Well-known for its Maori culture, diverse natural beauty and superb gastronomy, it’s no wonder New Zealand is a popular place to cruise! Visit the mountain-fringed shores of Milford Sound, admire Picton’s magnificent fjords and stand in awe before spectacular active volcanoes Whatever it is you wish to see or do, the Land of the Long White Cloud is unlikely to disappoint.
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New Zealand Cruises
New Zealand is the world's fifth-largest island nation, and is part of an archipelago lying approximately 1,600 kilometres south-east of Australia. It consists of two major islands - the North Island and the South Island - and some smaller islands in the South Pacific.
One of the world's youngest countries thanks to its relatively isolated position, New Zealand was first settled by Polynesians around 1300CE, making it one of the last large land masses settled by humans. In 1769, James Cook circumnavigated and charted New Zealand’s coasts, eventually prompting a steady wave of European migration. In 1907, New Zealand became a self-governing dominion and today it's an independent nation with a well-educated and well-travelled population of more than four million inhabitants.
Enjoying a scenic cruise is an ideal way to see the bulk of its 15,000-kilometre coastline, and New Zealand's compact land mass means it is only an overnight journey to each distinctive region.
Who goes there?
A number of cruise lines provide a variety of cruising itineraries around New Zealand. Visitors can explore the country aboard luxury lines such as Crystal Cruises, Oceania, Orion, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Silver Seas, and Hapag-Lloyd. Other big-ship cruisers include lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, P&O Australia, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Holland America Line.
Cruises regularly depart Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane between October and April. Select lines also offer itineraries during the shorter winter cruise season, from April through to July.
Best time to go?
New Zealand’s climate overall is generally mild and somewhat changeable, so depending on your precise travel plans, travelling at any time of year is possible. Nevertheless, air temperatures tend to be at their warmest between December and February, coldest in June, July and August and a drier in the South than the North during winter. So if you're cruising outside of peak summer times, it's best to come prepared for cooler temperatures.
Things to See and Do
A land of diverse landscape and rich culture, New Zealand is jam-packed with things to see and do.
- Rotorua - boasting bubbling mud pools, hot water springs, shimmering lakes and lush green forests, Rotorua offers visitors an experience like no other
- Fjordland National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site – awes and inspires with its cascading waterfalls, granite peaks and ancient rainforests
- Adventure-pumping activities - New Zealand delights thrill-seekers with its abundance of adventure sports, including bungy jumping, jet boating and white water rafting
- Marae - take a trip to a to the tribal meeting ground - a Marae - in places like Auckland, Rotorua or the Canterbury region to observe some local Maori culture up close
- Wine-tasting - if you're a wine aficionado, be sure to stop in at some award-winning wineries in Queenstown and the surrounding Central Otago region.