D’Urville Island Wildlife Tour

Five Day Tour to D'Urville Island

Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga / d'Urville Island

 

Meet the locals, discover the wildlife and hear about Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga’s rich heritage, travelling by land and sea on this extraordinary heartland tour.

This island, also known as d'Urville, remains one of New Zealand’s most intriguing and remote corners, with a rich history, remarkable conservation efforts, stunning scenery and brilliant characters.

The Island was New Zealand's best known site for the production of argillite tools, thanks to the mineral belt running through its middle. The tools were used by Maori for cultivation, waka (canoe building) and weaponry.

Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga has a number of smaller off shore islands, some of which are under conservation protection for their unique wildlife, including Takapourewa (Stephen’s Island) Kuru Pongi (Trio Islands) and the three beautiful Rangitoto Islands.

A large proportion of the island is native forest, under the protection of the Department of Conservation, with the balance in striking steep farmland.

With wild corners, rugged bluffs, lush bush and a backyard of surging ocean, the island offers some of the best scenery in the country.

Rose who owns Driftwood Eco Tours with her husband Will, went to school at French Pass on the mainland and lived opposite the southern end of the island.

She says that meeting the people who choose to live in this remote environment - whether farming, fishing, or fighting to save native species - is what makes your tour special. “There’s a hospitality there that only islanders understand, and we love taking guests to visit the homes of our friends on the island.”

The French Pass is a reef between the mainland and the island, and a reminder of nature’s force. At certain times of the day, the water can travel at up to 8 knots on the tide, creating a turbulent current of whirlpools and eddies. That makes for an exciting boat ride and a remarkable experience.

Departure dates: 

Mon 12th Nov 2018 (with native flora) Relaxed. Week after Garden Marlborough
Mon 26th Nov 2018 (with native flora) Active
Sun 3th Feb 2019 Relaxed. Week before the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival
Mon 4th Mar 2019 Active
Mon 11th Mar 2019 Relaxed

Active means one to half day walks which could  include some uphill hikes.

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

 

Duration:
Five days.

 

Accommodation:
Comfortable beach front cottages at a fishing lodge at Catherine Cove (shared bathrooms).

 

Transport:
Eight seater van. Certified charter fishing vessel. Osprey water taxi.

 

What to bring:

We will send you a list of what to bring at the time of booking.

Price:

NZ$2800 per person

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

 

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!

Catherine Cove
Firelight at Catherine Cove.

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The French Pass is also legendary for its superb fishing, and we will have an opportunity to catch a dinner of delicious blue cod, which will be cooked for you at the resort.

It is an area full of history, some of which is beautifully conveyed in Gerald Hindmarsh’s book ‘Angelina’, the tale of life of the Italian early settler Angelina Moleta and her close friend, a high born Maori woman call Wetekia Ruruku Elkington.

On our tour, you will also hear stories of ship wrecks, explorers, whalers, and early settlers, and their lives on this island , once considered part of the nautical ‘highway’.

If weather is suitable, we will go on a once in a life time charter boat tour to explore the rocky offshore islands, lagoons and inlets. On this trip you will hear about the genealogy of the local iwi, Ngati Koata.

You will stay each night in the comfort of beach front cottages, and your meals and packed lunches are all supplied by the resort, leaving you free to explore the area and relax and soak up the island's atmosphere.

Tour Features

  • See one of New Zealand's most remote places, accommodation, transport and meals are all organised for you.
  • A explore d'Urville Island and French Pass from a charter boat with a local tour guide.
  • The opportunity to have wildlife encounters with forest and sea birds and maybe seals and dolphin.
  • Your guide will give you a commentary of the stories of the local families who lived here.
  • Meet local identities and hear their first hand stories of this fascinating area.
  • Cruise through the turbulent waters of the French Pass, a thrilling experience!

Tour Inclusions

• Accommodation on the beach front.
• A guide who is knowledgeable and has connections to the area.
• 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 as part of the day on the water which will be cooked for you later.
• Driftwood Eco Tours will make a contribution of $300 to the local community conservation effort.

"We were fortunate to be on the 1st D’Urville Island tour, covering much of the island, enjoying amazing scenery, wonderful nature & visiting some very interesting local families. A highly recommended trip". John & Rosemary, Christchurch.