Guests should make their way to the designated hotel where we will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of our expedition team.
This morning, following breakfast at the hotel, we depart Auckland and travel south passing the rich horticultural region of the Bombay Hills before crossing through the verdant farmland of the Waikato as we travel to the Geothermal Heartland of Rotorua. This afternoon marvel at the abundance of steam vents, geysers and bubbling mud pools as we explore one of the most geologically active regions on the planet accompanied by expert local guides. Later this afternoon arrive in Tauranga where the Heritage Adventurer awaits.
Despite being named “Poverty Bay” by Captain Cook, the region is endowed with an exceptional climate and rich soils meaning it is one of New Zealand’s most renowned fruit and vegetable growing regions. A visit to Eastwoodhill Arboretum in the hills behind the town is not to be missed; the result of one man’s passion and dedication this is now the National Arboretum. As we are in Ngati Porou country you will be traditionally welcomed by the iwi.
The Art Deco capital of New Zealand, and possibly the world, the post-quake city of Napier lies at the heart of the thriving Hawkes Bay. Immerse yourself in the Art Deco world of central Napier with its quaint shops and unrivalled architecture before venturing to the world-renowned wineries of the Hawkes Bay famed for their exceptional Syrah and Chardonnay vintages. Alternatively, join your naturalists on a visit to the exceptional Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony.
This morning Heritage Adventurer sails into the sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds, a beautiful labyrinth of waterways intersecting the northern shores of the South Island. Take the opportunity to explore a coastal trail through the lush regenerating forest and watch for native birds including Saddleback, Parakeets and Robins on one of the island nature reserves.
Heritage Adventurer will make her way through the Akaroa heads and anchor in the sheltered waters of Canterbury’s largest harbour. It was here, beneath the eroded volcanic hills of Banks Peninsula, that the French attempted to settle in 1840. The French connection remains to this day with a certain je ne sais quoi imbibing the township of Akaroa. This afternoon visit the Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory and French Farm Vineyard at the head of the harbour as well as enjoy the opportunity to explore Akaroa or take one of the local nature walks.
This morning sail into the beautiful Otago Harbour, watch closely for Northern Royal Albatross at the Tairoa Head Albatross Colony. From our berth at Port Chalmers explore the famed fashion-forward city of Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the south, and its rich history as the gateway to Otago. Explore the scenic Otago Peninsula where sea lions rest and Yellow-eyed Penguins can be spotted in one of their last strongholds where the beautiful farmed hills roll down towards white sand beaches. Alternatively, venture towards the interior of Otago through the scenic Taieri Gorge.
New Zealand’s third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track. It is a wonderfully tranquil place; the scenery of untouched bushland is stunning. We will enjoy a morning exploring Ulva Island which is rich in history and wildlife, being a predatorfree island from 1997 the bird song and wildlife is some of the best. In Paterson Inlet you will have time to explore the sandy beaches of Boulder Bay and West End Beach or just enjoy some time around Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove. Some of the wildlife you may get to see while walking the tracks on Ulva Island include Stewart Island Robin, Stewart Island Weka, South Island Kaka, Kereru (Wood Pigeon), Mohua (Yellowhead), Redcrowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbird and Tui. There are many more species that may also be seen, our knowledgeable expedition guides will be listening for bird calls and keeping a close watch in overhead canopies and the surrounding shrubs to identify further species. During our time in Paterson Inlet there will also be the opportunity to explore the quirky town centre Oban in Halfmoon Bay where a drink with a view can be enjoyed at the iconic South Sea Hotel and there are some beautiful walks in the surrounding forests.
We have two days to explore the incredible wilderness of Fiordland in the south-west corner of the South Island. This is an area rich in history, majestic scenery and abundant in wildlife. Fiordland was well known to local Maori, with the demi-god Tuteraki-whanoa being said to have used his adze, Te Hamo, to carve out the region’s fiords. Captain Cook and his crew landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773, they were the first Europeans to visit Fiordland, subsequently spending five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook’s records of his discovery and maps attracted sealers and whalers, not long after the first European settlements of New Zealand were formed. Historically this region is very important and shaped the future of the country. Fiordland’s coast is only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand’s mainland. Waterfalls, streams, rivers, and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go, revealing steep gradients of mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. A rugged terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens, and mosses. Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and Little Penguins are all residents of the fiords; during our time here we will look for them. Our schedule gives us the flexibility to visit as much as possible, areas we plan to explore during our time in Fiordland include Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and Acheron Passage, Astronomer’s Point and Pickersgill Harbour. Our final plan will be determined by the weather. The Captain and Expedition Leader will work hard to make the best use of our time in this incredible region of New Zealand, including areas that even few New Zealanders have visited. The isolation of Fiordland has been beneficial because its beauty remains unspoiled and its historic sites undisturbed.
Arrive this morning to the Port of Bluff and following breakfast travel overland through the rolling green landscape of Southland before arriving to Queenstown surrounded by stunning mountain scenery. The voyage concludes with a drop off at Queenstown Airport or our central city hotel. In case of unexpected delays we ask you not to book any onward travel until after midday today.
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