Close view of the stream that flows from Lake Marian to the Hollyford River in Fiorland National Park, New Zealand

Cruise to Dusky Sound (Cruising), New Zealand

Dusky Sound lies among the grand fjords of Fiordland National Park in the southwest part of New Zealand's South Island. Named by Captain Cook when he sailed by at dusk on his first voyage in 1770, this spot holds one of the area's largest fjords, at almost 25 miles long. During the rainy season, you can spot hundreds of waterfalls splashing down from the verdant green hills into the dark deep waters. During your Dusky Sound cruise, keep an eye out for sunbathing seals in repose on Seal Rock. Look out for Astronomer's Point, a former observatory dating back to 1773 that overlooks the dramatic fjord.

Things To Do in Dusky Sound (Cruising)

Falls Creek with a waterfall flowing over the mountain in the National Fiordland Park, New Zealand

Dusky Sound, New Zealand Falls Creek

Make a Resolution

Resolution Island, to the north of Dusky Sound's mouth, protects the fjord. It's the largest island in Fiordland and the seventh largest in the country. Its Five Fingers Peninsula stretches out into the protected Taumoana Marine Reserve. You'll also likely sail by Acheron Passage, which connects Dusky Sound with the calm Breaksea Sound. Watch for the plentiful waterfalls in the Wet Jacket Arm of the Bowen Channel.

View of the terrain in Routerburn in  New Zealand

Dusky Sound, New Zealand Routerburn

Spot the Track

After crossing the Southern Ocean, Captain Cook and his crew rested and made repairs in Dusky Sound at Pickersgill Harbour. In order to get a star reading, his astronomer had trees felled — you can still see this spot, called Astronomer's Point today.

Fiordland crested penguins on the coast of New Zealand

Dusky Sound, New Zealand Penguins

Fiordland Penguins

Keep your eye out for the black and white flightless birds with your Dusky Sound cruise. Dusky Sound is a breeding area for Fiordland crested penguins. It's a medium-sized penguin with yellow-striped "eyebrows" that extend out from their heads somewhat comically (look for souvenir penguins in toy shops). The timid birds are classified as endangered and love to feed on squid.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Preservation Inlet is your most likely spot to see southern right whales and humpbacks.
2 There are several islands in Dusky Sound, including Long Island, Anchor Island and Cooper Island.

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