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Observe beautiful fur seals

Southern Fiords Easter Voyage: An Exploration Fiordland's Southern Fiords Over Easter

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Explorer
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Set sail on this 9-day exploration of the Southern Fiords over the Easter break from Doubtful Sound to Preservation Inlet aboard Heritage Explorer. Spend two days experiencing the most spectacular scenery in Fiordland: Doubtful Sound. Photographic opportunities abound, and your time spent here could include ship cruising in Blanket Bay, the Shelter Islands, the Pandora River, Deas Cove, and Open Bay. Then sail to the waters of scenic Breaksea Sound and navigate through Acheron Passage, an iconic scenic waterway that is an area where bottlenose dolphins are often spotted. Spend two days exploring Dusky Sound and visiting some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand. Lastly, explore Preservation Inlet's rich history before your journey concludes.
Observe beautiful fur seals
  • Discover the picturesque Wilmot Pass, part of the Manapouri hydro scheme
  • Explore Doubtful Sound's breathtaking wilderness and wildlife
  • Sail through Acheron Passage and spot Bottlenose Dolphins
  • See endangered bird species & endemic Te Kakahu Skink on Chalky Island
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Te Anau | Doubtful Sound | Embark

Make your way to the designated meeting point in Te Anau then transfer to Doubtful Sound, via the picturesque Wilmot Pass, the road constructed as part of the Manapouri hydro scheme, to join Heritage Explorer (times and meeting points are confirmed with your voyage documents). The Captain and Expedition Leader are waiting to welcome you aboard and the explorations of Deep Cove, home to several waterfalls including Helena and Lady Alice Falls, begin.

Day 2-3: Doubtful Sound

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
You have dedicated two days to 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 kilometers 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 its off the chart. Photographic opportunities abound and your time spent here could include ship cruising Blanket Bay, the Shelter Islands, Pandora River, Deas Cove, and Open Bay.

Day 4: Breaksea Sound | Acheron Passage

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The extensive sheltered waters of scenic Breaksea Sound, initially scouted for sheep farming suitability by early settlers in the 1850s is also the location of Breaksea Island, an iconic site in New Zealand conservation history as one of the first large islands declared rat-free in 1988. Navigation through Acheron Passage this afternoon, which separates Resolution Island from the mainland, is sure to be one of the highlights of the time in Fiordland. This iconic scenic waterway is an area where Bottlenose Dolphins are often spotted. The 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 site where moose were released, and last seen, in New Zealand.

Day 5-6: Dusky Sound

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The two-day exploration of Dusky Sound visits some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand while you marvel at the majestic scenery sailing deep into the heart of Fiordland. Predator-free Anchor Island is home to 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-meter Providence built here and launched in 1795. On nearby 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 7: 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 Kakahu Skink, discovered in 2002. The protected harbors at North and South Port offer much to explore as the centers of 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 envelop you with their majesty.

Day 8: Preservation Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today is dedicated to exploring Preservation Inlet, rich in history you 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 historic three-story 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 south-westernmost point. Here a great coastal walk, formerly a telegraph track built to connect the lighthouse, leads to the old landing shed at Otago Retreat. Tonight you celebrate your unforgettable adventure with a farewell dinner.

Day 9: Preservation Inlet | Te Anau | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After a final breakfast in the grandeur of Fiordland’s Preservation Inlet, say your farewells and take in the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery on a spectacular helicopter transfer to Te Anau. In case of unexpected delays, you are asked not to book any onward travel from Te Anau until after 3 pm this afternoon.


Heritage Explorer

Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer
Heritage Explorer

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
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.


- 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.

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
  • 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
  • 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 
  • 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


When to Go

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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