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Epic clouds over Te Anau

Northern Fiords Explorer: Expedition Cruising Fiordland's Northern Fiords

Example 7 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Explorer
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Established in 1952, Fiordland National Park is now over 1.2 million hectares in size and rightly famous for its epic, grand scale scenery, untamed wilderness and unique wildlife including Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and New Zealand Fur Seals. However, Fiordland is also rich in natural history, geology and the location of some historical firsts and important restoration and conservation projects. As we explore these remote ice-carved mountains, verdant rainforests and winding fiords it is easy to see how this incredible region inspired our dream for responsible travel. Captain Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to visit landing here aboard HMS Resolution in 1773 and subsequently spending five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook's records of his discovery and maps would attract sealers and whalers not long after, who would go on to form the first European settlements of New Zealand and from the middle of the 19th Century this Fiordland's interior coastline would attract the attention of those in search of hidden greenstone or New Zealand jade. Historically this region is very important in New Zealand history as it shaped the future of the country.
cruising at Doubtful SoundEpic clouds over Te Anau
Highlights
  • Experience the primordial majesty of Fiordland's Northern Fiords
  • Enjoy the scenic drive through the Eglington Valley
  • Explore these remote ice-carved mountains, verdant rainforests and winding fiords in Fiordland
  • Sail the calm waters of Fiordland in solitude
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Te Anau/Milford Sound

Make your way to the designated meeting point in Te Anau then enjoy the scenic drive through the Eglington Valley to Milford Sound and join Heritage Explorer in Preservation Inlet (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). Prepare for the adventure ahead while reveling in the spellbinding scenery of Milford Sound.

Day 2: Bligh Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Join your on-board expedition naturalists to spot albatross and seabirds as we sail the rich waters of the Fiordland Coast before arriving in the seldom visited yet spectacular waters of Bligh Sound. Numerous sheltered coves and clear waters make it perfect for kayaking

Day 3: George Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a night enjoying the tranquility of Bligh Sound we navigate to the largest of the Northern Fiords, George Sound. Stretching 26-scenic-kilometres, George Sound is the longest of the Northern Fiords and with several arms branching from the fiord we have multiple options but the spectacular sight of Alice Falls flanked by dense forest and tumbling over boulders as it thunders out of Lake Alice at the head of fiord is always a strong draw. 

Day 4: Caswell Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Caswell Sound is home to the last physical remains of the 1949 New Zealand–American Fiordland scientific expedition, a primitive hut standing on the banks of the Stillwater River used while studying the Wapiti/elk herd introduced earlier in the century. Tiny Styles Island guards the fiord’s entrance to the Tasman Sea while walks include a nature-filled stroll along Stillwater River towards Lake Marchant. Fishing here is good for those interested in joining the chefs in securing tonight’s dinner.

Day 5: Charles & Nancy Sounds

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore the southern-most of the northern fiords. Flanked by steep mountains including Mount Napier and Command Peak, Nancy Sound was likely named after the vessel Nancy by Captain John Grono one of the early sealing captains to explore Fiordland. Nancy Sound’s unusual leg shape was not lost on those who named it bestowing the section it turns at right angles to the north Foot Arm, which dutifully moves into Heel Cove and Toe Cove. Leg Head and Bend Point were similarly literally named. At nearby Charles Sound, the fiord branches into Emelius and Gold Arms at its head with Gold Arm being home to one of the most extensive marine reserves in the inner fiords (Kahukura Marine Reserve) while other sections are included in the Taumoana Marine Reserve.

Day 6: Thompson and Doubtful Sounds

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A short sail southwards brings us to the extensive sheltered waters of Thompson Sound. We then explore 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 stone cliffs, waterfalls, inlets, quiet coves and wildlife presents nature on a scale so grand it’s off the chart. Photographic opportunities abound and our time spent here could include ship cruising Blanket Bay, the Shelter Islands, Pandora River, Deas Cove and Open Bay. 

Day 7: Doubtful Sound/Te Anau

  • 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. 

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Explorer

Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$3,720
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

Includes:
Landing fees, pre and post cruise coach transfers, all on board ship accommodation with meals and all shore excursions and activities. GST, house drinks and expert on board naturalist guides. Pricing per person in NZ$.

Excludes:
All items of a personal nature, laundry, domestic flights, extensions and travel insurance.

Map

When to Go

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Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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