An Itinerary to Tasmania and New Zealand

A vast flat plain bordered by snow-capped mountains


On this 14-night itinerary, you’ll experience three of the world’s most captivating islands—Tasmania and the North and South Islands of New Zealand. You’ll also have a chance to sightsee in Sydney, the starting point for this cruise. With icons like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, legendary beaches and inviting neighborhoods, you’ll soon understand why this city turns up on many lists of travelers’ favorites.

From Sydney, you’ll sail to Tasmania, located off of Australia’s southern coast. The island’s founding as a penal colony will interest armchair historians and its diverse fauna will fascinate naturalists, amateur and otherwise. Then you’ll cross the Tasman Sea to the South Island of New Zealand, with stops at Milford Sound, gateway to the majestic Fiordland National Park; Dunedin, with its collection of Victorian buildings; and Akaroa where you can witness some of the locations from the Lord of the Rings films, and finally Picton. On the North Island, you’ll visit Napier, noted for its Art Deco architecture; Tauranga, a convenient base to visit the thermal springs at Rotorua; and, finally, you’ll sail into Auckland, the City of Sails, concluding this down under itinerary filled with unforgettable highlights.

A green-roofed homestead


Country Life in New Zealand

Azamara looks for ways to connect travelers with locals whenever possible, and it’s one of the goals of the Cruise Global, Meet Local Series. When guests are in Picton, New Zealand, an Insider Access excursion includes a visit to the Gwavas Garden Homestead (est. 1890). It’s one of New Zealand’s most beautiful estates, and the current owners will welcome you before you sit down for tea to learn about their home. Afterwards you will have a private tour, led by the owners. It is a rare opportunity to meet a New Zealand family as they describe the challenges of maintaining their historic home.
Azamara Club Cruises


Azamara Club Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises provides its guests with opportunities to see the world through the lens of its Destination Immersion program. This includes longer stays and overnights in port; Insider Access opportunities to meet locals; and exclusive AzAmazing Evenings with after-hours access to cultural institutions and musical performances in magical settings. Onboard the line’s two ships, Destination Immersion means menus inspired by the regions that the ship is visiting, and lectures by relevant experts. With only 690 guests on each ship, you’ll see ports inaccessible to larger vessels while being guaranteed an intimate experience on board.
The Sydney Opera House from the ocean. The Sydney skyline is seen in the background.

DAY 1Sydney

Your ship departs from Sydney at 6 p.m., so you’ll have time to see some of the iconic landmarks of Australia’s largest city: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are both perhaps best viewed from sea level on a harbor cruise. If you are a beach bum at heart, then you’ll want to visit the iconic Bondi and Manly beaches, both easy to reach from central Sydney. The Rocks is the oldest part of the city, and a favorite today with visitors—and locals—thanks to its many historic buildings, pubs, and a popular market. If all of this sounds like more than you can see in a day, Azamara can arrange a pre-cruise extension so you’ll have enough time to explore all that Sydney offers.
The lounge of a cruise ship at sea. A comfortable hanging chair overlooks a table with a touchscreen

DAY 2At Sea

A boat sails across a calm bay. A city creeps up the foothills of a grand mountain.

DAY 3Hobart

You’ll arrive in Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, early in the afternoon. The only Australian state that is an island, Tasmania is distinct in many ways beginning with its unique flora and fauna—most famously, the Tasmanian devil. It’s Australia’s most mountainous state, with nearly half of its area protected as parkland. To begin to get a sense of the island’s capital, the Hobart Highlights excursion will take you to the city’s most important sites. You’ll visit the Royal Tasmania Botanical Gardens and then Rosny Hill Lookout, which offers up panoramic views of Hobart and the Derwent River. At Battery Point, one of the city’s more exclusive neighborhoods, you can admire the 19th-century mansions and historic cottages.
A fluffy koala clutches a stripped wooden branch


DAY 4Explore Tasmania

On the Richmond and Tassie Devils excursion, you’ll meet some of the most famous local residents face to face-koalas, kangaroos, wombats and, of course, those Tasmanian devils. The staff at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Hobart will explain their efforts to rehabilitate these orphaned or injured animals as well as answer any questions you have about Tasmania’s ecology. You’ll spend the rest of the day in the village of Richmond outside of Hobart, taking in its Georgian architecture, art galleries, and shops.

DAY 5 - DAY 6Days at Sea

Two days at sea are a welcome opportunity to recharge and enjoy the amenities aboard Azamara ships. You might indulge in a treatment at the Sanctum Spa, a lecture by a featured speaker, or a leisurely meal that incorporates the local flavors of the regions you are visiting—a key element of Azamara’s Destination Immersion program. With only 690 guests aboard each Azamara ship, you won’t face long lines however you choose to spend your day. But perhaps you’d rather bask in the comfort of the ships’ staterooms, all of which have been redesigned to offer guests a boutique hotel experience. We won’t judge if you spend the morning in a plush robe with a book or taking advantage of the upgraded onboard WiFi.
Gentle ripples flow through a river that cuts through huge rolling mountains


DAY 7Milford Sound

At Milford Sound, you can take an unforgettable detour—and sleep shore side—on the Queenstown Overnight Adventure. You’ll follow the Cleddau River deep into Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage Site known for its majestic fjords and towering peaks. You’ll break for lunch in the town of Te Anau, in the shadow of the Remarkables Range, and then have the afternoon free until an evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu, aboard a vintage steamship. Dinner unfolds at a sheep and cattle ranch before you return to Queenstown, where you’ll spend the night at a local hotel. On your second day you’ll visit the gold mining town of Arrowtown, hop on a gondola for views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatiup, and continue on to the Wild Earth Winery. After lunch, you’ll pass by Lake Waihola on your way to Central Otago, the country’s gold mining country. You’ll end your overnight trip with a tour of Dunedin, before rejoining your ship.
A vintage train station with a tall clock tower


DAY 8Dunedin

You’ll arrive in Dunedin around 9:30 a.m. and as you are spending the night in port—an example of Azamara’s commitment to destination immersion—you’ll have ample time to visit this interesting city, too often overlooked by travelers to New Zealand. While it has since been eclipsed by other cities in terms of population, Dunedin was a significant center for much of the 19th century. Its many stately 19th- and early 20th-century buildings are reminders of that significance. Its current role as a center of learning gives Dunedin a youthful energy; more than 20 percent of its population are students.

This afternoon, the Taieri Gorge Train excursion transports you around the eastern edge of the Otago harbor en route to the Taieri River Gorge—past rolling hills, Mt. Allan, and Christmas Creek, where gold was discovered on Christmas Day 1863. The vintage train then returns along the same route, ending at the restored Dunedin Railway Station, first completed in 1906. Additional examples of Victorian and Edwardian era architecture are the University of Otago, the Royal Terrace, and the Botanic Garden.

DAY 9Explore Dunedin

The reminders of Dunedin’s illustrious past are not limited to its grand civic buildings. On the Olveston House and Larnach Castle excursion, you’ll see two mansions that are now open to the public, providing a glimpse of life for wealthy New Zealanders in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At Larnach Castle, you’ll enjoy morning tea before touring the house and gardens. Next comes Olveston, a mansion in Dunedin with 35 rooms and conveniences that were cutting edge for their time, like service elevators and an internal telephone system. Your tour will continue with a narrated drive through Dunedin.
Boats float in a bay lined by low green mountains



DAY 10Akaroa

You’ll arrive in Akaroa, roughly halfway up the east coast of the South Island, at 7 a.m. and have a full day to explore. Some of the sights may look uncannily familiar, even if you have never set foot in New Zealand before. On the Journey into Middle Earth excursion, you’ll visit some of the locations that appeared in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films, beginning with the breathtaking scenery of the Southern Alps seen from the Mount Potts High Country Station. The small hill you can spot in the middle of the plain below stood in for Edoras, the capital city of the kingdom of Rohan. The clear lakes and soaring mountains of this part of New Zealand will leave you in awe.
A vibrant vineyard at midday.


DAY 11Picton

Your next port of call is Picton, at the northern tip of the South Island. It’s the hub for ferry services to the North Island and the gateway to Marlborough, New Zealand’s most important wine region with more than a hundred wineries. On the Wineries of Marlborough Excursion you’ll visit three of the area’s top wine producers and sample their best pinot noirs, chardonnays, cabernet sauvignons, and other varieties.
A vintage burundy car parked outside a tan building.


DAY 12Napier

Welcome to New Zealand’s North Island, where you’ll disembark in Napier, a port on Hawke’s Bay on the east coast. One of its principal claims to fame is the concentration of art deco buildings. The Art Deco and Hawkes Bay Highlights excursion begins with some of them, as well as some backstory. (The short version is that after an earthquake leveled Napier in 1931, it had to be reconstructed, resulting in a hundred-plus buildings from when art deco was at its peak.)

After your tour, you’ll venture into the countryside to visit the Heretaunga Plains and drive to the summit of Te Mata Peak for panoramic views. On the way back to Napier, you’ll pull over at architectural gems like the National Tobacco Company building.

For a more intimate look at life in New Zealand, you can join the Cruise Global, Meet Local Series: Gwavas Country Homestead and Garden excursion. The homestead, constructed in 1890 and held by the same family for five generations, is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful estates. You’ll be greeted by the current owners and join them for tea to learn about their home. They’ll lead you on a private tour that includes the gardens.
Gannets look in various directions on a rock by the ocean


DAY 13Napier

Having seen some of the manmade wonders of Napier, today you’ll explore its natural ones. The Cape Kidnappers Gannet Safari is a must for any bird watchers. You’ll head out in a 4-wheel drive vehicle along Hawkes Bay to Cape Kidnappers, known for its steep, white cliffs and dramatic rock formations. The area is now home to over 1,000 nesting pairs of gannets. These seabirds can be identified by their distinctive yellow, white, and black markings. Unusual for many birds, gannets lay only a single egg during each mating season.

DAY 14Rotorua

As you sail up the North Island’s east coast, you will then reach Tauranga. This port is a convenient base to access Rotorua, the so-called Thermal Wonderland of New Zealand (The Maori name for the area translates as “sacred waters.”). You’ll walk through a landscape shaped by the geothermal activity, with stunning colors, craters, and geological formations. The Champagne Pool is one standout, so named for its release of carbon dioxide, which looks not unlike the bubbles in champagne. Afterwards you will return to Rotorua for a cruise around Lake Rotorua aboard the Lakeland Queen, a Mississippi steamer-style ship. At your final stop, Hakarewarewa, you’ll observe more evidence of geothermal activity like boiling mud and geysers, as well as a kiwi house where some of the flightless birds live. You’ll even have a chance to learn about Maori culture, dance, and song at the woodcarving school.

DAY 15Auckland

On the final day of your cruise, you will dock at Auckland early in the morning. While it’s by far the most populous city, home to almost one-third of New Zealand’s population, don’t expect a teeming, chaotic metropolis—the city has only some 1.5 million residents. If you aren’t opting to stay on in Auckland on a post-cruise extension arranged through Azamara, the Auckland City and Harbour Highlights excursion will give you a one-day primer. The agenda includes the Auckland Museum; the Sea Life Aquarium, home to the world’s largest Antarctic penguin colony exhibit; and the National Maritime Museum, where you will learn about the country’s nautical heritage before joining a scenic sail from the Viaduct Basin. At the end of the tour you will be taken to the airport to catch your flight home.
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