Exceptional access & optimized wildlife viewing

Our expedition cruises provide direct access to smaller islands tucked in the bays and sounds of the North and South Islands, and pristine coastal locations with few roads. Our hallmark flexibility allows us to observe marine and avian wildlife as it appears, optimizing opportunities to encounter whales, dolphins, seals, albatrosses, penguins, and other species.

IMPORTANT: Your expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an Expedition Specialist before booking your flights.


  • DAY 1-3: U.S./Auckland, New Zealand

    Depart on an overnight flight, crossing the International Dateline, and arrive in Auckland, where we check in to our hotel. Join us for a welcome briefing this evening to meet your fellow travelers.

  • DAY 4: Auckland/Embark

    Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour of this vibrant city center. We’ll stop for lunch midday before embarking National Geographic Orion in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 5: Bay of Islands

    The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual, and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 6-7: Great Barrier Island/Exploring Coastal NZ

    Stretch your legs today as we explore Great Barrier Island on exploratory walks and hikes. As we continue south along the North Island’s verdant coast, we let nature guide us as your Captain and Expedition Leader choose our next site for exploration. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Gisborne

    Today we delve into the cultural riches of Gisborne – the site of the first European landing place in New Zealand in 1769. The city’s warm, sun-filled climate reflects its disposition and complements its rich soils, bountiful islands, miles of sandy beaches and resource-rich oceans. Visit a local Marae and gain insight into the history and culture of the people of this region. In the afternoon, discover the greenery of a local arboretum, and cap the day off with a wine tour and tasting. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9: Napier

    Spend the morning getting to know Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. Choose to discover the city’s unique architecture on an art tour or leave the city behind and join us on a Gannet Safari Tour where we’ll have close encounters at a large Australasian gannet colony. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 10: Exploring New Zealand’s South Island

    Today will be exploratory in nature as we discover the many hidden islands and treasures on the northern side of New Zealand’s South Island. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 11: Kaikoura

    In Maori, Kaikoura translates to ‘meal of crayfish.’ The region’s abundance of crayfish and nutrient-rich marine system draw impressive quantities of whales, dolphins, and fur seals to its waters. Today we’ll venture out in search of various resident and migratory marine mammals as well as the impressive albatross. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 12: Dunedin

    Known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and boasting the world’s only mainland albatross colony, Dunedin sits on the verdant southeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Discover the world’s smallest penguin, the little blue penguin, and its endangered cousin, the yellow-eyed penguin, on an excursion to the beaches of the Otago Peninsula. Visit the fragrant Dunedin Botanic Gardens, and explore the Otago Museum’s exhibits on nature, culture and science. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 13: Stewart Island

    Stewart Island, known in Maori as Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, is positioned firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Today we’ll explore the island’s rare native birdlife as well as it’s well preserved podocarp forest. In the afternoon, discover Stewart Island’s nearby neighbor, Ulva Island, where we’ll hike with naturalists to discover its unspoiled rainforest. (B,L,D)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

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