Real Journeys 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 DOC’s conservation efforts in Fiordland from onboard DOC staff.
Spend time doing real conservation work like clearing, setting or fixing stoat traps, track cutting and clearing and general clearing on one of three islands (Indian, Cooper or Resolution) or key locations in Dusky Sound.
Raise funds for DOC’s Dusky Sound Preservation Programme – a percentage of your ticket price goes towards this cause.
This 5 day, 4 night expedition includes a helicopter flight, comfortable cabins on board the Milford Wanderer and delicious meals prepared by our on-board chef.
- Suitable for all ages with the exception of children under 10 years - Children's rates apply for ages 10 - 14 years - We offer "twin-share" accommodation (2 people per sleeping compartment), but "single occupancy" or "single-share" options may be available - "Terms & Conditions" for Conservation Expeditions - please refer to Discovery Expeditions Terms and Conditions - please read carefully - Limited spaces may be available even if the departure is displaying as "Full" - please contact us for the latest availability
The Dusky Sound Conservation Expedition departs from the Real Journeys Visitor Centre in Manapouri.
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
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.
The Milford Wanderer
Designed along the lines of a traditional sailing scow, it has old world charm combined with modern facilities and the latest in safety equipment. After recent refurbishment 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 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
The following tour description summarises the intended trip - however weather conditions may dictate the final itinerary.
The trip departs Manapouri 9.45am – crossing Lake Manapouri to West Arm. From here you will be transferred by helicopter to Supper Cove in Dusky Sound. There you will arrive at the Milford Wanderer, your accommodation for the duration of your expedition.
After commencing cruise, you will enjoy a delicious lunch followed by a short talk on the coming days activities.
A visit to Pickersgill Harbour, Astronomers Point for walk and learn about the area.
Today will focus on DoC Conservation Day. You will visit three islands that are currently under-going predator eradication and DoC is releasing native birds back on to.
Indian Island: You will assist with stoat trap checking and Robin bird monitoring plus hear interpretation and an educational talk by DoC staff throughout the day.
Long Island: You will also assist with stoat trap checking and setting out acoustics recorders plus interpretation and educational talks
Anchor Island: Some more stoat trap checking and hear a talk about the Anchor Island Restoration Project and bird monitoring.
In evening, the three DoC staff will give a presentation on the wider conservation projects going on within Dusky Sound & Fiordland in general.
In the morning, you will visit Pigeon Island, the site of early conservationist Richard Henry's house. We will the travel through Acheron Passage to Breaksea Sound, with a talk on the Resolution Island Project underway by DoC.
We will continue cruising to Breaksea Sound and at entrance to Breaksea Sound and learn about DoC's predator free Breaksea Island work.
In the morning we will travel down Bradshaw Sound and will stop for a shore visit at either Grono Beach or the “Gut Hut” site. DoC staff to give a talk on the Secretary Island Pest Eradication Project & bird releases on the island. Finally we will cruise through Doubtful Sound and arrive back at the wharf by mid afternoon, allowing us time to travel over Wilmot Pass and returing to Manapouri about 4.30pm.
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Where can I park my car / campervan in Manapouri?
We suggest you park your vehicle in the View Street car park, in Manapouri. This is free parking for unlimited time.
What power is available onboard?
Power points are 240volts and available 7am – 9pm, while the main generators are operating.
Are there hairdryers onboard?
There are hairdryers available on-board in the communal bathrooms.
Do we need to pay for our meals or drinks while on-board?
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 on-board.
What can I purchase onboard?
We have an licensed bar on board the Milford Wanderer and these drinks are available for purchase on-board. We also sell a range of bar snacks and some souvenirs.
How can I pay for things onboard?
We set up an account for you for the duration of your cruise and we accept cash, cheque or credit card payments.
What is essential for the helicopter transfer?
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.
How much luggage can I bring?
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.
What should I pack/bring?
Please see our detailed list of “what to bring” on the ‘More Info’ tab on this page. 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. Please note that all shoes for wearing onshore are to be kept outside your luggage at check-in, as we need to put them in a salt water bath to eliminate any seeds or didymo before entering the National Park (new shoes do not need to be dipped).
Do you allow fishing?
Due to Real Journeys’ 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 not to bring any fishing gear on-board. However, if weather and timing permits, there may be an option to fish outside these areas (hand line and barbless hooks are provided, must adhere to quota).
How fit do I need to be to take part in the activities?
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.
Do I need to reconfirm before departure?
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.
What types of dietary intolerances/allergies can you cater for on-board?
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.
Are we allowed to bring alcohol on-board the boat?
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.
Is there a drying room on-board?
There is a space for guests to hang your wet clothes however it is not a specific drying room.
Are we able to scuba dive if we have our certificates?
Unfortunately we cannot cater to guests who wish to scuba dive on our vessel.
What footwear do we need to take on-board and for when we go for walks in the bush?
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.
Do you provide pick ups and drop offs from Queenstown, Te Anau to Manapouri?
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.
Why don't the Discovery Expeditions operate all year round?
Click on “Book your cruise now” and search for your preferred departure date and 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 7416 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and our Reservations team will assist you.
Are we allowed to smoke on-board the vessel?
Smoking is only permitted in the designated outdoor areas on-board the Milford Wanderer. You cannot buy cigarettes on board the Milford Wanderer.
Are the rooms ensuite?
The Milford Wanderer has shared bathroom facilities on board.
What music instruments do we have on-board?
We have a guitar on board the boat but you are most welcome to bring along your own.