An Adventure Bringing the Noise to New Zealand’s Dusky Sound

Travel around the isolated waters of New Zealand’s South and preserve its beauty.

By Terry Christodoulou 30/04/2019

Step back in time on an adventure into remote areas of Dusky Sound explored by Captain Cook, while supporting vital conservation work to bring back the call of endemic bird species.
The Conservation Adventure starts from Te Anau, where a helicopter transports guests over the Fiordland region to Dusky Sound. You then join your new home – the MV Flightless – a 28-metre ex-Navy expedition vessel equipped with international survey gear, water-maker, diesel stove, air-conditioning, three bathrooms and a huge back deck with dining table for communal meals of venison, crayfish, or abalone caught within metres of the boat.

Photo: Talman Masden Photography

The boat travels for four days through the steep, U-shaped fiord on an intimate journey for no more than 12 guests. The concealed routes are devoid of tourists and are not accessible by road, taking guests through ridges untouched since the arrival of Captain Cook in 1773.
However, as part of the adventure and access, there is real conservation work to do. The land once reported by Captain Cook to have ‘deafening’ birdsong, is now silent due to introduced predators that have devastated the local birdlife. Part of the trip will have guests hands-on in an effort to regenerate the native birdlife. The profits of their trip will go into further conservation work on the Tamatea/Dusky Sound projects in order to help the struggling local bird species thrive.

The team behind this adventurous plan is Sean Ellis, and Maria Kuster founders of Pure Salt NZ who do not see their experience as tourism. “It’s about raising awareness and being inspired and taking ideas home,” Sean explains. “Ultimately it comes down to being a part of looking after our New Zealand, a philosophy that is in line with New Zealand’s goal to be predator-free by 2050.”

Available in June and October, a 4-day / 3-night conservation focussed trip on Flightless with Maria and Sean costs from $3514 per person. This includes one and a half days hands-on with conservation work, two helicopter flights to and from the boat, all food, guiding and activities on board.

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