Discover the primordial majesty of Fiordland on an unforgettable voyage cruising Acheron Passage, Breaksea and Dusky Sounds with New Zealand’s pioneering small ship expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions.
Starting and concluding with a thrilling, scenic helicopterflight between Te Anau and Supper Cove, our 5-day voyage sees us exploring the sheltered waters, hidden coves, islands and astounding scenery of World Heritage Area Dusky Sound, one of Fiordland’s largest fiords some 40-kilometres long and studded with more than 350 islands. Only accessible by sea, Dusky Sound is among the most isolated areas on New Zealand’s mainland.
Waterfalls, streams, rivers and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go, revealing steep gradients of mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. However, it is this isolation that has ensured the pristine, epic beauty remains unspoiled and historic sites undisturbed.
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 several historical New Zealand firsts and important restoration and conservation projects which we plan to visit. Our luxurious 18-guest expedition yacht Heritage Explorer is perfect for navigating Fiordland’s narrow waterways, fiords and island clusters off limits to larger vessels. We will also use our two tenders to explore further and make landings, visit historic sites and enjoy a range of walks. On board you will also find kayaks to explore at your leisure and fishing gear to perhaps catch the evening meal.
Discover the calm waters of Dusky Sound in solitudeand explore some of the most unique and wild parts of Fiordland on this bucket list voyage.
• Scenic Helicopter Flight: Begin your adventure with a thrilling scenic helicopter flight between Te Anau and Supper Cove, offering breathtaking aerial views of Fiordland’s majestic landscapes. This exhilarating start sets the tone for an unforgettable journey.
• Exploring Dusky Sound: Cruise through the pristine waters of Dusky Sound, one of Fiordland’s largest fiords, spanning 40 kilometers and adorned with over 350 islands. This remote and isolated area showcases the untouched beauty of New Zealand’s mainland, with misty waterfalls, cascading streams, and steep mountain peaks shrouded in a mysterious veil.
• Wildlife Encounters: Encounter a diverse array of unique wildlife that calls Fiordland home. Keep an eye out for Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins, and New Zealand Fur Seals as you navigate through the sheltered coves and hidden corners of the fiords. Witnessing these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat is a truly memorable experience.
• Historic and Conservation Sites: Immerse yourself in the rich natural history and cultural significance of Fiordland. Visit historic sites that mark important milestones in New Zealand’s history and explore restoration and conservation projects aimed at preserving the region’s pristine environment. Gain a deeper understanding of the land’s significance and the efforts undertaken to protect it for future generations.
Day 1: Te Anau/Supper Cove
Meet with your fellow expeditioners in Te Anau then take in the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy a spectacular helicopter transfer to Supper Cove at the very head of Dusky Sound (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). Your captain and expedition leader will be waiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer and show you to your cabin. Settle into life on board before we set sail alongside Cooper, Long and Indian Islands before finding a suitable anchorage to enjoy your first evening aboard.
Day 2 & 3: Dusky Sound
After a quiet night aboard surrounded by the nature and wilderness of Fiordland we continue our explorations among some of the most majestic scenery in New Zealand. We have two days to explore, discover and experience the rich history, wilderness, wildlife and grand scale scenery of Fiordland’s iconic Dusky Sound. Our voyage will see us visiting and exploring some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand as well as marvelling at the grand scale scenery as we sail deep into the heart of Fiordland. During our time here we plan to walk in the footsteps of Captain Cook and astronomer William Wales at Astronomer’s Point, the site of a temporary observatory in Pickersgill Harbour, where New Zealand became the most accurately located place on the globe when the Resolution was moored here in 1773. Our explorations also expect to visit predator-free Anchor Island, home to half of the world’s population of Kakapo and Little Spotted Kiwi, and 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-metre Providence built here and launched in 1795. On nearby Pigeon Island we will learn about 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 4: Breaksea Sound & Acheron Passage
A navigation through Acheron Passage today, which separates Resolution Island from the mainland, is sure to be one of the highlights of our time in Fiordland. This iconic scenic waterway is an area where the resident 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. 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 and now home to many endangered species. This afternoon you might like to join the chefs fishing for tonight’s dinner, or take the kayaks for a shoreline exploration.
Day 5: Supper Cove/Te Anau
This morning Heritage Explorer returns to Supper Cove where we enjoy a last opportunity to bask in the majesty of the fiords during breakfast before boarding your scenic helicopter transfer back to Te Anau. In case of unexpected delays, we ask you not to book any onward travel from Te Anau until after 1pm.
Itineraries are subject to change.
WE – 2023
Images courtesy of Wild Earth Travel