On this voyage, PONANT invites you to discover New Zealand’s multitude of natural treasures. Set sail aboard Le Lapérouse for a 10-day voyage from Dunedin to Auckland. Starting in New Zealand’s south-west, Le Lapérouse will sail along the coast of the South Island into the heart of Fiordland National Park with landscapes shaped by successive glaciations. You will explore Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound and the world-renowned Milford Sound − three fiords bordered by majestic cliffs. Discover the quaint coastal town of Picton, a must-see entry point to the South Island and an opportunity to explore the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds. You will then sail on to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. This ancient site of the Māori people, as demonstrated by the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, perfectly combines local traditions and bustling nightlife. As you sail along the east coast of New Zealand you will have the opportunity to explore the rich Māori history of Napier before visiting Gisborne, a town surrounded by fertile hills and long, wild beaches. From Tauranga, you will be able to explore many treasures: volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, rivers, gorges, and lakes that range in colour from deep blue to orange. Surrounded by the blue waters of the Pacific, the twin islands of New Zealand are the promise of an incredible mosaic of contrasting panoramas.
Special Welcome Offer
A$800 per stateroom off your first PONANT voyage or double your past guest discount if you have already travelled with us.
30% PONANT Bonus and No Single Supplement charge for solo travellers!
Day 1. Dunedin. Embarkation.
Dunedin is New Zealand’s oldest city and is often referred to as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. The city contains some of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The Silverpeaks hinterland to the North West provides a picturesque backdrop and The Otago Peninsula, has internationally renowned wildlife reserves. The ship will be alongside the inner city wharf in Dunedin.
Day 2. Dusky Sound & Doubtful Sound, New Zealand.
One of the most remote fiords in the New Zealand’s South West World Heritage Area, Dusky Sound was named by Captain James Cook in 1773. Dusky Sound is rich in flora and fauna, New Zealand Fur Seals and one of the world’s rarest penguins – the Fiordland Crested Penguin – can be seen on the small islets at the entrance to the fiord. Referred to as the ‘Sound of Silence’, there is a secluded serenity that surrounds Doubtful Sound in contrast with the better-known Milford Sound. Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords with a maximum depth of 421 m. It contains three distinct ‘arms’ and several outstanding waterfalls in the area from Deep Cove to the open ocean. Your ship will spend time navigating around Secretary Island through both Thompson and Doubtful. You can enjoy the spectacular scenery from the outer decks of the ship as you sail through the fiords. If weather permits, you may have the opportunity to explore the fiord on a Zodiac® excursion.
Day 3. Milford Sound, New Zealand.
Arguably New Zealand’s best-known destination and described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is a place of dramatic beauty. Its vertiginous peaks rise from the dark waters of the sound creating a spectacular backdrop that captivates even the most seasoned of travellers. You will be able to view the spectacular scenery from the outer decks of your ship. If weather permits, you might have the opportunity to explore the fiord on a Zodiac® excursion.
Day 4. At Sea.
Day 5. Picton, New Zealand.
A must-see entry point to the South Island, Picton is a little coastal town girded by gentle hills, located on the south side of the Queen Charlotte inlet. You can also decide to get some height above sea level, and walk in the surrounding areas. Picton is above all an opportunity to explore the unique Marlborough Sounds. The interweaving of submerged valleys in this area, has created numerous navigable routes, which are among the most beautiful natural wonders of New Zealand.
Day 6. Wellington, New Zealand.
Crowned with gentle green hills, Wellington Harbour is located in the far south of the North Island. This city offers a charming mix of traditional and modern cultures, bestowing on the New Zealand capital, a unique atmosphere, both friendly and avant-guard. Where some sites, like the large National Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, reflect the city’s Māori past, others, like the many cafés and restaurants, affirm the inhabitants’ incredible lust for life.
Day 7. Napier, New Zealand.
On the east coast of the North Island, south of Hawke’s Bay, you’ll find Napier. With its pure lines mixed with traditional Māori designs, the singular New Zealand character of this city will intrigue you. You’ll discover all this extraordinary architectural heritage as you take a stroll through the city. Famous for its vineyards, wine lovers will be able to taste some of the best wines from the region.
Day 8. Gisborne, New Zealand.
Gisborne, called “Gizzy” by the locals and “Teoneroa” by the Māori, is located to the north of a large bay surrounded by fertile hills and long, wild beaches that attract walkers and surfers. In Ngatapa, a few kilometres north of the city, the Eastwoodhill Arboretum stretches out over more than 320 acres and is home to magnificent exotic and native plants. In the city, you can learn about Māori culture and the local history at the Tairawhiti Museum or enjoy some of the products of this rich farming region, renowned in particular for its Chardonnay.
Day 9. Tauranga, New Zealand.
Tauranga stretches the length of the Bay of Plenty, sheltered from the ocean by the island of Matakana. This coastal city boasts a flourishing economy thanks to its port, and is a pleasant and pretty town with a peaceful, relaxed feel. Travel on to the town of Rotorua to visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland: a fantastic opportunity to experience an absolutely exceptional geothermal phenomenon.
Day 10. Auckland, New Zealand. Disembarkation.
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest, most populated and busiest city. Located on an isthmus linking the peninsula of Northland to the expansive North Island, it seems to float between land and sea. Surrounded by dormant volcanoes such as Mount Eden, Auckland is noted for its abundant nature and magnificent black-sand beaches. A blend of Māori, European and Asian cultures give the city a vibrant atmosphere.