During the night, National Geographic Orion worked its way north along the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Dawn found us coming into the harbour in the lovely Scottish-influenced town of Dunedin.

After a scrumptious breakfast, we split into three groups for the day. Our first group took off to visit the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, 307 hectares of Otago cloud forest dedicated to the preservation of native and endemic species of birds and reptiles. Our second group headed out to explore the Otago Museum and the Olveston Historic Home, and our third group went on the Nature’s Wonders tour. This beautiful piece of land is dedicated to New Zealand fur seals and little blue penguins, amongst other animals.

In the afternoon, we cruised north towards our next destination, Kaikoura. Along the way, guest speaker Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr regaled us with his presentation, “Canoes of Our Ancestors.” Undersea specialist Kim Nesbitt asked this question in her presentation, “Are we smart enough to know how smart whales are?” To cap off a beautiful day, Michael Nolan and the photo team held a photo feedback session in the lounge to celebrate the photography efforts of our guests.