Dusky Sound Conservation Expeditions

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.


  • Learn about the Department of Conservation’s conservation efforts in Fiordland and the rest of the country, from the DOC team on board
  • See some of the conservation work that’s being done
  • Raise funds for Fiordland conservation projects including the Cooper Island Restoration Project. - $500 of your ticket price goes towards these causes.

This 5 day, 4 night expedition includes a helicopter flight, comfortable cabins onboard the Milford Wanderer and delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef.

Conservation Expedition dates:

  • 24 - 28 Sep 2023


More Information

Departure Location

The Dusky Sound Conservation Expedition departs from the RealNZ Manapouri Visitor Centre, 64 Waiau Street.

Getting to Manapouri

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.

Milford Wanderer - your home in the fiords

The Milford Wanderer in Dusky Sound

The Milford Wanderer

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. 

  • 32 passengers per departure
  • Warm, comfortable accommodation (two passengers per sleeping compartment)  
  • Duvets, sheets and towels provided
  • Modern shared bathroom facilities with hot showers 
  • Delicious meals prepared by onboard chef  
  • Open bridge policy - chat with the skipper during the voyage
  • Kayaks and small motorised craft available for passenger use

Guest Speaker - Lou Sanson

Lou Sanson

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:

  • Awarded the New Zealand Antarctic Polar Medal (AMP) for services to Antarctic scenic and diplomacy
  • Led the NZ Antarctic Research programme to one of the top 5 programmes in the world
  • Led complex international projects such as Predator Free Campbell Island, ANDRILL and construction of Antarctica’s largest wind farm
  • Awarded the Randstad Award for the most attractive employer to work In NZ for 5 years in a row
  • Played a critical role in the establishment of the NZ Predator Free movement
  • Bachelor of Forestry Science (Hons) and was top graduate at University of Canterbury

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.


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