RealNZ have teamed up with DoC to offer a Discovery Expedition like no other
RealNZ have teamed up with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to offer a Discovery Expedition like no other and make a difference. On this unique cruise, you will learn about DOC's conservation efforts in Fiordland from DoC staff onboard.
This 5 day, 4 night expedition includes a helicopter flight, comfortable cabins onboard the Milford Wanderer and delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef.
The Dusky Sound Conservation Expedition departs from the RealNZ Manapouri Visitor Centre, 64 Waiau Street.
Manapouri is about 3 hours from Queenstown and 30 minutes from Te Anau by road. You can self-drive or if you prefer, let us do the driving for you and get you there by coach.
Just because you’re escaping civilisation doesn’t mean you have to go without its comforts. Our vessel, the Milford Wanderer, is a modern motorised vessel that has been purpose-built for navigating southern New Zealand.
Designed along the lines of a traditional sailing scow, it has old world charm combined with modern facilities and the latest in safety equipment. The Milford Wanderer offers "twin-share" compartments and shared bathroom facilities.
Lou is hugely passionate about Fiordland history and conservation. He has has a 30 year association in managing Fiordland National Park and was heavily involved in adding Waititu Forest to Fiordland NP, developing The Hump Track and setting up the network of Fiordland Marine Reserves. He was DOCs Southland Conservator before running the NZ Antarctic Programme for a decade then the last 8 years as Director General of Dept of Conservation. He looks forward to sharing many of his Fiordland and Rakiura NZ conservation stories with us.
Here are just a few of Lou's remarkable achievements:
Lou will be the guest lecturer onboard the Dusky Sound Conservation Cruise 11 – 15 December 2022.
Please note this is a general guide only, all itineraries are subject to change based on weather conditions and crew judgement. In addition to below there is also lots of cruising, and extra kayaking or walking where time allows!
Standard Itinerary - Cruise + Heli Out:
Day 1 - Manapouri to Breaksea Sound
Cruise across Lake Manapouri, coach over stunning Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. Board the Milford Wanderer and cruise out of Doubtful Sound with a 3-hour sea passage to Breaksea Sound to conclude the day.
Day 2 - Breaksea Sound to Dusky Sound
Cruise through Acheron passage to Dusky Sound and visit the Shag Islands and Sportsman Cove. In the afternoon time will be spent as a DOC volunteer assisting DOC with current Conservation projects.
Day 3 - Explore Dusky Sound
A day of exploring Dusky Sound with shore landings and activities, exact locations to be visited will to be confirmed by the crew
Day 4 - Explore Dusky Sound
Today’s activities will be split over the course of the day dependant on the weather. Time will be spent as a DOC volunteer assisting DOC with current Conservation projects and time to explore some of the Historic sites Dusky Sound has to offer.
Day 5 - Dusky Sound to Manapouri
Arrive into Supper Cove, where you will spend 2 hours participating in conservation activities. Helicopter transfer will commence from Supper Cove to West Arm from 11.30am. Cruise across Lake Manapouri back to Manapouri Visitor Centre.
Click on “Choose Date” and search for your preferred departure date, then follow the prompts to complete your booking via this website. Alternatively contact us on 0800 65 65 01 (Freephone within New Zealand), phone +64 3 249 6000 or email us at [email protected] and our Reservations team will assist you. Please note that for website bookings the full payment will be required to confirm your booking, whereas phone & email bookings can be secured with a non-refundable deposit, with the remaining balance due 120 days before departure.
We suggest you park your vehicle in the View Street car park, in Manapouri. This is free parking for unlimited time.
We offer courtesy transfers from Te Anau to Manapouri. For transfers from Queenstown, coach connections are available for an extra cost. Please contact us for further details.
All walks are optional. The Nature Guides provide a briefing prior to heading ashore so you can decide if you wish to join in. The walks are generally leisurely and not too strenuous, allowing you time to take in the area’s flora and fauna. Please note that the tracks are often muddy.
We recommend that you bring both gumboots and sandshoes/hiking/tramping boots. As we often do beach/shore landings where at the tide sweeps in/out and short walks, gumboots (preferably ones just below the knee) are ideal to stomp around in if the tracks are wet and boggy underfoot. The crew will advise you of what they recommend you wear on each adventure.
We ask all guests to keep any of their medication with them during the transfers as you may be separated from your main bags for some time (possibly hours). We also request hand luggage is limited to a day pack/handbag, camera, raincoat and your medication.
We recommend all our guests reconfirm 48 hours prior to departure and provide details of where you will be staying the night prior to departure, confirm your pickup point and departure time.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in the price of your trip. Complimentary tea and coffee is available throughout the cruise. We have an licensed bar on board the Milford Wanderer and these drinks are available for purchase.
We have an licensed bar on board the Milford Wanderer for you to purchase drinks. We also sell a range of bar snacks and some souvenirs.
We set up an account for you for the duration of your cruise and we accept NZD cash or credit card payments.
We strongly prefer our guests to limit their luggage to 1 soft sided suitcase or backpack and 1 day pack (ie small backpack or handbag). Luggage is especially restricted for helicopter transfers.
Nearer the departure date, we will provide a detailed list of “what to bring”. However, we recommend our guests to bring gumboots / waterproof boots for onshore activities as it is often muddy on land and guest have to step into sea surge when going ashore.
Due to RealNZ's commitment to the preservation of diminishing fish stocks, it is our company policy not to fish within the Fiordland waterways (in accordance with the Guardians of the Fiordland Fisheries). We therefore ask that you do not bring any fishing gear on board. However, if weather and timing permit, there may be an option to fish outside these areas (hand line and barbless hooks are provided, must adhere to quota).
We can cater for most food requests, ranging from celiac, gluten free, vegetarian and lactose intolerant. Unfortunately we cannot cater for Kosher. Please contact us to discuss any of your dietary requirements.
We have an licensed bar on board the Milford Wanderer and these drinks are available for purchase on-board. The Milford Wanderer is not licensed for BYO so please leave any alcohol at home.
There is a space for guests to hang your wet clothes however it is not a specific drying room.
Unfortunately we cannot cater to guests who wish to scuba dive on our vessel.
The Milford Wanderer is also utilised for our Milford Sound Overnight Cruises during the summer season (November to March).
Smoking is only permitted in the designated outdoor areas on-board the Milford Wanderer. You cannot buy cigarettes on board the Milford Wanderer.