Small brown fur seal sits atop a smooth rock outcrop overlooking calm water at sunset with mountains in the distance.
Various tall waterfalls run down the side of rocky peaks with green growth, into a glassy fjord in New Zealand on a cloud day.
Kiwi bird with shaggy brown feathers points its long white beak at the rainforest floor, seen on the Nat Geo New Zealand Cruise.
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.
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Asia / Pacific New Zealand Cruise

Coastal New Zealand: Scenic Fjords, Māori History & Abundant Wildlife

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

Southbound Coastal New Zealand: Scenic Fjords, Māori History & Abundant Wildlife Itinerary

The Southbound Coastal New Zealand: Scenic Fjords, Māori History & Abundant Wildlife cruise operates from Auckland to Dunedin, cruising the east coast of the North Island and the west coast of the South Island.

Route map of southbound Coastal New Zealand cruise, from Auckland to Dunedin and visits along the North Island's east coast and the South Island's west coast.
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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
Auckland City Tour & 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

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. 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

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Days 7 - 8
Napier & At Sea

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
Days 9 - 10
Abel Tasman National Park & At Sea

Explore this beautiful island where dense rainforests border the snow-capped Southern Alps. Visit Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest national park, renowned for its golden sand beaches and rugged granite cliffs that kiss the shoreline. Hike or kayak with your naturalists or just relax at the beach. Spend a day at sea getting to know your fellow travelers as you scout for local wildlife and attend briefings and lectures from the onboard staff. Enjoy views of New Zealand’s southern island as you cruise to your next stop.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 11 - 12
Fiordland National Park

Over the course of 2 days, explore Dusky and Milford Sounds in Fiordland National Park, home to 14 individual fiords. Here, discover towering waterfalls and snowcapped peaks.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 13
Ulva Island & Stewart Island

Stewart Island, known in Māori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Māori 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, where you’ll hike with naturalists to discover its unspoiled rainforest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 14
Disembark Dunedin, New Zealand, City Tour & Depart

After breakfast, disembark the ship. Enjoy a city tour and an included lunch on the way to the airport.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals as 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; basic WiFi (enhanced and premium packages available for purchase). 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 

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, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking. 

(For expeditions booked prior to May 1, 2023: Please refer to your invoice for your payment and cancellation terms.) 

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.

Arrival & Departure

The Southbound Coastal New Zealand cruise begins in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) and ends in Dunedin, New Zealand (DUD). Plan flights to arrive to Auckland by 5:00pm on Day 1 of the itinerary. Disembarkation in Dunedin is after breakfast on Day 14 of the itinerary, followed by a city tour and lunch before an included transfer to the airport. Plan flights to depart Dunedin no earlier than 5:00pm on the final day. 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.

Northbound Coastal New Zealand: Scenic Fjords, Māori History & Abundant Wildlife Itinerary

The Northbound Coastal New Zealand: Scenic Fjords, Māori History & Abundant Wildlife cruise operates round-trip from Auckland, starting with a flight to embark in Dunedin before cruising the west coast of the South Island and the east coast of the North Island.

Route map of northbound Coastal New Zealand cruise, operating round-trip from Auckland with a flight to embark the ship in Dunedin and visits along the South Island's west coast and the North Island's east coast.
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 your fellow travelers.

Accommodations

Hotel TBA

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 2
Fly to Dunedin & Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for a flight to Dunedin. Spend the day touring the city before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Ulva Island & Stewart Island

Stewart Island, known in Māori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Māori 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, where you’ll hike with naturalists to discover its unspoiled rainforest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 4 - 6
Fiordland National Park & At Sea

Over the course of 2 days, explore Dusky and Milford Sounds in Fiordland National Park, home to 14 individual fiords. Here, discover towering waterfalls and snowcapped peaks. Spend a day at sea getting to know your fellow travelers as you scout for local wildlife and attend briefings and lectures from the onboard staff. Enjoy views of New Zealand’s southern island as you cruise to your next stop.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 7 - 8
Abel Tasman National Park & At Sea

Explore this beautiful island where dense rainforests border the snow-capped Southern Alps. Visit Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest national park, renowned for its golden sand beaches and rugged granite cliffs that kiss the shoreline. Hike or kayak with your naturalists or just relax at the beach.

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
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 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

Read More
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

Read More
Day 14
Disembark Auckland, New Zealand, City Tour & Depart

After breakfast, disembark the ship. Enjoy a city tour and an included lunch on the way to the airport.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals as 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; basic WiFi (enhanced and premium packages available for purchase). Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight from Auckland to Dunedin, New Zealand (inquire for pricing); 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 

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, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking. 

(For expeditions booked prior to May 1, 2023: Please refer to your invoice for your payment and cancellation terms.) 

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.

Arrival & Departure

The Northbound Coastal New Zealand cruise begins and ends in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL). Plan flights to arrive to Auckland by 4:00pm on Day 1 of the itinerary. Disembarkation in Auckland is after breakfast on Day 14 of the itinerary, followed by a city tour and lunch before an included transfer to the airport. Plan flights to depart Auckland no earlier than 5:00pm on the final day. 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.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Auckland and Dunedin, New Zealand, is required on this trip’s itinerary; see this trip’s Exclusions and inquire with an Adventure Specialist for pricing. There is a strict luggage limit of two checked bags weighing up to 57 lbs (25 kg) combined, and one carry-on bag weighing up to 17 lbs (8 kg) plus a personal item that can be stowed under the seat.

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.

Oct 22 - Nov 04, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 14 days
From $19615USD
Per Person
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Nov 03 - Nov 16, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 14 days
From $19419USD
Per Person
Read More
Read More
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 May 31st, 2024
Kids Save $500 On Select 2024 & 2025 Nat Geo Expeditions Worldwide

Save $500 per kid under 18 when you book your 2024 or 2025 departure from a variety of National Geographic expeditions worldwide.

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Offer expires May 31st, 2024
Groups Save 5% On Select 2024 & 2025 Nat Geo Expeditions Worldwide

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on a variety of 2024 or 2025 National Geographic expeditions worldwide.

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.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

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

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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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