All of the Fiords

All of the Fiords

All of the Fiords

10 Days Starting and ending in Te Anau

Visiting: New Zealand

Tour operator:

World Expeditions

Tour code:

HEC1

Group size:

4 - 18

Physical rating:

Discovery and Cruising

From: $5375 $5205 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$169

NB: Prices correct on 24-Jun-2024 but subject to change.

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

Tour Overview

The ultimate 10-day exploration of New Zealand's remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords of Fiordland. This treasured natural wonderland, its wildlife, conservation and history offers endless possibilities exploring remote shores, coves inlets and waterways. Established in 1952, 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. The region is also rich in natural history, geology and the location of some historical firsts and important restoration and conservation projects. 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. The majority of Fiordland's sounds are only accessible by sea, making them among 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. The isolation of these fiords has been beneficial in ensuring their epic beauty remains unspoiled and historic sites undisturbed.

Highlights

  • Take an exhilarating helicopter transfer from Te Anau to the boat

  • Watch for wildlife including bottlenose dolphins, Fiordland Crested penguins and New Zealand Fur Seals

  • Explore Dusky Sound

  • Visit Preservation & Chalky Inlets along with Doubtful Sound

  • Sail into Milford Sound

  • Cruise the remote ice-carved mountains, verdant forests and winding fiords of Fiordland

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1 : Meet In Te Anau And Transfer By Helicopter To The Boat

Make your way to the designated meeting point in Te Anau then take in the grand views and awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy 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 on 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 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 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 Sounds

One of the southern-most of the northern fiords, Charles Sound, branches into Emelius and Gold Arms at its head with Gold Arm being home to one of the most extensive marine reserves in the inner fiords (Kahukura Marine Reserve) while other sections are included in the Taumoana Marine Reserve. Your captain and expedition Leader will find a suitably sheltered anchorage for Heritage Explorer where activities could include kayaking or joining your expedition guides in a coastal exploration by Zodiac. Another rarely explored fiord, Caswell Sound is home to the last physical remains of the 1949 New Zealand–American Fiordland scientific expedition, a primitive hut standing on the banks of the Stillwater River used while studying the Wapiti/elk herd introduced earlier in the century. Tiny Styles Island guards the fiord’s entrance to the Tasman Sea while walks include a nature-filled stroll along Stillwater River towards Lake Marchant. Fishing here is good for those interested in joining the chefs in securing tonight’s dinner.

Day 8 : George Sound

Today we plan to navigate to the largest of the Northern Fiords, George Sound. Stretching 26-scenic-kilometres, George Sound is the longest of the Northern Fiords and with several arms branching from the fiord we have multiple options but the spectacular sight of Alice Falls flanked by dense forest and tumbling over boulders as it thunders out of Lake Alice at the head of fiord is always a strong draw. It was at the head of George Sound that Wapiti/elk were introduced to New Zealand in 1905, part of the herd being gifted by American president Theodore Roosevelt.

Day 9 : Milford Sound

We enter the magnificent Milford Sound this afternoon and enjoy a leisurely final cruise of this unforgettable location. Enjoy your final night aboard in the protected waters beneath the towering peaks of Milford Sound and revel in the sensational scenery as you celebrate this unforgettable adventure with a farewell dinner.

Day 10 : Disembark And Transfer To Te Anau

After a final breakfast and farewells, head ashore where a transfer to Te Anau, via the historic Homer Tunnel and the lowland beech forests and golden tussocks of scenic Eglinton Valley, awaits. In case of unexpected delays, we ask you not to book any onward travel from Te Anau until after 3pm this afternoon. During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.

What's Included

  • 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners

  • Transfers from Te Anau to boat and vice versa (one by helicopter, one by road)

  • Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise

  • House drinks (beer, wine, soft drinks and spirits)

  • Expert on board naturalist guides

  • All sightseeing and shore excursions from the boat

  • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities

  • Pre-departure information

  • Travel to and from start /end point of trip

  • Visa, passport and vaccination charges, and airport departure taxes

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Accommodation

9 nights aboard Heritage Explorer
A range of cabins are available on the boat. Please ask us for more details

Grading

Although there is no commitment to extended walking on this journey, we nonetheless want to keep the ‘accent on the active’. We therefore advise that any physical training you complete before undertaking the trip will be to good effect.

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have offices on three continents which means your travelling companions will be just that – international and wonderfully eclectic. Part of small group travel means that although travellers come from various locations and backgrounds, you will be travelling with like-minded companions who, like you, are keen to share the experience and forge lifelong friendships.

  • What about environmental impact?

    We believe that adventure travel revolves around establishing a strong relationship with the people and environments in which we operate. Our responsible travel policies have been carefully developed to ensure that we minimise the impact of our presence and help to protect the regions we visit while contributing positively to the local community.

  • What should I pack?

    Your pre-departure documents include a detailed packing list with items that you need to bring. While most of the equipment for daily activities is included in your tour cost, some items like helmets and hiking boots are best brought from home. The pre-departure documents also include information on layering and recommended brands for various items to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes. World Expeditions does not require single travellers to pay a surcharge for travelling alone on the vast majority of our trips. Our holidays are primarily on a twin share basis, so if you are joining the group as a solo traveller, we will match you with someone of your own gender. The choice is yours however; if you prefer not to share, we do offer single supplements for private occupancy.

  • Are tips included in my trip price?

    Tips are not included in the tour cost. Tipping is a personal thing, do not worry about how much, or when, to tip. Tipping guidelines are provided for certain destinations in our pre departure information upon booking, however the best advice will be provided by your tour leader.

  • Am I suited to small-group travel?

    We recognise that many of our travellers have not been on a ‘group trip’ before. Yet what our departures provide is both structure and flexibility, allowing you plenty of freedom within the framework of the itinerary. You’ll find that with our maximum group size at 16, you’ll travel in a minimal impact style with a great group of like-minded travellers.

  • Can you advise which vaccinations are recommended?

    While our pre-departure kit provides information on vaccinations, we suggest that you consult your doctor, local government inoculation centre or a travel medical specialist in order to get the most current advice regarding vaccination requirements.

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Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    World Expeditions allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform world expeditions, 70 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    World Expeditions requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

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

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 35 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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