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Doubtful and Dusky Sounds: Exploring Fiordland's Finest

Example 5 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Explorer
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Heritage Explorer has combined two of Fiordland's most isolated, difficult to reach, and stunning places for this special voyage. Doubtful and Dusky Sounds are among New Zealand's most remote locations. Misty veils surround waterfalls, streams, rivers, and fiords, revealing towering mountain peaks and sheltering valleys. Retrace Captain Cook's steps along the shores of Dusky Sound, a 40-kilometer-long fiord dotted with over 350 islands. Also, New Zealand's deepest fiord, Doubtful Sound, has beautiful rainforests, towering waterfalls, and endangered Fiordland Crested Penguins.
Te Anau panoramic viewTe Anau, New Zealandcruising at Doubtful SoundAmazing Doubtful Soundbeautiful nature view
  • Experience the primordial majesty of Fiordland's iconic Doubtful and Dusky Sounds
  • Visit along the shorelines of World Heritage Area Dusky Sound
  • Explore these remote ice-carved mountains, verdant rainforests in Fiordland
  • Sail through the calm waters of Fiordland in solitude
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Te Anau/Doubtful Sound

Meet with your fellow expeditioners in Te Anau before traveling across Lake Manapouri and over the Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). 

Day 2: Doubtful and Breaksea Sounds

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a quiet night aboard, continue to explore the most spectacular scenery in all of Fiordland – Doubtful Sound, or the sound of silence as it’s also known. Spanning about 40-kilometres and 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. Sailing along the Fiordland coast towards the extensive protected waters that are Breaksea and Dusky Sounds, join your naturalists on deck to spot seabirds including the majestic Wandering and Buller’s Albatross. Breaksea Island guards the entrance to Breaksea Sound, it was here that the first successful island rat eradication program was completed and today Breaksea Island is a protected nature reserve of great significance to the many endangered species which call the island home.

Day 3: Breaksea Sound/Acheron Passage

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We explore our way through the waters of Breaksea Sound and the Acheron Passage, Resolution Island is separated from the mainland by the scenic waters of Acheron Passage and at the southern end of the passage we enter Dusky Sound, be sure to be on the lookout for resident Bottlenose Dolphins as we navigate. This afternoon you might like to join the chefs fishing for tonight’s dinner, or take the kayaks for a shoreline exploration. Our time here may include venturing into Wet Jacket Arm where the crew of Cook’s Resolution ended up with wet jackets during their survey work. It is also the sight where Moose were released, and last seen, in New Zealand.

Day 4: Dusky Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Visit Luncheon Cove on Anchor Island, where the first European boat was built in New Zealand. Take a short walk or explore along the coastline and be amazed by the birdlife with South Island Saddleback, Robins, Yellowhead and Parakeets in abundance on the island thanks to its predator free status. It was on nearby Pigeon Island pioneering conservationist Richard Henry was based during his time in Dusky Sound. At Astronomers Point there may be the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Captain Cook and his astronomer William Wales as it was here that the Resolution was moored during their time in Dusky Sound. Our expedition cruise through Dusky Sound visits the some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand, as well as offering some of the most majestic scenery in New Zealand as we sail deep into the heart of Fiordland.

Day 5: Dusky Sound/Te Anau

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning Heritage Explorer sails to Supper Cove at the very head of Dusky Sound, it is a last opportunity for you to bask in the majesty of the fiords, then take in the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy a spectacular helicopter transfer back to Te Anau. 


Heritage Explorer

Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer

Dates & Prices

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Heritage Explorer Buller's cabin
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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.
Heritage Explorer Salvin's cabin
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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.
Heritage Explorer Wandering cabin
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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.
Heritage Explorer Royal cabin
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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.
  • 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Complimentary Parka 
  • 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
  • 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
  • Discovery Fund / Government Landing Fees 


When to Go

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


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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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