French Pass is the ideal location to base your stay while exploring French Pass, d'Urville Island and the Western Marlborough Sounds.
French Pass village is a small timeless seaside port, gateway to a world of adventure and wildlife. Scattered islands and inlets make a stunning backdrop to the quaint village. Rich in wildlife and steeped in history French Pass inspires all who visit.
A spectacular and breathtaking drive gives way to a bird's eye view of Croisilles harbour, Outer Pelorus Sounds, Admiralty Bay and d'Urville Island. The drive to French Pass is claimed as one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand and will bring you through cleared farmland, mineral belts and rainforest before arriving at our door.
Having dived and holidayed in the area for most of his life Danny and Lyn moved to French Pass in 1999 to bring up their family in a natural environment. The need to support the family in a remote area led them to develop French Pass Sea Safaris & Beachfront Villas . Danny and Lyn's commitment to conservation and nature appreciation was the logical step to follow and grew with the development of the business. Today Danny and Lyn are even more appreciative of the unique values, nature and wildlife of the area. This commitment and experience is the essence of French Pass Sea Safaris, a small family business that has won two local tourism awards for best activity and business excellence.
Our objective is to touch the Mauri which leads to a sense of unity between man and nature and to inform, share, inspire and care for the wonder and beauty of this outstanding area by providing quality services, experience and information. French Pass Sea Safaris & Beachfront Villas are members of the Nelson Sustainable Tourism Charter and are active in Wildlife management.
One of the world's rarest seabirds, the king shag, is local and endemic to the area. Blue penguins, gannets, white fronted terns, petrels, mollymawks, shearwaters, fish, seals and four dolphin species can all be seen in these semi sheltered waters.
French Pass Sea Safaris provide on water tours making it accessible to view this large range of seabirds and marine mammals. Some species are seasonal.
The Tuatara, living relic of a bygone reptilian era, survives on nearby Stephens Island. Kaka, bellbird, tui, bush robin, pigeon and yellow crowned parakeet still survive on surrounding islands. French pass, acting like a funnel, provides a gateway for marine mammals to venture into the sounds. Four dolphin species can be seen in French Pass waters throughout the year these being Bottlenose, Dusky, Common dolphin and Orca. Occasionally whales visit and the NZ fur seal can be seen year round. Small playful seal pups, away from the breeding colonies, are a delight to swim with.
During the cooler months Dusky dolphins, Australasian gannets, shearwaters and shags all share the area foraging and feeding showing nature at its best. French Pass is one of only two places in the world where this activity can be easily seen. Bookings off-season are essential as tours run on request.
French Pass Sea Safaris are privileged to hold a Marine Mammal watching and swimming permit allowing visitors a rare face-to-face encounter with marine mammals.
The Maori and European name for French Pass
Te Aumiti comes from the myth of the formation of the straight by a great shag named Te-kawau-a-toru, while the European name comes from the 1827 visit of French explorer Dumont d'Urville . The French Pass also has a place in modern history as the home of the famous dolphin Pelorus Jack known to Maori as Kaikaiawaro. Pelorus Jack accompanied vessels across Admiralty Bay to French Pass for over two decades up until 1912. Today a lookout and interpretation panels tell visitors about this remarkable dolphin.
Short on time
Enquire about a fly in option by floatplane from Picton or helicopter from any of the main centres. Experience the 'real New Zealand' French Pass is not to be missed.
The book 'Angelina' by Gerard Hindmarsh a family story from Stomboli to d'Urville Island, is now available. Signed copies can be purchased at French Pass Sea Safaris or purchased on line. $35 plus post.
Nautilus book awards finalist 'Echoes in the Blue' an entertaining and thought provoking read on whaling is also available. Written by C. George Muller. $40 plus post.
DVD 'Natures Presence' in High Definition. A short 30min DVD gives an inside look at some special encounters with local wildlife. Seals, Dolphins & Seabirds. Unique footage filmed above and below the water. Now with 3 bonus short films, 'Dolphin Tails' 'Sea Safaris' and 'Wildlife Threats' representing great value. Buy now for only $25 plus post.
Order any of the above by making your request via the Email address below or through our 'booking page'.
French Pass Sea Safaris & Beachfront Villas
Tel/Fax: +64 3576 5204
Danny and Lyn Boulton
RD3, French Pass, Marlborough Sounds New Zealand
Bookings: You are advised to make early bookings. Bookings are only deemed confirmed on the payment of a deposit. Refunds will be given 14 days notification of cancellation on accommodation and activities. French Pass Sea Safaris and Beachfront Villas reserve the right to change or cancel tours in adverse weather conditions.