Island World of New Zealand Aboard Minerva

Island World of New Zealand Aboard Minerva



An island nation, New Zealand is best discovered by ship, and the cruise we are presenting is a comprehensive exploration of the country. Starting in the attractive port town of Dunedin, on South Island, we will sail south-southwest to Stewart, a small pristine island renowned for its flora and fauna, and Fiordland National Park, where we will spend two days exploring this part of the country that is famed for its astonishing fjords and majestic peaks. Other highlights of our voyage include Akaroa, sited at the head of a sheltered bay that is surrounded by extinct volcanoes; Kaikoura, known for its abundant wildlife that includes several species of albatross and sperm whales that inhabit its shore; fabulous Marlborough Sounds, an expansive area of rugged coastlines and isolated green coves; and Rotorua, a sacred Maori place.

Pricing from
Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
Departure Dates
Mar 8, 2023 - Mar 23, 2023


Aboard Minerva, you will explore New Zealand with a team of resident experts. Through talks and presentations, they will create a comprehensive understanding of the history, flora and fauna, geology, sea life and other topics that relate to the country. The experience we will provide is not just one of cruising and sightseeing, but a complete learning adventure.
Included in our team of expert lecturers are the following:
Dr. Annette Kuhlem, archaeologist who has led excavations in various places in the South Pacific.
John Robson, a resident of New Zealand and the author of several books on Captain James Cook, the British explorer and navigator, famous for his three voyages in the mid-18th century in the Pacific Ocean.
Javier Cotin, ornithologist.
Brent Alloway, geologist.
Claudio Ghiglione and Colin Munro, marine biologists.


CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: All cancellations are subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.


New Zealand map


  • day 1 & 2


    Depart the United States, and cross the International Date Line en route to New Zealand.

  • day 3

    DUNEDIN, New Zealand

    Arrive in Dunedin, the principal port town of South Island’s Otago region. Transfer to the Distinction Dunedin Hotel. Welcome dinner at the hotel this evening.

  • day 4


    Set along the shores of an attractive bay and backed by green hills, Dunedin is known as the “Edinburgh of New Zealand” on account of its Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Our morning tour will include the town’s most notable landmark sites, its picturesque allyways, the Otago Museum, and the Dunedin Garden. In the afternoon, board the Minerva and sail.

  • day 5 & 6


    Spend two days exploring fantastic Fiordland National Park. Millennia of glacial activity have gifted the untamed southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island with incredible cuts into the coastline, creating an area of astonishing fjords, known locally as “sounds.” Waterfalls tumble down dense rainforest-clad cliffs dramatically, some of them over 1,500 feet. Bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, penguins and whales frequent the sounds. During our exploration of this awe-inspiring area, we will call at Dusky Sound, the park’s longest fjord, a designated Important Bird Area because it’s a breeding site for Fiordland penguins; Doubtful Sound, so named by Captain Cook, who explored this maze of deep waterways in 1773,  its three arms famed for their scenic beauty; and Milford Sound, famed for its beauty and splendor.

  • day 7

    OBAN, Stewart Island

    Cruise to Stewart Island, and call at Oban, the island’s only town. Eighty-five percent of this small, pristine island is set aside as a national park to preserve its abundant flora and fauna that include several species of penguins, sooty shearwaters, mollymawks, kiwi birds, bellbirds, and others. Explore the island and enjoy its many hiking trails.

  • day 8


    Nestled at the entrance of a deep sheltered bay on Banks Peninsula and surrounded by the remnants of a volcano, picturesque Akaroa was an early French settlement, called Port Louis-Philippe. To this day, the town retains its distinctive French character and architecture. Hector’s dolphins swim in the harbor. Explore the pretty town, including the Akaroa Museum, which displays exhibits that chronicle the town’s history, and the Giant’s House, with its terraced gardens and sculptures. We will also visit the Akaroa Winery, an organic family-owned vineyard that produces high quality wines, which we will taste.

  • day 9


    Built between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific, Kaikoura is known for its abundant wildlife that includes petrels, penguins and several species of albatross, but Kaikoura is also notable for the large number of sperm whales, fur seals and dolphins that live permanently in the coastal waters. Visit the award-winning Kaikoura Museum and follow the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway from the center of the town to lookout points to observe the wildlife. Visit also the Lavendyl Lavender Farm and take a stroll through the fragrant lavender fields. A pleasant walk outside the town in an incredibly beautiful landscape is the Fyffe House. Dating from the 1800s, its displays tell the story of the town’s whaling past.

  • day 10


    From attractive Picton, spend the day exploring fabulous Marlborough Sounds, and expansive area of rugged coastline, scenic sounds, isolated coves, peninsulas and islands, located at the top of South Island. Marlborough Sounds played an important role in the history of the native Maori people, as well as in the settlement of New Zealand by Europeans. Captain Cook anchored here in 1770. Described as a collection of Pacific Ocean-drowned valleys, the sheltered inlets are perfect for kayaking, forest walking, observing wildlife, viewing incredibly beautiful scenery, and exploring quaint small towns and villages. Several superb wineries make this beautiful spot their home.

  • day 11


    The cosmopolitan capital of New Zealand, wonderful Wellington, also known as the “City of a Thousand Views,” is spread between its spacious bay on the Cook Strait and bush-covered hills. Scattered throughout the city are shaded parks and gardens, while the narrow streets of the old city are lined with historic home and elegant mansions. Explore Wellington, including the Civic Center; the extensive Botanical Gardens, with its rose beds and indigenous and exotic species; the Houses of Old Parliament; and the excellent National Museum, with its Maori Hall and other exhibits. Also, drive to the summit of Mount Victoria that provides panoramic views of the city.

  • day 12


    Located on Hawke Bay, Napier is celebrated for its extensive beautifully preserved art deco architecture and vibrant art scene. Explore this lovely town, including a visit to the outstanding National Aquarium of New Zealand, which showcases the rich and varied marine life that exists in this part of the country.

  • day 13


    Gisborne is where the navigator and explorer James Cook first landed in New Zealand (1769). But long before the arrival of Europeans, Gisborne was settled by Maori people, and today, about 50% of its population are Maori. Our exploration of Gisborne will include the Tairawhiti Museum, whose exhibits chronicle indigenous and colonial history; Te Poho-o-Rawiri, a Maori meeting house that contains ancestral carvings; and the Titirangi Reserve, with its lookouts and monument to Captain Cook. The area around Gisborne is famed for its superb wineries, some of which we will visit and sample their wines.

  • day 14


    From the vibrant port city of Tauranga, built along the shore of the Bay of Plenty, take an excursion to Rotorua. Set by a lake, Rotorua is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. Bubbling mineral springs, mud pools, and impressive geysers mark the landscape. In addition to exploring Rotorua’s geological features, we will also visit the living Maori villages of Tamaki and Whakarewarewa, as well as the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.

  • day 15


    Spend the day in the Bay of Islands, one of the most beautiful and historic areas of New Zealand, named by Captain Cook when he arrived in 1769. Until then, the area was inhabited by a large Maori population, whose dwellings lined the bay. The long coastline is fringed with beautiful coves, while 150 attractive subtropical islands are spread around the bay. Discover the wildlife and history of this magnificent region.

  • day 16


    Arrive in Auckland and transfer to the airport for the return flight home.

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