New Zealand’s 27 regions stretch more than 1600 kilometres across two main islands and offer the traveller a journey of breathtaking natural wonder. With vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes and a temperate climate, New Zealand is a land of rare natural beauty and contrasts. There are steep-sided fjords, geysers and boiling mud, coastal rainforests, snow-capped mountains, rolling green pasture lands, often spectacular geothermal and volcanic activity, enchanting sandy bays and coves, fast-flowing rivers and a variety of birdlife. By contrast, in the cities, towns and villages you can experience that unique combination of New World and British heritage, see some of the most splendid gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, visit world famous vineyards, encounter fascinating wildlife and meet the friendly people.
Due to this diversity New Zealand deserves more than a fleeting visit. We believe our itinerary offers the best of all worlds and has been devised on the basis that most travellers from the UK will only tour New Zealand once so a trip should be as comprehensive and as full of contrasts as possible. Certainly, this itinerary qualifies on all these important demands. With our perfectly suited small ship our coastal-hugging voyage around the North and South Island will allow us to drop anchor in the remote bays, navigate channels, fjords and rivers and call into harbours both large and small. With the added advantage of Zodiac landing craft and an expert expedition team we will be able to land in otherwise inaccessible places making the most of New Zealand’s extraordinary natural attractions.
Ship to Shore
This voyage is a combination of both expedition style cruising and shall shop destination cruising. Whilst we will be alongside in some ports, some of the more remote destinations we have included are only accessible by Zodiac such as Stewart Island and White Island where sea conditions can be challenging. Zodiacs will also be used for our three days of exploration in Fiordland and the use of the Zodiacs will be key to the operation of the itinerary as shown.
After breakfast we drive through the stunning scenery to reach the remote Milford Sound and embark MS Caledonian Sky later in the afternoon.
We have three days to explore the incredible wilderness of fjords in the South West corner of the South Island. This is an area rich in history, Captain Cook landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773, majestic scenery and abundant wildlife. It is only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand. Our schedule may include Milford Sound, Astronomer’s Point, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound but final itinerary decisions will be made by the Captain and Expedition team based on weather conditions. Zodiacs will be used daily either to shuttle from the ship to a landing site or as our transport to explore the fjords beyond the ships anchorage position.
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 on the small Ulva Island where we will use Zodiacs to go ashore for a choice of walks with our local guides. We will explore the dense vegetation and keep an eye out for the amazing birdlife. This afternoon we land at Oban on Stewart Island and have the chance to wander amongst the shops and see the museum or join a drive along some of the 15 miles of sealed road to some of the beauty spots including Observation Rock with views over Iona and Ulva Island and the beaches lining the East coast.
Arrive this morning in Dunedin and enjoy a guided tour including the gracious 19th century buildings and the beautiful botanical gardens, the oldest in New Zealand containing over 6800 plant species. Alternatively, choose to drive to the Otago Peninsula to visit Penguin Place where we learn about the breeding and conservation programme of the rare yellow eyed penguins as well as the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head. This afternoon is free for independent exploration or maybe choose to join the optional excursion on the Taieri Gorge Railway through the rugged and spectacular scenery of inland Otago.
Akaroa meaning, ‘Long Harbour’, in Maori, was founded by French whaling Captain Jean Langlois on his ship Cachelot in 1838. He returned in 1840 with 60 settlers on the Comte de Paris to create a French colony. We spend a full day in Akaroa and there will be a choice of excursions including a dolphin watching trip using local boats to explore the scenic coastline and search for the rare Hector’s dolphin or a guided historic walk in Akaroa and through the native bush of the Garden of Tane. We also hope to offer a chance to visit a working farm in the countryside outside the town. We will hear about the history of the farm, have demonstrations of sheep shearing and see the working dogs in action as well as enjoying tea in the farm grounds. Or if you prefer you can simply wander in the town and enjoy the local atmosphere.
Today we are in Kaikoura, a famous whale watching area due to its nutrient rich waters. The combination of very deep waters and the mixing of cold and warm waters brings the nutrients to the top. After breakfast, there will be opportunities to join a whale watching cruise looking out for sperm whales, pods of dusky dolphins and common seals. Spend the afternoon exploring the town independently, join a nature walk or maybe take a trip on one of the bird watching cruises. There is an abundance of birdlife in the area including Great albatross, Banded albatross, shearwater, petrels, prions and shag.
Step ashore on New Zealand’s North Island and enjoy a full day in the nation’s capital. From our central berth we will explore Wellington on a morning guided walk seeing St Paul’s Cathedral, the parliament buildings, stroll through the Botanical Gardens and spend time in the excellent Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand. Return to the vessel for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city at your own pace.
After a morning at sea, arrive in Napier and join a walking tour of the beautiful city which will include its charming Art Deco buildings, some decorated with unique Maori motifs. Alternatively, join an excursion to the gannetry at Cape Kidnappers, home to a reserve of Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies, where you are able to get amazingly close to the birds.
Arrive later in the afternoon at White Island. Weather permitting there will be a landing to explore the active volcano on White Island, identifiable by the plume of steam continually spouting from its crater. The sights are surreal: the main crater with towering walls, steaming vents, and hissing fumaroles, glittering yellow sulphur crystals, bubbling mud pots and a spectacular steaming lake. This call is well off the usual cruise routes and we will use the Zodiacs to reach the island and then take a guided walk to the crater.
From our berth in Tauranga we drive inland to the famous thermal springs at Rotorua. Discover Wai-O-Tapu, meaning Sacred Waters, an active geothermal area with colourful hot springs, steaming ground and boiling mud pools. Marvel at the incredible palette of vibrant hues displayed in the pools, lakes and craters, and enjoy the melodic sounds of birds singing in the native forest. From here we visit a local Maori Marae where we will enjoy a traditional Maori welcome and lunch before returning to the ship in the late afternoon.
Discover the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Auckland fringed by two sparkling harbours. Enjoy a morning city tour including a visit to the Auckland Museum overlooking Waitemata Harbour and housing an excellent collection of Maori artefacts. Explore at leisure during the afternoon.
Discovered by Captain Cook in 1769, this area is the cradle of European civilisation in New Zealand and has important historical significance for both Maori and Europeans. On a morning tour we will visit the Waitangi Treaty house where in 1840 the treaty was signed between the Maori and the British crown. We then continue to Kerikeri where the Maori first welcomed missionaries in 1819 and see the oldest buildings of New Zealand dating from the 1820s. During the afternoon enjoy some free time to explore the charming, historic town of Russell.
We spend the day cruising off this remote area of New Zealand. Watch out for marine and birdlife from the open deck and enjoy enlightening talks by the expedition team.
Today we explore the western port of New Plymouth. We have the whole day in this pretty city sandwiched between the sea and Mount Taranaki. A tour will visit the highlights of the town including the spectacular Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and Pukekura Park, one of the premier botanical gardens in New Zealand. We will have a chance to explore the diverse landscape of formal gardens, bushwalks and lakes. Alternatively, drive to Mount Egmont and join one of the walking trails ranging in difficulty for all levels of fitness. You will be joined by our naturalists who will keep you informed on the flora seen en-route. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore further or remain at Mount Egmont and enjoy a longer hike.
Return to the South Island where there will be a choice of excursions today. Either choose to disembark after breakfast at the remote harbour at Golden Bay to visit Abel Tasman, New Zealand’s smallest national park. This marine reserve offers some marvellously scenic coastal walks and cruises with excellent wildlife opportunities including seal colonies and numerous aquatic birds including penguins. The tour will end in Nelson where you will re-embark the ship which will have sailed during the day. Alternatively, enjoy a morning at sea and during the afternoon explore Nelson which has for many years attracted resident artists, inspired by the region’s exceptionally beautiful geography with coastal, forest and valley landscapes. Join an excursion of the area’s highlights which includes the World of Wearable Art Museum with its acclaimed visual exhibits and also the Classic Car collection. During the evening enjoy an onboard winetasting of some local wines.
Anchor off Resolution Bay in the morning where keen walkers can enjoy a longer hike over to Ship Cove along the Queen Charlotte Track enjoying fantastic views over the archipelago of islands. Or alight a little later at Ship Cove where Captain James Cook spent much of his time in New Zealand. During the afternoon sail out of the Marlborough Sound and south along the coast to Lyttelton.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
Castle Standard Forward Suite
The two Standard Forward Suites on the Castle Deck measure 22.7 metres and feature two portholes, en-suite bathroom with shower and spacious wardrobes.
Suites on the Castle Deck measure 22.7 square metres and feature four port holes, en-suite bathroom with shower and spacious wardrobes.
Caledonian Superior Suite
Suites on the Caledonian Deck measure 21.6 square metres and feature en-suite bathrooms with bath tub and shower (except for suites 329, 330 and 331 which feature only a shower), spacious wardrobe and large window.
The Premium Suites on the Promenade Deck measure 20.2 square metres and feature a spacious wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with shower (cabins 431 and 432 feature a bathtub) and a large window.
Bridge Deluxe Balcony Suite
Balcony Suites The Premium Balcony Suites on the Promenade Deck measure 20.2 square metres and feature a walk-in wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with shower and a private balcony measuring 5.6
Castle Standard Suite Sole
Sole Occupancy. Suites on the Castle Deck measure 22.7 square metres and feature four port holes, en-suite bathroom with shower and spacious wardrobes.
Promenade Prem. Balcony Suite
The Premium Balcony Suites on the Promenade Deck measure 20.2 square metres and feature a walk-in wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with shower and a private balcony measuring 5.6
Caledonian Superior Suite Sole
Sole Occupancy. Suites on the Caledonian Deck measure 21.6 square metres and feature en-suite bathrooms with bath tub and shower (except for suites 329, 330 and 331 which feature only a shower), spacious wardrobe and large window.
Promenade Owner's Corner Suite
The two corner suites on the Promenade Deck measure 22.6 square metres and feature one window facing to the side and two forward facing portholes, a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom with shower.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 114 (in 57 suites)
Built: 1991 / refurbished 2012
The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows.
If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere.
Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub.
Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort.
The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request.
With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board.
For your comfort, safety and security
The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to outside decks only.
Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.