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
Book by June 11th to receive SPECIAL LOW AIRFAR!
A limited number of cabins are available for single occupancy at no additional charge.
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
Mar 10, 2022 - Mar 25, 2022
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.
Mark Van Baalen
Has served Harvard in a variety of roles since 1962. Since 1995 he has been a Lecturer and Associate in the Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He taught popular courses in physical and environmental geology, and acted as mentor to many undergraduates. Mark’s research has included field-based projects in New England, California and the Swiss Alps, all focusing on details of the origin of ancient ocean basins and their associated mountain belts. More recently he has studied the interactions between human activities and the inexorable process of climate change. In addition to these strictly scientific interests, Mark has a deep interest in history, including the exploration of remote regions of the world. On these trips, Mark lectures on the natural history of the regions being visited, as well as painting a broader picture of human interaction with its environment, now and in the past.
New Zealand writer and adventurer who has published nearly forty books on geography, biography, history,
and the natural environment, the most recent being The Invading Sea. A Dunedin city councilor, Neville has
accompanied ship-based tours of mainland New Zealand and the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands for the
past 15 years as a lecturer and guide. He also chairs the trust board for Dunedin’s Orokonui Ecosanctuary, an
ecological island wildlife reserve. A very popular lecturer, Neville infuses travelers with his passion for and
encyclopedic knowledge of New Zealand’s natural wonders.
Son of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, is delighted to be joining the lecture staff of our New Zealand program. In addition to being the first second-generation to climb Mt. Everest, Peter has climbed the Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the seven continents) and has been on over 40 mountaineering expeditions around the world. Peter is active with several Himalayan foundations that fund capital projects in the Himalayan region of Nepal. He actively supports outdoor youth leadership programs and New Zealand conservation efforts, including protecting the kea, the world’s only mountain parrot.
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.
Home / Queenstown
Depart the United States, and cross the International Date Line en route to 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.
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 alleyways, the Otago Museum, and the Dunedin Garden. In the afternoon, board the Minerva
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 6 & 7
BREAKSEA SOUND & DOUBTFUL SOUND, Fiordland National Park
Spend two days exploring fantastic Fiordland National Park. Millennia of glacial activity have gifted the untamed west coast of South Island with incredible cuts into the coastline. This is an area of astonishing fiords, known locally as “sounds.” Explore the spectacular canyon-like Breaksea Sound, and Doubtful Sound, the latter so named by Captain Cook, who refused to sail into the bay due to his concerns over its navigability. Consisting of New Zealand’s deepest fiord, its three distinct arms, are famed for their scenic beauty. Waterfalls tumble down dense rainforest-clad cliffs dramatically, some of them over 1500 feet. Bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, penguins and whales, including Southern rights, humpbacks, minke, sperm and orcas, frequent the sounds.
Spend the day at sea cruising along the east coast of South Island.
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.
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 11 & 12
Spend two days exploring fabulous Marlborough Sounds, an 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.
Our first call on North Island is Napier. 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 many and varied marine life that exists in this part of the country.
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.
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.
Arrive in Auckland and transfer to the airport for the return flight home.
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