New Zealand by Sea January 13 - 26, 2019

With its tidy English gardens and untamed wilderness, white-suited lawn bowlers and tattooed Maori elders, austere glacial fiords and boiling volcanic mud pots, New Zealand is a nation of striking contrasts. Settled by wandering Polynesians in the 13th century, discovered by the Dutch in 1642, then colonized by the British in the late 19th century, New Zealand remains a world sufficient unto itself. Isolated from other land masses by the swells of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean, New Zealand views its closest neighbors in Australia as foreigners separated by a common language. It seems well aware that, as a destination, it is on everyone's bucket list. With that in mind, it seems content to leave things as they are.

Which is why the W&L Traveller will return in 2019 for its seventh visit. New Zealand by Sea offers a new way for us to explore these lush green islands. We'll travel from the city of Auckland on the North Island to world-famous Milford Sound on the South Island, aboard the Caledonian Sky, an ideal vessel for accessing New Zealand's islands, fiords, and craggy coastline. We'll visit Rotorua, the heartland of the indigenous Maori culture, and then in Wellington the stunning Te Papa Tongarewa Museum. We'll cross Cook Strait to Ship Cove, where Captain Cook anchored in 1770, to explore islands and inlets that are home to rare birds. At the Canterbury Museum's Hall of Antarctic Discovery in Christchurch, we'll learn about Operation Deep Freeze, then travel by motor coach to the Otago Peninsula for a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head. We'll board Zodiac craft to land on Stewart Island to hear the strange dingdong call of the bellbird. At Doubtful and Milford sounds in Fiordland, we'll marvel at the sheer granite walls and tumbling waterfalls of a region so remote and wild that it remains largely unchanged since the days of Captain Cook.

This unusual cruise offers exceptional access to both islands as well as ample time on land. Optional pre- and post-tour extensions offer additional opportunities to enjoy more of what New Zealand has to offer. For those interested in extending their stay in the lands down under, an optional tour of Sydney, Australia, is available.