Fiordland & The South Coast New Zealand Cruise

Fiordland & The South Coast New Zealand Cruise

From AUD $10,720


Join Coral Adventurer to explore the natural beauty of New Zealand’s South Island and Fiords departing Bluff. Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the renowned World Heritage region of the Fiordland National Park, as you explore the stunning Dusky Sound, Milford Sound, and Doubtful Sound on the remote west coast of New Zealand. Visit the spectacular Milford Sound, where the sheer cliffs plunge into the glacial waters and cascading waterfalls spring from the lush mountain surrounds. This is truly one of the world’s most spectacular natural landscapes. Stroll through the serene forests of Ulva Island and catch a glimpse of some of the country’s most iconic birds. Explore historic Dunedin with its rich blend of both Māori and Scottish heritage. At days end, return to Coral Adventurer and indulge in New Zealand’s renowned produce and wine. An expedition by small ship is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the remote wonders of the New Zealand coast.

Trip Name
Fiordland & The South Coast New Zealand Cruise
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 93.4 meters Passenger Capacity: 120 (60 staterooms) Built: 2019 Designed and built to be the most modern tropical expedition ship afloat, Coral Adventurer debuted in April 2019. She features comfortable Australian interiors, Xplorer tender mechanism, intimate guest experience, and personalized service. EXPEDITION CAPABILITIES > Two trademark Xplorer tenders seat all passengers for shore excursions > Six zodiacs for more intrepid exploration > Lecture lounge with multimedia for daily expedition briefings and presentations > Small on-board Library > Shallow draft and advanced navigation and propulsion systems MARINE IMMERSION > Navigator lounge in the bridge giving a vantage point of ship operations > Over 1000 sq m of open deck space including a wrap-around promenade deck with panoramic views > Engine room tours and high level of crew interaction with guests > Barralong Room for hosting scientific research or exhibitions FOOD AND WINE FEATURES > Communal ‘wine table’ > Galley viewing window > Multiple indoor and outdoor bars, including our Explorer bar on the Vista Deck > Curated wine cellar featuring boutique wines and exceptional vintage Australian reds. GUEST COMFORT > All outside-facing guest cabins with en-suite bathrooms; majority have private balcony > Active stabilisers > Gym > Passenger elevator > Wi-Fi available in all guest areas


Enjoy a complimentary transfer by coach from Queenstown check-in to board at 4:00pm at Bluff, New Zealand. There is time to settle into your stateroom before our 5:00pm departure towards Dusky Sound cruising past Solander Island. Spend the day exploring Coral Adventurer and all her facilities. Take in the sights while enjoying Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow passengers.
On our day at sea, we will cruise past Solander Island. The Solander Islands, with the Māori name Hautere translating to ‘flying wind’, are a trio of uninhabited volcanic islets that lie just beyond New Zealand’s South Island. Aboard the Endeavour, Captain James Cook spotted the islands in early 1770, and was named after a Swedish scientific crew member on board, Daniel Solander. The islands have only been known to be inhabited briefly due to marooning or shipwreck.With one third of the wildlife on the islands being incredibly rare, the bulk of the species include ferns and orchids. Birds known to call the islands home include fernbirds, snipe and white-fronted terns with the islands being declared an Important Bird Area as it is a breeding site for common diving petrels and Buller’s albatrosses amassing some 5000 pairs. The area is well-known for whale migration with sightings of extraordinarily large sperm whales.
Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site once described as the Eighth Wonder of the World by author Rudyard Kipling, is characterised by 14 fiords carving through just 215km of coastline. These fiords were carved by glaciers over thousands of years, and you will see waterfalls cascading down the sheer cliffs, rainforest cloaking the steep ridges, and granite peaks reflected in the deep shimmering waters.These mostly inaccessible and awe-inspiring landscapes were the mysterious source of powerful pounamu (New Zealand Jade), gathered by Māori from the riverbeds and boulders of the South Island – the only place it occurs. While some European settlers took shelter here, the deep isolation and rugged terrain thwarted all except the toughest from staying. Many of the flora and fauna species have developed in relative isolation, so many of the diverse plants and animals are unique to the area.Enter Fiordland National Park at dramatic Tamatea / Dusky Sound, and cruise among towering cliffs and sheet granite walls of Facile Harbour, cascading waterfalls, pass some of the 365 small islands and explore the depths of the inlets in the zodiacs. Inaccessible by road, Tamatea / Dusky Sound is the largest and most complex of the Fiordland Sounds. It is also a designated Important Bird Area for the Fiordland Penguins that breed here. We will also encounter the fur seals of Luncheon Cove.
This afternoon, we enter Milford Sound / Piopiotahi to a world-famous view of Mitre Peak, rising some 1,682 meters. Its triangular silhouette rises opposite beautiful Stirling Falls, falling from the top of a 162m high cliff between two towering ridges into the inky dark water. You may have a chance to feel the spray from the waterfall – according to Māori legend, it will make you ten years younger! The steep overhanging cliffs are awe-inspiring as we cruise to Harrison Cove, where an ancient glacier entered the fiord, and visit Bowen Falls.
Doubtful Sound / Patea is the deepest and widest fiord, flanked by towering cliffs and adorned by cascading waterfalls. The stillness and silence of this Fiord is compelling and unforgettable. We will cruise into Doubtful Sound / Patea, and past the outer Seal Islands, Nee Islets and through ‘the Gut’, before cruising by Blanket Bay and into Te Awa-o-Tū / Thomson Sound. You may spot fur seals lounging on the rocks, pods of dolphins, and the Fiordland penguin.
Known in Māori mythology as Te Punga o Te Waka – The Anchor Stone of Maui’s Canoe’ – Stewart Island (Rakiura) is New Zealand’s little known ‘third island’. Apart from the communities on the island, many people never venture to remote Stewart Island. Nearby Ulva Island is also found within the Rakiura National Park, offering a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including South Island Saddleback, Stewart Island Weka, New Zealand Pigeon/Kereru, South Island Kaka, Yellow- and Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki), Morepork, Rifleman (New Zealand’s smallest bird), New Zealand Fantail, South Island Tomtit, Stewart Island Robin, Yellowhead (Mohoua), Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler, New Zealand Bellbird and Tui.Spend two days interacting with local communities, exploring national parks, and spotting some of the endemic and endangered local wildlife.
Dunedin, settled in and around an ancient volcanic crater, is known for its Scottish and Māori heritage. Named after the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the city’s heritage buildings, cathedrals, and charming atmosphere share an old-world atmosphere. Dunedin City is regarded as New Zealand’s architectural heritage capital.The Otago Peninsula is an area of exceptional diversity, and we will be welcomed with sights of the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross and a colony of the rare, yellow-eyed penguin. There will be a choice of included excursions with local operators – choose between a coach tour of the Otago Peninsula or Dunedin City Highlights. Alternatively, take time to explore the city at your leisure: Visit the famous Speight’s Brewery, art gallery, or New Zealand’s oldest botanic gardens.
This morning, sail into the long harbour of Akaroa, formed by the breached volcanic crater that makes up the Banks Peninsula. The village of Akaroa has the unique identity of being the only French settlement in New Zealand, and its charming cottages and French street names still carry that identity today.Ringed by the pastoral rolling hills of the Peninsula, the scenic village was once a bustling whaling outpost. Here, choose between two included excursions: a harbour cruise to spot marine wildlife, or a tour to visit the world’s largest colony of little penguins at Pohatu Bay, with the chance to learn more about the conservation efforts that are protecting them. A variety of short walks are available into the surrounding nature reserves, guided by our expedition team.
Surrounded by the breathtaking snow-dusted Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, the picturesque town of Kaikoura is renowned as possibly the best whale watching destination in the world. Kaikoura is one of the very few places it is possible to observe the Sperm Whale. Aboard our Xplorer tender vessels, explore the ocean in search of these amazing mammals, as well as fur seals, dusky and Hector’s dolphins and other migratory whales.Kaikoura means ‘to eat crayfish’, and you may have the opportunity to taste the seafood available here. You will also have the opportunity to walk through this small town to visit the museums, galleries, and cafes, before joining the expedition team on a guided walk over the peninsula to marvel at the spectacular scenery.
The ancient river valleys that form the Marlborough Sounds make up 20% of New Zealand’s coastline. The webs of sunken channels are surrounded by forest-cloaked peaks and vineyards, all of which present a breathtaking view from any perspective.This lush region produces much of New Zealand’s seafood, and 80% of its wine. The fertile soil in this region supported the country’s first known Polynesian settlement in the late 1200s AD at Wairau Bar.Anchor at historic Ship Cove on your first morning here, before spending the day exploring Queen Charlotte Sound. Over the next two days discover the dolphins and seals of the sounds with marine spotting from the Xplorer and enjoy wonderful birdwatching on walks through Motuara Island birdlife sanctuary. Be guided by our expedition team and lecturers, there will be options to hike a section of the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track, or shorter walks available. The history of the region is also brought to life with our visit to Ship Cove, where informative storyboards tell of Captain Cook’s time here.
This morning, as we arrive into Wellington, farewell Coral Adventurer, crew, and new-found friends as we disembark. A complimentary post-cruise transfers to the airport or CBD will be available.
Day 12 - Please Note:
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions, and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-12-202405-01-2025AUD $10,720CORAL DECK STATEROOM
24-12-202405-01-2025AUD $12,860PROMENADE DECK STATEROOM
24-12-202405-01-2025AUD $17,160EXPLORER DECK BALCONY STATEROOM
24-12-202405-01-2025AUD $18,760BRIDGE DECK BALCONY STATEROOM
24-12-202405-01-2025AUD $24,120BRIDGE DECK BALCONY SUITE


    • Cruise past Solander Island, a trio of uninhabited volcanic islets with rare wildlife, ferns, orchids, and birds such as fernbirds, snipe, and white-fronted terns
    • Explore Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site with 14 fiords carved by glaciers over thousands of years. Our voyage visits the iconic Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds over three epic days
    • Take a guided tour or enjoy time to yourself in Dunedin, a city settled in and around an ancient volcanic crater, with rich Scottish and Māori heritage and unique cathedrals and architecture
    • Stroll through the quiet forests of Ulva Island to spot New Zealand’s iconic birds, including the Stewart Island Weka, South Island Saddleback, Yellow-and Red-crowned Parakeet (Kakariki) and Rifleman (New Zealand’s smallest bird)
    • Visit Kaikoura, renowned as amongst the best whale watching destinations in the world to sight the breaching sperm whales
    • Enjoy a special Christmas at sea as we sail by Solander Island and ring in the New Year with a memorable day in Akaroa, a small and scenic settlement with a unique French heritage