Christmas & New Year in New Zealand 2018

Christmas & New Year in New Zealand 2018

From GBP £8,348


New Zealand is a land of contrasts and deserves more than a fleeting visit. We believe our circumnavigation of the country offers the best of all worlds. Therefore the trip should be as comprehensive and as full of contrasts as possible. Certainly, this itinerary qualifies on all these important demands. With our perfectly suited small ship, our coastal-hugging voyage around the North and South Island will allow us to drop anchor in the remote bays, navigate channels, fjords and rivers and call into harbours both large and small. With the added advantage of our Zodiac landing craft we will be able to land in otherwise inaccessible places making the most of New Zealand’s extraordinary natural attractions.

During our voyage, we will explore the dramatic southern coast fjords, hop across to Stewart Island in the south, walk in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park as well as historic Ship Cove and admire the unique Art Deco architecture of Napier in the North Island. All of this is best achieved by travelling on a small ship such as the MS Caledonian Sky in preference to some of the larger resort style vessels which can only visit the larger places.

Trip Name
Christmas & New Year in New Zealand 2018
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 114 (in 57 suites) Built: 1991 / refurbished 2012 The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows. If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere. Your Suite Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub. Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Your space The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your dining With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board. For your comfort, safety and security The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to outside decks only. Gratuities Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.


Day 1 - Day 1 - Auckland.
Arrive this morning in Auckland and make your way to our central hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 2 - Day 2 - Auckland.
After breakfast in the hotel we spend the morning seeing some of the city’s highlights including the Domain and the excellent Auckland Museum, overlooking Waitemata Harbour and housing the world’s largest collection of Polynesian artefacts. After lunch in a local restaurant we will transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky moored in the city. Enjoy Welcome Dinner and Drinks on board as we sail this evening.
Day 3 - Day 3 - Bay of Islands.
Famous for spectacular beaches, breathtaking bays and an abundance of water activities, the Bay of Islands, which was discovered by Captain Cook in 1769 is the cradle of European civilisation in New Zealand and boasts sandy beaches, beautiful bays, crystal clear waters and 144 islands. On a morning tour we will visit the Waitangi Treaty house where in 1840 the treaty was signed between the Maori and the British crown. We then continue to Kerikeri where the Maori first welcomed missionaries in 1819 and see the oldest buildings of New Zealand dating from the 1820s. After lunch on board spend the afternoon at leisure to explore the charming historic town of Russell.
Day 4 - Day 4 - Tauranga for Rotorua.
From our berth in Tauranga we drive inland to the famous thermal springs at Rotorua. Discover Wai- O-Tapu, meaning Sacred Waters, an active geothermal area with colourful hot springs, steaming ground and boiling mud pools. Marvel at the incredible palette of vibrant hues displayed in the pools, lakes and craters, and enjoy the melodic sounds of birds singing in the native forest. From here we visit a local Maori Marae where we will enjoy a traditional Maori welcome and lunch before returning to the ship. Tonight we hope to enjoy Christmas Eve events in the town before sailing late this evening.
Day 5 - Day 5 - At Sea.
We will spend Christmas Day at sea as we sail around the New Zealand coast. Our lecture programme will continue whilst our chef and galley team will prepare a delicious Christmas meal.
Day 6 - Day 6 - Napier.
Arrive this morning in Napier and join a tour of this beautiful town including its charming Art Deco buildings. Totally rebuilt after the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake, Napier’s Art Deco is unique, with Maori motifs and the buildings of Louis Hay, admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright. We also visit a local vineyard to sample the local wines. This afternoon is free for independent exploration of the town or alternatively join the excursion to the gannetry at Cape Kidnappers where you are able to get amazingly close to the birds. The 13 hectare reserve includes the Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies.
Day 7 - Day 7 - Wellington.
After a morning at sea we arrive in the nation’s capital at lunchtime. From our central berth we will explore Wellington on an afternoon guided walk seeing St Paul’s Cathedral, the parliament buildings, stroll through the Botanical Gardens and spend time in the excellent Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand with its impressive interactive displays and marvellous Maori collection. We will remain in port until late should you wish to have dinner or a walk ashore this evening.
Day 8 - Day 8 - Resolution Bay, Ship Cove & Picton.
Sail through the Marlborough Sounds which divide the North and South Islands of New Zealand and arrive in the early morning at Resolution Bay on the South Island. Keen walkers can enjoy a hike over to Ship Cove along the Queen Charlotte Track affording fantastic views over the archipelago of islands. Alternatively alight a little later at Ship Cove where Captain James Cook spent much of his time in New Zealand. View the monument dedicated to Cook or maybe walk the forest trail to the nearby waterfall. Sail over lunch to Picton. Nestled at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, Picton is possibly New Zealand’s most pretty seaside town. Choose to spend an afternoon at leisure in the town or join a tour to the nearby Marlborough wine producing region. See some of the 3000 hectares of vineyards and taste some of the Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for which the area is justly famous.
Day 9 - Day 9 - Nelson.
The town of Nelson has for many years attracted resident artists, inspired by the region’s exceptionally beautiful geography with coastal, forest and valley landscapes. Join an excursion of the area’s highlights which includes the World of Wearable Art Museum with its acclaimed visual exhibits and also the Classic Car collection. There will also be time at leisure to explore at your own pace, visit the Botanical Gardens or the keen walkers may want to tackle the “Centre of New Zealand” track which climbs up from the gardens and offers lovely views over Nelson. This evening we will be joined on board by one of the local vineyards for a tasting of the excellent regional wines as we moor overnight.
Day 10 - Day 10 - Abel Tasman National Park & Nelson.
From our base in Nelson there will be a chance this morning to join a full day tour to Abel Tasman, New Zealand’s smallest national park. This marine reserve offers some marvellously scenic coastal walks and cruises with excellent wildlife opportunities including seal colonies and numerous aquatic birds including penguins. The tour will end in Tarakohe in Golden Bay where you will re-embark the ship which will have sailed during the day. Alternatively, you may prefer to have some time in Nelson in the morning before sailing with the ship.
Day 11 - Day 11 - New Plymouth.
We return to the North Island for a day in the western port of New Plymouth. We have the whole day in this pretty city sandwiched between the sea and Mount Taranaki. A tour will visit the highlights of the town including the spectacular Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and Pukekura Park, one of the premier botanical gardens in New Zealand. We will have a chance to explore the diverse landscape of formal gardens, bushwalks and lakes. Alternatively, drive to Mount Egmont and join one of the walking trails ranging in difficulty for all levels of fitness. You will be joined by our naturalists who will keep you informed on the flora seen en-route. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in the town or remain at Mount Egmont and enjoy a longer hike. Tonight we enjoy New Year celebrations on board the ship.
Day 12 - Days 12 & 13 - At Sea.
Spend the day at sea. As we cruise along the west coast of the South Island we will hopefully be treated to views of Mount Cook on land and this region is also a popular spot for dolphin sightings.
Day 13 - Days 14 & 15 - Fiordland.
We have two days to explore the incredible wilderness of fjords in the south west corner of the South Island. This is an area rich in history, majestic scenery and abundant wildlife. Many areas are only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand. Our schedule may include Milford Sound, Astronomers Point, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound but final itinerary decisions will be made by the Captain and expedition team based on weather conditions. Zodiacs will be used daily either to shuttle from the ship to a landing site or as our transport to explore the fjords.
Day 14 - Day 16 - Ulva Island & Stewart Island.
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 on the small Ulva Island where we will use Zodiacs to go ashore for a choice of walks with our local guides. We will explore the dense vegetation and keep an eye out for the amazing birdlife. This afternoon we land at Oban on Stewart Island and have the chance to wander amongst the shops and see the museum or join a drive along some of the 15 miles of sealed road to some of the beauty spots including Observation Rock with views over Iona and Ulva Island and the beaches lining the east coast.
Day 15 - Day 17 - Dunedin.
Arrive this morning in Dunedin and enjoy a guided tour including the gracious 19th century buildings and the beautiful botanical gardens, the oldest in New Zealand containing over 6800 plant species. Alternatively, choose to drive to the Otago Peninsula to visit Penguin Place where we learn about the breeding and conservation programme of the rare yellow eyed penguins as well as the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head. This afternoon is free for independent exploration or to join the optional excursion on the Taieri Gorge Railway through the rugged and spectacular scenery of inland Otago.
Day 16 - Day 18 - Akaroa.
Akaroa meaning, ‘Long Harbour’, in Maori, was founded by French whaling Captain Jean Langlois on his ship Cachelot in 1838. He returned in 1840 with 60 settlers on the Comte de Paris to create a French colony. We spend a full day in Akaroa and there will be a choice of excursions including a dolphin watching trip using local boats to explore the scenic coastline and search for the rare Hector’s dolphin or a guided historic walk in Akaroa and through the native bush of the Garden of Tane. We also hope to offer a chance to visit a working farm in the countryside outside the town. We will hear about the history of the farm, have demonstrations of sheep shearing and see the working dogs in action as well as enjoying tea in the farm grounds. Or, if you prefer, simply wander in the town and enjoy the local atmosphere.
Day 17 - Day 19 - Christchurch.
At breakfast we arrive in the port city of Lyttelton, our base for our day in Christchurch. We will view the Southern Alps from the Port Hills, ride a restored tram and tour the Canterbury Museum with its acclaimed Antarctic collection. Perhaps enjoy morning tea at a private home and garden. The afternoon is free for independent exploration. Alternatively, join an optional full day tour on the Tranz Alpine Express Train to Arthur’s Pass in the heart of the Southern Alps, one of the world’s most famous train journeys. Wonderful views are revealed from the train’s huge windows as we pass snow-capped mountains and mountain beech forests. On the return journey by coach, we enjoy lunch at a farm before returning to the ship in the late afternoon. We remain moored in Lyttleton overnight.
Day 18 - Day 20 - Christchurch.
After breakfast we will disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
20-12-201808-01-2019GBP £0Castle Standard Suite
20-12-201808-01-2019GBP £0Caledonian Superior Suite
20-12-201808-01-2019GBP £0Promenade Premium Suite
20-12-201808-01-2019GBP £0Bridge Deluxe Balcony Suite
20-12-201808-01-2019GBP £0Promenade Prem. Balcony Suite


    • Spend Christmas Day sailing around the New Zealand coast
    • Discover famous thermal springs of Rotorua
    • Visit the “City of Sails”
    • Auckland
    • Explore Bay of Islands, famous for spectacular beaches, breathtaking bays and an abundance of water activities
    • Spend two days exploring the incredible wilderness of Fiordland