South Island Expedition

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

Discover sublime New Zealand landscapes with exceptional diversity on this 7 nights’ voyage from Dunedin onboard Le Soleal. You will discover Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound and the well-known Milford Sound − three fjords bordered by majestic cliffs. Enjoy a sense of secluded serenity as you sail through Doubtful Sound, referred to as the ‘Sound of Silence’ and navigate through the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound, with a spectacular backdrop that captivates even the most seasoned of travellers. Watch as the dramatic beauty of the fiords change as you sail towards Ulva Island (Stewart Island), the largest of 20 islands within Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, and explore this haven for birds and plants with well maintained tracks and walking trails.

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...

Discover natural and cultural treasures of New Zealand including Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sound, and guided walk on the predator-free sanctuary of Ulva Island, Stewart Island!

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

"Be sure to look out for the flightless Stewart Island Weka, South Island saddleback, yellowhead and Stewart Island robin as you work through the podocarp forest of Ulva Island." Tara, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Dunedin

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
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 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 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

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
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 8
Dunedin

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 rachitecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The picturesque 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 mainlaind breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross. Le Lapérouse will be alongside the inner city wharf and disembarkation will commence after breakfast.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 7 nights onboard in a deluxe stateroom
  • 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

264 (200 in Antarctica) Passengers

Activities

  • Included Undertake a guided walk on the predator-free sanctuary of Ulva Island/ Te Wharawhara.
  • Included Cruise through glacial fiords: Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sound
  • Included Look out rare penguins, the Fiordland crested penguin & the Snares Crested penguin
  • Included Experience shore landings and zodiac explorations
  • Included Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Te Wāhipounamu – South West New Zealand.
  • Included Wine and dine in style, treat yourself to a luxury cruise
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Duration

8 days

Price from

$3,643 USD

Per person, twin share

Based On Lowest Cabin

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