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Amazing aerial view of Fiordland National Park on scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown, NZ

Ancient Fjords and Unspoiled Islands of Southern New Zealand

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Le Laperouse
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Embark on an 8-day expedition cruise aboard Le Lapérouse, in partnership with Relais & Châteaux and featuring guest chef Jimmy McIntyre. Experience the mesmerizing landscapes and exceptional wildlife of New Zealand's South Island, one of the world's best-preserved environments. Navigating towards Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Area, discover the breathtaking beauty of fiords like Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound, and Milford Sound, carved by glaciers and adorned by towering cliffs. This cruise extends to the remote Snares Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sanctuary for unique wildlife. Ulva Island follows, one of the few predator-free sanctuaries in New Zealand. This expedition cruise concludes in Dunedin, providing a fitting end to this remarkable journey.
Coastal beauty of Dunedincruising at Doubtful SoundExplore the stunning Milford SoundSnares PenguinAmazing aerial view of Fiordland National Park on scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown, NZ
Highlights
  • Experience the most isolated fjords in Fiordland National Park, Dusky Sound
  • Explore the Snares, a tiny group of islands that boast more nesting seabirds
  • Discover Ulva Island, one of the few predator-free sanctuaries of New Zealand
  • Visit Doubtful Sound and marvel at the secluded serenity
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: Dunedin | Embark

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 silver peaks 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.

Day 2: At Sea

During your journey 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 journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to 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 3: Milford Sound

Milford Sound fiord is among 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 the 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 4: Doubtful Sound

Referred to as the "Sound of Silence", there is a secluded serenity that surrounds Doubtful Sound in contrast with the better-known Milford Sound. Both are part of Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lieutenant James Cook named it 'Doubtful Harbour' 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. Enjoy the spectacular scenery from the outer decks.

Day 5: Dusky Sound

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, and Fiordland crested penguins, a rare and endemic species. Weather and time permitting, you may explore the Sound from the fleet of zodiacs.

Day 6: The Snares

Among the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand, the Snares have the distinction of being the only forested group without introduced mammals, not even mice. Consequently, it is a remarkable haven for wildlife. The island boasts more nesting seabirds than the entire realm of the British Isles. Over 2 million Sooty Shearwaters breed here in the summer months. Four species of albatross are listed as breeding on the Snares, along with 35,000 endemic Snares crested penguins. There are also approximately 1,000 New Zealand fur seals and 500 New Zealand sea lions. Landing on the Snares is prohibited. If time and weather permit, you can have the opportunity to explore the coastal environment and view the prolific wildlife from the fleet of zodiacs.

Day 7: Ulva Island

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 8: Dunedin | Disembark

  • 1 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 Silver Peaks 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 Laperouse

Le Laperouse Ship
Le Laperouse
Le Laperouse Ship

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² Private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Deluxe Suite
Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 6m² private balcony
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m² Capacity: up to 4 passengers per cabin 8m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds

Notes

Please Note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited 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)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • 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
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

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