12 Night Cruise departing from Auckland to Melbourne onboard Silversea Muse.
New year, New Zealand With excellent weather predicted every wave of your way, there has never been a better time to discover the prismatic beauty of the Kiwi country. Napier, Picton, Dunedin, all the ports are as lovely as the last, yet it is surely the deep, soulful New Zealand sounds that will make these memories everlasting. Balanced by an overnight in buzzing Melbourne, this voyage id a fusion of peace and glamour.
Highlights of this cruise:
Auckland is called the City of Sails, and visitors flying in will see why. On the East Coast is the Waitemata Harbour - a Mori word meaning sparkling waters - which is bordered by the Hauraki Gulf, an aquatic playground peppered with small islands where many Aucklanders can be found mucking around in boats.Not surprisingly, Auckland has some 70,000 boats. About one in four households in Auckland has a seacraft of some kind, and there are 102 beaches within an hour's drive during the week many are quite empty. Even the airport is by the water it borders the Manukau Harbour, which also takes its name from the Mori language and means solitary bird.
The earthquake that struck Napier at 10:46 am on February 3, 1931, was - at 7.8 on the Richter scale - the largest quake ever recorded in New Zealand. The coastline was wrenched upward several feet. Almost all the town's brick buildings collapsed many people were killed on the footpaths as they rushed outside. The quake triggered fires throughout town, and with water mains shattered, little could be done to stop the blazes that devoured the remaining wooden structures. Only a few buildings survived (the Public Service Building with its neoclassical pillars is one), and the death toll was well over 100.The surviving townspeople set up tents and cookhouses in Nelson Park, and then tackled the city's reconstruction at a remarkable pace. In the rush to rebuild, Napier went mad for art deco, the bold, geometric style that had burst on the global design scene in 1925.
The maritime township of Picton (population 4,000) lies at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound and is the arrival point for ferries from the North Island, as well as a growing number of international cruise ships. It plays a major role in providing services and transport by water taxi to a multitude of remote communities in the vast area of islands, peninsulas, and waterways that make up the Marlborough Sounds Maritime Park. There's plenty to do in town, with crafts markets in summer, historical sights to see, and walking tracks to scenic lookouts over the sounds. The main foreshore is lined by London Quay, which looks up Queen Charlotte Sound to the bays beyond. High Street runs down to London Quay from the hills, and between them these two streets make up the center of town.
Stewart Island is home to New Zealand's newest national park, Rakiura National Park. The third and most southerly of New Zealand's main islands, Stewart Island is separated from the South Island by the 24-km (15-miles) Foveaux Strait. Its original Mori name, Te Punga O Te Waka a Maui, means the anchor stone of Maui's canoe. Mori mythology says the island's landmass held the god Maui's canoe secure while he and his crew raised the great fish - the North Island. Today the island is more commonly referred to by its other Mori name, Rakiura, which means the land of the glowing skies. This refers to the spectacular sunrises and sunsets and to the southern lights, or aurora australis. The European name of Stewart Island dates back to 1809. It memorializes an officer William W. Stewart on an early sealing vessel, the Pegasus, who was the first to chart the island. The island covers some 1,700 square km (650 square miles).
Cruising Milford Sound
New Zealand fiord country along with Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand's premier attractions. Incredibly beautiful, wild and remote, the region is an intriguing combination of rugged mountain ranges, dense rainforest, solitary alpine lakes, sparkling rivers and splashing waterfalls. Much of Fiordland is virtually unexplored wilderness and still the habitat of rare birds. As the ship cruises the beautiful Doubtful, Dusky and Milford Sounds, experience the majestic fiordland of South Island's western coast. Captain James Cook sailed along this coast in 1770 and again in 1773, when he anchored at Dusky Sound for a rest and ship repair. Doubtful Sound is one of the region's most majestic fiords. It is ten times larger than Milford Sound. As the ship cruises into Hall Arm, gaze at vertical cliffs and mighty waterfalls plunging over sheer rock faces. In fine weather, mountains and greenery are reflected in the protected waters of the fiord.
Consistently rated among the world's most livable cities in quality-of-life surveys, Melbourne is built on a coastal plain at the top of the giant horseshoe of Port Phillip Bay. The city center is an orderly grid of streets where the state parliament, banks, multinational corporations, and splendid Victorian buildings that sprang up in the wake of the gold rush now stand. This is Melbourne's heart, which you can explore at a leisurely pace in a couple of days.In Southbank, one of the newer precincts south of the city center, the Southgate development of bars, restaurants, and shops has refocused Melbourne's vision on the Yarra River.