When you travel to Fiordland, you are visiting one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand!
The extraordinary beauty of Fiordland was recognised by the United Nations in 1986 when it was made a World Heritage Area. The Fiordland National Park was described as having “superlative natural phenomena” and “outstanding examples of… the earth’s evolutionary history”.
Fiordland’s west coast is deeply indented by 14 fiords spanning 215 kilometres of coastline. We focus our cruises further south than the more visited Milford Sound.
Doubtful Sound (also known as the “sound of silence”) is the second largest and 3 times longer than Milford. We also cruise Dusky Sound which is the largest at 40 kilometres long and eight kilometres wide. Captain Cook noted its entrance during his first voyage to New Zealand in 1770. On his second visit he established workshops and an observatory which we visit.
Fiordland National Park is the largest in New Zealand, at almost 10,000 square kilometres. Its Jurassic pristine glacial carved valleys are breathtakingly majestic, during this unique cruise you are highly likely to see fur seals, crested penguin’s, dolphins and maybe even whales.
The top 3 metres of the water is fresh due to rain and melting snow. With the salt underneath, it’s crystal clear. Rain washes through the leaf litter on the forest floors and into the fiords, staining the surface water a dark tea colour. Some say the environment below the water is as unique as the landscape above.
This vast remote deep wilderness enclosed by giant moss-covered gnarled trees, towering waterfalls and steep cliff faces just cannot be put into words. Surrounded by ancient native bush, the area is uninhabited… and let’s not forget the world-class fishing.
All walks are optional – you may wish to just stay on board and relax.
Our vessel Affinity is ideally suited for getting up close to waterfalls and shore lines, providing guests with world-class photo opportunities. We serve hearty Kiwi-style meals for our small groups, often supplemented with freshly caught seafood. You will enjoy your own private cosy cabin to retreat to at the end of your adventure packed days.
7-12 Day Tour
7 days / 6 nights
An average level of fitness. Walk 7kms, Bike 25kms. Well formed tracks and roads with very little incline.
Price: NZ$2869NZ$2929in 2020
Te Anau to Dusky Sound
The Launch Affinity
Your adventure starts from your overnight accommodation in Te Anau. At approximately 0830, Real Journeys will pick you up and bring you to the vessel Affinity.
The trip includes a coach to the Manapouri wharf then a cruise across Lake Manapouri, where at the other side you will board another coach for the trip over the scenic Wilmot Pass and down into Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound where Affinity will be waiting for you.
You arrive at Deep Cove about 12 noon. As soon as you are settled and after a briefing on the safety aspects, we will depart and cruise down the fiord. Lunch will be served as you cruise and explore Doubtful Sound.
Weather permitting; it’s down the coast to Breaksea and Dusky Sounds to explore the maze of arms, channels and islands.
On these days you explore the Fiords and visit the historic sites in this part of the world
– The first European house site
– Where the first European baby was born
– The first recorded European shipwreck and the site where New Zealand’s first sawn timber ship was built.
You also learn of the importance of the area to the explorer Captain James Cook who spent time here in the 1770’s.
You will visit Astronomer’s Point where Cook and his team of astronomers cut down some trees and set up camp to enable them to take measurements of the planet Venus.
We take a visit to a cove where a number of fur seal pups swim around the rocks, when we put the tender in the water the pups are very noisy and like to swim alongside and pop up out of the water to see what’s going on.
This is very special, as there aren’t many places in the world where you can do this. You are also able to get some amazing and very cute photos.
On these days you also have the opportunity to get off the vessel and walk through the beautiful native bush to experience wonderful scenery like nowhere else in this world.
We also pull up close to roaring waterfalls cascading down sheer cliffs, great photo opportunities.
You also have time to fish for Groper, Blue Cod and other big species that we find down here and the crew will cook them for dinner.
Dusky to Doubtful Sound
Today you return to Doubtful Sound and explore some of the areas around this historic place.
Doubtful Sound to Te Anau
Today is your final day with us on your magnificent cruise in this World Heritage Park.
We take it easy and slowly make our way up Doubtful Sound while investigating the various arms.
We end up back at Deep Cove at approximately 2pm to meet up with the coach for your return journey back to your accommodation in Te Anau arriving around 5pm.
Accommodation is onboard the vessel in eight cabins (twin share – bed and bunk or double bed)
Tea, Coffee and Juice are available.
If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking.
All meals are included in your tour cost. Wine and other beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.
There are no laundry facilities available. Small items can be hand washed.
Q. How long have you been operating?
A. Affinity Cruises have been operating since 1996.
Q. What are the cabins like?
A. Seven cabins can be either double (double bed on the bottom with a single bed above the foot) or twin share (two single bunk style beds with the second bed above the foot of the bottom bed). One cabin is either just a single or double, does not have bed across the foot of the other bed.
Q. What bedding / linen is provided?
A. Each bed is made ready for your arrival with sheets and duvets. You are allocated two towels for a seven day cruise, this is to reduce the effect on the environment.
Q. What if I have special dietary requirements?
A. There is a place on the booking form that covers your requirements. We will do our very best to accommodate your requirements but in some cases we may ask you to bring along some of your favourites.
Q. What is there to buy in your on board shop?
A. Items such as T-Shirts, hats, coasters, drink bottles, key rings etc…
Q. I often suffer from seasickness – what can you suggest to help me?
A. Ginger is known to contain properties to alleviate nausea. There is also other options from pharmacies and supermarkets (sea legs tablets, pressure bands etc…) If you are feeling unwell talk to one of the crew as soon as possible.
Q. Am I limited to the amount of luggage I can bring?
A. As there is limited room onboard we recommend 1 medium sized bag per person.
Q. What is the temperature in Fiordland?
A. Average temperature over winter in Fiordland can range between 20 – 30°c
Q. Is there secure car storage while I am onboard?
A.Yes in Te Anau please ask for contact details when enquiring.