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Setting sail from 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.
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.
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: 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: 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: 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: Dunedin (Port Chalmers)
Visitors to Dunedin 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.
New Zealand: Fiordland National Park
The vast wilderness of Fiordland is home to New Zealand’s most spectacular and iconic landscapes, a dramatic tableau of jagged mountains, plunging fjords and vast lakes. Most of the region is a protected national park, and the native wildlife includes dolphins, fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins.
Culturally sophisticated and fashionably hip, Melbourne combines edgy street art with gold rush era architecture while offering excellent restaurants and top museums. If you have time, check out some of Victoria's other attractions, including the beautiful 12 Apostles and the excellent wines of the Yarra Valley.
The sleepy town of Eden, on the beautiful and unspoilt Sapphire Coast, was once an important whaling town. Nowadays the waters of Twofold Bay are a whale watching hotspot, and this is one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales during their spring migration.
Arriving in Sydney
One or our favourite cities in the world, we love pretty much everything about Sydney. Offering outdoor living at its best, the city is known for the excellent beaches but offers so much more, including a thriving and varied food scene inspired by Asian and European flavours. Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and admire the amazing views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, enjoy the cafés and bars in The Rocks district, walk across the top of the Harbour Bridge (or enjoy the easier option of a view from the top of one of the stone towers) or just relax on the beach.
Rather than go to Bondi, take a local ferry from Circular Quay (an attraction in itself) to the relaxed northern beaches for a (slightly) less crowded experience.
Your home from home
Sister ships Noordam and Zuiderdam, each carrying just under 2,000 guests as part of Holland America’s Vista class series, are a combination of traditional comfort with modern technology, ensuring a smooth ride and a warm welcome.
What we love
We love the distinctive gallery style décor on board the Holland America ships, ranging from classic oils to contemporary photography. The eclectic mix of fascinating art works and sculptures can be toured and enjoyed, or simply appreciated as the backdrop to your leisurely cruise.
|Capacity||1,924 Guests (Noordam) / 1,964 Guests (Zuiderdam)|
|Crew||800 International Staff (Noordam) / 817 International Staff (Zuiderdam)|
An appealing combination of contemporary relaxation and classic traditions mean that you can choose the venue on board to suit your mood, from formal dining to lots of more casual options, and a wide choice of entertainments and activities.
|Year Built||2006 (Noordam) / 2002 (Zuiderdam)|
|Tonnage||82,318 grt (Noordam) / 82,305 grt (Zuiderdam)|
|Cruising Speed||24 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
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.
Our favourite hotel in Sydney
So many to choose from, but we love the Park Hyatt – make sure you upgrade to a room with a view.
The Blue Mountains is a beautiful area of hikes, waterfalls and unusual rock formations, and a place to learn about the Aboriginal dreamtime.