Ancient Fiords & Unspoiled Islands of Southern New Zealand
Set sail aboard Le Soléal for a 12-day brand-new expedition cruise to discover the South Island of New Zealand between enchanting landscapes and observation of extraordinary wildlife, in one of the best-preserved environments on the planet.
Le Soléal will first set sail to the South-West region of the South Island to discover magnificent Fiordland National Park, which is an integral part of Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage area. Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound or the better-known Milford Sound: you will discover these fiords shaped by successive glaciations, bordered by majestic cliffs.
Then you will sail towards Ulva Island, one of the few predator-free sanctuaries of New Zealand and a haven for many rare species of birds and plants that are rare, or have died out, on the mainland of New Zealand.
Le Soléal will then set sail for the Snares Islands, one of the archipelagos of New Zealand's Sub Antarctic Islands. These remote island outposts are collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a myriad of wildlife with many species endemic to the region and even to individual islands.
In these islands often described as the “Galapagos of the Southern Ocean”, this amazing nature can provide great experiences.
Then the Banks Peninsula will reveal wonderful landscapes of lush hills and rugged coasts during your calls in the bays of Akaroa, an ancient flooded volcano crater. There you will experience a unique mix of Maori, French and European cultural heritage.
Your ship will then proceed to the east coast of the Southern Island. You will sail to the rocky peninsula of Kaikoura to admire New Zealand’s rich biodiversity.
Finally, Dunedin, your port of disembarkation, will draw the end of this wonderful voyage.
The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.
- 11 night luxury exploration cruise from Dunedin aboard Le Soleali
- All meals on board
- Open bar including mineral water, soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits, tea and coffee (excludes premium brands)
- Zodiac excursions
- Park entry fees
PLUS! Your Exclusive Ultimate Cruising bonus:
- 1 night accommodation in Dunedin pre-cruise
- A$500 per booking air credit
- Chauffeur driven luxury car transfers from your home to the airport and return (within 35km)
Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest city and is often referred to as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. This city of the south, wears its Scottish heritage with pride. The city contains some of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The Silverpeaks hinterland to the North West provides a picturesque backdrop and The Otago Peninsula, which lies within the city boundaries, has internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross.
Dusky Sound is one of the most isolated fjords in Fiordland National Park. This huge, protected natural zone situated in the south-west quarter of New Zealand’s South Island is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. The sheer cliffs, waterfalls, shimmering lakes and primitive forests here are each more beautiful than the next. These spectacular landscapes sculpted by successive glaciations are a source of endless wonder. In 1773, the British navigator James Cook spent a few weeks at Dusky Sound, as demonstrated by a plaque that can be seen at Astronomer’s Point. During your sailing, observe the richness of the local wildlife: cormorants, seagulls, New Zealand fur seals, but also Fiordland crested penguins, a rare and endemic species. Weather and time permitting you may explore the Sound from our fleet of Zodiac®.
Referred to as the "Sound of Silence", there is a secluded serenity that surrounds Doubtful Sound in contrast with the better-known Milford Sound. Both are part of the Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lieutenant James Cook named 'Doubtful Harbour' in 1770 as he was uncertain if it was navigable under sail. Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords with a maximum depth of 421 m. It contains three distinct 'arms' and several outstanding waterfalls in the area from Deep Cove to the open ocean. Your ship will spend time navigating around Secretary Island through both Thompson and Doubtful Sounds. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery from the outer decks.
Milford Sound fiord is among one of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand. So much beauty will quite simply take your breath away. Located on the south-west coast of South Island, in the Fiorldland National Park, this sumptuous inlet carved out by glaciers advances over at least 15 kilometres inland, in the Southern Alps. Majestic cliffs seem to surge out of the dark waters, rising several hundred metres high: an abrupt relief from where impressive waterfalls cascade.
Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara) is the largest of 20 islands within Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, with an area of approx. 270 hectares. The island has never been logged and was declared pest free in 1997, becoming one of the few predator-free sanctuaries in New Zealand. The island is now a haven for many species of birds and plants that are rare, or have died out, on the mainland of New Zealand. Bird species regularly encountered include: the flightless Stewart Island Weka, South Island saddleback, yellowhead and Stewart Island robin. Ulva Island is not only a bird enthusiast’s paradise, it is also one of the few offshore islands with a largely undisturbed podocarp forest. Well-maintained tracks offer easy walking for most people providing a unique opportunity to see rare birds and plants at close quarters in a safe environment.
Amongst the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand, the Snares have the distinction of being the only forested group without introduced mammals, not even mice. Consequently, it is a remarkable haven for wildlife. The island boasts more nesting seabirds than the entire realm of the British Isles. Over 2 million Sooty Shearwaters breed here in the summer months. Four species of Albatross are listed as breeding on the Snares along with 35,000 endemic Snares crested penguins. There are also approximately 1,000 New Zealand fur seals and 500 New Zealand sea lions. Landing on the Snares is prohibited. If time and weather permit, you will have the opportunity to explore the coastal environments and view the prolific wildlife from our fleet of Zodiac®.
Set on the east coast of South Island, Christchurch is New Zealand's second-biggest city. You can soak up its easy-going atmosphere in one of the many parks and gardens that give Christchurch its nickname "the garden city", or dally a while in Cathedral Square to see how the city is transforming itself after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Attractions such as the International Antarctic Centre and Christchurch Gondola ride are as popular as ever, while pop-up cafes, the Cardboard Cathedral and community art projects showcase the citizens' resilience. The beautiful port of Akaroa, where ships dock, is about 90-minute drive from Christchurch on the Banks Peninsula.
Located on the South Island of New Zealand, the small town of Kaikōura stretches between the South Pacific and the snow-capped Kaikōura mountain chain, in the heart of a natural and preserved environment that is home to rich and varied wildlife. The peninsular has spectacular limestone formations, and many marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, as well as sea birds can be found near its shores. Initially populated by the original Maori inhabitants for almost a thousand years, the rocky coastlines of Kaikōura then served as an observation post for whalers between the 18th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
Departure Dates & Pricing
Cruise departs Dunedin on 11 January 2023.
Prices start from NZ$11,415 per person share twin. All pricing is subject to availability and subject to change without notice. Please ask us for best available pricing at time of booking, including first-time or repeat client savings!
- Luxury Expedition
- 24 Hr Room Service
- All meals
- Boutique &/or Salon
- Drinks All Day
- On-Board Lecturer
- Shore Excursions
- Solo Traveller Friendly