New Zealand Expedition Cruise


Auckland to Queenstown
Explore the east coast of New Zealand’s North and South islands on an exciting small ship expedition cruise. Dock to explore Rotorua, Napier, Wellington and Dunedin. Reach remote Stewart Island and the breathtaking fiords along the south-west coast. Finish the cruise in spectacular Milford Sound before a night in Queenstown.

Trip notes

Tour details Collapse
Tour Provider APT
Number Of Days
Price From
Start Location
Auckland, New Zealand
End Location
Queenstown, New Zealand
Age Range
Avg. 45+
Group Size
10 to 45
Tour Style
Tour Themes
No specific theme
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Itinerary Expand all
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland, Embark Ship
You will be met on arrival in Auckland and transferred to your ship. Meet your captain and crew at tonight’s welcome reception and dinner.
Day 2 - Tauranga, Rotorua
We arrive at Tauranga and drive to Rotorua. From explosive geysers to bubbling mud pools and steaming natural hot springs, Rotorua is a major highlight when visiting New Zealand. Enjoy a traditional Maori welcome ceremony and lunch before returning to Tauranga for some free time to explore.
Day 3 - Gisborne
Captain James Cook named Gisborne in honour of one of his crew who first sighted land in 1769. Today, we find a sunny coastal town rich in Maori heritage and culture. Gisborne is also known as the chardonnay capital of New Zealand, and you’ll get to visit two of the local boutique vineyards.
Day 4 - Napier
Dock at Napier and enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful Art Deco town, rebuilt after the devastating Hawkes Bay earthquake in 1931. Since we are in New Zealand’s second-largest wine producing region, today’s touring includes a visit to a vineyard for a wine tasting. Spend a free afternoon exploring at leisure, or join a tour to Cape Kidnappers to see the world’s largest nesting colony of gannets (own expense).
Day 5 - Wellington
With your ship anchored close to the city centre, step ashore for a guided walk through Wellington. See St Paul’s Cathedral and the parliament buildings, then stroll through the Botanical Gardens. Also pay a visit to the Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand.
Day 6 - Kaikoura
On a whale-watching cruise, look for sperm whales and orcas which frequent the waters of Kaikoura. In the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely wander through town or take on one of the many guided walks on offer.
Day 7 - Akaroa
Spend a full day in Akaroa on your chosen experience. Head out on the water during a dolphin-watching trip or take a guided walk through the town and native bush.
Day 8 - Dunedin
Be guided around the city of Dunedin and walk through the beautiful Botanical gardens. Perhaps join a drive to the Otago Peninsula including a visit to the Penguin Place, where you’ll learn about the conservation efforts to protect rare yellow-eyed penguins.
Day 9 - Stewart Island, Ulva Island
Land at Oban on Stewart Island, where you’ll get to wander through the shops and see the Rakiura Museum. Alternatively, drive to explore some of the island’s most beautiful locations, including Observation Rock, with views over Iona and Ulva islands, as well as the beaches lining the east coast. After lunch, head for Ulva Island. A renowned wildlife sanctuary, here you can choose from a number of guided walks with our local guides.
Day 10 - Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound
A full day dedicated to the incredible wilderness of Fiordland National Park. Only accessible by sea, it is one of the most remote and most beautiful regions of New Zealand. While our exact route is weather dependent, we hope to visit Astronomers Point, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound. We’ll make use of Zodiacs to reach remote landing sites and to explore deeper into the fiords.
Day 11 - Milford Sound, Disembark Ship, Queenstown
Witness the staggering beauty of Milford Sound as our ship glides serenely through this magnificent fiord. Also known by its Maori name, Piopiotahi, this is one of New Zealand’s most treasured natural landmarks. Our journey ends at the head of the fjord, where we’ll disembark to waiting coaches and transfer to our hotel in Queenstown. Tonight, you have free time to explore Queenstown and try one of the many great restaurants within walking distance of your accommodation.
Day 12 - Depart Queenstown
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Inclusions Expand
  • Experiences in 12 destinations
  • 10 nights aboard the MS Caledonian Sky with excursions on Zodiac vessels
  • Overnight stay in Queenstown
  • Locally inspired dining – a total of 30 meals and a wide range of onboard beverages
  • Services of an APT Expedition Leader and Team
  • Enjoy wine tastings and vineyard visits in Napier and Gisborne
  • Immerse yourself in the remote landscapes of Ulva and Stewart islands
  • Cruise the entire length of Milford Sound, and explore Dusky and Doubtful sounds
Departure dates Expand
Start End Availability Price
01 Dec 2021 12 Dec 2021 Available $12,395