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Tasmania & the Fjords of New Zealand
Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises’ 14-day itinerary to Tasmania and the South Island of New Zealand begins in Australia’s largest city, Sydney, on November 14, 2020 but then sets sail for smaller ports. After six days exploring Australia’s largest island, Tasmania, you’ll cross the Tasman Sea to New Zealand’s South Island. From wine tastings enjoying the best of Marlborough Bay whites to panoramic helicopter rides, this cruise aboard Crystal Endeavor will take you to some of the most surprising wild and remote corners of Australia and New Zealand.
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    Day 1
    You’ll start your cruise aboard Crystal Endeavor in Sydney. Few cities in the world can boast a location that compares to Sydney’s, built around its remarkable natural harbor. The setting is accented with two of Australia’s iconic landmarks, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Whether you want to dive into the city’s history and museums, its dining scene that reflects the influences of Sydney’s many immigrant communities or spend a day at one of the famous beaches, you’ll experience the legendary warm Australian welcome wherever you go.
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    Day 2
    At Sea
    As one of only 200 guests on Crystal Endeavor, you have an opportunity today as you sail towards Tasmania to explore one of the most anticipated new cruise ships in the world. The largest and most spacious expedition yacht ever constructed brings contemporary elegance to the high seas. You may want to book a treatment at the serene Crystal Life Spa & Salon, work out at the state-of-the-art fitness center, or learn about the art, history and wildlife of the destinations you’ll visit with the engaging enrichment programs. Or you can simply lounge poolside or in the solarium while the attentive crew caters to your every whim. As evening arrives, order a cocktail in one of the luxurious lounges, indulge in the renowned culinary creations of Nobu Matsuhisa, or enjoy special wine-makers dinners.
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    Day 3
    King Island
    Before you reach Tasmania itself, you’ll have a day to explore King Island, of the larger island’s northwest coast. Ringed by rugged coastline, King Island–or “KI” as the locals call it–is known for its fabulously fresh seafood as well as some of the world’s cleanest air. Great nature walks reveal the island’s farms, culture, and unique wildlife, including the elusive platypus and rare orange-billed parrots. Kite surfers, wave riders, and scuba divers the world over are drawn here to play.
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    Day 4
    Flinders Island
    One of 52 islands in the Furneaux Group in the Bass Strait to the north of Tasmania, Flinders Island is a rugged and wild place of untamed grandeur. Trails traverse the island if you want to explore on foot or by bicycle, and wherever you go you’ll want to bring your camera to capture the dramatic beauty of the island’s granite cliffs and windswept beaches. Once you have built up an appetite, a number of restaurants specialize in farm-to-table cuisine paired with local wines.
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    Day 5
    Wineglass and Coles Bays
    Breathtaking Wineglass Bay sits on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula, in Freycinet National Park. A beautiful crescent of sand sits in the shadow of verdant green peaks. The park is a haven for hikers and kayakers, swimmers and snorkelers who can expect close encounters with the area’s varied wildlife, including wallabies, brown falcons, white-bellied sea eagles, and more.

    Continuing south along Tasmania’s east coast, Crystal Endeavor calls later in the day at Coles Bay, on the southern edge of Freycinet National Park. Pristine beaches and bird-filled lagoons beckon to both swimmers and hikers. Encounters with wombats and wallabies are among the highlights of a visit to the park, as are sightings of large yellow-tailed black cockatoos, white-bellied sea eagles, and other bird species.
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    Day 6
    Maria Island
    Just off the coast of Tasmania, Maria Island sits in the azure waters of the Tasman Sea. The island is home to one of the country’s most intact convict settlements, which operated from 1825 to 1832, and sheds light on that period of the country’s history. Given its past as a penal colony, its current role as a haven for endangered animals is perhaps surprising. The island earned the nickname Tasmania’s Noah’s Ark in the 1960s when it welcomed a number of imperiled Australian species. More than 125 bird species are found here, including emus, endangered swift parrots, and forty-spotted pardalotes. Its diverse wildlife also includes bare-nosed wombats, eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, ring-tailed possums, and even some Tasmanian devils that have been successfully reintroduced here.
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    Day 7
    Bruny Island
    Just off Tasmania’s east coast, Bruny Island is some 60 miles long with a coast indented with rocky coves and hidden inlets. The island, which consists of two land masses connected by a narrow sandy isthmus, is home to seals, little blue penguins, rare white wallabies, and a large colony of the endangered forty-spotted pardalote, one of Australia’s rarest birds. Embark on a nature tour with a guide and your odds of spotting some of the elusive creatures will be greater, though you can also head out on the island’s trails on your own if you prefer. History buffs will want to make sure to stop at Adventure Bay which figured prominently in the history of European exploration: Captain James Cook, Abel Tasman, and others dropped anchor in the bay on their journeys around Australia.
  • Day 8
    As far as Australian cities go, Hobart is one of the older ones, having been established in 1804 as a penal colony. Hobart’s history is evident as you walk its streets—there are 90 buildings included in the country’s National Trust registry while Battery Point is a reminder of the island's maritime heritage. With its location between Mt. Wellington and the Derwent River, few ports have a more beautiful setting. Graze your way through the vendors who set up their stands at the lively farmers’ market on Salamanca Place.

    Travelers interested in art should take the short ferry ride to one of the world’s most unusual museums, MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art which houses the eclectic and very personal collection of the museum’s founder, David Walsh.
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    Days 9 and 10
    Cruising the Tasman Sea
    As you cross the Tasman Sea to New Zealand’s South Island, you’ll enjoy the luxury of two days at sea aboard Crystal Endeavor. Take advantage of the ship’s many amenities whether that means simply enjoying the ocean views from bed in your suite or heading to the gym and spa. When you are ready to eat, choose from four different dining options, including Italian at Prego and Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, under the direction of world-acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, at Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. Or you may want to learn more about Australia at one of the enrichment lectures.
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    Day 11
    Milford, Doubtful, and Dusky Sounds
    At the end of your voyage across the Tasman Sea, you’ll arrive at what Rudyard Kipling famously described as “the eighth wonder of the world,” Milford Sound. Majestic peaks reaching toward the sky and white-plumed waterfalls cascading down forested cliffs into pristine waters making the sound the undisputed jewel of New Zealand’s World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound’s spectacular beauty is complemented by an abundance of amazing wildlife, including dolphins, seals, and penguins.

    Later in the day you’ll continue on to Doubtful Sound, the second longest (at roughly 24 miles) of the fjords in the area. It’s been called “the Sound of Silence” with its serene atmosphere of peaks soaring above the water. Don’t get so overwhelmed by the grandeur of Doubtful Sound that you forget to look for the bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and Fiordland crested penguins that are common here.

    At the end of the day, you will sail on to Dusky Sound. You’ll be following in the path of Captain James Cook who spent several weeks exploring the sound on his second voyage to Australia. A number of islands sit in the sound, while waterfalls plunge from the cliffs alongside the sound into the water below. Dolphins, whales, seals, and many different seabirds can be spotted here.
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    Day 12
    At the southernmost tip of the South Island, the town of Bluff sits in the shadow of Bluff Hill, a dormant volcano. Bluff is the oldest European settlement in New Zealand, and its history is covered by the Bluff Maritime Museum. Anyone interested in classic automobiles will want to make the detour to two remarkable motoring museums, Bill Richardson Transport World and Classic Motorcycle Mecca.

    Later in the day, you’ll cross the Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island.
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    Day 13
    Stewart Island
    You’ll wake up this morning off of Stewart Island, with a full day to explore this eco-tourism destination that has golden beaches, sparkling bays, and lush forested hills. It all adds up to the perfect setting for nature hikes and wildlife sightings. Across from Stewart’s Golden Bay sits Ulva Island, an unspoiled haven for birds—and bird watchers—where colorful parakeets and parrots fly about the forest canopy. Kiwis, wekas (another flightless New Zealand bird species), saddlebacks and yellowheads also call this sanctuary home.
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    Day 14
    On your last full day aboard Crystal Endeavor, you’ll call at Dunedin on New Zealand’s southeast coast near the entrance of Otago Harbour. Many of the town’s early settlers were Scottish—the name comes from the Gaelic name for Edinburgh (Dun Eideann)—and residents celebrate Dunedin’s combined Maori and Scottish heritages to this day. A remarkable collection of Victorian and Edwardian buildings line Dunedin’s streets, while nearby the rolling hills, pristine beaches, and secluded bays of the Otago Peninsula wait to be explored. You may spot albatrosses, sea lions, and yellow-eyed penguins if you head out of town.
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    Day 15
    You’ll arrive this morning in your final stop, Christchurch, often described as the most English of New Zealand’s cities. Founded in 1856 on the banks of the Avon River, Christchurch is the oldest established city in the country and is dotted with a number of late-19th century neo-Gothic buildings. The area offers more than tea and crumpets, however, and today Christchurch is also a gateway to many of the active adventures on the South Island. You can follow your finger sandwiches with some bungee jumping if you’d like.