Kia Ora from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Today is day one on our Aotearoa Odyssey, and we are eager to take in the wonders of these beautiful islands of New Zealand.

Our adventure started at the Scientific Reserve of Tiritiri Matangi Island, home to a diverse environment of endemic trees and plant life and a haven to many local birds. Guests trekked through this rarely visited island treasure with local guides who were excited to share stories of the care they give to the many varieties of birds and plants in their forest.

We were met by a slight drizzle of rain as we approached the shore, and this only added to the beauty of the forest walk. We sighted many bird feeding stations along the tracks. The birdsong was deafening but melodious, and the tracks were well marked with great stairways leading us into the dense flora.

Guests lunched on sandwiches prepared by Executive Chef Rannie and Chef Andy on the back deck of National Geographic Orion before disembarking. In the late afternoon, we were treated to German hotdogs and ice-cold beers on the back deck as we ship cruised around Little Barrier Island.