The ultimate 10-day exploration of New Zealand’s remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords of Fiordland
The majority of Fiordland’s sounds are only accessible by sea, making them among the most remote areas of New Zealand’s mainland ensuring their epic beauty remains unspoiled and historic sites undisturbed. Waterfalls,streams, rivers and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go, revealing steep gradients of mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. Join us as we sail the calm waters of Fiordland in solitude exploring someof the most unique and wild parts of Fiordland on this unforgettable adventure.
Day 1: Te Anau/Preservation Inlet
Make your way to the designated meeting point in Te Anau then take in the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery as you take a spectacular helicopter transfer to join Heritage Explorer in Preservation Inlet (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). The captain and expedition leader will be waiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer and show you to your cabin. Settle into life aboard before we set sail along Long Sound and enjoy your first impressions of the fiords and the unrestrained landscape of Southern Fiordland. ***Note: Some voyages will operate the itinerary in reverse.***
Day 2: Preservation Inlet
Today 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. 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 three-storey 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 most south-western 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, discovered in 2002. The protected harbours at North and South Port offer much to explore as the centres of the 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 envelope us with their majesty.
Day 4: Dusky Sound
Our expedition cruise through Dusky Sound visiting the 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 and first European designed ship, the 16-metre 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 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 BottlenoseDolphins 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 setters 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.
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 & Caswell Sound
- Pre cruise helicopter transfer
- All on board ship accommodation
- All meals
- All expedition shore excursions
- House Drinks (Beer, wine, soft drinks and spirits)
- On Board naturalist guides
- Post Cruise coach Transfer
- All items of a personal nature
- Domestic flights
- Travel insurance
Accommodation based on the below or similar
Ship: Heritage Explorer
New Zealand-built expedition yacht Heritage Explorer joins Heritage Expedition's small ship fleet creating new opportunities of discovery around the shores of New Zealand. Setting a new standard for discovery travel in New Zealand, Heritage Explorer combines the ultimate in comfort with unique itineraries and a personalised experience with a maximum of just 18 guests on board.
Vessel Type: Expedition YachtGuests: 18Accommodation: 10 CabinsLength: 30mEngine: 653 horsepowerCruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)Expedition Staff and Crew: 5
PAYMENTS: A non-refundable deposit of 30% is required at the time of booking. The balance of the tour price is required 100 days prior to your travel date. If you book inside this period, full payment will be required at the time of booking. Payment can be made by bank transfer. If you cancel between 185 and 100 days prior to your travel date 30% of your tour cost will be charged. If you cancel within 100 days prior to your tour departure you will be charged 100% of your tour cost.
Innovative Travel recommends purchasing travel insurance.For full terms and conditions refer to the Heritage Expeditions 2020-2021 Conservation and Adventure Expedition Cruising Brochure
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