Fiordland & the Snares Expedition

From Dunedin to Wellington OR From Wellington to Dunedin
  • Sub Antarctic Islands & Cruises
  • Expedition
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Join the Fiordland & the Snares 10 day Expedition for a taste of everything New Zealand's Southern Islands have to offer.  Your adventure starts in Dunedin, sail along the Otago Peninsula, rich in wildlife, before reaching Ulva Island in the Paterson Inlet, famous for its bird and plant sanctuaries, unique to the island - an opportunity to spot some of the rarest bird species in the world alongside our team of naturalists and destination experts.  Next up is breath-taking Fiordland and visits to Dusky, Doubtful & Milford Sounds. 

Next on your itinerary, the Snares, New Zealand's true wildlife and birdlife haven including 35,000 endemic Snares Crested Penguins and a colony of about 1,000 New Zealand fur seals. As landing is prohibited, you will have the chance to explore the shoreline accompanied with your expedition team who will interpret and share their knowledge of the place. In Akaroa, discover the unique mix of Maori, French and European heritage, and in Kaikoura, more wildlife watching  awaits.

You will end your expedition in Wellington, famous for its inventive and sophisticated food scene and picturesque harbour.

Enjoy all of this onboard in 5 star luxury on your state of the art cruise yacht, Le Soleal - adventure in a luxury setting!

Viva's Best Bits...

"Visit lesser explored area like Ulva island, The Snares islands, and perhaps encounter the rare Hectors dolphin" Tara, Team Viva

This a fabulous expedition, full of great wildlife and photography opportunities, including chances to see rare species like the Snares crested Penguin & Fiordland Crested Penguin.

Enjoy fine dining, fine wine, entertainment, high end service, and comfort, whilst exploring remote and fascinating destinations.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Dunedin, Embarkation

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.

Day 2
Ulva Island, Stewart Island

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.

Day 3
Dusky Sound

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®

Day 4
Doubtful Sound

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.

Day 5
Milford Sound

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.

Day 6
The Snares - New Zealand Sub Antarctica Islands

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®

Day 7
At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the onboard photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 8
Akaroa

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.

Day 9
Kaikoura

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.

Day 10
Wellington

Crowned with gentle green hills, Wellington Harbour is located in the far south of the North Island. This city offers a charming mix of traditional and modern cultures, bestowing on the New Zealand capital, a unique atmosphere, both friendly and avant-guard. Where some sites, like the large National Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, reflect the city’s Maori past, others, like the many cafés and restaurants, affirm the inhabitants’ incredible lust for life.

Day 1
Wellington

Crowned with gentle green hills, Wellington Harbour is located in the far south of the North Island. This city offers a charming mix of traditional and modern cultures, bestowing on the New Zealand capital, a unique atmosphere, both friendly and avant-guard. Where some sites, like the large National Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, reflect the city’s Maori past, others, like the many cafés and restaurants, affirm the inhabitants’ incredible lust for life.

Day 2
Kaikoura

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.

Day 3
Akaroa

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.

Day 4
At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the onboard photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 5
Dusky Sound

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®

Day 6
Doubtful Sound

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.

Day 7
Milford Sound

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.

Day 8
The Snares - New Zealand Sub Antarctica Islands

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®

Day 9
Ulva Island, Stewart Island

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.

Day 10
Dunedin, Disembarkation

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.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 9 nights onboard in your selected cabin
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals while on board the cruise
  • Included Copy 20 Open bar & room service 24 hours (conditions apply)
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All tours mentioned with professional English speaking guide (subject to weather conditions)
  • Included Copy 20 Onboard spa, gym, swimming pool and dedicated space for photographers
  • Included Copy 20 Unlimited Onboard Wi-Fi*
  • Included Copy 7 Any airfares, visa, gratuities, laundry and personal expenses
Transportation
Le Soléal | Antarctic Cruise Ship

264 (200 in Antarctica) Passengers

Activities

  • Included Explore the remote fiords of Dusky and Doubtful Sound
  • Included Look out for one of the rarest penguins, the Fiordland crested penguin
  • Included Cruise and explore Milford Sound by zodiac
  • Included Snares Island, home to 4 species of Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and Snares penguins!
  • Included Ulva Island is a bird and nature lovers paradise!
  • Included Encounter Hector’s Dolphins in Akaroa, one of the world’s rarest and smallest species.
  • Included View the rich marine life of Kaikoura
  • Included Marvel at Glacial fiords 100,000 years in the making.
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

10 days

Price from

$4,761 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

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