French pass, D'Urville Island activities.

French pass, D'Urville Island activities.


Short walks are available at French Pass. One leads to a small sandy beach. It is ideal for swimming and sheltered when the wind is from an easterly direction. It runs through a lovely patch of native bush. The water is clear and the beach gets the afternoon sun. This is also a popular spot for surf casting.

Another walk takes you to a lookout from which you can view the tidal race of the awesome French Pass Passage. At times you can see seals and dolphins using this piece of water along with terns, gannets, petrels and penguins. There is an account of d’Urvilles historic passage through the French Pass at the lookout.

Short coastal rock walks are also popular.

French Pass Wharf is a magnet for kids who enjoy fishing where they can catch spottie and yellow eyed mullet along with other small fish.

French Pass offers a safe swimming beach. 

D'Urville Island is blessed with areas of reserve and a diverse range of native fauna. For the more adventuresome loop walks are available. These give way to outstanding views of the outer Marlborough Sounds, French pass and surrounding area. Loop walks on d’Urville Island are offered from French Pass, duration approx 5 hours. Short walks on d’Urville lead to waterfalls and glow worm grottos.


Sport fishing and diving is available. Fishing is good with snapper, kingfish, blue cod, groper, terakihi and other specie being caught regularly. A top experience is catching and cooking your catch. Go to French Pass Sea Safaris website for details.


French Pass is only 1.5 hours from the wreck of the Mikhail Lermontov and a host of good diving sites. Visibility is usually good and there is always a piece of calm water to be found around d’Urville Island.

Rich marine life in the outer Sounds make a rewarding experience. This year large sponge gardens were discovered in the Pelorus Sound. These make for good photographic opportunities.

Sea Kayaking

A great way to spend a day or two. Both guided and freedom hire. The coast of d'Urville is both tranquil and wild, bold and spectacular with waterfalls, tunnels and bush to the waterline. If you don't have your own kayak you can kayak with 'Explore Pelorus' in the sheltered waterways from Elaine Bay.

Wildlife discovery tours

Depart 10am and 2 pm high season with French Pass Sea Safaris. See many shag species including the king shag, diving petrel, fluttering shearwater and a host of other specie as well as seals and a chance to see dolphins.

Seal/Dolphin swim 

An awesome way to encounter our friends of the sea. Seals can be seen daily while dolphins can be seen on many occasions. Swim with playful seal pups in a haul out area. Good visibility and normally calm seas offer a special experience. French Pass Sea safaris operate a marine mammal swimming permit.


Beach picnics and a host of other activities are on offer.

Traditional sailing trips on board ‘Steadfast’ are available throughout the year. We recommend the day sail with lunch.


Enjoy spectacular sunsets from the peninsular looking to the southern end of d’Urville Island and the Tasman Sea. Relax with a bottle of your favourite wine and listen to the penguins call.