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New Zealand Landscape

Southern Fiords Discovery: A Deep Exploration of Fiordland's Southern Fiords

Example 7 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Explorer
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On this seven-day journey across the Southern Fiords, take in the breathtaking landscape, untamed nature, ice-carved mountains, forests, sounds, and distinctive wildlife of Fiordland's Preservation and Chalky Inlets, as well as Doubtful and Dusky Sounds. With a wealth of natural history and geology, as well as the site of several notable historical firsts and restoration and conservation efforts, it's easy to see why this amazing region inspired the dream of responsible travel. Maori folklore recounts how demi-god Tu-te-raki-whanoa carved the region's fjords from rock cliffs with his adze, Te Hamo. Captain Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to visit, arriving in 1773 on the HMS Resolution and staying five weeks in Dusky Sound.
Te Anaucruising at Doubtful SoundAmazing Doubtful SoundNew Zealand landscapeNew Zealand Landscape
Highlights
  • Experience the grand scale scenery of Fiordland's Preservation.
  • Discover some of the most unique and wild parts of New Zealand.
  • Explore Preservation Inlet rich in history.
  • Navigate through Acheron Passage.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Te Anau | Preservation Inlet | Embark

Make your way to the designated meeting point in Te Anau then take in the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy a spectacular helicopter transfer to join Heritage Explorer in Preservation Inlet (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). The captain and expedition leader will be waiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer and show you to your cabin. Settle into life aboard before we set sail along Long Sound and enjoy your first impressions of the fiords and the unrestrained landscape of Southern Fiordland. ***Note: Some voyages will operate the itinerary in reverse.***

Day 2: Preservation Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today is dedicated to exploring Preservation Inlet, rich in history we will delve into the gold mining and forestry attempts that once made this now quiet waterway a bustling hub of activity. The area’s natural bounty saw more than 2,500 gold miners and saw millers flock to the region in the late 1890s, this early settler history at mining towns Cromarty and Te Oneroa, now reclaimed by nature, can still be observed, none more spectacularly than at the failed Tarawera Mine and Smelter, where the ruins of the smelter’s three-storey chimney were restored in 2015. Among the activity Preservation Inlet can also lay claim to having New Zealand’s first whaling station at Cuttle Cove and the location of one of the country’s most remote lighthouses at Puysegur Point, which began operation in 1879 perched some 40-feet above the south island’s most south-western point. Here a great coastal walk, formerly a telegraph track built to connect the lighthouse, leads to the old landing shed at Otago Retreat.

Day 3: Chalky Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The entrance to Chalky Inlet is guarded by the impressive limestone cliffs of Chalky Island, the inspiration behind Captain Cook’s naming of the fiord. One of several important predator free islands in the inlet including Great Island and Passage Islands, Chalky Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most critically endangered bird species including the Little Spotted Kiwi and Kakapo, and endemic Te Kakahua Skink, discovered in 2002. The protected harbours at North and South Port offer much to explore as the centres of the human history in the inlet with North Port the final resting place of the rusting hulk of purposely grounded GSS Stella while South Port reveals an industrial past with the remnants of once prolific sawmilling activity. Sailing to the head of the fiord the surrounding mountains envelope us with their majesty.

Day 4-5: Dusky Sound

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Over the following two days we plan to leisurely expedition cruise through Dusky Sound visiting the some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand as well as marvelling at the majestic scenery as we sail deep into the heart of Fiordland. A navigation through Acheron Passage, which separates Resolution Island from the mainland, is sure to be one of the highlights or our time in Fiordland. Predator-free Anchor Island homes half of the world’s population of Kakapo and Little Spotted Kiwi and is also the location of historic Luncheon Cove and a number of New Zealand firsts including New Zealand’s first sealing gang, the building of New Zealand’s first European homestead and first European designed ship, the 16-metre Providence built here and launched in 1795. On nearby on Pigeon Island learn the history of Richard Henry and his pioneering live transfer of birds to island refuges – an international first in wildlife conservation. While his attempts were unsuccessful due to stoats swimming over to the island, it is heartening to learn the island is now pest free and a sanctuary for native birdlife, with Henry’s vision fulfilled.

Day 6: Breaksea | Doubtful Sounds

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a quiet night aboard surrounded by the nature and wilderness of Breaksea Sound join your naturalists on deck to spot seabirds including the majestic Wandering and Buller’s Albatross as we pass Breaksea Island, which guards the entrance to Breaksea Sound. It was on Breaksea Island that the first successful island rat eradication program was completed, today it is a protected nature reserve of great significance to the many endangered species which call the island home. From here we sail onwards towards some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Fiordland – Doubtful Sound, or the sound of silence as it’s also known. Spanning some staggering 40-kilometres and holding the title as New Zealand’s deepest fiord, Doubtful Sound with its cloud-scraping wilderness cloaked mountains, sheer cliffs, waterfalls, inlets, quiet coves and wildlife presents nature on a scale so grand it’s off the chart. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner.

Day 7: Doubtful Sound | Te Anau | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning we navigate to the very head of Doubtful Sound in Deep Cove home to several waterfalls including Helena and Lady Alice Falls. After a final breakfast and farewells, head ashore where a transfer to Te Anau, via the picturesque Wilmot Pass, the road constructed as part of the Manapouri hydro scheme, awaits. In case of unexpected delays, we ask you not to book any onward travel from Te Anau until after 3pm this afternoon. During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Explorer

Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,150

Please confirm embark/disembark locations before reserving flights, as this itinerary operates in reverse on alternating departures.
Heritage Explorer Buller's cabin
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Buller's
Located on the Lower Deck, the Buller's cabin features one bunk (one upper and one lower berth), ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a porthole.
Heritage Explorer Salvin's cabin
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Salvin's
Located on the Lower Deck, Salvin’s Double cabins feature a double bed, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a picture porthole.
Heritage Explorer Wandering cabin
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Wandering
Located on the Lower Deck, Wandering cabins feature one lower single berth, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a porthole.
Heritage Explorer Royal cabin
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Royal
Located on the Bridge Deck, our Master Suite features a spacious bedroom with a queen-sized bed, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, mirror and washbasin, private en suite, personal climate control, TV, PABX satellite telephone, window and French doors opening out on to the covered Bridge Deck.

Notes

- Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
-Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a minimum of US$100,000 per person required. Contact us for details on arranging travel insurance.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Vessel Type; Expedition Yacht
Expedition Staff & Crew: 5
Guests: 18
Cabins: 10
Length: 30m
Breadth: 7.8m
Draft: 1.93m
Gross Tonnage: 76.1gt
Engine: 653 horsepower
Cruising Speed: 10 knots
Tenders: 2
Included
  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 6 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
  • All expedition shore excursions
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
  • Landing fees
  • Pre-cruise helicopter transfer and post-cruise coach transfer
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Required Visas if applicable
  • Laundry 
  • Mandatory medical evacuation insurance

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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