Photos: Explore New Zealand

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  1. Kepler Track

    The 60 kilometer Kepler Track rewards serious hikers with full-strength high country scenery. The track leads to views of lakes Te Anau and Manapouri, the alpine grasslands of Jackson Peaks and spectacular U-shaped glacial valleys. Department of Conservation huts provide accommodation during the 4 day walk. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Water sport paradise

    With more than 15,000 kilometers of coastline, New Zealand is a water sport paradise. Sailing, swimming, diving and fishing are just some of the options for marine recreation. Or you could test yourself with one of the more extreme sports, like kite surfing and wave jumping. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Poor Knights

    The fish of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve are famous for their friendly nature, and some of the subtropical species are found nowhere else in New Zealand. Spotted Black Groper, Mosaic Moray and Lord Howe Island Coralfish are a few of the local stars. Squadrons of stingrays can also be seen during the warmer months. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Milford Sound

    A couple paddles their kayaks while flanked by a dolphin in New Zealand's Milford Sound in the country's stunning fiordland. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. That's our bird!

    Unique to New Zealand, there are five kinds of kiwi - three closely related Brown kiwis, the Little Spotted Kiwi and the Great Spotted Kiwi. Nocturnal and flightless, the kiwi’s long slender bill has nostrils at the lower end, so that it can detect worms, insects and grubs. Despite its awkward appearance, a kiwi can outrun a human. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Mount Cook National Park

    Glaciers cover 40 percent of Mount Cook - or Aoraki National Park, as it is also known - and is New Zealand's top spot for spectacular alpine scenery, and is the country's highest mountain. All but one of its 29 peaks is over 3,000 meters, so the park has become New Zealand's mountain climbing mecca. Non-climbers can enjoy a selection of challenging alpine walks - from the one hour Red Tarns stair-climb to the relatively flat hike to Kea Point. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Preserving culture

    The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington, preserves and presents the taonga (treasures) of New Zealand's people. Spectacular long-term exhibitions are enhanced by diverse short-term exhibitions and a captivating events program - performances, talks, lectures, entertainment and more. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Maori men

    Ethnic Maori men from Gisborne, New Zealand, take positions on the beach after the arrival by boat of elders from Cook Island, Wednesday, December 29, 1999, to join in Gisborne's millennium celebrations. History has been harsh to the indigenous Maori and Moriori of New Zealand, but their resurgent cultures were at center stage when the country became the first major nation to enter the new millennium. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pure Middle-earth

    The fast running rivers of the Mount Aspiring National Park can be negotiated by jet boat and kayak, allowing visitors to discover the locations for the 'Lord of the Rings' Isengard, Lothlorien and Amon Hen. With not a manmade structure in sight in this remote wilderness, it’s easy to imagine yourself in 'Middle-earth'. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 2/26/2008 10:50:15 AM ET 2008-02-26T15:50:15

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: December 2008

The deal
You may have a secret fantasy of sailing along the exotic islands of the South Pacific but these far-flung destinations are pricey to visit. We scoured the various offerings to bring you the best of the South Pacific deals out there. What we found is a trio of cruises, with discounts as high as 48 percent and prices as low as $1,699.

Australia & New Zealand sailing
Next December, the upscale Holland America’s Volendam sets sail from Sydney to Auckland on a 14-night South Pacific voyage. This Australia and New Zealand sea adventure has the regular cost of $2,889 but CruiseOnly reduced the hefty price to just $1,699 for inside units. This reflects a discount of 41 percent! The ship hits high seas on December 5, en route visiting a series of Down Under and Kiwi destinations such as Melbourne, Christchurch, Fjordland National Park, and Tauranga. Oceanview cabins are selling for $1,999; balconied units cost $3,549.

Polynesia voyage with Regent Seven Seas
Dreaming of a spring voyage around the South Pacific? Orbitz has a fantastic offer for a nine-night Polynesia sailing this April aboard Paul Gauguin, a deluxe all- oceanview ship by Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Departing roundtrip from Tahiti’s Papeete on April 26, this cruise takes in the heavyweights of French Polynesian islands. Those include Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, Taha’A, and Huahine. Oceanview cabins are now priced at $3,165, as opposed to the rack rates of $4,565, saving you 31 percent. Even balconied units are affordable, at $4,265!

19-night South Pacific odyssey next December
Another Regent Seven Cruises journey around the South Pacific is on sale by Vacation Outlet. A 19-night odyssey aboard the all-suite Seven Seas Mariner departing next December has dropped in price by $5,600! Indeed, the regular cost is $11,595 but it has been reduced to $5,995. The ship departs from New Zealand’s Auckland toward Los Angeles, along the way visiting a string of Pacific destinations. Those include the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti, and the Marquesas. Thirteen days at sea are part of the circuit, too.

Slideshow: Awesome Australia The dollars
The rates above are listed per person, based on double occupancy. The cost covers onboard accommodations, meals and entertainment, as well as port charges. You’ll just have to dish out extra for government taxes and fees, as well as any shore excursions you may decide to take.

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