Southern Odyssey: New Zealand and the Subantarctic Islands

Southern Odyssey: New Zealand and the Subantarctic Islands

From AUD $36,720


Navigating New Zealand’s verdant coastlines we will encounter pristine beaches, quiet coves, and waters filled with whales, dolphins, and seals. The soaring peaks and countless waterfalls of the country’s dazzling fjords are at their jaw-dropping best in Fiordlands National Park, where we spend two days exploring Milford Sound and Dusky Sound. Step into an ancient rainforest, stunning national parks, and fragrant botanical gardens; learn about Maori history and culture and tour cosmopolitan cities.An ornithologist’s dream, New Zealand boasts 300 species of birds including the magnificent royal albatross and a colony of 20,000 gannets. Below the South Island in the Southern Ocean lie the remote and wildly beautiful sub-Antarctic islands where few humans have tread. Teeming with major populations of pelagic seabirds and animals and plants found nowhere else in the world, they burst with thousands of seals and millions of penguins.

Trip Name
Southern Odyssey: New Zealand and the Subantarctic Islands
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 103 metres Passenger Capacity: 102 (in 53 cabins) Built: 2003 / Refurbished 2014 Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar, and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. 14 Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration. National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the on board waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices. National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment. Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library perched at the very top of the ship, with plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and our nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, our dining room menu is also available on the outside deck. While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet, and public-area wifi.


Day 1 - DAY 1: Auckland, New Zealand
Arrive in Auckland, where we check in to our hotel.Join us for a welcome briefing this evening to meetyour fellow travelers.
Day 2 - DAY 2: Auckland/Embark
Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour ofthis vibrant city center. We’ll stop for lunch middaybefore embarking National Geographic Orion inthe late afternoon. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - DAY 3-4: Exploring Coastal New Zealand
As we continue south along the North Island’sverdant coast, we let nature guide us as yourCaptain and Expedition Leader choose our nextsite for exploration. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - DAY 5: Gisborne
Today we delve into the cultural riches of Gisborne– the site of the first European landing place inNew Zealand in 1769. The city’s warm, sun-filledclimate reflects its disposition and complements itsrich soils, bountiful islands, miles of sandybeaches and resource-rich oceans. Visit a localMarae and gain insight into the history and cultureof the people of this region. In the afternoon,discover the greenery of a local arboretum, andcap the day off with a wine tour and tasting.(B,L,D)
Day 5 - DAY 6: Napier
Spend the morning getting to know Napier, the ArtDeco capital of New Zealand. Choose to discoverthe city’s unique architecture on an art tour, orleave the city behind and join us on a GannetSafari Tour where we’ll have close encounters at alarge Australasian gannet colony. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - DAY 7-8: Abel Tasman & At Sea
Today we arrive at the South Island of NewZealand where golden beaches and denserainforests border the snow-capped SouthernAlps. We begin discovering this stunning island inAbel Tasman National Park, exploring on hikesand walks with our naturalists. Spend the next dayat sea as we sail south toward Fiordland NationalPark. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - DAY 9-10: Milford Sound & Dusky Sound
Over the course of two days we will exploreFiordland National Park, home to fourteenindividual fiords. Here we’ll discover hundredsmeter high waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, andwe’ll hope for a glimpse of the Sounds’ residentbottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and penguins.(B,L,D)
Day 8 - DAY 11: Snares Islands
Located south of the New Zealand mainland in theremote Southern Ocean, today we begin ourexploration of the wild and beautiful sub-Antarcticislands. These remote islands play host toabundant and unique wildlife, with many speciesof birds, plants and invertebrates found nowhereelse in the world. Two small rocky islands, NorthEast and Broughton, comprise The Snares, theclosest subantarctic islands to New Zealand. Theislands are covered with heavy tussock grass andwind-beaten forests of tree daisies. The Snaresare home to huge numbers of breeding birds: the99 recorded species include albatross, Antarcticterns and Snares crested penguins. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - DAY 12-13: Auckland Islands & At Sea
Spend the next several incredible daysdiscovering New Zealand and Australia’ssubantarctic islands and their surrounding waters—the entire marine landscape designated aUNESCO World Heritage site. We have specialpermission to explore these strictly regulatedislands, which are protected at the highest level ofconservation status by the New Zealandgovernment, and considered “bird central” amongtop ornithologists around the world. Keeping aflexible weather-dependent schedule, we plan toexplore several intriguing islands.The Auckland Islands are the largest of NewZealand’s subantarctic islands, with the richestflora, prolific birdlife, and an interesting humanhistory. Conditions permitting, we cruise in Zodiacsto Enderby Island to view a large New Zealandsea lion colony with pups all jostling for position. Ifwe are fortunate, we may see rare yellow-eyedpenguins as they move to and from their nests inthe forests beyond the beach.
Day 10 - DAY 14-16: Macquarie Island, Australia & At Sea
We will spend two days at remote MacquarieIsland, a protectorate of Australia and a WorldHeritage site. Macquarie is home to a large varietyof wildlife, including thousands of seals andmillions of penguins. Four species of penguinbreed here. The endemic royal penguin has apopulation estimated at 850,000. Gentoo andsouthern rockhopper penguins also breed here.And imagine landing on a single beach with100,000 pairs of king penguins, the third largestsuch colony in the world!With whales beneath and birds above, our time atsea between islands presents an opportunity tohead up to the bridge to spot marine life and watchthe calm business of navigation. Or spend thesedays enjoying the ship’s spa, and fitness center.Take some time to browse the library or play aboard game in the glass-enclosed observationlounge. And listen to a variety of engaging talksfrom our staff, including photo talks. (B,L,D)
Day 11 - DAY 17-18: Campbell Island
A large island, surrounded by 4 smaller islandsand innumerable rocks and islets, the CampbellIsland group is officially the southernmost territoryof New Zealand. Covered with endemic grassesand thick vegetation and boasting steep terrain,Campbell is dramatic and beautiful. Here we willfind six species of albatross, an endemic duck (theCampbell Island teal), and an endemic snipe, aswell as numerous songbirds and sea birds whobreed on the island. Three species of penguin alsomake their home on here, and southern rightwhales breed in the surrounding waters.
Day 12 - DAY 19: Stewart Island
Stewart Island, known in Maori as Te Punga o TeWaka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart ofMaori mythology. Today we’ll explore the island’srare native birdlife as well as it’s well preservedpodocarp forest. In the afternoon, discover StewartIsland’s nearby neighbor, Ulva Island, where we’llhike with naturalists to discover its unspoiledrainforest. (B,L,D)
Day 13 - DAY 20: Dunedin/Disembark/Home
Today we disembark on New Zealand’s SouthIsland in Dunedin, known for its Victorian andEdwardian architecture. Have breakfast aboardbefore transferring to the airport for flights home.(B)
Day 14 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $36,720Category 1
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $39,100Category 2
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $43,230Category 3
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $52,700Category 4
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $55,070Category 1 Solo
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $59,700Category 5
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $64,850Category 3 Solo
29-12-202217-01-2023AUD $69,880Category 6
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $43,230Category 3
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $52,700Category 4
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $55,070Category 1 Solo
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $59,700Category 5
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $64,850Category 3 Solo
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $69,880Category 6
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $36,720Category 1
16-01-202304-02-2023AUD $39,100Category 2
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $36,720Category 1
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $39,100Category 2
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $43,230Category 3
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $52,700Category 4
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $55,070Category 1 Solo
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $59,700Category 5
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $64,850Category 3 Solo
02-12-202321-12-2023AUD $69,880Category 6
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $36,720Category 1
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $39,100Category 2
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $43,230Category 3
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $52,700Category 4
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $55,070Category 1 Solo
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $59,700Category 5
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $64,850Category 3 Solo
20-12-202308-01-2024AUD $69,880Category 6


    • Immerse yourself in unparalleled beauty: scenic beaches and lush native forests in the North Island and deep fjords and dramatic landscapes in the South Island.
    • Discover the history and dynamic culture of New Zealand and the Maori people.
    • Explore the sub-Antarctic islands which remain almost completely protected from human activity and are home to a diverse collection of endemic plant and animal species
    • Delve into New Zealand’s cultural riches – from Napier’s Art Deco architecture, to historical Maori sites.
    • Visit Abel Tasman National Park where we’ll discover its golden sand beaches, abundant bird and sea life and native forests.