Experience New Zealand as early Polynesians and explorers once did—by exploring its coastlines by ship. Voyage from Auckland to Milford Sound and explore New Zealand’s North and South Islands and breathtaking Fiordland.

Starting at: $7,990 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The dramatic Milford Sound with Mitre Peak in the center. Credit: Rob Suisted/Tourism New Zealand  Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables  Overlooking Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  Looking out over Queenstown Credit: Chris Sisarich/Tourism New Zealand  Sheep farmer with visitors. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  Typical New Zealand landscape with sheep farm  Cruising in Milford Sound. Credit: Adam Bryce/Tourism New Zealand  Waterfalls in Fiordland National Park  View of the dramatic Doubtful Sound  Dolphin following swimming alongside the ship. Credit: Chris Stephenson/Tourism New Zealand  Great Northern Albatross  Tasting cafe in Wellington. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  Traditional Maori meeting house  Maori artist working on traditional carving. Credit: Eric Lindberg/Tourism New Zealand  Young Maori woman with traditional Moko tattoos. Credit: James Heremaia/Tourism New Zealand  Maori Haka performance. Credit: James Heremaia/Tourism New Zealand  Geothermal area, Rotorua. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  Geothermal field with spouting geysers, Rotorua. Credit: Chris McLennan/Tourism New Zealand  The Po Hutu Geyser in Rotorua  The city of Auckland. Credit: Tourism New Zealand

New Zealand by Sea

A Cruise from Auckland to Milford Sound Aboard the 114-guest Caledonian Sky

14 days from $7,990

Experience New Zealand as early Polynesians and explorers once did—by exploring its coastlines by ship. Voyage from Auckland to Milford Sound and explore New Zealand’s North and South Islands and breathtaking Fiordland.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I have been with various travel groups but this trip was better than any I've ever been on. Everything was well planned; these guys had it to down to a science. On most tours at least one thing goes wrong, but not with Smithsonian. They're total experts and professionals and I can't think of anything that they could have done better.

- Valerie, M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

Save up to $2,000* per cabin when you book by September 30, 2018! 

Overview

Discover remarkable New Zealand, from Auckland on the North Island to world-famous Milford Sound on the South Island, aboard the Caledonian Sky. Explore the heartland of Maori culture in Rotorua and visit the stunning Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, which brings to life the history of New Zealand’s native people. Visit the Canterbury Museum’s Hall of Antarctic Discovery in Christchurch and the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head. Listen for the strange “dingdong” call of the bellbird on Stewart Island, and marvel at the sheer granite walls and tumbling waterfalls of Doubtful and Milford Sounds in Fiordland, known for its wildlife, including fur seals and bottlenose dolphins.

Highlights Include

  • Luxury Expedition Ship: Observe some of the world’s rarest wildlife in their natural settings, including the Royal Albatross as you cruise aboard the luxury expedition ship Caledonian Sky featuring 57 outside suites, all with a comfortable seating area and ocean views.
  • Stunning Destinations: Onboard Caledonian Sky, access remote Dusky and Doubtful Sounds plus seldom-visited Stewart Island, New Zealand’s newest national park.
  • Culture: Experience a private Maori welcome ceremony, including tribal dances, and see bubbling thermal mud pools in Rotorua.
  • Scientific Wonders: Marvel at active geothermal pools, sheer cliffs punctuated by crashing waterfalls, and native species on naturalist-led Zodiac expeditions. At Christchurch, headquarters for “Operation Deep Freeze,” visit the unique Hall of Antarctic Discovery.

*During this voyage, we will share the ship with other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience.

I have been with various travel groups but this trip was better than any I've ever been on. Everything was well planned; these guys had it to down to a science. On most tours at least one thing goes wrong, but not with Smithsonian. They're total experts and professionals and I can't think of anything that they could have done better.

- Valerie, M.

Itinerary

Day 1,2, & 3 — Auckland, New Zealand

Depart home on an overnight flight to Auckland, the “City of Sails,” on New Zealand’s North Island. Lose one day crossing the International Date Line. Join your fellow travelers at a welcome reception. (R)

Day 4 — Auckland / Embark

Enjoy an overview motor coach tour of the city and a visit to the Auckland Museum to learn about New Zealand’s indigenous Maori and Polynesian cultures from experienced docents. Following lunch, embark the Caledonian Sky and enjoy a welcome dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Rotorua

Disembark in Tauranga and travel by motor coach to Rotorua, the heartland of Maori culture. Attend a private gathering with Maori elders at a special pōwhiri, or welcome, ceremony including the traditional Maori haka dance. Observe the hot mud pools for which the Wai-O-Tapu thermal region is known, and enjoy a traditional hāngi, which means “earth oven," lunch. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — At Sea

En route to Wellington, enjoy ample time to relax, the continuation of the educational program, and a tour of the ship’s bridge. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city, with colorful Victorian houses and a lovely harbor. Walk through the city’s lush botanical garden and stop at Old St. Paul’s Church, a Wellington landmark that exemplifies 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture adapted to colonial conditions and materials. Visit the spectacular waterfront museum Te Papa Tongarewa (Maori for “Repository of Things Precious”) to learn about Maori myths and traditions, as well as their exceptional skills in navigating the Pacific to arrive on these islands. Tonight’s late sailing provides an opportunity for an evening of independent exploration in the city. (B,L)

Day 8 — Marlborough Sounds

Cruise across Cook Strait between the North and South Islands and enter a world of pristine natural beauty. Anchor at Ship Cove, where Captain Cook arrived aboard the HMS Endeavour in 1770. Explore islands and inlets by Zodiac and, during short walks in the bush, keep an eye out for some of the wildlife Cook described in his reports, as well as rare birds such as the South Island saddleback, the bellbird, and the New Zealand robin. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Lyttelton / Christchurch

Disembark in the harbor at Lyttelton and drive to Christchurch, headquarters for “Operation Deep Freeze” and supply point for U.S. bases in the Antarctic. Explore the unique Canterbury Museum and its Hall of Antarctic Discovery, which preserves and exhibits fascinating historic artifacts from the exploits of Antarctic explorers. Explore Christchurch’s central district, then round out the day with a visit to the Ohinetahi Garden, considered one of New Zealand’s finest. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Dunedin

From Dunedin, widely regarded as the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian heritage city in the southern hemisphere, drive to Taiaroa Head on the tip of the Otago Peninsula. This is the only mainland location in the world where it is possible to see northern royal albatrosses, the largest seabirds in the world, in their natural habitat. Special viewing areas have been constructed for observing these birds without disturbing their natural activities. Before returning to the ship, visit the Otago Museum’s Southern Land, Southern People gallery, with its informative exhibits on the landforms, lost fauna and flora, and challenging climate of southern New Zealand. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Stewart Island

Anchor in Paterson Inlet to visit Stewart and Ulva islands. Stewart Island (Rakiura) is the southernmost inhabited outpost of New Zealand. With a population under 500, this quiet, seldom-visited wilderness oasis is an ornithologist’s delight. Ulva Island is a sanctuary for both birds and plants, including species that are rare or extinct on the mainland. Naturalist guides lead bush walks for possible sightings of weka, kākā, albatrosses, the flightless Stewart Island kiwi, silvereyes, and fantails. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Doubtful & Dusky Sounds

When the glaciers covering Fiordland retreated 14,000 years ago, they left behind an extraordinarily serrated coastline, plunging fiords, and deep branching lakes, further enhanced by mist-shrouded mountains, cascading waterfalls, and vast beech forests. This is New Zealand at its wildest, most remote, and most beautiful. Explore this unspoiled waterway, well known for its wildlife, including fur seals and a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. This evening celebrate your adventure at a festive farewell dinner aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Milford Sound (Disembark) / Queenstown

On arrival in Fiordland National Park, cruise close to iconic Mitre Peak and the towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls of spectacular Milford Sound before disembarking. Then drive to Queenstown for a short city orientation by coach and free time to explore on your own. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Queenstown / Home

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home, regaining the day lost on the inbound journey. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)