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Explore the stunning Milford Sound

New Zealand: Auckland-Milford Sound

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Coral Discoverer
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Join the Coral Discoverer on a once-in-a-lifetime New Zealand adventure to discover the dramatic scenery, fascinating Maori culture and iconic wildlife of the "Land of the Long White Cloud." For 12 unforgettable nights this small ship cruise from Auckland, the "City of Sails," to Milford Sound, experiencing the country’s outstanding iconic sights and the genuine warm welcome for which New Zealanders are renowned.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Auckland, New Zealand | Embark
Day 2 : Waimangu Valley
Day 3 : Gisborne
Day 4 : Napier
Days 5-6 : Marlborough Sounds
Day 7 : Kaikoura
Day 8 : Akaroa
Day 9 : Dunedin
Day 10 : Stewart Island | Ulva Island
Day 11 : Dusky Fiord
Day 12 : Doubtful Sound | Thompson Sound
Day 13 : Milford Sound | Queenstown | Disembark


  • Experience traditional Maori culture at the Kapa Haka Cultural show.
  • Explore the Marlborough Sounds by land and sea
  • Discover the scenic beauty of wild Stewart Island.
  • Cruise Doubtful Sound, Fiordland National Park's most spectacular waterway.


Coral Discoverer

Places Visited

  • New Zealand
  • South Pacific
  • Akaroa
  • Auckland
  • Doubtful Sound
  • Dunedin
  • Dusky Fiord
  • Gisborne
  • Kaikoura
  • Marlorough Sounds
  • Milford Sound
  • Napier
  • Stewart Island
  • White Island


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Explore the stunning Milford Sound A quiet morning near Dunedin Experience the local culture of New Zealand. The beautiful Milford Sound Cascading waterfall in the Milford Sound Beautiful view of Akaroa Sheep on a hillside overlooking Marlborough Sounds Looking at wildlife between the trees

Day 1 Auckland, New Zealand | Embark

  • 1 Dinner
Make your way to Auckland Harbor to board Coral Discoverer at 4:00 pm. Depart the "city of sails" at 5:00 pm to make a way into the Hauraki Gulf with its string of islands guarding the harbor, including the iconic Rangitoto Island, a dormant volcano. Take in the sights while enjoying the captain’s welcome drinks and meeting the crew and your fellow passengers.

Day 2 Waimangu Valley

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy views of mysterious and beautiful Inferno Crater which rises and falls as it heats and cools. See the delicate sinter terraces growing from minerals solidifying out of the hot spring water. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is home to Frying Pan Lake, one of the largest hot water springs in the World.
Brilliantly coloured microbes cloak the hot rocks. Tiny springs and geysers play. Immerse yourself amongst the rare and unusual plants that grow on the hot earths of Waimangu, amongst the regenerating native forests.

Day 3 Gisborne

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Gisborne is rich in historical significance. It is where the first Polynesian canoes landed, where captain cook first came ashore from the Endeavour and where Maori and European settlers first encountered each other. Venture to a small marae (Maori meeting place) where you are treated to a traditional Maori welcome and the Kapa Haka cultural show. After the show you can have the opportunity to explore Gisborne; undertake a self-guided journey through the city’s gorgeous gardens, tour wineries or sample first-rate produce.

Day 4 Napier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, cruise into Hawke’s Bay, home to one of the purest art deco cities in the world, Napier.  Here you may have time to explore the city at your own leisure.
In 1931 Napier was destroyed by an earthquake that shook Hawke’s Bay for more than 3 minutes, flattening the city. Rebuilding began almost instantly, and modern buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – stripped classical, Spanish mission and art deco.

Napier is also known for its award-winning red wines and is home to one of the world’s largest mainland gannet colonies at Cape Kidnappers (optional guided tours at extra cost).

Day 5-6 Marlborough Sounds

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Explore the spectacular waterways of Marlborough Sounds including the fjord-like Queen Charlotte Sound. Follow the path of Captain Cook’s exploratory voyages, including a stop at Ships Cove. Enjoy a considerable number of interpreted explorations on the Xplorer and zodiac vessels, guided by the expedition team and guest lecturers. On this travel, visit Moturoa Island with its plentiful native bird life and other remote coastal towns and locations often only accessible by boat.

Day 7 Kaikoura

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The picturesque town of Kaikoura is located between rugged mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean. 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 giant sperm whale. Aboard a small specialized vessel, explore the ocean in search of the Giant Sperm Whale and look for more amazing mammals like fur seals, other migratory whales, and dolphins.

Day 8 Akaroa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, sail into the Banks Peninsula, named for botanist Joseph Banks, and discover the history of Akaroa. This scenic village, built on the edge of a sunken volcanic crater, was once a bustling French colonized whaling community. A leisurely walk through the village discovering its obscure French history, friendly cafes and great craft stores. Optional shore excursions are offered at Akaroa, such as swimming with the smallest and rarest dolphin – the Hectors Dolphin.

Day 9 Dunedin

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Before docking in Dunedin, you are welcomed to the Otago Peninsula with sights of the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a colony of the world’s rarest penguin, the yellow-eyed penguin, and various other unique species.

Dunedin City is regarded as New Zealand’s architectural heritage capital. You may have time to explore all that the city has to offer including the Victorian and Edwardian structures, art galleries and botanical gardens.

Day 10 Stewart Island | Ulva Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Stewart Island (Rakiura) is New Zealand’s little-known third island. There is a very small settlement of people on the island, but most ‘mainland’ New Zealanders have never ventured to the curious wild land. Ulva Island is also found within the Rakiura National Park, offering a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including South Island Saddleback, Yellowhead, Rifleman, Stewart Island Robin, and the iconic Kiwi; the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi birds are known to venture out in daylight. On Ulva Island, take a guided walk to encounter this vast array of bird life and hopefully spot a few fur seals lazing on the shore during the tour.
An optional tour can be taken ashore Stewart Island at additional cost.

Day 11 Dusky Fiord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enter the Fiordland National Park at the dramatic Dusky Sound. You will be in awe of the sheer rugged beauty of the Fiordland. Cruise among towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, pass some of the 365 small islands and explore the depths of the inlets in the zodiacs.

Later in the evening, head north and drop anchor at the beautiful Doubtful Sound.

Day 12 Doubtful Sound | Thompson Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Awake to the magnificent scenery of Doubtful Sound. Today, explore the Fiordland’s most spectacular and deepest waterway. Board the Xplorer and cruise through a maze of hidden channels home to dolphins, seals, and penguins. Sail from Doubtful Sound into Thompson Sound to discover further scenes of breathtaking wilderness in these ancient glacial fjords. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Dinner while steaming to the last port of call.

Day 13 Milford Sound | Queenstown | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Cruise the length of Milford Sound and view iconic Mitre Peak, towering some 1600 feet above the glassy waters. It is here you will say goodbye and disembark at 8:00 am before transferring by coach to Queenstown. The coach arrives in Queenstown at approximately 1:30 pm.

Coral Discoverer

Per person starting at
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Main Deck B
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Three cabins located on the Main Deck, equipped with twin portholes, desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Main Deck A
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Six cabins located on the Main Deck, equipped with twin porthole windows, desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Promenade Deck B
Averaging 160 sq. ft. Four cabins located on the Promenade Deck, equipped with picture windows, desk, telephone and Junior King bedding.
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Promenade Deck A
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Eighteen cabins located on the Promenade Deck, equipped with picture windows, sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
Select a Date
Bridge Deck
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Five cabins located on the Bridge Deck, equipped with picture windows, sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.


Solo Travelers:
Solo cabin occupancy is limited and based on availability in Promenade Deck B cabins only. Single supplement is an additional 50%.

Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian or New Zealand Dollars. Please contact us for current exchange rates.

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations hoped to visit and activities on offer. Whilst every effort will be made to follow this itinerary the Coral Discoverer reserves the right to vary this itinerary to make allowances for weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may effect the operation of the vessel.

Cruise fare includes:
- Coach transfers from Queenstown Hotels to to Coral Discoverer on Day 1 of the Queenstown to Auckland cruise and also from Coral Discoverer to Queenstown Hotels on Day 13 of the Auckland to Queenstown cruise
- Accommodation charges on board
- Services of expedition staff including lectures
- Briefings, slide/film presentations, and other group activities
- Group transfers during the cruise
- All meals
- 24 hour tea/coffee station
- Landing fees

Cruise fare excludes: Pre and Post flights; fuel surcharges where applicable, personal items such as telephone, internet, facsimile charges, laundry, bar charges, travel insurance, optional shore excursions in Dunedin, Napier, Akaroa, Gisborne and Stewart Island. Optional shore excursions are booked on board the ship.

Important Fare Information:
Fares are posted off of current exchange rates from the Australian Dollar. Please contact us for current exchange rates.
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
Justin Chappelle

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