Southern Fiords Discovery: A Deep Exploration of Fiordland’s Southern Fiords

Southern Fiords Discovery: A Deep Exploration of Fiordland’s Southern Fiords

From NZD $4,500


Experience the grand scale scenery, untamed wilderness, ice-carved mountains, forests, sounds and unique wildlife of Fiordland’s Preservation and Chalky Inlets and Doubtful and Dusky Sounds on this 7-day exploration of the Southern Fiords. Rich in natural history, geology and the location of some significant historical firsts and important restoration and conservation projects, it is easy to see why this incredible region inspired our dream for responsible travel.

Maori legend describes how demi-god Tu-te-raki-whanoa carved out the region’s fiords with his adze, Te Hamo, from rock walls to create the fiords we know today. Captain Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to visit, landing here aboard HMS Resolution in 1773 and subsequently spending five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook’s records of his discovery and maps would attract sealers and whalers not long after, who would go on to form the first European settlements of New Zealand, historically this region is very important and shaped the future of the country.

Fiordland’s Southern Fiords are only accessible by sea, making them some of the most remote areas of 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. A rugged terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens and mosses while the calm waters are home to Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and New Zealand Fur Seals.

The isolation of the Southern Fiords has been beneficial in ensuring their epic beauty remains unspoiled and historic sites undisturbed. In these calm waters, away from the crowds, we plan to explore some of the most unique and wild parts of New Zealand as we sail though these beautiful fiords and landscapes.

Trip Name
Southern Fiords Discovery: A Deep Exploration of Fiordland's Southern Fiords
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/Preservation Inlet
Make your way to the designated meeting point in TeAnau then take in the awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoya spectacular helicopter transfer to join Heritage Explorerin Preservation Inlet (times and meeting point will beconfirmed with your voyage documents). The captainand expedition leader will be waiting to welcome youaboard Heritage Explorer and show you to your cabin.Settle into life aboard before we set sail along LongSound and enjoy your first impressions of the fiords andthe unrestrained landscape of Southern Fiordland.
Day 2 - Day 2: Preservation Inlet
Today is dedicated to exploring Preservation Inlet,rich in history we will delve into the gold mining andforestry attempts that once made this now quietwaterway a bustling hub of activity. The area’snatural bounty saw more than 2,500 gold minersand saw millers flock to the region in the late 1890s,this early settler history at mining towns Cromartyand Te Oneroa, now reclaimed by nature, can stillbe observed, none more spectacularly than at thefailed Tarawera Mine and Smelter, where the ruinsof the smelter’s three-storey chimney were restoredin 2015. Among the activity Preservation Inlet canalso lay claim to having New Zealand’s first whalingstation at Cuttle Cove and the location of one ofthe country’s most remote lighthouses at PuysegurPoint, which began operation in 1879 perchedsome 40-feet above the south island’s most southwestern point. Here a great coastal walk, formerlya telegraph track built to connect the lighthouse,leads to the old landing shed at Otago Retreat.
Day 3 - Day 3: Chalky Inlet
The entrance to Chalky Inlet is guarded by theimpressive limestone cliffs of Chalky Island, theinspiration behind Captain Cook’s naming of thefiord. One of several important predator free islandsin the inlet including Great Island and PassageIslands, Chalky Island is home to some of NewZealand’s most critically endangered bird speciesincluding the Little Spotted Kiwi and Kakapo, andendemic Te Kakahua Skink, discovered in 2002. Theprotected harbours at North and South Port offermuch to explore as the centres of the human historyin the inlet with North Port the final resting place ofthe rusting hulk of purposely grounded GSS Stellawhile South Port reveals an industrial past with theremnants of once prolific sawmilling activity. Sailingto the head of the fiord the surrounding mountainsenvelope us with their majesty.
Day 4 - Days 4 & 5: Dusky Sound
Over the following two days we plan to leisurelyexpedition cruise through Dusky Sound visitingthe some of the most significant historical andconservation sites in New Zealand as well asmarvelling at the majestic scenery as we sail deepinto the heart of Fiordland. A navigation throughAcheron Passage, which separates Resolution Islandfrom the mainland, is sure to be one of the highlightsor our time in Fiordland. Predator-free Anchor Islandhomes half of the world’s population of Kakapo andLittle Spotted Kiwi and is also the location of historicLuncheon Cove and a number of New Zealandfirsts including New Zealand’s first sealing gang, thebuilding of New Zealand’s first European homesteadand first European designed ship, the 16-metre Providence built here and launched in 1795. Onnearby on Pigeon Island learn the history of RichardHenry and his pioneering live transfer of birds to islandrefuges – an international first in wildlife conservation.While his attempts were unsuccessful due to stoatsswimming over to the island, it is heartening to learnthe island is now pest free and a sanctuary for nativebirdlife, with Henry’s vision fulfilled.
Day 5 - Day 6: Dagg & Doubtful Sounds
Flanked by towering cliffs and stretching inland for13 picturesque kilometres, we hope to explore DaggSound before heading north to experience someof the most spectacular scenery in all of Fiordland– Doubtful Sound, or the sound of silence as it’s alsoknown. Spanning some 40-kilometres and holding thetitle as New Zealand’s deepest fiord, Doubtful Soundwith its cloud-scraping wilderness cloaked mountains,sheer stone cliffs, waterfalls, inlets, quiet coves andwildlife presents nature on the grandest scale.Photographic opportunities abound and our timespent here could include ship cruising Blanket Bay, theShelter Islands, Pandora River, Deas Cove and OpenBay. Tonight we will find a sheltered anchorage in oneof the many side arms that branch off the main fiordand enjoy a farewell dinner.
Day 6 - Day 7: Doubtful Sound/Te Anau
This morning we navigate to the very head ofDoubtful Sound in Deep Cove home to severalwaterfalls including Helena and Lady Alice Falls. Aftera final breakfast and farewells, head ashore where atransfer to Te Anau, via the picturesque Wilmot Pass,the road constructed as part of the Manapouri hydroscheme, awaits. In case of unexpected delays, weask you not to book any onward travel from Te Anauuntil after 3pm this afternoon.
Day 7 - 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
30-07-202105-08-2021NZD $4,500Buller's
30-07-202105-08-2021NZD $5,700Salvin's
30-07-202105-08-2021NZD $6,300Wandering
30-07-202105-08-2021NZD $6,900Royal
05-08-202111-08-2021NZD $4,500Buller's
05-08-202111-08-2021NZD $5,700Salvin's
05-08-202111-08-2021NZD $6,300Wandering
05-08-202111-08-2021NZD $6,900Royal
20-08-202126-08-2021NZD $6,300Wandering
20-08-202126-08-2021NZD $6,900Royal
20-08-202126-08-2021NZD $4,500Buller's
20-08-202126-08-2021NZD $5,700Salvin's
11-09-202117-09-2021NZD $4,500Buller's
11-09-202117-09-2021NZD $5,700Salvin's
11-09-202117-09-2021NZD $6,300Wandering
11-09-202117-09-2021NZD $6,900Royal
17-09-202123-09-2021NZD $4,500Buller's
17-09-202123-09-2021NZD $5,700Salvin's
17-09-202123-09-2021NZD $6,300Wandering
17-09-202123-09-2021NZD $6,900Royal
23-09-202129-09-2021NZD $4,500Buller's
23-09-202129-09-2021NZD $5,700Salvin's
23-09-202129-09-2021NZD $6,300Wandering
23-09-202129-09-2021NZD $6,900Royal
08-08-202214-08-2022NZD $5,495Buller's
08-08-202214-08-2022NZD $6,150Salvin's
08-08-202214-08-2022NZD $6,450Wandering
08-08-202214-08-2022NZD $7,500Royal
05-09-202211-09-2022NZD $5,495Buller's
05-09-202211-09-2022NZD $6,150Salvin's
05-09-202211-09-2022NZD $6,450Wandering
05-09-202211-09-2022NZD $7,500Royal


    • Preservation Inlet
    • Chalky Inlet
    • Dusky Sound
    • Dagg & Doubtful Sounds