Fiordland Explored

5 Days Starting and ending in Te Anau

Visiting: New Zealand

Tour operator:

Heritage Expeditions

Ship Name:
Heritage Explorer
Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Ship Capacity:

Tour operated in:
English
Activities:

Boat/Cruise Excursion

From:
$2975
$2826 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

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.

Note: some voyages operate in reverse, see brochure or departure for direction.

Highlights

  • pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising.

  • Discover the primordial majesty of Fiordland's iconic Doubtful and Dusky Sounds on an unforgettable 5-day exploration with Heritage Expeditions

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Te Anau/Doubtful Sound

Meet with your fellow expeditioners in Te Anau before travelling across Lake Manapouri and over the Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound (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 the scenic waterways of Doubtful Sound before finding a suitable anchorage to enjoy your first evening aboard.

Day 2: Doubtful & Breaksea Sounds

After a quiet night aboard surrounded by the nature and wilderness of Fiordland we continue our explorations 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. Sailing along the Fiordland coast towards the extensive protected waters that are Breaksea and Dusky Sounds, join your naturalists on deck to spot seabirds including the majestic Wandering and Buller’s Albatross. Breaksea Island guards the entrance to Breaksea Sound, it was here that the first successful island rat eradication program was completed and today Breaksea Island is a protected nature reserve of great significance to the many endangered species which call the island home.

Day 3: Breaksea Sound & Acheron Passage

Today we explore our way through the waters of Breaksea Sound and Acheron Passage. Resolution Island is separated from the mainland by the scenic waters of Acheron Passage and at the southern end of the passage we enter Dusky Sound, be sure to be on the lookout for resident Bottlenose Dolphins. This afternoon you might like to try your luck fishing for tonight’s dinner, or take the kayaks for a shoreline exploration. Our time 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 4: Dusky Sound

Visit Luncheon Cove on Anchor Island, where the first European boat was built in New Zealand.
Take a short walk or explore along the coastline and be amazed by the birdlife with South Island Saddleback, Robins, Yellowhead and Parakeets in abundance on the island thanks to its predator-free status. It was on nearby Pigeon Island pioneering conservationist Richard Henry was based during his time in Dusky Sound. At Astronomer’s Point there may be the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Captain Cook and his astronomer William Wales as it was here that the Resolution was moored during their time in Dusky Sound. Our expedition cruise through Dusky Sound visits the some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand, as well as offering some of the most majestic scenery in New Zealand as we sail deep into the heart of Fiordland.

Day 5: Dusky Sound/Te Anau

This morning Heritage Explorer sails to Supper Cove at the very head of Dusky Sound, it is a last opportunity for you to bask in the majesty of the fiords, then take in the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy a spectacular 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 this afternoon.

Ship Details

Heritage Explorer

Image Of Ship

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 and beers; 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 our other vessels, Heritage Explorer has 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, 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, 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, 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, private en suite and a porthole.

Ship Name:

Heritage Explorer

Cabins:

10

Expedition Staff & Crew:

5

Breadth:

7.8m

Cruising Speed:

10 knots

Length:

30m

Tenders:

2

Draft:

1.93m

Guests:

18

Gross Tonnage:

76.1gt

Engine:

653 horsepower

Vessel Type:

Expedition Yacht

Deck Plan

Deck Plan

Salvin's Double

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.

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.

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.

Salvin's Twin

Located on the Lower Deck, Salvin’s Twin cabins feature two lower berths, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a picture porthole.

What's Included

  • Landing fees

  • pre cruise helicopter transfer and post cruise coach transfer

  • all on board ship accommodation with meals and all shore excursions and activities. GST

  • house drinks

  • expert on board naturalist guides.

What's Not Included

  • All items of a personal nature

  • laundry

  • domestic flights

  • Queenstown packages

  • extensions and travel insurance.

Check out our Q&As

  • What fitness level is required?

    Guests are required to have a reasonable level of fitness in order to participate in landings. While not strenuous, travellers who participate on excursions must be able to climb a ship-side gangway, get in and out of Zodiacs and be able to stand unaided. Each landing and excursion caters to all fitness levels ranging from easy to challenging, ultimately each guest is able to decide how active or relaxing their voyage is.

  • Is any clothing included?

    Thermally-insulated Muck Boots are provided for use on all our Southern Ocean voyages while guests travelling to the Ross Sea are supplied with an Antarctic grade jacket during their time in Antarctica.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for our latest Covid-19 policies

  • Is there a doctor on board?

    Yes, on Heritage Adventurer there is an on board doctor with a small infirmary and on many voyages a First Responder will travel with guests on excursions. Heritage Explorer does not have a doctor on board, however our crew are trained in first aid.

  • Are drinks included?

    Yes, house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner on all Heritage Expeditions voyages. Complimentary drinks can also be enjoyed during special events on board while bar purchases can also be charged to your stateroom.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Travelling with Heritage Expeditions is to travel responsibly. As biologists and ornithologists, we are intimately aware of the many issues that confront animals and their habitats, the world's oceans and isolated ethnic groups. We also take action: we actively contribute to the conservation of the places we visit in several ways; we 'buy local' and employ locally; we make sure that travellers are respectful of local customs and traditions; and we dispose of waste responsibly.

  • Is there a gym on board?

    Yes, Heritage Adventurer has a gym, pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and Spa on Deck 7. While there is no gym on Heritage Explorer, guests have plenty of opportunity to stretch their legs on shore or take the kayaks out, weather permitting.

  • What is the onboard currency?

    Heritage Adventurer operates in US$ while Heritage Explorer is NZ$.

  • Does a single supplement apply?

    Heritage Adventurer has 20 dedicated single cabins (12 x Main Deck Single Staterooms on Deck 3 and 8 x Superior Single Staterooms on Deck 5). Heritage Adventurer also has the option of guests sharing in our Main Deck Triple (Deck 3) and Superior Triple (Deck 5) Staterooms. There may also be the option to share a Deck 4 or Deck 5 Superior Stateroom with another solo-travelling guest of the same gender. Heritage Explorer has 2 dedicated single cabins, Wandering, and if these are booked there may be availability to book a Salvin’s Twin/Double or Buller’s as a single at 1.8 times the published per person rate.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Heritage Expeditions was formed in 1985.

  • Is there Wi-Fi on board?

    Yes, there is Wi-Fi available on both ships. Heritage Adventurer has a connection via satellite and vouchers can be purchased from reception. Wi-Fi is included on Heritage Explorer.

  • Are all excursions included?

    Yes, all standard excursions are included in the voyage cost. All you will need to pay for on board is anything of a personal nature, laundry, drinks and gratuities.

Reviews of this Operator

Anne Carroll (Google Reviewer)  

I’ve just returned to Canada...

06-Sep-2023

I’ve just returned to Canada after an absolutely stupendous trip to the Kimberley region of Western Australia aboard the Heritage Adventurer. Everything from booking the trip to exiting the ship on our last day was first class and run like a well-oiled machine. The guides were informed, interesting, interested, enthusiastic, friendly, and made us guests feel like we were part of the ship family. Every day I wondered how they could top the daily activities, and the next day was another mind-blowing experience. The daily recaps were well-presented and always so interesting. We always knew what was coming up next - everything was very well organized. The camaraderie amongst the guides was obvious and that translated into a truly remarkable experience for me and the many other guests I met and befriended on board. The ship crew were always smiling and quickly learned our names and preferences. To a person, they were delightful and couldn’t have done more to ensure a fabulous experience for all. Great staff, lovely ship and absolutely amazing daily experiences. Wildlife, stunning landscapes, ancient art sites, and guides who explain in detail what we are seeing whether it’s insects, birds, rocks, whales, crocodiles, plants, fish and so much more. I came away with a much deeper appreciation for nature and how we humans are affected by and have an effect on nature. The cruise was ten days, but it felt like I had a month worth of experiences. I’d jump at the chance to explore any place with this company. I’m now hooked on the small ship cruise experience! Thank you Heritage Expeditions!

Sally Adams  

In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton: Ross Sea Antarctica “A Fantastic Voyage!”

01-Mar-2023

It was a fantastic voyage! The weather was amazing, the ship was stable, all the staff were terrific, the lectures were really interesting the food was excellent & I met many wonderful fellow travellers, some of whom I am keeping in touch with. And now I am belatedly reading a book about the Antarctic explorers it means a lot more, having been to the area, seen the huts etc. So thank you very much for a memorable experience.

Heritage Expeditions Customer
Emily P  

The Best of New Zealand: An Intimate Exploration Cruise of New Zealand's Islands “One of the greatest experiences of my life!”

01-Mar-2023

“The expedition was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We journeyed to many incredible parts of Aotearoa that I wouldn't have otherwise sailed to, hiked, or photographed. I loved how the daily itinerary responded to the weather conditions and different abilities so that we could all have a meaningful time in each place. The vessel is stunning and the crew took excellent care of us, as did the expedition team. Getting to know them and our fellow adventurers was a special part of the trip. It still feels like a dream!”

Heritage Expeditions Customer
Graham Barrie (Google Reviewer)  

Have just booked a trip...

28-May-2021

Have just booked a trip later in the year and the service I had with the staff and Emma in particular has been wonderful. Thank you 😊

Lorraine Knowles (Google Reviewer)  

Our trip on Hertiage Explorer...

10-Oct-2022

Our trip on Hertiage Explorer to the Southern Fiords was awesome. There was not one aspect that we could fault. The food, crew, expeditions ashore, fellow passengers and the knowledge of our guides was A+. We will definately book with you again - 2024 around the Bay of Islands.

Kita Williams  

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: New Zealand and Australia's Subantarctic Islands “This was a Fantastic Trip - I Enjoyed Every Moment”

01-Mar-2023

This was a fantastic trip! From the glorious king penguins, to the sweet young elephant seal pups with their huge eyes, to the breathtakingly beautiful albatrosses on Campbell Island, and the colourful megaherbs, I enjoyed every moment. The sub-Antarctic islands are all very different, with unique landscapes and characteristics that were wonderful to experience. It was great to watch the lectures on board the ship, and our guides were very knowledgeable, helpful, fun and organised. We were so spoiled with the delicious meals and almost endless choices on board as well! The ship became a very cozy, familiar place and I enjoyed meeting some wonderful guests and exploring or cruising around in Zodiacs together. This trip really was a photographer's paradise, the wildlife and landscapes were incredible. Thank you Heritage Expeditions, I hope to join you again in the future!

Heritage Expeditions Customer
Chris Verstappen (Google Reviewer)  

A travel company that makes...

04-Oct-2017

A travel company that makes expedition cruising available to remote places on earth. I had the opportunity to go on a trip to the South Pacific in April 2017. A truly remarkable and well organized expedition and for sure a company I will come back to for more of their trips.

Brent Narbey (Google Reviewer)  

I had the trip of...

21-Dec-2017

I had the trip of a lifetime, the boat, crew and expedition leaders were WORLD CLASS! We cruised from Papua New Guinea through the Solomon Islands (Melanesia) for two weeks. The wildlife was wonderful as the indigenous peoples were friendly - Cant wait to do another one of their trips. Thanks for everything!

Dates & Availability

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Wednesday - Sunday

Jul 31, 2024 - Aug 04, 2024
$3335 $3168 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$167 (USD)

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Thursday - Monday

Aug 08, 2024 - Aug 12, 2024
$3335 $3168 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$167 (USD)

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Thursday - Monday

Sep 12, 2024 - Sep 16, 2024
$2975 $2826 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

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Friday - Tuesday

Sep 20, 2024 - Sep 24, 2024
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

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Monday - Friday

Feb 03, 2025 - Feb 07, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

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Monday - Friday

Feb 24, 2025 - Feb 28, 2025
$2975 $2826 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

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Saturday - Wednesday

Mar 08, 2025 - Mar 12, 2025
$2975 $2826 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

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Sunday - Thursday

Jul 27, 2025 - Jul 31, 2025
$2975 $2826 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

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Tuesday - Saturday

Sep 09, 2025 - Sep 13, 2025
$2975 $2826 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Wednesday

Sep 13, 2025 - Sep 17, 2025
$2975 $2826 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$149 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Heritage Expeditions requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of heritage expeditions charges.

    Up to 91 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 90 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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