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9 Days$4695USD

Activities
  • 9 days expedition cruising
Accommodation
  • 8 nights aboard Heritage Explorer
Meals
  • 8 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 8 Breakfasts
1
Discovery and Cruising
 
 

Trip highlights


  • Spend two days exploring Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Visit remote d'Urville Island
  • Watch for wildlife including bottlenose dolphins and New Zealand Fur Seals
  • Cruise the inner reaches of Pelorus Sound

Discover the tranquil waterways, wildlife and rich history of the top of New Zealand's south island on an unforgettable 9-day adventure exploring Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sounds, French Pass, d'Urville Island and Abel Tasman National Park. Famed for the breath-taking beauty of their winding cobalt waterways, iconic landscapes, lush native forests, wildlife and remote coastlines these regions are also rich in early New Zealand history and the location of some of the country's most important conservation efforts. Formed by a system of submerged valleys carved out following the last ice age around 10,000 years ago, the scenic playground of Marlborough Sounds encompasses some 1,500-kilometres of forested coastline, sheltered inlets and bays awaiting exploration, many only accessible by sea. The union of three main bodies of water - Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds - Marlborough Sounds has more than 50 Department of Conservation managed reserves and several predator free wildlife sanctuaries. Now a possum, rat and weasel-free conservation reserve, d'Urville Island is one of the last strongholds of the critically endangered Long-tailed Bat and provides a respite for the world's rarest shag - the King Shag - and several other species of rare birds and geckos.

Trip Code: HEL

Make your way to the designated meeting point in Blenheim for your transfer to Heritage Explorer in Picton (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). The captain and expedition team will be waiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer and show you to your cabin. You will have the opportunity to familiarise yourself on board then join the captain on the bridge or fellow travellers on deck as we set sail along Queen Charlotte Sound this afternoon.

Meals:  D

First sighted in 1642 by Abel Janszoon Tasman while seeking shelter for his ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen from a storm near d’Urville Island, it was Captain James Cook who would first set foot here aboard the Endeavour during his five visits to Ship Cove, his New Zealand base between 1770 and 1777, in what he would call Queen Charlotte Sound. We spend two full days exploring the waterways and islands of scenic Queen Charlotte Sound with opportunities to head ashore and walk a section of the Queen Charlotte Walkway as well as search for birdlife on the predator free islands. A visit to Tory Channel brings the whaling history of the Perano Whalers to life. We also plan to visit Ship Cove and learn of its history, exploring the region and visiting Captain Cook’s memorial inaugurated in 1913.

Meals:  B,L,D

The largest in the Marlborough Sounds, Pelorus Sound’s main channel winds some picturesque 55 kilometres south between steep verdant hills from Cook Strait to Havelock. Boasting 380 kilometres of shoreline, the endless bays and sheltered coves of Pelorus Sound are perfect for exploration. Venturing into Pelorus Sound we head to Ngawhakawhiti Bay where nature surrounds us and it’s possible to get a glimpse of what the sounds would have been like before the native forest was cleared. The more active are able to enjoy the walking part of the Nydia Track before we explore Nydia Bay.

Meals:  B,L,D

Depending on the weather and tides we will venture to the seldom visited northern coast of d’Urville Island, either through French Pass or via Stephens Island. The outermost island in the Marlborough Sounds, d’Urville Island is named after French Explorer Dumont d’Urville and features imposing sea cliffs along its west coast, a high mountainous backbone and the fastest moving tidal flows in New Zealand between the French Pass tempered by some of the country’s finest peninsula scenery. Dolphins and New Zealand Fur Seals are frequently seen in the waters surrounding the island and it was here that Pelorus Jack, the endearing Risso’s Dolphin who famously stole the nation’s heart, guided ships through these waters between 1888 and 1912.

Meals:  B,L,D

New Zealand’s smallest national park, Abel Tasman National Park is a wilderness reserve where hills cloaked in regenerating native forest flanked by impressive granite formations meet sandy beaches and crystalline streams cascade through mossy valleys en route to the sea. There is much to experience and enjoy here as we expedition cruise this scenic coastline. Depending on the weather there will be opportunities to kayak secluded inlets and shores, walk among the forest, swim and explore beaches. Named after the Dutch explorer officially recognised the first European to discover New Zealand in 1642, Tasman anchored at Whariwharangi Bay, near Wainui Inlet to the north of what is now Abel Tasman National Park, on 18 December. More recently in 2016, New Zealanders famously banded together to buy stretch of sand now known as ‘New Zealand Beach’ at Awaroa Bay through a crowdfunding campaign, gifting the 800-metre beach to Abel Tasman National Park for all to enjoy. Several sustainability initiatives are working together to restore and revive the native plants, birds and wildlife in the park including Project Janszoon, a privately funded trust, set up to restore the park’s ecosystems which takes its name from Tasman’s middle name and is aiming to complete the restoration in time for the 400th anniversary of Tasman’s visit and the park’s 100th anniversary in 2042.

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early morning departure from our anchor in Abel Tasman National Park we arrive at the Port of Nelson. After a final breakfast and farewells, you are transferred to a central Nelson drop off point or the airport. In case of unexpected delays we ask you not to book any onward travel from Nelson until after midday today. 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.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • Transfers from Blenheim to boat and to Nelson on disembarkation
  • 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
  • Accommodation and meals or other services not included in the ship cruise itinerary
  • Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as laundry and phone calls
  • Emergency evacuation charges
  • Customary end of voyage tips

Cabins


Departure dates


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Priceper person from

$4695USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Premium Drinks PackageUSD$180
  • Salvin Double or Twin Cabin supplementUSD$565
  • Wandering Double or Twin Cabin supplementUSD$840
  • Royal Suite supplementUSD$1800
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed The Top of the South trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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Our vision is to leave the world a better place by following our sustainable active outdoor travel charter. All our adventures are 100% carbon offset and our Regenerative 2030 Project aims to integrate ‘regenerative’ projects into every one of our global operations by 2030.

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