A long narrow fjord extending north-eastwards between Gulches Head to the north and Puysegur Point to the south. Coal Island lies at the entrance. Its innermost arm is known as Long Sound which is the outlet of Long Burn. Gray River flows nearby the inlet.
A large part of the interior of Preservation Inlet is protected by the Te Tapuwae o Hua (Long Sound) Marine Reserve.
Known to early sealers and whalers, it was named by Captain Eber Bunker in 1809. The first shore-based whaling station in New Zealand was established here in 1828 or 1829, exploiting southern right whales in the area.
In the 1890s gold deposits were found. Two settlement known as Cromarty and Te Oneroa were established in Kisbee Bay for miners. However by 1904 only a few miners were left, and few traces of the settlements remain.  
After a massive exploitation for over years, southern right whales finally started returning into the inlet along with Chalky Inlet. There are anecdotal sightings of Hector's dolphins. while bottlenose dolphins are more regularly observed. Southern elephant seals are occasionally observed resting on shore around the inlet.
- Wises New Zealand Guide, 7th Edition, 1979. pp. 355-56
- "2. – Whaling – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Teara.govt.nz. 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
- Preservation Inlet from Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- Wises New Zealand Guide, 7th Edition, 1979. p. 77
-  Archived May 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Look out for endangered southern right whales | Scoop News". Scoop.co.nz. 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
-  Archived October 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Hector's Dolphin Threat Management Discussion Document" (PDF). Fish.govt.nz. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
- "Fiordland Coastal Newsletter April 2011, Department of Conservation" (PDF). Doc.govt.nz. Retrieved 2015-06-20.