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Explore New Zealand’s most remote places on a cruise this summer. Photo / T Kraakman
Small is lovely when it comes to summer cruises in New Zealand, with boutique lines like Affinity Cruises, Fiordland Discovery and Heritage Expeditions offering Kiwi-only cruises for the 2020/21 season.
The Spirit of the Heritage Expedition
The Enderby is the first (and so far the only) international ship to arrive for the summer and company directors Aaron and Nathan Russ are delighted their ship is back in local waters.
“The arrival of the Spirit of Enderby is a huge win not only for us, but also for the country’s economy and the travel industry, ongoing scientific research, and New Zealanders looking to experience a foreign style holiday without leaving the country,” said Aaron. .
Adventurous travelers are particularly well served this summer with a choice of tantalizing itineraries. Watch New Year’s on D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds, or see the 30m-high ice cliffs, the world’s largest Adelie penguin sanctuary and floating ice pool in the world, and Antarctica’s only active volcano in east Antarctica.
Foodies can enjoy stunning Fiordland views while the crew catches live lobsters for lunch. Choose your favorite itinerary and get ready to set sail for adventures this summer.
After Scott & Shackleton
If you want to see the Antarctic you studied in school and experience the early arctic explorers, East Antarctica is the place to do it. There’s a two month expedition leaving from New Zealand this summer. As well as offering plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities, the Ross Sea and Commonwealth of Antarctica Bay area is home to many well-preserved huts from past heroic exploration, including Mawson’s Hut and Borchgrevink’s Hut, the oldest in Antarctica.
Pelorus Cruise and Walk
Walk the picturesque paths of Jacobs, Archer and Nydia on this four night round trip cruise from Havelock. There are no setbacks as the boat meets you at the end of each trip and is anchored in a quiet bay for a good night’s rest. In all, you will hike about 40 km, although it is easy to cut this distance by skipping some of the walking trails.
Profound Fiordland Cruise
Explore Fiordland National Park and the World Heritage area of Te Wāhipounamu with a focus on scenery, history and nature. After a helicopter flight from Te Anau, you’ll board the Fiordland Jewel at Preservation Inlet and spend six nights exploring Breaksea, Dusky Sounds, and Preservation and Chalky Inlets with bush, island and beach walks and opportunities to see lots of wildlife. The crew also dive for lobsters so the chef can make a special lunch or dinner.
New Year’s Landscape Cruise
Celebrate New Year’s on a five-night cruise that departs from Havelock and returns to Picton. Along with fishing for delicious Blue Cod, bird watching on Motuara Island, walking the Queen Charlotte Track and exploring the Marlborough Sounds, you’ll be able to lift your glass to 2021 over dinner on D’Urville Island with a new friend’s find.
The Forgotten Islands in the South Pacific
Herbal fields sway in the wind, colony nests of albatross and cubs scurry around their mothers on a seven-night wilderness expedition exploring the Unesco World Heritage-listed Campbell Islands, Auckland and New Zealand’s Unesco World Heritage-listed Snares. The wild beauty of this area is breathtaking and must be seen to be believed.
Experience the best of the South Island on this cruise which includes a scenic flight over the Marlborough Sounds, a day trip to New Zealand’s largest spring, a chance to visit a king shag colony and salmon fishing on Anatoki’s farms. You’ll also sail through all three of the Marlborough’s Sounds – Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus – on this 10 night cruise.
Fiordland & Invisible Stewart Island
Explore New Zealand’s remote southern backyard on this seven-night cruise that includes two incredible destinations on one cruise. You’ll see mountains that cut through glaciers only accessible by boat, enjoy the natural beauty of Stewart Island’s rich wildlife, and cruise through Fiordland where dolphins play and clouds soften jagged peaks.
Galapagos in the Southern Ocean
This 13-night cruise explores New Zealand’s Subantctic Islands, then ventures further into remote Macquarie Island. This ice place is the only place in the world where Royal Penguins breed and is home to over 200,000 rowdy couples. This time of year is also ideal for observing the mighty elephant and its enormous offspring.
Dubious Voice Discovery
If you’re looking for something short and sweet, this two-night Doubtful Sound cruise is for you. After your boat transfer across Lake Manapouri to West Arm, you’ll have time to admire the views before boarding the 18-passenger catamaran at Deep Cove. Doubtful Sound is 10 times bigger than Milford Sound and you have two days to explore it by kayak or in a gentle little boat while watching the Fiordland crested dolphins, fur seals and penguins.
Cruise lines to watch
At the time of writing, Ponant is awaiting approval to begin shipping in New Zealand. In February, a 14-night Subantarctic Archipelago expedition will offer the opportunity to explore one of the world’s least visited regions in style. Message on au.ponant.com