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Lake and mountains in Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

South Island & Fiords of New Zealand

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Coral Adventurer
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Embark on a 13-day expedition cruise aboard Coral Adventurer to explore the stunning Fiordland of New Zealand and its surrounding islands. Set sail from Bluff and cruise past Solander Island, an Important Bird Area rich in wildlife, including penguins and albatrosses. Explore Fiordland's iconic sounds like Dusky Sound, Milford Sound, and Doubtful Sound, marveling at cascading waterfalls and granite peaks. Spot seals, dolphins, and whales as you navigate through these pristine waters. Visit Stewart Island, known for its rare birdlife, and Dunedin, rich in Scottish and Māori heritage. In Kaikoura, embark on whale watching expeditions and indulge in local seafood. Anchor at historic Ship Cove and explore Marlborough Sounds, known for its vineyards and scenic beauty. Birdwatch on Motuara Island and hike sections of the Queen Charlotte Track. Experience the best of New Zealand's natural wonders, wildlife, and cultural heritage on this unforgettable expedition cruise.
Beautiful landscape of New ZealandStewart Island, New ZealandAmazing aerial view of Fiordland National Park on scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown, NZExplore the stunning Milford SoundCoastal beauty of DunedinLake and mountains in Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
  • Spot Rare Wildlife on Solander Island's Volcanic Islets
  • Discover Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO site with 14 glacier-carved fiords
  • Visit at Kaikoura's Majestic Whale Watching Opportunities
  • See Mitre Peak and Stirling Falls in this UNESCO World Heritage Site
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Bluff, New Zealand | Embark

Enjoy a complimentary transfer by coach from Queenstown check-in to board at 4:00 pm at Bluff, New Zealand. There is time to settle into your stateroom before 5:00 pm departure towards Dusky Sound cruising past Solander Island. Spend the day exploring Coral Adventurer and all her facilities. Take in the sights while enjoying the Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow passengers.

Day 2-12: Explore South Island & Fiords

During your day at sea, you'll cruise past Solander Island, an uninhabited trio of volcanic islets near New Zealand's South Island. Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 and named after Daniel Solander, a Swedish scientist aboard his ship, the islands have been briefly inhabited due to marooning or shipwrecks. Home to rare wildlife including ferns, orchids, Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki), Weka, Buller’s albatross, Fiordland crested penguins, and tomtits, Solander Islands are designated as an Important Bird Area. They host about 5000 pairs of common diving petrels and Buller’s albatrosses for breeding. The area is renowned for whale migration, with sightings of large sperm whales.

Fiordland National Park, once hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling, features 14 fiords carved by glaciers along a 215km coastline. Experience cascading waterfalls, lush rainforests, and granite peaks mirrored in deep waters. These landscapes were the ancient source of prized pounamu (New Zealand Jade) for the Māori. Despite attempts by European settlers, the rugged terrain remained largely untouched. Enter through Tamatea/Dusky Sound, a dramatic gateway, cruise past sheer cliffs, waterfalls, and small islands, and explore inlets in zodiacs. This inaccessible area is a haven for diverse flora and fauna, including Fiordland Penguins and fur seals at Luncheon Cove.

This afternoon, enter Milford Sound / Piopiotahi to a world-famous view of Mitre Peak, rising some 1,682 meters. Its triangular silhouette rises opposite beautiful Stirling Falls, falling from the top of a 162m high cliff between two towering ridges into the inky dark water. You may have a chance to feel the spray from the waterfall – according to Māori legend, it will make you ten years younger! The steep overhanging cliffs are awe-inspiring as you cruise to Harrison Cove, where an ancient glacier entered the fiord, and visit Bowen Falls.

Doubtful Sound / Patea is the deepest and widest fiord, flanked by towering cliffs and adorned by cascading waterfalls.  The stillness and silence of this Fiord is compelling and unforgettable.  Cruise into Doubtful Sound / Patea, and past the outer Seal Islands, Nee Islets and through ‘the Gut’, before cruising by Blanket Bay and into Te Awa-o-Tū / Thomson Sound. You may spot fur seals lounging on the rocks, pods of dolphins, and the Fiordland penguin.

Known in Māori mythology as Te Punga o Te Waka – The Anchor Stone of Maui’s Canoe’ – Stewart Island (Rakiura) is New Zealand’s little known ‘third island’. Apart from the communities on the island, many people never venture to remote Stewart Island. Nearby Ulva Island is also found within the Rakiura National Park, offering a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including South Island Saddleback, Stewart Island Weka, New Zealand Pigeon/Kereru, South Island Kaka, Yellow- and Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki), Morepork, Rifleman (New Zealand’s smallest bird), New Zealand Fantail, South Island Tomtit, Stewart Island Robin, Yellowhead (Mohoua), Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler, New Zealand Bellbird and Tui.
Spend two days interacting with local communities, exploring national parks, and spotting some of the endemic and endangered local wildlife.

Dunedin, nestled around an ancient volcanic crater, boasts Scottish and Māori heritage. Its heritage buildings and cathedrals evoke an old-world charm, earning it the title of New Zealand’s architectural heritage capital. Explore the Otago Peninsula, home to the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a rare colony of yellow-eyed penguins. Choose between a coach tour of the peninsula or Dunedin city highlights, or opt to explore the city at your own pace, visiting attractions like Speight’s Brewery, art galleries, or New Zealand’s oldest botanic gardens.

This morning, sail into the long harbour of Akaroa, formed by the breached volcanic crater that makes up the Banks Peninsula. The village of Akaroa has the unique identity of being the only French settlement in New Zealand, and its charming cottages and French street names still carry that identity today.
Ringed by the pastoral rolling hills of the Peninsula, the scenic village was once a bustling whaling outpost. Here, choose between two included excursions: a harbour cruise to spot marine wildlife, or a tour to visit the world’s largest colony of little penguins at Pohatu Bay, with the chance to learn more about the conservation efforts that are protecting them. A variety of short walks are available into the surrounding nature reserves, guided by the expedition team.

Surrounded by the breathtaking snow-dusted Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, the picturesque town of Kaikoura is renowned as possibly the best whale watching destination in the world. Kaikoura is one of the very few places it is possible to observe the Sperm Whale. Aboard the Xplorer tender vessels, explore the ocean in search of these amazing mammals, as well as fur seals, dusky and Hector’s dolphins and other migratory whales.
Kaikoura means ‘to eat crayfish’, and you may have the opportunity to taste the seafood available here. You will also have the opportunity to walk through this small town to visit the museums, galleries, and cafes, before joining the expedition team on a guided walk over the peninsula to marvel at the spectacular scenery.

The Marlborough Sounds, comprising ancient river valleys, make up 20% of New Zealand’s coastline, offering stunning views of forest-cloaked peaks, vineyards, and sunken channels. This fertile region, home to New Zealand’s first known Polynesian settlement, produces 80% of the country’s wine and much of its seafood.

Anchor at historic Ship Cove on your first morning, then explore Queen Charlotte Sound. Over the next two days, spot dolphins and seals with the Xplorer, birdwatch on Motuara Island, and hike sections of the Queen Charlotte Track guided by the team. Learn about the region's history through informative storyboards at Ship Cove, highlighting Captain Cook’s time there.

Day 13: Wellington, New Zealand | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning, as you arrive into Wellington, farewell Coral Adventurer, crew, and new-found friends as you disembark.


Coral Adventurer

Coral Adventurer
Coral Adventurer
Coral Adventurer

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$7,285 2-3 travelers
Coral Adventurer
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Coral Deck Stateroom
Identical to the Promenade Deck Staterooms except for their location one deck below. These staterooms have twin portholes rather than picture windows.
Coral Adventurer
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Promenade Deck Stateroom
Located below the Explorer deck and furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk, and armchair are included.
Coral Adventurer
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Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom
Comfortably furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk, and armchair are included.
Coral Adventurer
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Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom
Comfortably furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk, and armchair are included.
Coral Adventurer
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Bridge Deck Balcony Suite
Suites are equipped with a lounge area, minibar, and personal coffee machine. They have special King sized beds which can be separated into two singles.


Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian Dollars. Please contact us for current exchange rates
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 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
  • All entrance fees to National Parks, ports, traditional owner fees and charges imposed by governing authorities
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
  • Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and kayaks
  • All excursions with our Expedition Team
  • Daily lectures and briefings with Guest Lecturers
  • Use of all onboard facilities, incl. a reference library
  • Your expedition photos captured during the voyage
  • Post-cruise transfers (in most destinations)
  • Snorkelling & SCUBA equipment (SCUBA diving at an additional cost)
  • 24-hour barista-style coffee and tea station
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry Service
  • Entry visas/Travel permits
  • Alcoholic drinks including beer and wine outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Internet 
  • Pre-cruise transfers
  • Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
  • Pre and post cruise accommodation
  • Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
  • Optional Extras (in some destinations)
  • Scuba Diving 


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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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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