plants that are rare, or have died out, on the mainland of New Zealand. Bird species regularly encountered include: the flightless Stewart Island Weka, South Island saddleback, yellowhead and Stewart Island robin. Ulva Island is not only a bird enthusiast’s paradise, it is also one of the few offshore islands with a largely undisturbed podocarp forest. Well-maintained tracks offer easy walking for most people providing a unique opportunity to see rare birds and plants at close quarters in a safe environment.

 

Day 13: Auckland, New Zealand | Dismbark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark this morning after breakfast.

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 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.

Ship/Hotel

Le Soleal

Enjoy a show in the movie theater.
Bar and lounge with a view.
Restaurant aboard the Le Soleal.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$7,590
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
The Superior Stateroom has a capacity of up to 3 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
The Deluxe Stateroom has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 4 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
The Deluxe Suite has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
The Prestige Suite on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
The Prestige Suite on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Owner's Suite
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Owner Suite
The Owner's suite is situated on Deck 6 with a capacity up to 2 passengers per cabin. With a king-sized bed, it has been decorated by French interior designers and provides you with a breathtaking panoramic sea view.
Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Free Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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