D’Urville Island Nature and History Tour

Five Day Tour to D'Urville Island, Marlborough Sounds, South Island, NZ

Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga - D'Urville Island

Meet the locals, discover the wildlife and hear about Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga’s rich culture and heritage, travelling by land and sea on this exclusive adventure to one of New Zealand's last outposts.

This island, also known as D'Urville Island, lies between Nelson near Golden Bay and Picton in the Marlborough Sounds. It is just a 15 minute ferry ride from the village of French Pass but once you cross that water you are in another world. It is the real New Zealand, with a population of around 50 residents spread around its coastline.

Crossing the path the people who choose to live in this remote environment, whether farming, fishing, or saving native species is a highlight of visiting the island.

Some of it's many highlights are the local community's conservation project, unrivalled fishing, expansive native forest reserve, scenery to distract any photographer and the stories shared by the islanders.

In earlier times the Island was New Zealand's best known site for the production and trade of quality argillite tools by the Maori. These beautifully rendered tools were used by local tribes for vegetable cultivation, building of waka (canoe) and weaponry.

A majority of the island is native forest, under the protection of the Department of Conservation, at the western side and the northern end of the island are steep hill country farms running high quality sheep and cattle.

Did you know that Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga or D'Urville Island:


  • Has a population of more than 50
  • Is New Zealand's 6th largest offshore islands
  • Has no opossums
  • Is the largest island in New Zealand to undertake a stoat eradication project
  • Its offshore island Takapourewa or Stephen's Island, strong hold to the reptile called the Tuatara
  • The waterway between the island and the mainland Te Aumiti or French Pass, which has the fastest tidal flow in New Zealand

Get your family and friends together to experience total immersion on this fascinating but often hard to access island

Departure dates:


November 9th to the 13th 2020
Mon 30th Nov to the 4th Dec  2020 SOLD OUT
Mon 15th to the 19th Feb 2021
Mon 1st to the 5th March 2021 SOLD OUT
Mon 15th to the 19th March 2021 SOLD OUT

Five days.

Comfortable two bedroom beach front cottages at a fishing lodge at Catherine Cove (own cottage and bathroom for couples, shared two bedroom cottage and 1 bathroom for twin share).


Ten seater van. Certified charter fishing vessel. Osprey water taxi. Jetty to jetty.



NZ$2,950 per person

Includes beach front cottage accommodation, all meals prepared by the resort, two way ferry crossing with van, a 6 hour charter boat tour, blue cod fishing, daily water taxi rides.


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We donate $300 to the community led Stoat Eradication Trust for each tour we take to the island. This to say thank you to the Islanders who warmly welcome us

Will tells about the local history with views over Port Hardy

D'Urville Island Wilderness Resort
D'Urville Island Wilderness Resort

Fishing at d'Urville Island
Blue cod for dinner!


Tour Features

  • Be guided into one of New Zealand's most difficult to access islands, accommodation, transport and meals are all organised for you.
  • Explore D'Urville Island from a charter boat with a local skipper.
  • Encounter wildlife and flora such at flowering Rewarewa, Fluttering Shearwaters, Dolphin and Fernbird.
  • Your guide will give you a commentary of the stories of the local families who lived here.
  • Meet locals who will share their love of the island with you.
  • Cruise through the turbulent waters of the French Pass, a thrilling experience!

Tour Inclusions

  • Travel from Blenheim to the island and return by comfortable modern Toyota Hiace van.
  • Return each night to comfortable beach front cottages with cafe and bar only steps away.
  • Knowledgeable guides.
  • All food is provided (alcoholic beverages are at your own cost, there is a bar at the resort cafe).
  • A day tour in a charter boat with a local skipper exploring the waterways around the island.
  • Guided fishing, your catch will be filleted and cooked that night.
  • Driftwood Eco Tours contributions $300 to the D'Urville Island Stoat Eradication Trust.

"A trip to D’Urville Island with Driftwood Retreat and Eco-Tours turned out to be a great experience. The history of the island from Maori settlement many years ago, to DOC’s involvement and several thriving farms today, was told to us, and we were driven all over the island to see this for ourselves. We stayed at Catherine Cove in the Wilderness Resort and our hosts Rose and Will looked after us wonderfully well. Magnificent views, interesting flora seldom seen, and even a couple of deer running across the road were all part of the trip. Totally recommended." Pat and Gordon McArthur.

Questions? Ring Will and Rose at 03 5777 651. (+64 3 5777 651 international)