Small brown fur seal sits atop a smooth rock outcrop overlooking calm water at sunset with mountains in the distance.
Kiwi bird with shaggy brown feathers points its long white beak at the rainforest floor, seen on the Nat Geo New Zealand Cruise.
Various tall waterfalls run down the side of rocky peaks with green growth, into a glassy fjord in New Zealand on a cloud day.
Red wood carving shows Maori spirits with bright blue eyes, seen on the National Geographic New Zealand Cruise.
Aerial view of a long, skinny island with grassy and forested areas & white-sand beach area in New Zealand.
View Photos
Asia / Pacific New Zealand Cruise

Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound Cruise

Travel with Lindblad-National Geographic guides to New Zealand, an island nation best explored by small ship. On this expedition cruise, experience New Zealand’s highlights alongside lesser-known gems, with a flexible itinerary that capitalizes on weather and wildlife conditions along the way. Discover unique cultures, fascinating coastal geology and rare wildlife.

On all departures, navigate New Zealand’s verdant coastlines for Maori history and culture, celebrated wines and culinary specialties, ancient rainforest, pristine beaches, quiet coves, crystal-clear lakes and ocean waters filled with whales, dolphins and seals. The soaring peaks and countless waterfalls of the country’s dazzling fjords are at their jaw-dropping best in Fiordlands National Park. Ornithologists will appreciate some 300 species of birds.

The 102-guest Nat Geo Orion acts as floating basecamp during the cruise. This small expedition ship is technologically advanced and equipped with a full set of exploration tools, including an ROV and enough kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and Zodiacs to send all guests out exploring at the same time. Additionally, select cabins offer private balconies for special moments while taking in the awe-inspiring wilderness. The National Geographic Orion features a nearly 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio, ensuring attentive service.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s New Zealand cruises and New Zealand travel.



Itinerary

2023-24 Main Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound Itinerary

The main Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise travels from the North Island to the South Island, focusing on New Zealand’s Eastern shoreline, including the Fiordlands of the South Island.

Route map of National Geographic Coastal New Zealand cruise from Auckland to Milford Sound, traveling the Eastern coastline.
Read More
Days 1 - 3
Arrive Auckland, New Zealand

Depart on an overnight flight, crossing the International Date Line and losing a day. Arrive in Auckland, check in to the group hotel and join the welcome briefing to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

n/a (days 1-2); Hotel TBD (day 3)

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 4
Explore Auckland & Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour of this vibrant city center. Stop for lunch midday before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 6 - 7
Great Barrier Island & Exploring Coastal New Zealand

Stretch the legs today while exploring Great Barrier Island on exploratory walks and hikes. Continuing south along the North Island’s verdant coast, let nature be the guide as the captain and expedition leader choose the next site for exploration.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Gisborne

Discover rural life at a 110-year old New Zealand homestead and witness the daily process of sheep herding and sheering. Take in the greenery of a local arboretum, and cap the day off with a winery tour and tasting.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Napier

Spend the morning getting to know Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. Choose to discover the city’s unique architecture on an art tour or leave the city behind and join a Gannet Safari Tour for close encounters at a large Australasian gannet colony.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Exploring New Zealand's South Island

Today will be exploratory in nature, with time to discover the many hidden islands and treasures on the northern side of New Zealand’s South Island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Kaikoura

In Maori, Kaikoura translates to “meal of crayfish.” The region’s abundance of crayfish and nutrient-rich marine system draw impressive quantities of whales, dolphins and fur seals to its waters. Today, venture out in search of various resident and migratory marine mammals as well as the impressive albatross.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Dunedin

Known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and boasting the world’s only mainland albatross colony, Dunedin sits on the verdant southeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Discover the world’s smallest penguin, the little blue penguin, and its endangered cousin, the yellow-eyed penguin, on an excursion to the beaches of the Otago Peninsula. Visit the fragrant Dunedin Botanic Gardens, and explore the Otago Museum’s exhibits on nature, culture and science.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 13
Stewart Island

Stewart Island, known in Maori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Today, explore the island’s rare native birdlife as well as it’s well preserved podocarp forest. In the afternoon, discover Stewart Island’s nearby neighbor, Ulva Island, for hiking with naturalists to discover unspoiled rainforest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 14 - 15
Dusky Sound & Doubtful Sound

Over the course of 2 days, explore Fiordland National Park, home to 14 individual fiords. Here, discover hundreds-meter high waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and hope for a glimpse of Doubtful Sound’s resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 16
Disembark Milford Sound, Transfer to Queenstown & Depart

Have breakfast aboard the ship before disembarking and transferring to Queenstown for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens. Complimentary beer & wine on National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest, National Geographic Sea Lion, National Geographic Sea Bird, with a complimentary full bar on all other ships (2023); beer, wine & full bar (2024).

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

For Expeditions departing prior to April 1, 2024:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The main Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise begins in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) and ends in Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN). Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights from Miami, Florida (MIA). Disembarkation in Milford Sound is after breakfast on Day 16 of the outlined itinerary, followed by an overland transfer to Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN). Departure times may vary depending on group flights. Inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, hiking and kayaking. Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography, glacier viewing and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

2024-25 Main Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound Itinerary

The main Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise travels from the North Island to the South Island, focusing on New Zealand’s Eastern shoreline, including the Fiordlands of the South Island.

Route map of National Geographic Coastal New Zealand cruise from Auckland to Milford Sound, traveling the Eastern coastline.
Read More
Day 1
Arrive Auckland, New Zealand

Arrive in Auckland and transfer to the group hotel. Join a welcome briefing this evening to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

Hotel TBA

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 2
Explore Auckland & Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour of this vibrant city center. Stop for lunch midday before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 4 - 5
Great Barrier Island & Exploring Coastal New Zealand

Stretch the legs today while exploring Great Barrier Island on exploratory walks and hikes. Continuing south along the North Island’s verdant coast, let nature be the guide as the captain and expedition leader choose the next site for exploration.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Gisborne

Discover rural life at a 110-year old New Zealand homestead and witness the daily process of sheep herding and sheering. Take in the greenery of a local arboretum, and cap the day off with a winery tour and tasting.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Napier

Spend the morning getting to know Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. Choose to discover the city’s unique architecture on an art tour or leave the city behind and join a Gannet Safari Tour for close encounters at a large Australasian gannet colony.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Exploring New Zealand's South Island

Today will be exploratory in nature, with time to discover the many hidden islands and treasures on the northern side of New Zealand’s South Island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Kaikoura

In Maori, Kaikoura translates to “meal of crayfish.” The region’s abundance of crayfish and nutrient-rich marine system draw impressive quantities of whales, dolphins and fur seals to its waters. Today, venture out in search of various resident and migratory marine mammals as well as the impressive albatross.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Dunedin

Known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and boasting the world’s only mainland albatross colony, Dunedin sits on the verdant southeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Discover the world’s smallest penguin, the little blue penguin, and its endangered cousin, the yellow-eyed penguin, on an excursion to the beaches of the Otago Peninsula. Visit the fragrant Dunedin Botanic Gardens, and explore the Otago Museum’s exhibits on nature, culture and science.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Stewart Island

Stewart Island, known in Maori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Today, explore the island’s rare native birdlife as well as it’s well preserved podocarp forest. In the afternoon, discover Stewart Island’s nearby neighbor, Ulva Island, for hiking with naturalists to discover unspoiled rainforest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 12 - 13
Dusky Sound & Doubtful Sound

Over the course of 2 days, explore Fiordland National Park, home to 14 individual fiords. Here, discover hundreds-meter high waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and hope for a glimpse of Doubtful Sound’s resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 14
Disembark Milford Sound, Transfer to Queenstown & Depart

Have breakfast aboard the ship before disembarking and transferring to Queenstown for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

For Expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more, inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate which only may be applied towards final payment on any future booking; the certificate does not expire.

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The main Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise begins in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) and ends in Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN). Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights from Miami, Florida (MIA). Disembarkation in Milford Sound is after breakfast on Day 14 of the outlined itinerary, followed by an overland transfer to Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN). Departure times may vary depending on group flights. Inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, hiking and kayaking. Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography, glacier viewing and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

2023-24 Reverse Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound Itinerary

The reverse Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise travels from the South Island to the North Island, focusing on New Zealand’s Eastern shoreline, including the Fiordlands of the South Island.

Route map of National Geographic Coastal New Zealand cruise from Auckland to Milford Sound, traveling the Eastern coastline.
Read More
Days 1 - 3
Arrive Queenstown, New Zealand

Depart on an overnight flight, crossing the International Date Line and losing a day. Arrive in Queenstown, check in to the group hotel and join the welcome briefing to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

n/a (days 1 - 2); Hotel TBD (day 3)

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 4
Explore Queenstown, Transfer to Milford Sound & Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour and transferring to Milford Sound. Stop for lunch midday before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 5 - 6
Dusky Sound & Doubtful Sound

Over the course of 2 days, explore Fiordland National Park, home to 14 individual fiords. Discover hundreds-meter high waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and hope for a glimpse of Doubtful Sound’s resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Stewart Island

Stewart Island, known in Maori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Today, explore the island’s rare native birdlife as well as its well preserved podocarp forest. In the afternoon, discover Stewart Island’s nearby neighbor, Ulva Island, and hike with naturalists to discover unspoiled rainforest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Dunedin

Known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and boasting the world’s only mainland albatross colony, Dunedin sits on the verdant southeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Discover the world’s smallest penguin, the little blue penguin, and its endangered cousin, the yellow-eyed penguin, on an excursion to the beaches of the Otago Peninsula. Visit the fragrant Dunedin Botanic Gardens, and explore the Otago Museum’s exhibits on nature, culture and science.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Kaikoura

In Maori, Kaikoura translates to “meal of crayfish.” The region’s abundance of crayfish and nutrient-rich marine system draw impressive quantities of whales, dolphins and fur seals to its waters. Today, venture out in search of various resident and migratory marine  mammals as well as the impressive albatross.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Exploring New Zealand's South Island

Today will be exploratory in nature. Discover the many hidden islands and treasures on the northern side of New Zealand’s South  Island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Napier

Spend the morning getting to know Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. Choose to discover the city’s unique architecture on an art tour or leave the city behind and join a Gannet Safari Tour for close encounters at a large Australasian gannet colony.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Gisborne

Today delve into the cultural riches of Gisborne—the site of the first European landing place in New Zealand in 1769. The city’s warm, sun-filled climate reflects its disposition and complements its rich soils, bountiful islands, miles of sandy beaches and resource-rich oceans. Gain insight into the history and culture of the people of this region. In the afternoon, discover the greenery of a local arboretum, and cap the day off with a wine tour and tasting.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 13 - 14
Great Barrier Island & Exploring Coastal New Zealand

Stretch the legs today while exploring Great Barrier Island on exploratory walks and hikes. Continue south along the North Island’s verdant coast and let nature be the guide as the captain and expedition leader choose the next site for exploration.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 15
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 16
Disembark Auckland, New Zealand

Have lunch aboard the ship before disembarking and transferring to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens. Complimentary beer & wine on National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest, National Geographic Sea Lion, National Geographic Sea Bird, with a complimentary full bar on all other ships (2023); beer, wine & full bar (2024).

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

For Expeditions departing prior to April 1, 2024:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The reverse Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise begins in Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN) and ends in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL). Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights from Miami, Florida (MIA). Disembarkation in Auckland is after lunch on Day 15 of the outlined itinerary. Departure times may vary depending on group flights. Inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, hiking and kayaking. Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography, glacier viewing and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

2024-25 Reverse Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound Itinerary

The reverse Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise travels from the South Island to the North Island, focusing on New Zealand’s Eastern shoreline, including the Fiordlands of the South Island.

Route map of National Geographic Coastal New Zealand cruise from Auckland to Milford Sound, traveling the Eastern coastline.
Read More
Day 1
Arrive Queenstown, New Zealand

Arrive in Queenstown and transfer to the group hotel. Join a welcome briefing this evening to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

Hotel TBA

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 2
Explore Queenstown, Transfer to Milford Sound & Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour and transferring to Milford Sound. Stop for lunch midday before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 3 - 4
Dusky Sound & Doubtful Sound

Over the course of 2 days, explore Fiordland National Park, home to 14 individual fiords. Discover hundreds-meter high waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and hope for a glimpse of Doubtful Sound’s resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Stewart Island

Stewart Island, known in Maori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Today, explore the island’s rare native birdlife as well as its well preserved podocarp forest. In the afternoon, discover Stewart Island’s nearby neighbor, Ulva Island, and hike with naturalists to discover unspoiled rainforest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Dunedin

Known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and boasting the world’s only mainland albatross colony, Dunedin sits on the verdant southeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Discover the world’s smallest penguin, the little blue penguin, and its endangered cousin, the yellow-eyed penguin, on an excursion to the beaches of the Otago Peninsula. Visit the fragrant Dunedin Botanic Gardens, and explore the Otago Museum’s exhibits on nature, culture and science.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Kaikoura

In Maori, Kaikoura translates to “meal of crayfish.” The region’s abundance of crayfish and nutrient-rich marine system draw impressive quantities of whales, dolphins and fur seals to its waters. Today, venture out in search of various resident and migratory marine  mammals as well as the impressive albatross.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Exploring New Zealand's South Island

Today will be exploratory in nature. Discover the many hidden islands and treasures on the northern side of New Zealand’s South  Island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Napier

Spend the morning getting to know Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. Choose to discover the city’s unique architecture on an art tour or leave the city behind and join a Gannet Safari Tour for close encounters at a large Australasian gannet colony.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Gisborne

Today delve into the cultural riches of Gisborne—the site of the first European landing place in New Zealand in 1769. The city’s warm, sun-filled climate reflects its disposition and complements its rich soils, bountiful islands, miles of sandy beaches and resource-rich oceans. Gain insight into the history and culture of the people of this region. In the afternoon, discover the greenery of a local arboretum, and cap the day off with a wine tour and tasting.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 11 - 12
Great Barrier Island & Exploring Coastal New Zealand

Stretch the legs today while exploring Great Barrier Island on exploratory walks and hikes. Continue south along the North Island’s verdant coast and let nature be the guide as the captain and expedition leader choose the next site for exploration.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 13
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 14
Disembark Auckland, New Zealand

Have lunch aboard the ship before disembarking and transferring to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

For Expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more, inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate which only may be applied towards final payment on any future booking; the certificate does not expire.

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The reverse Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound cruise begins in Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN) and ends in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL). Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights from Miami, Florida (MIA). Disembarkation in Auckland is after lunch on Day 14 of the outlined itinerary. Departure times may vary depending on group flights. Inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, hiking and kayaking. Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography, glacier viewing and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

Feb 01 - Feb 16, 2023
National Geographic Orion • 16 days
From $20690USD
Per Person
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Feb 13 - Feb 28, 2023
National Geographic Orion • 16 days
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From $20290USD
Per Person
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Nov 06 - Nov 21, 2023
National Geographic Orion • 16 days
From $20290USD
Per Person
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Nov 18 - Dec 03, 2023
National Geographic Orion • 16 days
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From $20290USD
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Jan 05 - Jan 20, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 16 days
From $20290USD
Per Person
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Jan 17 - Feb 01, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 16 days
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From $20290USD
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Oct 22 - Nov 04, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 14 days
From $23330USD
Per Person
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Nov 03 - Nov 16, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 14 days
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From $23330USD
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Orion

102-guest National Geographic Orion is one of the most sophisticated vessel in its class. Small ship cruises aboard the Orion offer a luxurious exploration of Chile, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Groups Save 5% On National Geographic Expeditions

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on National Geographic expeditions in this special deal.

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Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Save 10% On Two Consecutive National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

Expert Review

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Andrew Browning • June 1st, 2016
Expert Review: What It's Like on a Fiordland National Park Cruise

Learn what to expect on an overnight Fiordland National Park cruise with AdventureSmith Explorations in New Zealand. One of our Adventure Specialists reports from the field, fjord, deck & paddleboard.

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100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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20 - 22 Day Cruise
Southern Odyssey: New Zealand & The Sub-Antarctic Islands

Cruise New Zealand's North, South and Sub-Antarctic Islands on 102-guest Nat Geo Orion for remarkable vistas and remote, untouched islands teeming with rare wildlife.

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Great Barrier Reef Cruises

The most comprehensive Great Barrier Reef itinerary available, this Australia small ship cruise will reveal the underwater world of numerous exclusive reef sites with opportunities to become a relaxed beachcomber or an inquisitive adventurer on an 8-day island-hopping voyage of discovery aboard 72-guest Coral Discoverer.

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Coastal Wilds of Tasmania Cruise

This 11- or 17-day Tasmania expedition cruise is a rare adventure into the wilderness, showcasing the rugged coastal beauty and World Heritage Listed National Parks of Australia’s island state, in the intimate comfort of the 72-guest Coral Discoverer.

From $5020USD
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Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound Cruise

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