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Explore the stunning Milford Sound

All of the Fiords: The Ultimate Fiordland Experience

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Explorer
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Set sail for a 10-day exploration cruise of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park, 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. Fiordland is also rich in natural history, geology, and the location of some historical firsts and important restoration and conservation projects. Maori legend describes how demi-god Tu-te-raki-who carved out the region's fjords with his adze, Te Hamo, from rock walls to create the fiords we know today. The majority of Fiordland's sounds are only accessible by sea, making them among the most remote areas of New Zealand's mainland. 
Te AnauTe Anau, New ZealandAmazing Doubtful SoundExplore the stunning Milford SoundExplore the stunning Milford SoundExplore the stunning Milford SoundExplore the stunning Milford Sound
Highlights
  • Discover New Zealand's remote ice-carved mountains.
  • Sail through the calm waters of Fiordland in solitude.
  • Explore the protected harbors at North and South Port.
  • Visit the majestic fiord with surrounding mountains.
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 the meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). 

Day 2: Preservation Inlet

This day 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. 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. 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

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

Day 4: Dusky Sound

Cruise through Dusky Sound visiting 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. 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

Day 5: Acheron Passage/Breaksea Sound

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. This iconic scenic waterway is an area where Bottlenose Dolphins are often spotted. Our explorations 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 6: Doubtful Sound

Experience 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: Charles and Caswell Sounds

One of the southern-most of the northern fiords, Charles Sound, 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. Your captain and expedition Leader will find a suitably sheltered anchorage for Heritage Explorer where activities could include kayaking or joining your expedition guides in a coastal exploration by Zodiac. Another rarely explored fiord, 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 8: George Sound

Navigate the largest of the Northern Fiords, George Sound, 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 dra

Day 9: Milford Sound

We enter the magnificent Milford Sound this afternoon and enjoy a leisurely final cruise of this unforgettable location. Enjoy your final night aboard in the protected waters beneath the towering peaks of Milford Sound and revel in the sensational scenery as you celebrate this unforgettable adventure with a farewell dinner.

Day 10: Te Anau | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After a final breakfast and farewells, head ashore where a transfer to Te Anau, via the historic Homer Tunnel and the lowland beech forests and golden tussocks of scenic Eglinton Valley, awaits.

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Explorer

Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$5,295 2-3 travelers
Included landing fees are not eligible for promotions or agency commission.
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

- Included landing fees are not eligible for promotions or agency commission.
- 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
  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • 9 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
  • Landing fees
  • All expedition shore excursions
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
  • 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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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.
Jack Charney
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