At the outer edges of the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand's fifth largest land mass offers a quiet sanctuary from the modern world.
Large areas of ancient native forest provide an attractive setting for hiking. Sweeping views across the surrounding ocean and Marlborough Sounds reward those who climb to the peaks. If you’re staying on the island, expect a dawn chorus loud enough to wake the deepest sleeper. D’Urville is possum-free, so the native forest is alive with tui, bellbirds, native robins, weka and kaka.
Dolphins and seals are frequently seen, and fishing is generally productive. Paddling a kayak around the coast reveals a new perspective on the bays and rugged cliffs of this scenic island.
The island is named after the French explorer, Admiral Jules Cesar Dumont D'Urville. He came close to losing his ship, the Astrolabe, as he navigated the treacherous currents that sweep through French Pass between the island and the mainland.
Access to the island is by water taxi or chartered boat. Most people drive to the settlement of French Pass and take a water taxi from there. There is accommodation on the island and the unsealed roads are suitable for mountain bikes.
Functional facts: Limited accommodation, accessible by water taxi.