New Zealand's South Island
On this voyage discover the captivating coastline of New Zealand’s South Island teeming with marine life, as we make our way to the deep and quiet fiords of Murihiku – Southland. The journey takes us to explore a spectacular coastline, experience the vibrant and charming east coast towns, and discover wildlife and legions of bird species in their natural habitats.
Aboard Coral Geographer, experience New Zealand from a different perspective, as free time and the ability to customer your expedition from a choice of experiences in historic cities is contrasted with wilderness experiences guided by our knowledgeable expedition team. By small ship, enjoy access to remote and difficult-to-reach wilderness areas within the Marlborough Sounds and Fiordland, and visit sheltered coves and islands to find fur seals, kakapos, and pods of friendly dolphins.
Coral Expeditions pride themselves on their eco-conscious values as they visit these pristine regions with the greatest respect and care. You will be amazed at the sight of New Zealand’s unforgettable landscape from the deck of a small ship.
Your cruise price includes:
- 8 night Expedition Voyage from Wellington to Queenstown aboard Coral Geographer
- Expert Expedition Team
- All excursions on the Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels
- Local operator excursions at some locations
- All meals throughout your cruise, prepared fresh by our chefs
- Showcase wines and selected beer, as well as soft drinks, with lunch and dinner service
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access with our Captain
- 24 hour coffee and selection of teas
- Guided sightseeing in each destination
- All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
- Post-cruise transfer from Milford Sound to Queenstown.
PLUS! Ultimate Cruising guests also receive chauffeur driven luxury car transfers to/from your nearest airport (within 35km).
A 35-year-old Australian pioneering expedition cruise company, Coral Expeditions operate and manage a fleet of four small expedition ships taking guests to some of the most beautiful, yet undiscovered, regions of Australia, Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Islands. Over 8,000 travellers from all over the world travel with Coral Expeditions every year who are attracted by the relaxed small ship atmosphere and itineraries which larger ships cannot replicate. The bespoke operations may sometimes not be commercially justifiable but result in a more personal product that guests appreciate.
At a time when the cruise industry is moving to larger and less personal ships, Coral Expeditions has limited the size of their ships to maximise the expedition experience. Their small-batch cuisine is freshly prepared onboard with a simplistic and generous approach to quality and freshness, accompanied by quality Australian wine. Coral Expeditions operate to high Australian standards of safety with Australian crew wherever they go. They were the first to offer interpretive programs reflective of the destinations they visit and to employ Expedition Leaders, Guest Lecturers, Marine Biologists, and SCUBA Instructors – a tradition that continues today.
As a sister ship to Coral Adventurer (launched April 2019), the Coral Geographer will remain true to our nature of authentic expeditions. When designing our next generation of ships, we stubbornly resisted the trend to go large and glitzy so we can remain small enough to go to untouched places, focusing on bringing small numbers of like-minded guests closer to nature and cultures with personal attention and professional Australian service. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. The 120-passenger ship will feature the same state-of-the-art specifications and expedition features as Coral Adventurer, however, due to popular demand, she will have an increased number of 6 bridge deck suites with horizon bathtubs.
The ancient river valleys that form the Marlborough Sounds make up 20% of New Zealand’s coastline. The webs of sunken channels are surrounded by forest-cloaked peaks and vineyards, all of which present a breathtaking view from any perspective.
This lush region produces much of New Zealand’s seafood, and 80% of its wine. The fertile soil in this region supported the country’s first known Polynesian settlement in the late 1200s AD at Wairau Bar.
After a relaxing day at sea cruising across Cook Strait to the South Island, we anchor at historic Ship Cove to ring in the New Year. Enjoy a special feast featuring a selection of Marlborough Sounds produce and world-renowned wines.
Spend New Year’s Day exploring Queen Charlotte Sound. Discover the dolphins and seals of the sounds with marine spotting from the Xplorer and enjoy wonderful birdwatching on walks through Motuara Island birdlife sanctuary. Guided by our expedition team and lecturers, there will be options to hike a section of the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track, or shorter walks available. The history of the region is also brought to life with our visit to Ship Cove, where informative storyboards tell of Captain Cook’s time here. Finish the day with a scenic cruise up the length of the sound before we depart for our next destination.
Ringed by the breathtaking snow-dusted Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, the picturesque town of Kaikoura is renowned as possibly the best whale watching destination in the world. Kaikoura is one of the very few places it is possible to observe the Sperm Whale! Aboard a small specialised vessel, we will explore the ocean in search of these amazing mammals, as well as fur seals, dusky and Hector’s dolphins and other migratory whales.
Kaikoura means ‘to eat crayfish’, and you may have the opportunity to taste the seafood available here. You will also have the opportunity walk through this small town to visit the museums, galleries, and cafes, before joining the expedition team on a guided walk over the peninsula to marvel at the spectacular scenery.
This morning, sail into the long harbour of Akaroa, formed by the breached volcanic crater that makes up the Banks Peninsula. The village of Akaroa has the unique identity of being the only French settlement in New Zealand, and its charming cottages and French street names still carry that identity today.
Ringed by the pastoral rolling hills of the Peninsula, the scenic village was once a bustling whaling outpost. Here, guests have a choice of two included excursions – a harbour cruise with a local operator to spot marine wildlife or a visit to a traditional hill country farm operated by 7th generation descendants of the earliest French Settlers on Banks Peninsula. Guests will also have free time to explore the scenic village, and visit cafes inspired by French cuisine. A variety of short walks are available into the surrounding nature reserves, such as a walk to Newton’s Waterfall, guided by our expedition team.
Dunedin, settled in and around an ancient volcanic crater, is known for its Scottish and Maori heritage. Named after the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the city’s heritage buildings, cathedrals, and charming atmosphere share an old-world atmosphere. Dunedin City is regarded as New Zealand’s architectural heritage capital.
The Otago Peninsula is an area of exceptional diversity, and as we enter the long Otago Harbour, we will be welcomed with sights of the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a colony of yellow-eyed penguin – the world’s rarest penguin – as well as Hookers sea lions. and various other unique species.
You will have time to explore the city at your own leisure: perhaps visit the famous Speight’s Brewery, art gallery, museum, and New Zealand’s oldest botanic gardens. There will also be a choice of included excursions with local operators – choose between a coach tour of the Otago Peninsula’s most scenic beaches and Dunedin’s highlights, or a railway journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge.
STEWART & ULVA ISLANDS
Known in Maori mythology as Te Punga o Te Waka – The Anchor Stone of Maui’s Canoe’ – Stewart Island (Rakiura) is New Zealand’s little known ‘third island’. Apart from the communities on the island, many people never venture to remote Stewart Island. Nearby Ulva Island is also found within the Rakiura National Park, offering a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including South Island Saddleback, Stewart Island Weka, NZ Pigeon/Kereru, South Island Kaka, Yellow- and Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki), Morepork, Rifleman (New Zealand’s smallest bird), New Zealand Fantail, South Island Tomtit, Stewart Island Robin, Yellowhead (Mohoua), Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler, New Zealand Bellbird and Tui.
On Ulva Island, a guided walk will provide the opportunity to spot a vast array of birdlife and hopefully a few fur seals lazing on the shore during the tour. There will be free time to explore the village of Oban, and a guided Xplorer cruise to Prices Point Whaling Station will unveil the history of the region.
DUSKY, DOUBTFUL & THOMPSON SOUNDS
Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site once described as the Eighth Wonder of the World by author Rudyard Kipling, is characterised by 14 fiords carving through just 215km of coastline. These fiords were carved by glaciers over thousands of years, and you will see waterfalls cascading down the sheer cliffs, rainforest cloaking the steep ridges, and granite peaks reflected in the deep shimmering waters.
These mostly inaccessible and awe-inspiring landscapes were the mysterious source of powerful pounamu (New Zealand Jade), gathered by Maori from the riverbeds and boulders of the South Island – the only place it occurs. While some European settlers took shelter here, the deep isolation and rugged terrain thwarted all except the toughest from staying. Many of the flora and fauna species have developed in relative isolation, so many of the diverse plants and animals are unique to the area.
Enter Fiordland National Park at dramatic Tamatea / Dusky Sound, and cruise among towering cliffs and sheet granite walls of Facile Harbour, cascading waterfalls, pass some of the 365 small islands and explore the depths of the inlets in the zodiacs. Inaccessible by road, Tamatea / Dusky Sound is the largest and most complex of the Fiordland Sounds. It is also a designated Important Bird Area for the Fiordland Penguins that breed here. We will also encounter the fur seals of Luncheon Cove.
Early in the morning, a dawn cruise traces Acheron Passage to Te Puaitaha / Breaksea Sound, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes on all sides as we retrace Cook’s journey. It is easy to imagine the small wooden Endeavour being dwarfed by the steep-sided fiords and encircled by the blanketing silence of the fog-cloaked peaks.
Doubtful Sound / Patea is the deepest and widest fiord, flanked by towering cliffs and adorned by cascading waterfalls. The stillness and silence of this Fiord is compelling and unforgettable. We will cruise into Doubtful Sound / Patea, and past the outer Seal Islands, Nee Islets and through ‘the Gut’, before cruising by Blanket Bay and into Te Awa-o-Tū / Thomson Sound. You may spot fur seals lounging on the rocks, pods of dolphins, and the Fiordland penguin. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Drinks.
This afternoon, we enter Milford Sound / Piopiotahi to a world-famous view of Mitre Peak, rising some 1,682 metres. Its triangular silhouette rises opposite beautiful Stirling Falls, falling from the top of a 162m high cliff between two towering ridges into the inky dark water. You may have a chance to feel the spray from the waterfall – according to Maori legend it will make you ten years younger! The steep overhanging cliffs are awe-inspiring as we cruise to Harrison Cove, where an ancient glacier entered the fiord, and visit Bowen Falls.
Departure Dates & Pricing
Departs Auckland on 27 December 2021.
Prices are per person, in New Zealand Dollars and subect to availability and to change at any time.
TWIN SHARE PER PERSON
Bridge Deck Suite
Explorer Deck Stateroom
Promenade Deck Stateroom
Coral Deck Stateroom
- Luxury Expedition
- Meals + Wine
- On-Board Lecturer
- Shore Excursions
- Tonnage 5599
- Built Date 2021
- Crew 48
- Capacity 120
- Length 93.4mM
- Luxury Expeditions
We are proud to announce the build of our fourth expedition ship. As a sister ship to Coral Adventurer (launched April 2019), the Coral Geographer will remain true to our nature of authentic expeditions. When designing our next generation of ships, we stubbornly resisted the trend to go large and glitzy so we can remain small enough to go to untouched places, focusing on bringing small numbers of like-minded guests closer to nature and cultures with personal attention and professional Australian service. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. The 120-passenger ship will feature the same state-of-the-art specifications and expedition features as Coral Adventurer, however, due to popular demand, she will have an increased number of 6 bridge deck suites with horizon bathtubs. Construction is well under way and we look forward to providing you regular updates on her build and future sailing schedule.
> Two trademark Xplorer tenders seat all passengers and facilitate comfortable shore excursions
> Six zodiacs for more intrepid exploration
> Lecture lounge for daily expedition briefings and expert presentations
> Small onboard library featuring books on destinations and wildlife
> Shallow draft and advanced navigation and propulsion systems allowing access to locations closed to large cruise ships
> Navigator lounge in the bridge
> Over 1000 square metres of open deck space including a wrap-around promenade deck with panoramic views
> Engine room tours and a high level of crew interaction with guests
Food and wine features
> Single seating dining with communal table serves buffet breakfast and lunch, and multi-course table d’hote dinners
> Showcase galley with viewing window creating fresh small-batch cuisine featuring Australian and local produce
> Multiple indoor and outdoor bars, including our Explorer bar on the sundeck for sunset drinks
> Curated wine cellar featuring boutique wines and exceptional vintage Australian reds
Meals + Wine