NEW TRIP

Cruising New Zealand's East Coast

New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound

New Zealand

13 Days

From $10,720

Level 1

Easiest

Overview

    Contact Us Download Itinerary

    Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

    Overview

    New Zealand is a wondrous realm of awe-inspiring landscapes, fascinating Maori culture, and an abundance of unique wildlife. With more than 4,000 miles of meandering coastline to explore, it's expedition cruising country par excellence. Aboard the exploration vessels Coral Geographer or Coral Adventurer, you'll voyage deep into the intriguing history, vibrant culture, and rare wildlife of the South Island. You'll call at the Marlborough Sounds, Fiordland, and Milford Sound, hike through Waimangu Volcanic Valley, journey deep into quiet fiords, and encounter striking Maori traditions at historic Gisborne. You'll also discover the character of east coast towns, from French-influenced Akaroa to Dunedin's Scottish heritage. Throughout, you'll admire lazing seals, pods of friendly dolphins, and perhaps even the rare yellow-eyed penguin. At the end of each rewarding day, you'll return to your ship to sample the country's famed produce and wine. There's no better way to experience New Zealand's East Coast!

    Arrive: Auckland, New Zealand

    Depart: Queenstown, New Zealand

    Highlights

    • Explore the astonishing landscapes of Fiordland & Marlborough Sounds
    • Observe New Zealand's wildlife, including fur seals, penguins, whales, and numerous bird species
    • Watch sperm whales breach at Kaikoura, one of the very few places it is possible to observe them
    • Take a guided walk to spot birdlife on Stewart Island, New Zealand's little-visited "third island"
    • Experience a traditional Maori welcome before a guided viewing of the carved marae at Gisborne

    Overview

      Contact Us Download Itinerary

      Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

      Itinerary

      Download Itinerary Expand All Days

      Note: This trip is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as an agent in booking your reservation with the operator. Please download the Rate Sheet in the Dates & Pricing section to see the full pricing details and contact our Cruise Collection Specialists to check availability.

      Board the Coral Adventurer or Coral Geographer (depending on departure) in Queen's Wharf, Auckland Harbour, at 4:00 pm for a 5:00 pm departure. Enjoy Captain's Welcome Drinks this evening.
      A coach journey takes you to Waimangu, the world's youngest volcanic valley. Marvel at the gaping volcanic craters, hot water springs and mysterious Inferno Crater. Later, you may have time to stroll through the town of Tauranga.
      Maori traditions record Gisborne as the place where the first Maori canoe landed and Captain Cook first came ashore. At Tolaga Bay, you will be met by a Maori family at the Hauiti Marae with a traditional Maori welcome and the opportunity to hear their stories, before a guided viewing of the carved marae. Later, visit the historic Tolaga Bay wharf.
      In 1931 Napier was destroyed by an earthquake and the rebuilding created the world's greatest collection of art deco architecture, surrounded by the award-winning wineries of Hawke's Bay. At Cape Kidnappers, you will have the opportunity to observe the world's largest mainland gannet colony, with spectacular coastline views.
      The ancient river valleys that form the Marlborough Sounds are surrounded by forest-cloaked peaks and vineyards, all of which present a breathtaking view from any perspective. This lush region produces much of New Zealand's seafood and 80% of its wine. After a relaxing day at sea cruising across Cook Strait to the South Island, anchor at historic Ship Cove to spend the day exploring Queen Charlotte Sound. Discover the dolphins and seals of the sounds with marine spotting from the Xplorer and enjoy wonderful birdwatching on walks through Motuara Island birdlife sanctuary. Guided by our expedition team, hike a section of the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track. Visit Ship Cove to learn of Captain Cook's time here. Finish the day with a scenic cruise of the sound before sailing for the next destination.
      Bordered by the impressive Seaward Range, the picturesque town of Kaikoura is one of the few places to observe the sperm whale. Aboard a specialized boat, search for these amazing mammals. Later, enjoy free time in town or join a guided walk on the beautiful peninsula.
      Once a busy whaling outpost, Akaroa was the only French settlement in New Zealand. Here, choose between two included excursions: a harbor 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 surrounding nature reserves, guided by the expedition team.
      The Otago Peninsula is an area of exceptional diversity, and you will be welcomed with sights of the world's only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a colony of the rare yellow-eyed penguin. There will be a choice of included excursions with local operators—choose between a coach tour of the Otago Peninsula's most scenic beaches and Dunedin's highlights, or take time to explore the city at your leisure: perhaps visit the famous Speight's Brewery, art gallery, or New Zealand's oldest botanic gardens.
      Known in Maori mythology as Te Punga o Te Waka—“The Anchor Stone of Maui's Canoe”—Stewart Island (Rakiura) is New Zealand's little-visited “third island.” On Ulva Island, a sanctuary for rare and endangered birds, take a guided walk to spot birdlife, including the Rifleman, Weka, and Kereru. Explore the village of Oban and cruise to Prices Point Whaling Station by Xplorer to learn the region's history.
      Fiordland National Park is part of UNESCO World Heritage listed Southland. Carved by ancient glaciers, the fiords' sheer cliffs and steep ridges are cloaked with rainforest and cascading waterfalls. These mostly inaccessible and awe-inspiring landscapes were the mysterious source of powerful pounamu (New Zealand jade), gathered by Maori from secret riverbeds. Enter Fiordland National Park at dramatic Tamatea / Dusky Sound and cruise among towering cliffs and sheer granite walls to explore the depths of the inlets in the zodiac, spotting Fiordland penguins and fur seals. Early in the morning, a dawn cruise traces Acheron Passage to Te Puaitaha / Breaksea Sound, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes on all sides as you retrace Cook's journey. Enter Doubtful Sound / Patea, the deepest and widest fiord. The stillness and silence here is compelling and unforgettable. Cruise past the outer Seal Islands, Nee Islets, and through “the Gut,” before entering Te Awa-o-Tu / Thompson Sound. This afternoon, enter Milford Sound / Piopiotahi to a world famous view of Mitre Peak, opposite beautiful Stirling Falls. You may have a chance to feel the spray from the waterfall—according to Maori legend it will make you ten years younger! Cruise to Harrison Cove, where an ancient glacier entered the fiord, and visit Bowen Falls.
      Disembark at 8:00 am before transferring by coach to Queenstown, arriving at 1:30 pm.

      Dates & Pricing

      Payment & Cancel Schedule

      At time of reservation: 20% of trip cost
      100 days prior to departure: Balance

      *Please note that this differs from our standard policy.

      Cancellation & Transfer Schedule

      Minimum fee: 20% of trip cost
      60-89 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
      59 days or less: 100% of trip cost

      *Please note that this differs from our standard policy.

      Included
      • Accommodations aboard the ship
      • All excursions and sightseeing (excluding optional extras)
      • Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and kayaks
      • Daily lectures and briefings
      • All meals, chef-prepared onboard
      • Selected wines, beers, and spirits, juices and other soft drinks with lunch and dinner service
      • Coffee and selection of teas
      • Open bridge access
      • All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
      • Choice of local excursions at some locations
      • Tips and gratuities
      • Transfer to airport after disembarkation
      Not Included
      • Airfare to/from points of embarkation and debarkation of the boat
      • Additional hotel nights outside the trip's scheduled dates
      • Optional travel insurance
      • Other expenses of a personal nature (some alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)

      Accommodations

      Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

      Coral Geographer

      Days 1-12 (12 nights)

      The Coral Geographer was launched in 2021 and designed with both exploration and comfort in mind. Her shallow draft and advanced navigation systems allow access to locations that are off-limits to large cruise ships, and she carries two trademark “Xplorer” tenders that can seat all guests at once for shore...

      What the Trip is Like

      This trip is rated Level 1, Easy. For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. Shore excursions are usually divided into two fitness levels, one slightly easier than the other. The Expedition Leaders will always discuss the next day's activities and advise passengers about the level of fitness required. This would be the time to ask questions and decide on which level you would prefer.

      On the occasion where there is a moderate/hard 2- to 3-hour walk, then an easy flat walk that is about half a mile will also be offered. A tender permits easy boarding without climbing any stairs. You are always are welcome to opt out of any excursion and relax onboard.

      Review Trip Level Details

      Book your trip today

      Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!

      Itinerary

      Submit the form below to download itinerary

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      Trip Levels

      With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.

      Level 1 – Easiest

      Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.

      Level 2 – Easy to Moderate

      Hotel nights and/or safari-style camping, hikes of two to four hours on some days. Other physical activities are sometimes included, such as optional sea kayaking.

       

      Level 3 – Moderate

      Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.

      Level 4 – Moderate to Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-6 hours), mountainous terrain, significant elevation gains and losses (hiking up or down as much as 3,000 feet) on many days. Altitudes no greater than about 10,000 feet.

       

      Level 5 – Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.

      Level 6 – Very Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (5-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Most hikes take place at altitudes above 10,000 feet, with some days ascending as high as 18,000 feet.

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If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please call Wilderness Travel at 1-800-368-2794 or email us at <a href=\"mailto:\/\/info@wildernesstravel.com\">info@wildernesstravel.com<\/a>.<\/p>","System_References":"<p>We&rsquo;d be happy to put you in touch with a past client that has traveled with us on this trip.<\/p>","System_Visit_Our_Website":"<p>At <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/\">www.wildernesstravel.com<\/a>, you can book your trip online or find out about added departures, last-minute deals, and one-time Limited Edition adventures that aren&rsquo;t listed in our catalog. 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Please practice social distancing, steer clear of potential COVID-19 exposure, and take an at-home antigen or lab based PCR test before you depart.<\/p>","System_Wilderness_Travel_Office":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:07 --><p>Our office in Berkeley, California can be reached at 510-558-2488, or by email at info@wildernesstravel.com. We are available during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30 am-5:00 pm, PST). <\/p>","System_ECI_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:31 --><p>If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan through Wilderness Travel, please remember to bring your Confirmation of Coverages (COC) with you on the trip, including your Plan Number and important emergency contact information.<\/p><p>If you've purchased a travel protection plan on your own, we recommend that you bring a copy of your policy, including all coverages, with you on your trip.<\/p>","System_Face_Masks_and_Hand_Sanitizer":"","System_DidNotPurchase_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-02-28T12:27:44 --><p>Travel Insurance: We recommend that you purchase travel insurance for this trip. For your convenience, we offer Travelex travel protection. Please let us know if you would like us to add the Travelex Travel Protection Plan to this final invoice. You can learn more about the policy on our <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/toucan\/travel-insurance\">website<\/a>.<\/p>","System_Purchased_Insurance":"Please remember to bring a copy of your Travelex Confirmation of Coverage and State Specific Policy with you on your trip. You should have received an email directly from Travelex with these documents. If you need this email to be re-sent, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. <br><br><br>","System_Photography":"<strong>Camera Recommendations<\/strong><br>With the many advances in digital technology, a simple compact digital camera or even your smartphone is capable of taking pictures suitable for the needs of most people. For higher quality images and the ability to use long lenses for closer wildlife pictures, a DSLR camera is well worthwhile, though heavier. Most digital cameras and phones have good video options, but you may want to consider a GoPro for a lightweight, waterproof option. Always practice ahead of time with new equipment and bring your manual with you. You may want to consider renting camera equipment for your trip from places such as <a href=\"https:\/\/www.borrowlenses.com\/\">borrowlenses.com<\/a>. This is an especially good idea for renting large zoom lenses that you may need for just one trip. Adding their extra insurance fee to cover expensive equipment is recommended. <br><strong><br>Camera Accessories<\/strong><br>We recommend bringing at least two large capacity memory cards or a small digital storage unit (or tablet) to back up your photos, freeing space on your memory cards. Don't forget to bring a battery charger and a backup battery so one is always charged and ready to use. For trips where you may be away from power sources for multiple days, consider looking into a solar-powered battery charger or buying additional backup batteries, and check that you have the appropriate adapter for the electrical outlets in your destination.<br><strong><br>Sharing Your Images<\/strong><br>We would love for you to share photos from your trip, and with your permission, may even use your photos in our marketing materials or on our photo blog. We request that you send us a small sample of your best images. Please email your photos to wtphotoblog@gmail.com or tag us @WildernessTravel on social media.<br><strong><br>Photography Etiquette<\/strong><br>When taking pictures of local people, be aware of cultural considerations. Approaching people with a warm smile and using polite gestures or simple phrases to ask permission to photograph them usually works well. It is always recommended to engage people in conversation before asking to photograph them, but if people do not wish to have their photo taken, please honor their requests. We urge travelers to avoid giving money in exchange for photo opportunities, which makes it harder for future travelers to have a meaningful personal interaction with local people. Please always heed your Trip Leader's guidelines for what is appropriate. ","System_Gear_Store":"To help you prepare for your next WT adventure, we've put together a great collection of top brands including Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Eagle Creek, and more at our WT Gear Store (<a href=\"https:\/\/wildernesstravel.newheadings.com\/\">wildernesstravel.newheadings.com<\/a>).","System_Questions?":"<p>Our Area Specialists are your single point of contact and would be happy to answer any questions about your trip!<br>800.368.2794 | 510.558.2488<\/p>","System_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:58:05 --><p>We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance. You can take advantage of a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan designed for Wilderness Travel by Travelex, or purchase other insurance on your own. See our website for details: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance\">www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance<\/a><\/p>","System_Make_it_Your_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:18 --><p>The prices above are for the ready-to-book adventure outlined in this Detailed Itinerary, a popular option that has been handcrafted by our Area Specialists to include the best of every destination. While many travelers choose to book this tour as is, our Area Specialists are also happy to work with you to customize this Private Journey to suit your specific interests and style of travel. We can arrange for longer or shorter stays, offer hotel upgrades (see below for sample costs), or add an extension to additional places of interest. We can even add special activities or customize excursions depending on your interests. We invite you to contact us to discuss your options!<\/p>","System_Signing_up_for_a_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:42 --><p>Early reservations are recommended since accommodations often sell out far in advance. Please call 1-800-368-2794 and ask for our [Africa Manager] or email us at [africa@ wildernesstravel.com] with any questions that you may have about this trip. To reserve your Private Journey, we will need to know your preferred dates of travel. We will then check availability and send you a proposed itinerary with exact pricing for your adventure. We can typically hold a provisional booking for one week. At that time, we must collect your initial deposit or accommodations will be released. We accept Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will send you a Welcome Packet that includes a letter of confirmation, Detailed Itinerary, Trip Application, Medical Form, and Pre-Departure Information Booklet with information to help you prepare for your adventure. Please see our Cancellations and Transfer Fee Schedule for specific payment information.<\/p>","System_Trip_Leaders":"<p>Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please visit <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/leaders\/\">wildernesstravel.com\/leaders<\/a>.<\/p>"},"terms":{"PaymentSchedule":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body><p>At time of reservation: 20% of trip cost<br \/>100 days prior to departure: Balance<br \/><br \/><em>*Please note that this differs from our standard policy.<\/em><\/p><\/body>","CancelSchedule":"<p>Minimum fee: 20% of trip cost<br \/>60-89 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost<br \/>59 days or less: 100% of trip cost<\/p><p><em>*Please note that this differs from our standard policy.<\/em><\/p>"}}