Awaroa Bay, Abel Tasman National Park
12 - 20
Auckland to Nelson Summer Voyage
Imagine a holiday filled with a wonderful mix of the great outdoors, luxury and over-indulging. Sipping wine at some of New Zealand’s oldest vineyards and the opportunity to discover the stunning Abel Tasman National Park. You may even like to walk some of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, returning to the comfort of the brand new Island Escape at the end of a fulfilling day. These are just some of the highlights on this stunning Auckland to Nelson voyage.
You’ll find Island Escape moored at Auckland’s Silo Marina. Boarding is from 4 pm for a 5 pm departure. Once onboard please make yourselves at home in your suites, then join the Captain, crew and fellow passengers for cocktails and canapés on deck. Relax and mingle as we cast-off into the Waitemata Harbour, taking in evening views of Auckland’s waterfront, harbour bridge and glittering skyline. We head into the Hauraki Gulf, passing Devonport North Head and the dormant volcanic island of Rangitoto on our port side. We set the table for a delicious dinner together to celebrate the start of your adventure.
Guests are welcome to join us on the bridge deck as we cruise past Mayor Island at sunrise. As we enter Tauranga harbour, the iconic landmark, Mount Maunganui, Mauao, is to the left and Matakana Island is to the right. From the base of Mount Maunganui, a white sand surf beach stretches as far as the eye can see. The walking tracks to the top of this extinct, 232 metre high volcano provide 360 degree views. For those less enthusiastic about climbing the mountain there is a picturesque a walking track around the base of the Mount. Relax on white sand beaches, surf in the ocean waves, or swim in the calm waters of Pilot Bay. There are even salt water hot pools that are worthy of consideration. Mount Maunganui provides a vibrant boutique shopping experience and the main street is dotted with many cafes and restaurants if you simply want to enjoy the atmosphere.
Gisborne is the first city in the world to greet the sun each morning. As we sail into Gisborne at midday, today is the perfect day to enjoy a lazy start, take some time to catch up with a book on the sun deck or get to know your fellow travellers in the lounge. During our afternoon tour we will stop at the Kaiti Hill lookout to take in the magnificent views, visit the Tairawhiti Museum and enjoy a wine tasting, vineyard and winery tour.
Napier contains one of the largest concentrations of art deco architecture in the world. In 1931 the city was destroyed by an earthquake that shook for more than 3 minutes, flattening the city. Rebuilding began, and the new buildings reflected the architectural art deco style of the times. Napier is surrounded by the award-winning wineries of the Hawke’s Bay Region, one of the world’s great wine regions. With a temperate maritime climate and plentiful sunshine, the region is like Bordeaux, France, and produces a wide range of different styles but is best known for red blends and Chardonnay. We are spoilt with a city sights tour and tastings at Mission Estate and Church Rd Wineries. Lunch will be at Mission Estate, New Zealand’s oldest winery and the birthplace of NZ wines.
After a long, sumptuous lunch on the aft deck we sail into Wellington and berth alongside the pier in Lambton Harbour. Wellington is a compact city, it encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. You may wish to stroll around Oriental Bay, catch the iconic red Wellington Cable Car up to the Wellington Botanic Gardens, explore the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. We are here in the capital city until midnight to give you the opportunity to make the most of this vibrant city.
Today is devoted to D’Urville Island. Here the predator-free forest is alive with tui, bellbirds, native robins, weka and kaka. Follow the walking tracks through the ancient, native forest to discover waterfalls, river pools and sweeping views across the surrounding ocean and Marlborough Sounds. Join one of the zodiac expeditions or paddle a kayak around the coast to reveal a new perspective on the bays and rugged cliffs of this scenic island. Dolphins and seals are frequently seen and fishing is usually productive.
It is time to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. We will deploy the beach bar and relax in true kiwi fashion with a picnic lunch on the beach followed with lazy water sports, swimming, kayaking, and snorkelling. We explore this beautiful bay and inlet. Hills cloaked in native forest slope down to a procession of picture perfect sand beaches. Between the main bays, granite and marble boulders mark the boundary between forest and ocean. Otherwise known as the ‘People’s Beach’, the pristine paradise of Awaroa holds a special place in the hearts of many – so special in fact that New Zealander’s purchased the beach in an ambitious crowd-funding campaign. Located in the depths of the Abel Tasman National Park, Awaroa Beach is relatively remote yet undeniably alluring. While you have been ashore the chefs have been preparing for the magnificent captain’s dinner. After dinner take your favourite nightcap to a steamer chair on the top deck or relax in the jacuzzi and enjoy the night sounds of this magical place.
Today you’ll experience two of the greatest pleasures of the Abel Tasman – sea kayaking and hiking. From Tonga Bay you’ll paddle to the fur seal colony; delightful encounters with the residents are a certainty. Then you’ll head south, along the granite and forest coastline to beautiful Bark Bay. Watch for little blue penguins along the way. Here you’ll take to the coastal walkway for a two-hour hike to anchorage, where the ship awaits. Highlights include the swing bridge at Falls River and native birdsong in the forest. If the tide’s out, you’ll get to take off your shoes and cross the Torrent Bay estuary the quick-but-muddy way. Of course, you are welcome to stay onboard and view the activity ashore from the comfort of the ship.
During breakfast “Island Escape” raises her anchor and begins the journey across Tasman Bay to Nelson. Watch for dolphins and orca while you enjoy glorious views of the coast and Tasman Bay. We will have you disembarking at 9:30am in the centre of Nelson.