New Zealand in Depth: Dunedin to Auckland 13 Day Expedition Cruise

03/11/23 to 03/23/23
SH Minerva
13 Days
2 Guest
Price From
$ 12,087
Per Person
Trip Details

Crystal-clear waters, stunning beaches, spectacular fiords, majestic mountains, bubbling mud pools, geysers, whale and dolphin encounters, Kiwi hospitality, Maori culture, rolling vineyards – experience all of it and more on this 12-night New Zealand in Depth cruise. Top of many a bucket list, The Land of the Long White Cloud is a perfect place to enjoy unforgettable outdoor experiences that will delight and enrich even the most seasoned traveller. Circumnavigate New Zealand’s islands in style and comfort on board our boutique ship and experience the exceptional beauty of this antipodean archipelago. From cosmopolitan port cities to natural heritage, this is a cruise like no other.

Trip Highlights
Cruise gently through spectacular fiords in Fiordland National Park - Milford Sound, Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound
Look out for sperm whales, encounter New Zealand fur seals, pods of dusky dolphins and the endangered wandering albatross.
See one of the most complete collections of art deco architecture in the world in the town of Napier
Delve deep into Maori culture in Gisborne where old traditions are evident in many parts of the city
Raise a chilled glass of locally grown sauvignon blanc or chardonnay in Marlborough wine country
Itinerary Map
Dunedin Day 1

Your luxury expedition cruise begins in Dunedin, on the South Island, the principal city of the Otago region. Set in a pretty bay that serves as a port and surrounded by bush-covered hills, the town has quirky historic appeal. One of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere, Dunedin is known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, and it’s proud of its Celtic connections. Small and eminently walkable, see elaborate civic buildings, New Zealand’s only castles, funky alleyways filled with street art, and picturesque parks. The Toitu Otago Early Settlers Museum and Otago Museum come highly recommended, as well as a visit to the Dunedin Chinese Garden.

Dusky Sound & Doubful Sound Day 2

In 1770, Captain Cook sailed through this fiord as the sun began to set, earning Dusky Sound its name. These remote Fiordlands are home to truly rare species; chief among them is the endangered Fiordland penguin – squat little birds with bushy yellow eyebrows who breed in this region. At 40 km long, this is one of Fiordland’s largest inlets, with waterfalls, rainforest and more than 300 islands. Learn about flightless bird conservation as we sail past Resolution and Pigeon islands. Doubtful Sound is New Zealand’s deepest and second largest fiord at 421 m and 40 km respectively. Dubbed ‘Doubtful’ by Captain Cook, who refused to sail into the bay due to his concerns over its navigability, the inlet is famed for its scenic beauty, flora and fauna. Beautiful waterfalls tumble down dense natural rainforest-clad cliffs – the Browne Falls drops for 619 m, and Helena Falls cascades dramatically. A resident pod of bottlenose dolphins play in these waters.

Milford Sound Day 3

Shaped during the ice ages, the 16-km-long Milford Sound is a visual spectacle. Rugged cliffs rise from inky waters; the ice-capped mountain of Mitre Peak glints golden in the sun; and 1,000-m-high waterfalls tumble down the rockface. The sound is most dramatic when it rains: the clouds hang low and the waterfalls roar like thunder. In this isolated wilderness, bottlenose dolphins and penguins find a safe home, and you might catch sight of fur seals sunbathing on the rocks.

Oban Day 4

Sail south to Stewart Island – the pristine, southernmost inhabited island of the New Zealand archipelago. Located on charmingly-named Halfmoon Bay, the island’s only town is Oban. Come ashore today to explore the settlement as well as the island’s many hiking trails. National Parks cover 85 per cent of the island. Birders will be in their element: around the coast are various types of penguin, sooty shearwaters, mollymawks, and Cape pigeons. Venture into the island’s ferny interior and you might spot bellbirds, tui, fantails and kiwi birds (usually nocturnal, the subspecies on Stewart Island are known to venture forth during the day). If exploration works up your appetite, Oban is a fishing village, so it’s the perfect spot to sample the local catch.

Akaroa Day 5

Come ashore and say ‘salut’ to Akaroa. This small corner of the South Island will forever be just a little bit French. The site of the country’s first French settlement, today the town still retains a little je ne sais quoi in its character, street names and architecture. Located on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula, in an area that was once actively volcanic, you’ll instantly understand why French settlers fell for this spot and why visitors love it here. Look out for dolphins in the harbour, swim at the beautiful beaches, visit the petit local museum that tells the story of the early residents, sample the local farmed salmon and olives from nearby groves, and taste the local wine. C’est la vie.

Kaikoura Day 6

Caught between the Pacific Ocean and the Seaward Kaikoura Range, Kaikora is all about encounters: cultural and all as well those you’ll have with the local wildlife. This area of the coast is well known for the whales, fur seals and dolphins, as well as the petrels, penguins and several species of albatross. Wildlife lovers might like to walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway or visit the local seal colony, to observe these amusing animals. There might also be time to enjoy the award-winning Kaikoura Museum, located in the landmark ‘craypot’ building. Or if you fancy a gentle 45-minute walk out of town, head to the pretty pink Fyffe House. Once a busy whaling station, the oldest surviving building in the area is now a museum that tells the story of life for the early settlers through artefacts and audio. There is also a striking carving that relates to the area’s Maori history.

Wellington Day 7

New Zealand’s capital is a small city big on creativity. Tucked between the harbour and the hills, windy Wellington is full of cool little galleries, excellent coffee and laid-back spots for craft beer. The highlight is the national museum Te Papa, showcasing the country’s history and Maori culture through interactive exhibits. Movie tours in “Wellywood” offer a glimpse of Middle Earth and beyond. Walk the pine forest trail to the top of Mount Victoria for panoramic city views.

Picton Day 8

Best known as the doorway to the Marlborough Sounds, you will find plenty to do on a day ashore in this laid-back port town. Explore the vibrant waterfront’s cafes and galleries, and stop by at the aquarium to meet seahorses and the rare tuatara. Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine-growing region, and you can’t leave Picton without sampling the famed Sauvignon Blanc, ideally at one of the lush, sprawling vineyards that surround the town.

Napier Day 9

Mesmerising views, excellent wineries, fabulous eateries, cool street art and, above all, the low-rise art deco architecture: just a few of the reasons that visitors find Napier on the North Island so irresistible. In 1931, this port on Hawke’s Bay was struck by a severe earthquake. From the ashes of this natural disaster arose a new charming city built in curvilinear, colourful art deco. Today there are 147 remaining buildings in this style, and it’s one of the most complete collections of art deco architecture in the world. Look out for the Scinde Building, the Daily Telegraph offices and the ASB bank. Also noteworthy are the city’s 50 murals – part of a global street art project, which gives the oceans a voice, one artwork at a time. New Zealand’s National Aquarium stretches like a giant stingray on Napier’s Marine Parade. Visit to see the extensive range of saltwater, freshwater and other animal exhibits. Wash it all down with a glass of the locally grown pinot gris or syrah in a buzzing local bar or cafe.

Gisborne Day 10

Famed as the place where James Cook first set foot in New Zealand soil in 1769 and changed the course of the country’s fate forever, Gisborne is also the first city to salute the sun every day. Today you’ll say good morning to Gisborne and its sun, sand, culture and viticulture. The unofficial ‘Chardonnay Capital of the World’, this area is one of New Zealand’s largest wine-making regions, so there are plenty of vineyards to explore. There’s an established wine trial here if you wish to sample the products of the region’s vineyards. However, there are plenty of other alluring attractions too: this is a hotspot for Maori culture. Oral history records Titirangi (Kaiti) Hill as the point of arrival for the migratory waka (canoe), Horouta, which brought the first Māori to the area, and old traditions are evident in many parts of the city.

Tauranga Day 11

The largest city in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is described as New Zealand’s tourist office as “a metropolitan hub surrounded by a beautiful coastline”. Along this stretch of coast, the sea may be the star with fishing, sailing, diving and kayaking all appealing to tourists, but other attractions – such as shopping, dining and the town’s galleries – are gaining ground too. Fans of children’s literature will enjoy The Hairy Maclary and Friends statues. Made by Brigitte West, these bronzes – which can be found on the waterfront – pay tribute to Tauranga’s resident Dame Lynley Dodd and her beloved animal characters. Recommended local beauty spots include McLaren Falls and the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.

Bay of Islands Day 12

Modern-day New Zealand’s history has its beginnings in the Bay of Islands – the first part of the country to be settled by Europeans and the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British and the Maori in 1840. Beyond the landmark Waitangi Treaty Grounds, explore the charming waterfront towns of Paihia and Russell, dotted with colonial architecture and seafood restaurants. Go further into the 144 islands scattered along idyllic coves to spot whales and see rugged natural formations like Hole in the Rock.

Auckland Day 13

Sprawled over volcanic hills and across twin harbours, Auckland - or The City of Sails - is a vibrant, multicultural place with San Francisco-esque steep streets and a myriad of things to see, do and experience. A highlight is the 1,000-ft-high Sky Tower with views over the harbour. Extend your stay after your expedition cruise and spend time in the city absorbing its art, culture and natural heritage from beaches and parks to offshore islands.

Rates Include
Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
All meals onboard
Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
24-hour room service
Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
Standard WiFi
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
Number of Guests
Oceanview D4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 0
Oceanview M4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 0
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Price From
$ 0
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Price From
$ 0

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777