Embark on Heritage Explorer for a unique 9-day expedition cruise of Queen Charlotte, Pelorus Sounds, French Pass, and d'Urville Island. Discover an unparalleled exploration of the breath-taking beauty of New Zealand's winding cobalt waterways, iconic landscapes, lush native forests, wildlife, gold-sand beaches, and remote coastlines. These areas also have a lot of early history and are home to some of the most important conservation efforts in the country. This excursion also includes a visit to Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's smallest national park, which is home to New Zealand Fur Seals and Little Blue Penguins.
Explore the hidden coves, beaches of New Zealand's South Island.
Visit the whaling history of the Perano Whalers of Tory Channel.
Make your way to the designated meeting point in Blenheim for your transfer to Heritage Explorer in Picton (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). The captain and expedition team will be waiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer and show you to your cabin. You will have the opportunity to familiarise yourself on board then join the captain on the bridge or fellow travelers on deck as we set sail along Queen Charlotte Sound this afternoon.
***Note: Some voyages will operate the itinerary in reverse.***
First sighted in 1642 by Abel Janszoon Tasman while seeking shelter for his ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen from a storm near d’Urville Island, it was Captain James Cook who would first set foot here aboard the Endeavour during his five visits to Ship Cove, his New Zealand base between 1770 and 1777, in what he would call Queen Charlotte Sound. We spend two full days exploring the waterways and islands of scenic Queen Charlotte Sound with opportunities to head ashore and walk a section of the Queen Charlotte Walkway as well as search for birdlife on the predator-free islands. A visit to Tory Channel brings the whaling history of the Perano Whalers to life. We also plan to visit Ship Cove and learn of its history, exploring the region and visiting Captain Cook’s memorial inaugurated in 1913.
The largest in the Marlborough Sounds, Pelorus Sound’s main channel winds some picturesque 55 kilometres south between steep verdant hills from Cook Strait to Havelock. Boasting 380 kilometres of shoreline, the endless bays and sheltered coves of Pelorus Sound are perfect for exploration. Venturing into Pelorus Sound we head to Ngawhakawhiti Bay where nature surrounds us and it’s possible to get a glimpse of what the sounds would have been like before the native forest was cleared. The more active are able to enjoy the walking part of the Nydia Track before we explore Nydia Bay.
Depending on the weather and tides we will venture to the seldom-visited northern coast of d’Urville Island, either through French Pass or via Stephens Island. The outermost island in the Marlborough Sounds, d’Urville Island is named after French Explorer Dumont d’Urville and features imposing sea cliffs along its west coast, a high mountainous backbone, and the fastest moving tidal flows in New Zealand between the French Pass tempered by some of the country’s finest peninsula scenery. Dolphins and New Zealand Fur Seals are frequently seen in the waters surrounding the island and it was here that Pelorus Jack, the endearing Risso’s Dolphin who famously stole the nation’s heart, guided ships through these waters between 1888 and 1912.
New Zealand’s smallest national park, Abel Tasman National Park is a wilderness reserve where hills cloaked in regenerating native forest flanked by impressive granite formations meet sandy beaches and crystalline streams cascade through mossy valleys en route to the sea. There is much to experience and enjoy here as we expedition cruise this scenic coastline. Depending on the weather there will be opportunities to kayak secluded inlets and shores, walk among the forest, swim and explore beaches.
Day 9: Nelson | Disembark
After an early morning departure from our anchor in Abel Tasman National Park we arrive at the Port of Nelson. After a final breakfast and farewells, you are transferred to a central Nelson drop off point or the airport. In case of unexpected delays we ask you not to book any onward travel from Nelson until after midday today. 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.
Apologies for the inconvenience. Prices for not yet published. Below per person rate based on previous season. Contact us to confirm upcoming season pricing.
Prices for are estimated based on inflation. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired departure date.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
- 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.
For full cancellation policy details, please contact us for a quote.
8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
8 Nights Accommodations
Accommodations as listed
Ground transportation as listed
Activities as listed
Meals as listed
Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
Complimentary boot rental is available. However, due to the limited supply of boots available aboard the ship, it is recommended that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. Youth size boots are not available.
House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
All expedition shore excursions
Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
Discovery Fund / Government Landing Fees
Flight costs (please request a quote)
Additional excursions during free time
Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
Required Visas if applicable
Mandatory medical evacuation insurance
When to Go
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
I could not be happier with my Adventure Life experience, from beginning to end. I travel a lot, and I think your company and personnel do an outstanding job. I truly appreciate your professionalism, attentiveness, and flexibility. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend your company and would be happy to serve as a reference.