Doubtful & Dusky Sounds: Exploring Fiordland’s Finest

Doubtful & Dusky Sounds: Exploring Fiordland’s Finest

From NZD $3,150


Discover the primordial majesty of Fiordland’s iconic Doubtful and Dusky Sounds on an unforgettable 5-day exploration with Heritage Expeditions, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising. Established in 1952, New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is 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. However, Fiordland is also rich in natural history, geology and the location of some historical firsts and important restoration and conservation projects.

It was our early exploration of these rarely visited and remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords rich in wildlife, conservation and history which inspired our dream for responsible travel. For this special expedition we have paired two of the most remote, hard to reach and spectacular of Fiordland’s destinations on the one voyage. Retrace the steps of Captain Cook along the shorelines of World Heritage Area Dusky Sound, one of Fiordland’s largest fiords some 40-kilometres long and studded with more than 350 islands. Equally impressive, New Zealand’s deepest fiord Doubtful Sound boasts lush rainforests, towering waterfalls and resident populations of New Zealand Fur Seals and rare Fiordland Crested Penguins.

Only accessible by sea, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds are among the most isolated areas on New Zealand’s mainland ensuring their pristine, epic beauty remains unspoiled and their 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. Discover the calm waters of Fiordland in solitude and explore some of its most unique and wild parts on this bucket list voyage.

Trip Name
Doubtful & Dusky Sounds: Exploring Fiordland's Finest
Vessel Type: Expedition Yacht Length: 30 metres Passenger Capacity: 18 Built: 2004 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.Heritage Explorer is a 30-metre, 4-deck New Zealand flagged vessel built in 2004 by the renowned wooden boat building family Carey's Boatyard in Picton. It features a contemporary wood-finished interior, 10 well-appointed cabins across three decks, dining room boasting spectacular 180-degree panoramas and theatre capabilities; lounge and bar featuring a flight of inclusive regional New Zealand wines, beers and spirits; and a well-stocked local library. Outside, guests can enjoy plenty of covered space on the Bridge Deck, or ajourn to the Sun Deck perfect for wildlife spotting, sunrises and sunsets, or simply enjoying watch your voyage unfold. Kayaks and fishing equipment are available for use during the voyage, while two tenders allow for deeper exploration and the unforgettable wildlife encounters synonymous with all Heritage Expeditions adventures. As with as with our other vessels, Heritage Explorer will have an open bridge policy and a full commercial kitchen helmed by a talented chef focused on highlighting local produce and any guest catches of the day, as well as an enthusiastic and passionate expedition team, and will be shipped by a New Zealand captain and crew. The expedition yacht features state-of-the-art technology to provide a comfortable expedition with high performance dual Scania 653 horsepower engines, bow thrusters, fin stabilisers, full air-conditioning, sound attenuated twin generators and a hydraulic aft ramp, while a comprehensive navigation package ensures the ultimate Kiwi adventure awaits all guests. Accommodation Details 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.Salvin's: Located on the Lower Deck, Salvin's cabins have the option of either a double bed or two lower berths. Both feature ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a picture porthole. 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. 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.


Day 1 - Day 1: Te Anau/Doubtful Sound
Meet with your fellow expeditioners in Te Anau beforetravelling across Lake Manapouri and over the WilmotPass to Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound (times andmeeting point will be confirmed with your voyagedocuments). The captain and expedition leader will bewaiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer andshow you to your cabin. Settle into life aboard before weset sail along the scenic waterways of Doubtful Soundbefore finding a suitable anchorage to enjoy your firstevening aboard.
Day 2 - Day 2: Doubtful & Breaksea Sounds
After a quiet night aboard surrounded by the natureand wilderness of Fiordland we continue our explorationsof the most spectacular scenery in all of Fiordland– Doubtful Sound, or the sound of silence as it’s alsoknown. Spanning some staggering 40-kilometres andholding the title as New Zealand’s deepest fiord, DoubtfulSound with its cloud-scraping wilderness cloakedmountains, sheer stone cliffs, waterfalls, inlets, quiet covesand wildlife presents nature on a scale so grand it’s offthe chart. Sailing along the Fiordland coast towards the extensive protected waters that are Breaksea and DuskySounds, join your naturalists on deck to spot seabirdsincluding the majestic Wandering and Buller’s Albatross.Breaksea Island guards the entrance to Breaksea Sound,it was here that the first successful island rat eradicationprogram was completed and today Breaksea Island isa protected nature reserve of great significance to themany endangered species which call the island home.
Day 3 - Day 3: Breaksea Sound & Acheron Passage
We explore our way through the waters of BreakseaSound and the Acheron Passage, Resolution Island isseparated from the mainland by the scenic watersof Acheron Passage and at the southern end ofthe passage we enter Dusky Sound, be sure to beon the lookout for resident Bottlenose Dolphins aswe navigate. This afternoon you might like to jointhe chefs fishing for tonight’s dinner, or take thekayaks for a shoreline exploration. Our time heremay include venturing into Wet Jacket Arm wherethe crew of Cook’s Resolution ended up with wetjackets during their survey work. It is also the sitewhere Moose were released, and last seen, inNew Zealand.
Day 4 - Day 4: Dusky Sound
Visit Luncheon Cove on Anchor Island, wherethe first European boat was built in New Zealand.Take a short walk or explore along the coastlineand be amazed by the birdlife with South IslandSaddleback, Robins, Yellowhead and Parakeets inabundance on the island thanks to its predator freestatus. It was on nearby Pigeon Island pioneeringconservationist Richard Henry was based during histime in Dusky Sound.At Astronomers Point there may be the opportunityto walk in the footsteps of Captain Cook and hisastronomer William Wales as it was here that theResolution was moored during their time in DuskySound. Our expedition cruise through Dusky Soundvisits the some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand, as well as offeringsome of the most majestic scenery in New Zealand aswe sail deep into the heart of Fiordland.
Day 5 - Day 5: Dusky Sound/Te Anau
This morning Heritage Explorer sails to Supper Cove atthe very head of Dusky Sound, it is a last opportunityfor you to bask in the majesty of the fiords, then takein the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery as youenjoy a spectacular helicopter transfer back to TeAnau. In case of unexpected delays, we ask you notto book any onward travel from Te Anau until after1pm this afternoon.
Day 6 - Please Note:
Some voyages will operate the itinerary inreverse. During our voyage, circumstances may makeit necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposeditinerary. This can include weather and opportunities formaking unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leaderwill keep you fully informed. Voyages are planned andscheduled pending final regulatory approval.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-08-202119-08-2021NZD $3,150Buller's
15-08-202119-08-2021NZD $3,950Salvin's
15-08-202119-08-2021NZD $4,350Wandering
15-08-202119-08-2021NZD $4,750Royal
12-09-202216-09-2022NZD $3,925Buller's
12-09-202216-09-2022NZD $4,450Salvin's
12-09-202216-09-2022NZD $4,650Wandering
12-09-202216-09-2022NZD $5,475Royal


    • Doubtful & Breaksea Sounds
    • Breaksea Sound & Acheron Passage
    • Dusky Sound