new zealand's south island by sea: a voyage to the fiordland - with smithsonian journeys
locationWellington - Dunedin - Australasia
New Zealand's South Island by Sea: A Voyage to the Fiordland - with Smithsonian Journeys
FromAUD $12,529
94% of travelers recommend this experience

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9 days
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In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.

This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.

On this comprehensive 8-day expedition to New Zealand's South Island, the focus throughout will be on the unparalleled richness of New Zealand's flora, fauna, and magnificent landscapes. Because it is so remote, New Zealand was one of the last places on Earth to be settled by human beings. And during those long centuries of splendid isolation, New Zealand developed a biodiversity of animals and plants that is rare, possibly even unique, in the world.

Setting out from Wellington on the southern tip of the North Island, Le Lapérouse sails along the South Island's eastern seaboard exploring the rugged coastline between Kaikoura and Akaroa, an area known for its abundant wildlife - petrels, penguins and several species of albatross, but especially for the large number of sperm whales, fur seals, and dolphins that live permanently in the coastal waters.

A day at sea, making its way around the southern tip of the island, brings Le Lapérouse to Fiordland National Park, part of Te Wähipounamu, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, where you spend three days exploring this spectacular region of soaring craggy mountains and pristine fjords formed by over 100,000 years of glacial activity.

Doubtful Sound, with a depth of 1,380 feet, is the deepest of the fjords, and Dusky Sound is one of the most isolated. Both are home to sheer cliffs, waterfalls, and primitive forests, and both are havens for cormorants, seagulls, New Zealand fur seals, and the endemic Fiordland crested penguins. Milford Sound, the most northerly of the fjords visited on this voyage is among the most beautiful natural sites in all of New Zealand, an inlet reaching nearly ten miles inland, with majestic cliffs rising several hundred feet out of the water, many with waterfalls cascading from high above.

The last day of your expedition is spent exploring Ulva Island, a famous bird and plant sanctuary that provides an opportunity to spot some of the rarest bird species in the world, including the flightless Stewart Island Weka, South Island saddleback, yellowhead, and Stewart Island robin.

Your expedition ends in Dunedin.

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