Your adventure will begin as you cruise north from Picton on one of the Beachcomber’s fleet through the drowned river valleys of the Queen Charlotte Sound, past idyllic bays where jetties jut into silken water. If you are lucky you may see some of the rich wildlife of this unique region: dolphins, orcas, seals, penguins, albatross and gannets.
Your skipper will talk about the history, geology, flora and fauna of the area and – if there is time- will get closer to any passing wildlife, including dolphins who like to play in the wake of the boat.
In the 1770s, sheltered Ship Cove provided safe anchorage, food, water and timber for explorer Captain James Cook and his ship crews on five separate occasions and saw some of the earliest sustained contact between Mäori and Europeans.
There is plenty of historical information at Ship Cove before you climb away from the beach through native forest regenerating beneath a high canopy of trees. The forest includes manuka, kanuka, five finger and tree ferns and is home to many native New Zealand bird species: tui, fantails, silvereyes and tomtits. If you stop for a break, a curious weka may come to check you out.
When you reach Tawa Saddle, stunning views of the Queen Charlotte Sound spread out before you. The track then drops into Resolution Bay and follows an old bridle path into Endeavour Inlet.
Furneaux Lodge at the head of the Endeavor Inlet is your destination. Here you can buy drinks and meals and relax before boarding your cruise vessel at approximately 4:00pm for your return to Picton.