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 heartland opportunity.

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 an island far from the tourist hot spots, it is the real New Zealand, with a population of around 50 residents.

Meeting the people who choose to live in this remote environment, whether farming, fishing, or fighting to save native species is real gem of the island. There’s a special kind of hospitality that remains here.

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

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.

On the first day will experience the thrill of being taken through the rapids of New Zealand's vertical waterfall, the French Pass with its whirl pools and rapids. The French Pass is a reef between the mainland and the island, at certain times of the day the tide can move up to 8 knots, creating a turbulent current of whirlpools and eddies. That makes for an exciting boat ride and a remarkable experience. The area is also legendary for its superb fishing, and you will have an opportunity to catch a dinner of delicious blue cod, which will be cooked for you at the resort.

Departure dates:

Mon 11th Nov 2019 (with native flora)Week after Garden Marlborough. BOOKED OUT


Mon 25th Nov 2019. JUST 2 SEATS LEFT!


Sun 2nd Feb 2020 - Before the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival. BOOKED OUT


Mon 2nd Mar 2020. BOOKED OUT


Mon 16th Mar 2020. BOOKED OUT


Mon 27th April 2020. BOOKED OUT


Departure point: Blenheim, (Pick up at Havelock and Rai Valley also possible), South Island, NZ.


Missed out? Ask to go on our wait list and  tour dates are available now for the 2020-21 season. 

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.



NZ$2,850 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.


DISECT Logo Small-p1ck1h6mkk1djs1sfi1qtn98c1ohk

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.
  • Blue cod fishing which 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)