World Heritage Area

With such a large area the conservation task doesn’t just fall on the Department Of Conservation but is avidly supported by the community and businesses operating here.

Overall the Tamatea/Dusky Sound restoration plan has been developed by DoC with the ambitious goals of eradicating pests, re-introducing missing species and filling biodiversity information gaps in the area. The project area includes Breaksea Sound, Acheron Passage, Wet Jacket Arm, and Dusky Sound itself, including over 700 islands, including New Zealand’s fifth largest island, Resolution Island.

Those privileged enough to spend time in Fiordland find a place beyond superlatives. The Fiordland National Park occupies the south western corner of the South Island of New Zealand and with 12500 km2 is the largest of the 14 parks – the landscape is simply stunning. From dramatic peaks, sheer rock faces drop into steep slopes descending right to the water’s edge with the temperate rainforest only just clinging on. With rainfall exceeding seven metres a year in places, thundering waterfalls and cascades appear at every turn. This is a place of many moods – wind can whip the sea’s surface into a froth of funnels and swirls, but when the day is calm, mirrored reflections are nothing short of magic. And the magic does not stop at the water’s surface. Beneath the reflections of the fiords, something unusual is happening. Fresh water soaking down through the carpeted forest floor absorbs tannins, which stain it the colour of tea. On reaching the saltwater, the less dense fresh water floats on the surface, forming a tea-stained light-blocking layer. Kelps, normally the basis of marine communities, cannot grow in the light-poor conditions, and are replaced by animals which normally inhabit greater, darker depths. At the fiord entrances and along the outer coast, conditions are very different, and much more dynamic. Here kelps flourish in the turbulent water, fostering productive marine communities where rock lobster (koura) teem and paua graze the rocks. Such profound difference between the inner fi rd environment and the entrances and open coast has fundamental implications for the fish communities. Alongside Fiordland’s fish communities live some of its special inhabitants – bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals (kekeno), Fiordland crested penguins (tawaki), and blue penguins (korora). On a lucky day, you may even see whales, which swim by where the continental shelf comes close to the coast.

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ecosystem & Wildlife

Fiordland is the home of two very different but interconnected ecosystems – above and beyond the surface of the water. And thanks to New Zealands isolation from the rest of the world there are many unique and endemic species to be marvelled at in both cases. 

In some instances you’ll even come across endangered birdlife such as the mohua (yellowhead), tieke (saddleback), kakaruai (south island robin), pateke (brown teal), whio (blue duck), kakapo (night parrot), peka-peka-tou-roa (long tailed wattled bat), oligosoma pikitanga (Sinbad Skink).

You’ll also see Kea and Kaka soaring overhead, tomtits, tui, stitchbirds and bellbirds ringing through the morning chorus.

The waters are home to local pods of bottlenose dolphins within Doubtful as well as Dusky Sound. At the start of summer humpback whales can be seen to travel down the West Coast on the way to their summer feeding grounds and big pods of Dusky Dolphins also feed just off the coast. Later in the summer Tuna take the same route and together with Kingfish become a common sight. New Zealand Fur Seals are found all along the coast and right into the Fiords. And I haven’t even mentioned the macro life. With so much to be explained and discovered you’re either welcome to do your homework before you come on board or let us explain things in context as we journey through the fiords. In the meantime you’re welcome to explore a little further through the documentary link below.

mirror world

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experience and explore pure wilderness..

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We look forward to having you onboard with us.

The New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation's primary role facilitates opportunities for individuals and businesses to contribute towards conserving New Zealand’s natural heritage — its landscapes and the native plants and animals that live among them.

The Fiordland Marine Guardians have the vision that the quality of Fiordland's marine environment and fisheries, including the wider fishery experience, be maintained or improved for future generations to use and enjoy.

The Department of Conservation runs programmes to protect and restore our species, places and heritage, and provides opportunities for people to engage with these treasures.

Our vision is for Dusky Sound to be one of the most intact ecosystems on Earth, and New Zealand's largest ‘bio bank’ – a source of endangered native species that can be sent to pest free locations throughout the country.

Conservation efforts also extend to the water ways surrounding the Fiordland National Park, commercial access to which is managed by Environment Southland.

To be part of the overall vision Pure Salt has initiated a project to remove rats from Indian Island/Mamaku in Dusky Sound in order to protect vulnerable native species on the Island as well as to reduce the risk of rats swimming to nearby rat-free Islands.

Our goal is reduce the rat population to undetectable levels to enable future translocations of native species and play our part in the overall restoration.

The work is being done using a grid network of GoodNature A24 self re-setting traps on an approximate 100 x 100 grid across the island. Over 17km of tracklines need to be cut in order to establish and maintain the 200 traps needed.  

Indian island - Mamaku project

Would like to play your part?




Book onto one of our Conservation Adventures -  your fare will go towards the project and you'll have the chance to be part of monitoring, maintenance, installation or relocations as part of the adventure.

Make a donation via the New Zealand National Parks Conservation Foundation to pay for traps and equipment. The foundation as well as ourselves will keep you in the picture about where the funds are going.

Purchase a single trap or one of the traplines directly through our store to push the project further. We'll let you know where and when it is set and how it is doing on the way to relocations.



Book on



I - Project start..

26th - 30th of October 2018

100% of the fares paid by clients went towards the project.

This trip was highly successful and we installed 40 Goodnature A24 traps and 6 rat monitoring lines, so that the team can gather data and track the progress of the project. 

II - Christmas track cutting..

27th - 31st of December 2018

A group of 12 volunteers was working towards cutting the remaining tracks on Indian Island / Mamaku so we're ready to install the next batch of traps. A great effort completing the full marking and cutting of 2/3 of the tracks on the island with the remainder marked out ready to be cut.

III - four monthly check..

7th - 9th of February 2019

Volunteers set the tracking tunnels and rebaited the existing network of A24 traps whilst we continued to cut the remaining tracks, install a donated motion camera as well as 60 further traps!!! So 50% of the traps are on the ground within 5 month of the project start. Thank you!

IV - Conservation Adventure..

12th - 16th of June 2019

All proceeds will go towards purchasing traps for Indian Island / Mamaku and part of the adventure will be dedicated to the 2nd four monthly check of the existing network as well as the 6 monitoring lines, the cutting of the remaining tracks and of course the installation of more A24s.

LegaSea is a not for profit organisation and was established by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council in 2012 to elevate public awareness of the issues that affect recreational fishers. The support funds advocacy, alignment, education and research.

VI - four monthly check..

6th - 8th of February 2020

Volunteers will set the tracking tunnels and rebait the existing network of A24 traps.

V - Conservation Adventure..

23rd - 27th of October 2019

All proceeds will go towards purchasing traps for Indian Island / Mamaku and part of the adventure will be dedicated to the 3rd four monthly check of the existing network as well as the 6 monitoring lines.

Download: Trip report 7th - 9th Feb19.pdf

If all spots sell we'll have 100% of the traps on the ground!!!!