Run away and find award winning vineyards that are complimented by fresh seafood in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf. Live luxuriously on board, with gourmet food, fine wine and five-star comfort. Explore sanctuaries, historic places, gorgeous islands and stunning beaches. Departing from Auckland, our Islands of Auckland cruises are designed to deliver what you need most – wine, fresh seafood, rest, rejuvenation and just the right amount of adventure. You can explore the islands with expert guides who will introduce you to the region’s rarest wildlife. You discover wineries, galleries and a grand historic mansion. You can go fishing, kayaking or hiking. But most of all, you can take it easy in high style. A good book, a cool drink and a comfortable steamer chair – the recipe for relaxation. Island Escape cruises include spacious ensuite accommodation, chef-prepared meals, juices, water, exclusive shore excursions, snorkel equipment, kayaks and small boat exploration, an onboard expedition leader, fishing equipment and guides.
Fishing is available on a casual basis. We operate one tender (4-6 guests) with a guide for approximately 2 hours on fishing days
Your Hauraki Gulf cruise begins when you board the ship late Sunday afternoon for a 5pm sailing. On the way to our anchorage for the night, we glide past mysterious Rangitoto Island – you’ll learn about the island’s history as you sip a cocktail on the aft deck and get acquainted with fellow guests and crew. Your first night aboard Island Passage is spent anchored at Waiheke Island with dinner served from 7pm. Welcome to cruising life at its best.
Your Waiheke day could start with a refreshing ocean swim off the back of the ship or sleep in until it’s time for a sumptuous breakfast on deck (with champagne if you fancy) – whatever you need to begin the day in a great mood. Late morning we go ashore for wine tasting. You’ll visit three of the best vineyards on the island. Tonight we’re barbecuing on deck – all your favourites, served with a large helping of fresh ocean air and witty conversation.
With a population of just 850, Great Barrier is a wild and enchanting paradise with amazing stories to tell. Fitzroy Harbour, on the sheltered side of the island, is one of the country’s most beautiful harbours. In many places the water is deep – right up to the shore – making it possible to anchor and tie the stern to a pohutukawa tree. Kaka parrots squawk overhead, performing entertaining aerobatics. Rare pateke ducks cruise from boat to boat, posing for photographs. Tall forested mountains create a backdrop of amazing natural beauty. Great Barrier has a colourful history involving whaling, gold and silver mining, shipwrecks and alternative lifestyles. Today, a passion for conservation connects the residents who believe (with good reason) that they’ve found heaven on earth. More than 120 kilometres of walking tracks let you connect with Great Barrier Island’s wild spirit. In particular, the Glenfern Sanctuary guided walk will give you a special insight into this earthly paradise. A highlight is the swing bridge that lets you climb into the crown of a 600-year-old kauri tree. Today’s lunch is all about seafood – freshly-caught fish and green-lipped mussels, which are sensational with a glass of New Zealand’s renowned sauvignon blanc.
Coastal explorations add a special magic to your Great Barrier experience. You can do it the fast way, in one of our high-powered tenders, or you can slip into a sea kayak and enjoy the tranquillity of paddling at your pace. And then there’s the fantastic fishing – you catch ‘em, we’ll cook ‘em. Today the choices are many: forest-hiking to the kauri dam, Kaitoke hot springs or the summit of Mount Hobson; a peaceful kayak tour on the pristine waters of the harbour; a trip to Miners Head in one of our tenders; fishing at a never-fail spot known only to the locals; or seabird photography from a chair on the deck. We’ll help you to find something that suits your interests. Photo opportunities – The Kaiaraara kauri dam is a relic from the island’s forestry days. Constructed entirely from kauri logs, it has a ‘trapdoor’ that opens to let the water and logs pass through. The hot pools in Kaitoke Creek are another goal to aim for when planning your Great Barrier Island hikes – there’s nothing nicer than a steaming bath in the wilderness. Wednesday is French Fine Dining night – duck confit, vanilla pannacotta, ooh la la!
Kawau Island This morning’s breakfast is the full American, complete with free-range eggs, home-made hash browns and freshly-baked bread. Kawau’s unique character rests on the historic shoulders of Sir George Grey, who owned the island from 1862 to 1888. Within the sheltered haven of beautiful Bon Accord Harbour there are many picturesque bays, however Mansion House Bay is the most remarkable. Here you can tour Sir George Grey’s stately home, then stroll along the road that Grey’s carriage (pulled by two zebras!) used to take. From the historic coach road, a track leads to the picturesque ruins of a seashore copper mine – the oxidised copper colours are truly amazing. Watch the forest closely when you’re walking back – you might spot a wallaby. Another great Kawau walk is the Redwood Track, which reveals an interesting collection of exotic trees planted by Grey – redwoods, Australian bush cherry and bunyabunya pines, to name just a few. A visit to the yacht club bar will help you to connect with the island’s own brand of charm.
Tiri Tiri Matangi is one of New Zealand’s most remarkable wildlife conservation stories. Once an eroded farm, it has been carefully restored with native forest plantings so that rare birdlife can flourish. You’ll meet takahe, the rarest of New Zealand’s flightless birds; and kokako, which were on the brink of extinction. Nectar feeding stations are usually a frenzy of bellbirds – interrupted regularly by much-larger tui. Fantails enjoy leading you along the higher tracks, where you’ll also see bright green kakariki parrots. At Hobbs Beach, penguin nesting boxes are occupied in spring. From the track along Tiri’s highest ridge the views are astounding – your camera will be busy. Department of Conservation volunteers are available to lead your walk around this beautiful island sanctuary, so that you’ll learn about all the bird species. At noon you’ll bid a fond farewell to Island Passage, and start dreaming about your next adventure at sea.
BRIDGE DECK SUITE
|CRUISE ONLY pp||AUD||NZD||AUD||NZD||AUD||NZD|
|23 Mar 14||2595||3250||2995||3750||3695||4450||AVAILABLE|
|30 Mar 14||
|06 Apr 14||2595||3250||2995||3750||3695||4450||AVAILABLE|
|13 Apr 14||2595||3250||2995||3750||3695||4450||AVAILABLE|
|CRUISE + RESORT pp
(Cruise 5 + Resort 2)
|7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS|
|SEBEL SUITES||2835||3550||3235||4050||3935||4750||Mariner Suite|