Cruise New Zealand on New Ship, Explorer Dream

 New Zealand Adventure III

New Zealand Adventure III

7 Night Cruise sailing from Auckland round trip aboard Explorer Dream.

Explorer Dream, the latest addition to the Dream Cruises fleet, will launch in March 2019, taking the brand to new horizons!
Join us to explore 'Down Under' with Australia and New Zealand itineraries departing from Sydney and Auckland.

Highlights of this cruise:

Auckland
Auckland is located on the north island of New Zealand, situated between two magnificent harbours, the Waitemata and the Manukau. It is the largest city in NZ and is often referred to as the ‘City of Sails’ due to the large number of yachts which travel in its waters.

Auckland city has a great range of shops including designer boutiques, markets and stalls. It is also home to many fine galleries and museums including the Auckland Museum and the Auckland City Art Gallery. Restaurants in the waterfront suburbs such as Mission Bay or St Heliers and the inner city specialise in local seafood delicacies. There are also a number of attractive public gardens and reserves surrounding the city.

The large Polynesian population in Auckalnd include Maori, Samoan, Cook Island and Tongan people whom all contribute to the city's vibrant culture. Local markets and churches in particular provide an insight to the local cultures. 

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a fjord, within Fiordland National Park in the south west of New Zealand's South Island. It is a Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site and has been acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination. The grandeur of its waterfalls, mountain peaks and sheer rock faces attracts visitors from all over the world.

Highlights of a cruise of Milford Sound are a close up view of Mitre Peak, Stirling Falls, and dolphins, seals, and penguin watching. Other activities in the area include trekking, fishing, diving, scenic flights and a visit to the underwater observatory.

Things to see and do
* Boat Excursions
* Sea Kayaking
* Underwater World
* Dolphin & Seal watching
* Scenic flight

Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound is part of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park and is one of its most famous tourist destinations. It is a large and majestic fjord located on the south west corner of New Zealand, close to Milford Sound. It is a rugged and mountainous area with a picturesque coastline, and is almost entirely covered in bush.

There are hundreds of waterfalls during the rainy season, notably Helena Falls at Deep Cove, and the Browne Falls which have a fall of over 600 metres. The Sound is also home to a population of bottlenose dolphins which interact with boat tours. Other wildlife includes fur seals, penguins and an abundance of sea creatures.

Things to See and Do
* Dolphin watching
* Kyaking
* Diving
* Eco tours
* Fishing

Dunedin
Port Chalmers is the main port of the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. Although it has been a suburb since local body reorganisation in the 1980s, it is still regarded by most people throughout Dunedin as a separate town. Port Chalmers lies ten kilometres inside Otago Harbour, some 15 kilometres northeast from Dunedin's city centre.

Dunedin is the second-largest city on the south island of New Zealand. It is built in a natural harbour on a relatively small area of flat land, and is surrounded by steep hillsides. Some of its streets are very steep; Baldwin Street is claimed to be the steepest in the world.

Dunedin is known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture; notable buildings include First Church and Larnach Castle. Other attractions include the famous Captain Cook Tavern, the local Speight's brewery and the Cadbury factory.

Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and geographical centre of New Zealand, situated at the southern tip of New Zealand’s north island. It is surrounded by hills and a rugged coastline, and boasts a stunning harbor. It is known both as the Windy city and as the cultural and arts capital of New Zealand.

Wellington has many historic sites and buildings to visit. Among these are Antrim House, the Colonial Cottage Museum and Old St Paul's Cathedral. A trip on the Cable Car is popular, as is a harbor cruise or a ferry trip to Eastbourne, where there are craft shops, galleries and cafes.

There are 350 restaurants and cafes in Wellington serving a wide range of cuisines, and downtown Wellington on Lambton Quay is popular for shopping.

Pricing: Outside Cabins from $NZ 1,345 per person

Balcony Cabins from $NZ 1,559 per person

Alpine Nature Walk at Lewis Pass, South Island

The Lewis Pass is the northernmost road crossing of the Southern Alps. Whether you’re driving north from Christchurch, or south from the Nelson region, you’ll drive over this beautiful area of forested alpine landscape around halfway through your trip.

Part of the greater Lewis Pass National Reserve, the area is home to tumbling rocky rivers, dense temperate beech and podocarp forest, and far-reaching alpine views. There are many walking/hiking trails through the area, but many require some experience of high country hiking.

The summit of the Lewis Pass road allows access to a short Alpine Nature Walk around a tarn (a small lake) and is very accessible for families with children or those unused to alpine walking. It can be cold up there any time of year so take a jacket with you, and wear some robust footwear. The boardwalks can be a bit slippery in ice or snow, but most of the year they are fine.

Take your time on this short 20 minute walk to look for a distant waterfall dropping from the mountains, far-off alpine valleys opening from above the treeline, and wild clouds rushing up through the pass. It is an invigorating place to stop.

Abel Tasman's Coastline

AT park-rsz.jpg

It is unclear to me why the Abel Tasman coastline, on the northern edge of New Zealand’s South Island, is called that when the 18th century Dutch explorer didn’t actually see it. But whatever its name, the clear green water and shining golden sand of this beautiful coastline is well worth a visit.

Most visitors walk the Abel Tasman National Park coastline, and a few choose to paddle it in a sea kayak – quite a few in fact. But to me the best option to see the area is to sail along this historic coastline. This is a perfect day tripper experience without a backpack, a hiking boot or a blister in sight.

On a still morning in early summer the light at Marahau is crisp and blue. The sea is like glass as it creeps in over golden yellow sand flats. The bush-covered hills of the national park rise up behind this little seaside village, sheltering it from the cool sou-westerly wind drifting off the snowy mountains in the nearby Kahurangi National Park. It’s a great day to go sailing. 

As soon as the tide is high enough to carry us out of the bay we cruise off slowly under motor, our boat clearing the maze of channels and sand banks in a matter of minutes. The skipper has obviously spent time on these waters, as he steers with one hand while watching the depth of the water, delivering a safety briefing in record time and launching into a five minute run-down of the historic area we are sailing into. 

This area was always popular with local Maori, long before the Europeans came through in their little white sailing ships. Evidence of middens and fertile, ancient kumara gardens sit well between stories of local chiefs and visiting waka (canoes). During their exploratory voyages both Abel Janzoon Tasman and James Cook managed to miss this stretch of coastline completely, but French lieutenant Dumont D’Urville more than made up for this with his extensive visit in 1827, leaving the coastline renamed with a distinct French flavour – Adele Island, Coquille Bay, Astrolabe Roadstead, Isle de Pecheur (now Fisherman’s Island) and Anse du Torrents (now Torrent Bay). Other names such as Watering Cove and Observation Beach also tell of his activities while in the area.

The sea along the Abel Tasman coast is a particularly nice shade of translucent green. If there’s been no rain for a while the visibility of the water is intensely clear. We look over the side to see huge chunks of granite metres below the surface, which have fallen from the land over preceding millennia. Tiny blue penguins paddle beside us and rocket-powered gannets dive from the sky to disappear into the water without a splash. Their breakfast obviously moves fast. Further up the coast there are fur seals around Tonga Island and some days whales or dolphins cruise through these coastal waters.

But today we are headed for Te Pukatea Bay, just beneath Pitt Head, where the boat drifts ashore to drop us, almost dry-footed, on the sand for lunch. Pukatea is a horseshoe-shaped bay, ringed by green bush and steep hills, which looks out to the eastern side of Tasman Bay far in the distance. 

Lunch is a casual affair – bare feet, toes digging into the sand as we sit above the high tide mark. Everything is provided, including bubbles and some nice local wines, as we kick back and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Just a short walk over the hill behind us is the Anchorage – a favourite weekend spot for local yachties – and further around, Torrent Bay. Although this area is national park there are still pockets of private land in many of the bays and Torrent Bay is one that has a number of cottages and holiday homes. It’s a busy place in summer considering there isn’t a road for miles. Everyone comes in by boat.

But lunch and a quiet siesta later we’re ready to man the decks and haul on the sheets for a fast downwind ride back along the coast. There really is no better thing to do on a yacht plying this sunny coastline than to sit on deck, spinnaker sheet in hand, tweaking it from time to time as we fly downwind, following the huge red sail back down to Marahau.  

Find out more or to book a trip contact sue@nztravelbrokers.co.nz

24 Hours in Fiordland

24 Hours in Fiordland

Fiordland has become one of the iconic travel destinations in New Zealand. It is, at times, startlingly beautiful, dark and mysterious, remote and wild, huge, wet and empty - except Milford Sound, which can be all of the above, and busy. But there's a good reason for this as Milford is the only place in Fiordland where you can actually drive through to the fiords, get on a boat, and explore. Read more ….

Read More

Otahuna - Canterbury Country Elegance

Otahuna - Canterbury Country Elegance

Arriving at the winding driveway to Otahuna Lodge we catch glimpses of its majestic gabled form outlined through gaps in the tall trees. A green swathe of lawn opens in front of long shady verandahs and rolls off down towards a still garden lake. Behind, the sun-drenched hills of this dry Canterbury landscape appear rocky and tall, in contrast to the green softness of the lodge gardens ...

Read More

Mountain Biking in New Zealand

Cycling and mountain biking opportunities in New Zealand abound. The country is literally laced with exciting, and often, challenging mountain bike tracks, cycle trails and dedicated downhill blasts.

We've put a new page up explaining the cycling and mountain biking options for luxury travellers to New Zealand. But there are also plenty of options if you're more of a grassroots or family traveller.

Luxury travellers have the big advantage of having many fabulous cycling and mountain biking opportunities available from the front door of their lodge. These range from easy trails along farm and winery tracks to purpose-built downhill mountain runs through native forest park and tussock lands.

But for any traveller there are lots of options. One of the most popular rides is the 3 - 4 day, 152 km long Otago Rail Trail. Built along the remains of the old Central Otago Railway this fantastic trip is very popular with New Zealanders and visitors alike, so you need to book ahead. It traverses some amazingly beautiful open country that has seen pastoral farmers, gold diggers and railway workers walk its many miles. There are plenty of options to hire bikes, book accommodation or join a group - email us for details.  We handle enquiries for any travellers, not just luxury options.

Another excellent ride in the lower South Island is the Alps 2 Ocean Ride from the Mackenzie Country down to the sea at Oamaru. This is best done over 5 - 6 days as it's 300 kms long, dropping through stunning scenery and magnificent mountain country. Starting at the base of Aoraki-Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, the Alps 2 Ocean Ride skirts the edge of the turquoise-blue Lake Pukaki, across to Lake Ohau, across the plateau of the Mackenzie Basin and down the Waitaki River Valley to the sea. Once again there are plenty of options for cycle hire, tours and accommodation - email us for info.

Places like Nelson, Rotorua and Queenstown all have a number of exciting trail options with literally hundreds of kilometres of riding between them. These rides are usually easily done in a day but are just as exciting as the longer trails. Options include rides through national parks, hardcore downhill trails, winery paths, river banks, forestry trails and coastal rides. Some can be combined for a multi-day tour.

And if you are a luxury traveller here's a few tips. First stop could be the beautiful Farm at Cape Kidnappers lodge in Hawkes Bay. The lodge is part of a 6,000 acre working farm which you can explore by bike at any time of year. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in the Bay of Islands is not only a fantastic golf destination but also has some great bike riding throughout the stunning coastal property. Other luxury destinations include The Resurgence near Nelson, The George hotel in Christchurch (which is in easy reach of Canterbury’s excellent trails), Poronui in the remote central North Island and Wildwood Lodge near Rotorua. All these places have or are close to great cycling and/or mountain biking.

We can provide details and bookings on all these options, and more.

Email us for more info or to make a booking