Chris Hill Photo credit: Chris Hill

27th August to 2nd of September 2023

NEWJoin professional photographer, Michael Snedic, on this exciting new photography adventure. Experience the grand scale scenery, untamed wilderness, ice-carved mountains, forests, sounds and unique wildlife of Fiordland’s Preservation and Chalky Inlets and Doubtful and Dusky Sounds on this 7-day exploration of the Southern Fiords. Rich in natural history, geology and the location of some significant historical firsts and important restoration and conservation projects, it is easy to see why this incredible region inspired our dream for responsible travel.

Maori legend describes how demi-god Tu-te-raki-whanoa carved out the region’s fiords with his adze, Te Hamo, from rock walls to create the fiords we know today. Captain Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to visit, landing here aboard HMS Resolution in 1773 and subsequently spending five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook’s records of his discovery and maps would attract sealers and whalers not long after, who would go on to form the first European settlements of New Zealand, historically this region is very important and shaped the future of the country.

Fiordland’s Southern Fiords are only accessible by sea, making them some of the most remote areas of New Zealand’s mainland. Waterfalls, streams, rivers and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go, revealing steep gradients of mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. A rugged terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens and mosses while the calm waters are home to Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and New Zealand Fur Seals.

The isolation of the Southern Fiords has been beneficial in ensuring their epic beauty remains unspoiled and historic sites undisturbed. In these calm waters, away from the crowds, we plan to explore and photograph some of the most unique and wild parts of New Zealand as we sail though these beautiful fiords and landscapes. A photographer's paradise!

We will have a maximum of 8 photographers on this expedition, led by professional nature photographers and tutor, Michael Snedic

Photographers of all experience levels are welcome. Michael will be guiding you and supporting your photography during the expedition. Not just in taking photographs in the field, but also in reviewing and refining your photos along the way.

Contact Michael Snedic directly
on +61 408 941 965

J.Mishina

© J.Mishina

Steve Bradley

© Steve Bradley

Your 
photography 
leader and tutor - Michael Snedic

On this expedition you will have access every day to a professional nature photographer and instructor. Michael is there to help you photograph the stunning scenery and wildlife we will encounter. He will be conducting a series of classes throughout the voyage, as well as being on-hand throughout the outings for one-on-one time.

Michael is an experienced photographic tutor (19 years) and photographer (26 years), is a widely published wildlife and nature photographer, as well as a writer and tutor. His articles and images have featured in many magazines, calendars, diaries, books, brochures, billboards and many other publications, throughout Australia and the world.

Michael is a Nikon School tutor for Australia, a photography competition judge and regularly presents audio-visual presentations at photographic clubs. He has been conducting photography workshops and tours across Australia and the world for many years. Michael loves sharing his photographic knowledge and passion with workshop participants, helping them improve their photographic skills.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1: Te Anau/Preservation Inlet

Make your way to the designated meeting point in Te Anau then take in the awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy a spectacular helicopter transfer to join Heritage Explorer in Preservation Inlet (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents). The captain and expedition leader will be waiting to welcome you aboard Heritage Explorer and show you to your cabin. Settle into life aboard before we set sail along Long Sound and enjoy your first impressions of the fiords and the unrestrained landscape of Southern Fiordland.

Chris Todd © Chris Todd

Day 2: Preservation Inlet

Today is dedicated to exploring Preservation Inlet, rich in history we will delve into the gold mining and forestry attempts that once made this now quiet waterway a bustling hub of activity. The area’s natural bounty saw more than 2,500 gold miners and saw millers flock to the region in the late 1890s, this early settler history at mining towns Cromarty and Te Oneroa, now reclaimed by nature, can still be observed, none more spectacularly than at the failed Tarawera Mine and Smelter, where the ruins of the smelter’s three-storey chimney were restored in 2015. Among the activity Preservation Inlet can also lay claim to having New Zealand’s first whaling station at Cuttle Cove and the location of one of the country’s most remote lighthouses at Puysegur Point, which began operation in 1879, perched some 40-feet above the south island’s most south- western point. Here a great coastal walk, formerly a telegraph track built to connect the lighthouse, leads to the old landing shed at Otago Retreat.

K. Riedel
© K. Riedel

Day 3: Chalky Inlet

The entrance to Chalky Inlet is guarded by the impressive limestone cliffs of Chalky Island, the inspiration behind Captain Cook’s naming of the fiord. One of several important predator free islands in the inlet including Great Island and Passage Islands, Chalky Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most critically endangered bird species including the Little Spotted Kiwi and Kakapo, and endemic Te Kakahua Skink, discovered in 2002. The protected harbours at North and South Port offer much to explore as the centres of the human history in the inlet with North Port the final resting place of the rusting hulk of purposely grounded GSS Stella. While South Port reveals an industrial past with the remnants of once prolific sawmilling activity. Sailing to the head of the fiord the surrounding mountains envelope us with their majesty.

 Steve Bradley_3 © Steve Bradley

Days 4 & 5: Dusky Sound

Over the following two days we plan to leisurely expedition cruise through Dusky Sound visiting some of the most significant historical and conservation sites in New Zealand as well as marvelling at the majestic scenery as we sail deep into the heart of Fiordland. A navigation through Acheron Passage, which separates Resolution Island from the mainland, is sure to be one of the highlights of our time in Fiordland. Predator-free Anchor Island homes half of the world’s population of Kakapo and Little Spotted Kiwi and is also the location of historic Luncheon Cove and a number of New Zealand firsts including New Zealand’s first sealing gang, the building of New Zealand’s first European homestead and first European designed ship, the 16-metre Providence built here and launched in 1795. On nearby Pigeon Island learn the history of Richard Henry and his pioneering live transfer of birds to island refuges – an international first in wildlife conservation. While his attempts were unsuccessful due to stoats swimming over to the island, it is heartening to learn the island is now pest free and a sanctuary for native birdlife, with Henry’s vision fulfilled.

 Steve Bradley © Steve Bradley

Day 6: Breaksea & Doubtful Sounds

After a quiet night aboard surrounded by the nature and wilderness of Breaksea Sound join your naturalists on deck to spot seabirds including the majestic Wandering and Buller’s Albatross as we pass Breaksea Island, which guards the entrance to Breaksea Sound. It was on Breaksea Island that the first successful island rat eradication program was completed, today it is a protected nature reserve of great significance to the many endangered species which call the island home. From here we sail onwards towards some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Fiordland – Doubtful Sound, or the sound of silence as it’s also known. Spanning some staggering 40-kilometres and holding the title as New Zealand’s deepest fiord, Doubtful Sound with its cloud-scraping wilderness cloaked mountains, sheer cliffs, waterfalls, inlets, quiet coves and wildlife presents nature on a scale so grand it’s off the chart. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner.

Doubtful Sound

Day 7: Doubtful Sound/Te Anau

This morning we navigate to the very head of Doubtful Sound in Deep Cove home to several waterfalls including Helena and Lady Alice Falls. After a final breakfast and farewells, head ashore where a transfer to Te Anau, via the picturesque Wilmot Pass, the road constructed as part of the Manapouri hydro scheme, awaits.

Steve Bradley © Steve Bradley

Health and Fitness

Anyone in normal good health can join us on this adventure. There are no special fitness requirements, although we will be often climbing into and out of the inflatable Zodiac boats, and walking on shore. Out on the ocean and exposed to the elements it can get quite cold. But it is summer and at times in the sun it can be quite warm. If you have specific health concerns or dietary requirements the staff at Heritage will be able to advise you.

M. Crouch © M. Crouch

Our Ship – Heritage Explorer

New Zealand-built expedition yacht Heritage Explorer joins Heritage Expedition's small ship fleet creating new opportunities of discovery around the shores of New Zealand. Setting a new standard for discovery travel in New Zealand, Heritage Explorer combines the ultimate in comfort with unique itineraries and a personalised experience with a maximum of just 18 guests on board

Heritage Explorer is a 30-metre, 4-deck New Zealand flagged vessel built in 2004 by the renowned wooden boat building family Carey's Boatyard in Picton. It features a contemporary wood-finished interior, 10 well-appointed cabins across three decks, dining room boasting spectacular 180-degree panoramas and theatre capabilities; lounge and bar featuring a flight of inclusive regional New Zealand wines and beers; and a well-stocked local library.

 

Heritage Explorer

Heritage Explorer ship plan
heritage_explorer_salvins_double

Inclusions

  • Expert photography tuition with Michael Snedic
  • Landing fee
  • Pre-cruise helicopter transfer 
  • Post-cruise coach transfer
  • All on board ship accommodation with meals
  • All shore excursions and activities.
  • House drinks
  • Expert onboard naturalist guides.

Exclusions

  • All items of a personal nature
  • Laundry
  • Domestic flights
  • Queenstown packages
  •  Travel insurance.

Fiordland

Prices

The trip is being put together with our partners at Heritage Expeditions in Christchurch, and they take care of the bookings and travel arrangements for us, while Michael runs the photography program.

There are a variety of cabin classes. As usual with these ships your choice of berth/cabin type directly impacts the price of your ticket.

These prices are in New Zealand dollars per person. 

 

Steve Bradley
© Steve Bradley

Buller’s - Lower Deck NZ$7045 pp
Salvin’s Double - Lower Deck NZ$7725 pp
Salvin’s Twin - Lower Deck NZ$7725 pp
Wandering - Lower Deck NZ$8045 pp
Royal - Bridge Deck NZ$9145 pp

A 25% deposit is required to secure your place.

NB: PRICE INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHY TUITION FEE BY MICHAEL SNEDIC, WHICH WILL BE INVOICED SEPARATELY

  • Bullers - Located on the Lower Deck, the Buller’s cabin features one bunk (one upper and one lower berth), ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a porthole.
  • Salvin’s Double - Located on the Lower Deck, Salvin’s Double cabins feature a double bed, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a picture porthole.
  • Salvin’s twin - Located on the Lower Deck, Salvin’s Twin cabins feature two lower berths, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a picture porthole.
  • Wandering - Located on the Lower Deck, Wandering cabins feature one lower single berth, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, TV, PABX satellite telephone, private en suite and a porthole.
  • Royal - Located on the Bridge Deck, our Master Suite features a spacious bedroom with a queen-sized bed, ample storage with wardrobe and drawers, mirror and washbasin, private en suite, personal climate control, TV, PABX satellite telephone, window and French doors opening out on to the covered Bridge Deck.

How to book

To reserve your place or just to ask more questions about this photo expedition, please contact Michael either via his Contact Form or by calling +61 408 941 965.

 

Queenstown packages

Heritage Expeditions offers accommodation and transfer packages with DoubleTree by Hilton, Queenstown (please request details for more information).

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