The Best of New Zealand

The Best of New Zealand

From USD $6,345


Discover the best of Aotearoa/New Zealand exploring its three main islands (the North Island, South Island, and Stewart Island) on this unforgettable 15-day New Zealand cruise. From the ‘World’s Coolest Little Capital’ (Wellington) to Dunedin’s avant garde fashion, the unrestrained beauty of Fiordland and Stewart Island, Art Deco glamour of Napier and the golden beaches and island conservation sancturies of the upper North Island this voyage showcases the best of New Zealand.

Known as the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand features the 9th longest coastline in the world measuring 15,000 kilometres. Bordering the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and once part of Gondwanaland, New Zealand has a fascinating natural and cultural history from its first Polynesian arrivals through European settlement, early sealing and whaling and world leading conservation efforts. On this expedition, places of interest include the sunken valleys and towering mountains of Fiordland (Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound); the crystalline waters, golden beaches, and coves of the Bay of Islands; the diverse marine life of Hauraki Gulf; the scenic playground of Marlborough Sounds; the iconic wildlife havens of Stewart Island and nearby predator free Ulva Island; and the many iconic Kiwi towns along the way including the Scottish city of Dunedin, the Garden City of Christchurch, and the rich fertile soils of Gisborne.

Those looking for thrilling expedition travel and wildlife encounters can enjoy observations of dolphins and whales, exceptional birdwatching including a number of rare endemic species, and an albatross colony on the Otago Peninsula. Those with an interest in plants will enjoy New Zealand’s national arboretum in Gisborne, the changing subtropical forests north to south, and the botanical gardens in Christchurch and Wellington. And if you have an interest in New Zealand agricultural, you can enjoy a farm visit in North Canterbury alongside scenic drives through New Zealand’s countryside.

Our vessel Heritage Adventurer is built for exploring the intricate coast of New Zealand, navigating through the fiords, cruising up harbours, and allowing for Zodiac excursions to remote isolated bays and hidden gems. We invite you to join us on this in-depth exploration of New Zealand, starting in the south in Queenstown and finishing in the north in Auckland.

Trip Name
The Best of New Zealand
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1: Queenstown
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.
Day 2 - Day 2: Queenstown/Invercargill
Today we enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant and have the morning free to explore Queenstown before returning to the hotel for lunch and departing for the Port of Bluff to embark your ship. You will have time to settle into your cabin and familarise yourself with the ship. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as we set sail for our adventure. We will sail past Ruapuke Island, formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of over 200 people.
Day 3 - Days 3 to 4: Fiordland
We have two days to explore the incredible wilderness of fiords 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 they formed the first European settlements of New Zealand, 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 out for them. Our schedule gives us the flexibility to visit as much as possible, areas we plan to visit 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.
Day 4 - Day 5: 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 exploring Ulva Island which is rich in history and wildlife, being a predator-free 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), Red-crowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbird and Tui.
Day 5 - Day 6: Dunedin
This morning we 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 Yelloweyed 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.
Day 6 - Day 7: Lyttelton
The bustling port of Lyttelton is the maritime gateway to Canterbury and famously the setting for Sir Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners starring Michael J Fox. Depart Heritage Adventurer and travel along the shores of Lyttelton Harbour to the acclaimed gardens of Sir Miles Warren at Ohinetahi. Travel across the Port Hills with its commanding views across the city and plains to explore the Botanic Gardens and the bustling post-quake city on the rebuild with its distincly English setting around the Avon River, as well as visiting some of the region’s most acclaimed private gardens of the ‘Garden City’. Alternatively, venture north to the acclaimed wine region of Waipara and discover what makes this region so well suited for the growing of Pinot Noir and Riesling. During our time in North Canterbury we will also visit one of the many long established sheep farming families.
Day 7 - Day 8: Marlborough Sounds
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.
Day 8 - Day 9: Nelson
The spiritual home of Heritage Expeditions and one of the best, yet seldom-visited ports of New Zealand, join your naturalists to discover the incredibly beautiful coastal scenery of the Abel Tasman National Park or take the opportunity to discover the regions culinary delights, artisan crafts and world-class wines.
Day 9 - Day 10: Wellington
The capital of New Zealand and an exceptional natural harbour, Heritage Adventurer will be docked in the centre of the action from where you can easily explore the vibrant city on foot. Visit the cable car, explore the world renowned Zealandia nature reserve, discover the Botanic Gardens and visit Te Papa New Zealand’s national museum.
Day 10 - Day 11: Napier
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.
Day 11 - Day 12: Gisborne
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.
Day 12 - Day 13: Great Barrier Island
This morning we will be discovering one of New Zealand’s hidden gems as we explore Great Barrier Island and the beautiful Port Fitzroy. Enjoy the opportunity to discover the sub-tropical forests that predominate here with stands of majestic Kauri tree and a verdant understory of ferns. Take a walk along one of the trails around the harbour for outstanding views or join your naturalists for a Zodiac exploration of one of the finest harbours in the north.
Day 13 - Day 14: Bay of Islands
We spend the last day of our New Zealand discovery amongst some of the most beautiful coastal scenery to be found anywhere, as the name suggests Islands dot the bay where clear blue waters lap against golden sand beaches. It was here that much of New Zealand’s early history both Maori and European unfolded, including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Visit the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi and discover the significance and stories surrounding the region.
Day 14 - Day 15: Auckland
This morning Heritage Adventurer arrives in Auckland, the City of Sails, where she will berth in the central city waterfront, following breakfast disembark and head to the airport or continue your exploration of New Zealand. In case of unexpected delays we ask you not to book any onward travel until after midday today. During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.
Day 15 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $6,345MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $7,475SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $8,975SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $9,475SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $11,495MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $12,375WORSLEY SUITES
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $12,475SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
06-03-202320-03-2023USD $17,075HERITAGE SUITES
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $9,450SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $9,945SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $11,995MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $12,975WORSLEY SUITES
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $12,975SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $18,000HERITAGE SUITES
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $6,495MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
07-03-202421-03-2024USD $7,885SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS


    • Fiordland & Stewart Island
    • Dunedin & Lyttelton
    • Marlborough Sounds & Nelson
    • Wellington & Napier
    • Gisborne, Great Barrier Island & Bay of Islands