Southern Historic Sites Restoration Cruise

RealNZ have teamed up with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to offer a Southern Fiordland Discovery Expedition like no other. On this unique cruise, you'll learn about DOC's conservation efforts in Fiordland and get your hands dirty with various restoration projects along the way. 

Embark on a 7 day voyage around New Zealand's most remote and beautiful fiords. Explore the likes of Dusky Sound, Preservation Inlet, and Doubtful Sound onboard the iconic Milford Wanderer vessel. With an on-board nature guide, great facilities and outstanding food prepared by our chef, you can be sure all your needs are well catered for.

What's included
  • 7 day expedition cruise of Preservation Inlet, Dusky Sound & Doubtful Sound (Helicopter transfer included)
  • Historic site restoration projects - clearing & upgrading tracks in historic site locations
  • Guided nature walks through rainforests and along deserted shorelines
  • Tender craft and kayaks for exploration of the coastline
  • Specialist nature guide to spot wildlife and share stories about the area
  • Delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef
  • Learn about DOC's conservation efforts around Fiordland and NZ, from the DOC team onboard
  • $500 of your ticket price will go directly towards supporting the conservation work you will be doing on this cruise

To book this experience, please contact us on 0800 65 65 01.


Departure Location

This 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

Milford Wanderer on expedtion

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

Sample Itinerary

True adventure doesn’t follow an itinerary.

Our crew are experts in the area with years of experience and ensure you are getting the very best bespoke experience.  Every night they will advise of the plan for the following day to give you plenty of time to take it in.  Weather, tides and sea conditions all play a role in the planning, as does the ability of the group.

Therefore, the sample journey is a general guide only, all trips are subject to change based on weather conditions and crew judgment and that’s what makes this expedition unique.

Where time allows, additional walks, tender craft exploration and kayaking activities are offered.

Day 1 - Manapouri to West Arm

Start your journey with a 10am cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri to West Arm. Helicopter in to Supper Cove, Dusky Sound and board your new home for the week, the Milford Wanderer. Spend the remainder of the day traversing Dusky Sound and Sportmans Cove. 

Day 2 - Explore Preservation Inlet

Spend the morning cruising to Preservation Inlet, the Southernmost Fiord of Fiordland. Stretch your legs on the fiords unsheltered coastlines and extensive beaches, then enjoy a leisurely walk to Puysegur Point Lighthouse. Learn its rich history and listen to stories about the day-to-day lives of the past lighthouse keepers.

Day 3/4 - Visit Historic Restoration Sites

The following two days will involve various historic site visits, restoration projects and guided nature walks. Projects will vary depending on weather but you can expect a mixture of track clearing and upgrading in historic site locations.  Day 4 will conclude with a cruise into Dusky Sound.

Day 5 - A Day in Dusky Sound

Discover the vast beauty of Dusky Sound by water and land. Visit early conservationist Richard Henry’s house site on Pigeon Island, walk through predator free Anchor Island and stop by Astronomers Point. Dusky Sound is 40km long, 8km wide and has over 300 islands, so there's plenty of areas to explore.

Day 6 - Dusky to Doubtful Sound

Begin your day with a shore landing or kayak activity and then cruise into the remote wilderness of Doubtful Sound. Your onboard nature guides will help spot some of the local wildlife including fur seals, bottlenose dolphins and Fiordland crested penguins.

Day 7 - Doubtful Sound to Manapouri

On the final day, cruise Doubtful Sound and Hall Arm. Leave the Milford Wanderer in Deep Cove and cross by coach over the stunning Wilmot Pass. Cruise across Lake Manapouri to complete your journey at the RealNZ Manapouri Visitor Centre around 4.30pm.


In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.

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