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Setting sail from Dunedin
It's an odd concept - Edinburgh, but on New Zealand's South Island. Visitors are amazed by the extraordinary Victorian and Edwardian buildings dating back to the gold rush, which bring to mind the city's Scottish roots - not least when the sound of the pipes echoes through the streets. Of course the region was inhabited by Māori long prior to the European arrival, so a rich history abounds. Meanwhile outside the city, the extraordinary natural beauty and wildlife of the Otago peninsula are on hand, home to New Zealand fur seals, Hooker's sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins, and the only mainland royal albatross colony in the world.
Rail buffs will love the Taieri Gorge railway, the perfect way to see the fantastic scenery.
New Zealand: Akaroa
The name Akaroa means ‘long harbour’ in Maori, and this sleepy town on the southern side of the Banks Peninsula is situated on a beautiful natural harbour created when a volcanic crater collapsed into the sea. The first Europeans to settle here were French, and the town still has a decidedly Gallic flavour.
New Zealand: Lyttelton (Christchurch)
A garden city where punts glide down the Avon River, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were still in the UK when arriving into Christchurch, New Zealand’s most English of cities.
New Zealand: Picton
The pleasant little town of Picton, situated on a sheltered bay at the north eastern tip of the South Island, is the arrival point for ferries arriving from Wellington, and serves as the gateway to the stunning flooded river valleys of the Marlborough Sounds.
New Zealand: Wellington
New Zealand’s cosmopolitan capital is arguably the country’s most likeable city. Hemmed in by forest-clad hills, Wellington is compact and easily walkable, with a lovely waterfront area where you’ll find the must-see Te Papa national museum. The city is also renowned for its strong winds, so make sure you hold on to your hat!
New Zealand: Napier
When Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 the city was rebuilt entirely in the Art Deco style, making this a fascinating architectural time capsule. It’s a lovely, sunny seaside city, and a visit to the surrounding Hawke’s Bay wine region makes for an enjoyable day trip.
New Zealand: Gisborne
Gisborne is the first city on earth to greet the sun each morning, and it’s also a popular destination for foodies and wine lovers, known as the unofficial ‘Chardonnay capital of New Zealand’. This is a great place to enjoy some beach time, learn about Maori culture or grab a surfboard and catch some waves.
New Zealand: Tauranga
Tauranga is the largest city on the Bay of Plenty, and is said to be one of the sunniest spots in the whole of New Zealand. There’s a real boom town feel here, with new restaurants, bars and hotels opening all the time, and neighbouring Mount Maunganui is a popular beach destination.
Arriving in Auckland
Auckland offers a buzzing waterfront and a vibrant arts scene, and provides a fascinating introduction to New Zealand's proud cultural heritage. The centre is home to excellent shopping and a number of fantastic restaurants, while the north of the city has a distinctly more laid-back vibe, and to the west is the city's oldest wine region.
It’s not all about the city; there is stunning natural beauty within easy reach, including black sand beaches, islands and extinct volcanic cones.
Your home from home
Sleek and stylish, Ponant's wonderful Explorer yachts blend luxury and intimacy with a discreet elegance and tasteful décor.
What we love
Named after six of France's most famous explorers, Le Champlain, Le Lapérouse, Le Bougainville, Le Dumont d'Urville, Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier offer exciting and adventurous itineraries in the utmost comfort. Technologically advanced, with the latest in environmentally friendly hardware, the new ships embody Ponant's trademark élan and flair, with just 92 spacious rooms and suites, a stylish pool deck and an intimate, refined onboard ambience.
|Style||Refined with a wonderful mix of a modern super yacht and nautical tradition, all with a French flair.|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel near Dunedin
Up the coast at Oamaru, the charming Pen-y-bryn Lodge is a heritage homestead - and perfectly placed to visit the blue penguins!
Explore the South Island
Visit the Catlins Coastal Rain Forest and Curio Bay – next stop Antarctica!
Where to stay in Auckland
There are some great luxury lodges within easy reach of the city. In the city itself we like the Langham.
About 3 hours north of the city is the Bay of Islands, an area of pristine islands and turquoise water as well as small towns of historic and cultural interest.