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Kiwi-Style Cruising - South Island

11 February 2011


In 1996 Brian and Diane Appleby along with their daughter Vicky began their dream and developed cruises (generally for the over 50) that focused on cruising - Kiwi style. This is Affinity Cruises, and this year they celebrate their 16th year in business. I recently had the good fortune to experience a two-night three-day taste of this kiwi style cruising. It was in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, where in that time we had a taste of Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary, home to robins, tui’s, kiwis, bellbirds and the rare South Island Saddleback, Ship's Cove where English explorer Captain James Cook made his home in the early 1770’s. We went dredging and getting scallops for dinner, and visiting a salmon farm which was surrounded with seals and dolphins, all of which performed for us. At night skipper Brian would anchor in one of the beautiful calm bays, out would come the nibbles and conversation, followed by a hearty dinner, more amazing local historical facts and the opportunity to star gaze from the upper deck.

The vessel we cruised on was 63 foot long and 20 foot wide, built in 1989 with eight twin or double share cabins, with all linen & meals supplied.  There are three bathrooms onboard, and a very comfortable lounge to relax in. And in case you felt a little lost without your electronic mod cons, there is also a TV, DVD, video player and CD player.  Because of the size of the vessel, Brian is able to access more remote and uninhabited areas, and with a maximum of 16 passengers on board, you are ensured a personalised and memorable cruising experience. Affinity cruises Marlborough, Tasman Bay, Fiordland and Stewart Island on three, five, six, nine & 10 night cruises. Marlborough Sounds departures are from October to April, Stewart Island in May and Fiordland in June, July and August. Marlborough departures are from Picton, Havelock & Nelson, where in Picton they are based right next to the Interislander Ferry Terminal making for easy arrival. If on a five or six night Marlborough Sounds cruise you will get to visit the award winning Queen Charlotte track which features regenerated native bush of giant rimu, nikau and beech trees, hear the story about the Russian cruise liner Mikhail Lermontov and see the area where she lies at the bottom of the sea. You will visit the Sounds first commercial vineyard, set in a secluded picturesque bay and taste their unique wines. A visit to d’Urville Island is included. Here you will indulge in a sumptuous dinner at the Wilderness Resort Café, which is now run by a former New Zealand masterchef contestant.  In the right season you are able to try your luck catching blue cod, groper and other species in these pristine waters. Not to mention dredge for scallops (in season) and all these sumptuous delights will feature on the menu.

Call Wendy and she can tell you much more about Affinity Cruises.  Like you, we are World Travellers.

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