The Best of New Zealand: Heritage Adventurer

New Zealand

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 sanctuaries of the upper North Island this voyage showcases the best of New Zealand

  • Several iconic New Zealand ports and cities
  • incredible wilderness of fiordland
  • areas rich in history, majestic scenery and abundant wildlife
  • New Zealand’s third island Stewart Island
  • All excursions included
  • lush forest and rare native birds
  • Explore from South to North Island aboard a luxury expedition ship
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.

Stewart's Take

An Intimate Exploration Cruise of New Zealand's Islands


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 sanctuaries of the upper North Island this voyage showcases the best of New Zealand.
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: 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. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Scrolling is disabled on map, please click to enable.

Luxury Expedition Vessel: Heritage Adventurer

Heritage Adventurer

The purpose built polar expedition vessel Heritage Adventurer provides a most capable, safe, and exclusive expedition cruise experience.  Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the 'Grande Dame of Exploration Cruising' due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purposebuilt 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 iceclass rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. She held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages. 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.

For full information about this vessel click here:

  • Pre/post cruise transfers
  • one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
  • all on board ship accommodation with meals
  • all expedition shore excursions
  • All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities
  • International/domestic flights
  • visas and travel insurance
  • Local Payment Additional fees: $500 pp
Additional Charges - Landing Fees of $500 per person. These will be added during the booking process. Deposits - Reservations require a deposit of 25% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 120 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments - Balances are due 120 days prior to departure. Cancellations - All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 180 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a $US750.00 per person administration fee. For cancellations received within 179 and 121 days of the embarkation date the full deposit will be forfeited. If cancellation occurs within 120 days prior to the departure date the total price is forfeited. If cancellation occurs within 90 days and full payment has not yet been received, the total price will still apply and any unpaid monies are due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms - Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Heritage Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
Booking Request
Back To Top

Expeditions Online Newsletter

Sign up to be an Expeditions Online insider and receive info on exclusive deals, discounts and more!


* indicates required