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Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound

Fiordland National Park

The Basics

Helicopter and small-plane flights offer spectacular aerial views of the fjord and the surrounding national park, while those interested in seeing the fjord from the water can embark on a catamaran cruise around Doubtful Sound, setting sail from Deep Cove. Tours run from Te Anau, Manapouri, and Queenstown, and often visit other natural wonders such as Manapouri Lake, the Te Anau Glowworm Cave, Dusky Sound, and the Wilmot Pass en-route to the fjord.

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Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
star-4.5
$165.33 per adult
Traveler Favorite
No Doubts about Doubtful Sounds
I was expecting a quiet little cruise on Doubtful Sounds but due to the weather it was a totally exhilirating adventure with the most magnificent waterfalls everywhere thanks to the amount of rain. The boat we travelled in was a large, modern vessel with all the technology you could ask for so I felt totally safe. The skipper was very experienced and not at all concerned as we rocked up and downat times. I've never felt so alive than when I stood at the back of the boat staring out into the fabulous sounds with the water whipping around us. Magic. As we arrived out towards the sea we got to see many sea lions on top of a rock in their natural habitat. We travelled by Bus from Queenstown to the Manapouri Outdoor Centre where the tour started. Comfortable bus and an enjoyable trip and commentary from our driver Jill. I certainly recommend the lunch box. Very impressed in what we were given for $20. Wraps, fruit, homebaking, chocolate, cheese and crackers and the most delicious cheese scone. I think there should be a minimum age limit as we didnt enjoy the number of babies and young children on our tour as its not really a safe environment for them plus they get bored.
Heather_P, Aug 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Fiordland & Milford Sound

star-4
Interestingly frustrating but fun and memerable.
Isobel_Seath, Jul 2021
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
Was an amazingly beautiful day to go on what I'm sure is a beautiful tour of the gorgeous Doubtful Sound. However, the majority of the trip that we got to complete was gorgeous but was a shame to no-ones fault except the engine of the boat that we did not actually get to see the Doubtful Sound in the end due to engine troubles. We are really looking forward to rebooking and going another time to complete the tour. Thank you for a lovely memorable day :)
star-5
Incredible!
Ali, Jul 2021
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise from Manapouri
Fantastic experience. Great crew, excellent vessels and an absolutely stunning landscape. Highly recommend.
star-4
Worth visit
P_U_, Jun 2021
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
The tour company and tour guide were nice. Although, to me, the Sound is not as attractive as Milford Sound owing to fewer waterfalls along the Sound, it was worth for money and time to visit this beautiful and serene Sound especially the Sound of Silence where the water was still enough to reflect all surrounding mountains. Overall, the visit is recommended.
star-5
Magic
Jeanette_H, Apr 2021
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise from Manapouri
Where to start! Just a really special day all round. Staff were friendly, informative and gave just the right amount of commentary. Doubtful Sound itself would have to be the most memorable part - beautiful, peaceful and dramatic. Both the trip over Manapouri and the bus trip over the Wilmot Pass were enjoyable as well.
star-5
Highly recommend!
Cheryl, Mar 2020
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
Loved everything about this trip. While travelling on the bus after the boat trip across Lake Manapouri, we were able to see the trees that inspired Peter Jackson to create the Ents in the Lord of the Rings. The boat ride in Doubtful Sound was incredible especially the couple minutes of silence to enjoy the beauty of nature.
star-5
DOUBTFUL SOUND
BrianU704, Jan 2020
Full-Day Doubtful Sound Flight and Cruise from Queenstown
AMAZING experience and outstanding service from Air Milford, especially our pilot Jimmy. THANKS JIMMY!
star-5
Doubtful Sound
Maria_S, Mar 2020
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise from Manapouri
Doubtful sound is magnificent. We saw hundreds of waterfalls amidst the most beautiful scenery on earth. It was quieter and not at all touristy like Milford Sound. Highly recommended.
star-5
Excellent excursion, the was typical...
David J M, Apr 2011
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
Excellent excursion, the was typical to the quality and service we found through New Zealand. Customer service is very import, being on time, clean and politeness at all times. Shame we cannot adopt in the UK
star-5
Loved that we changed...
MARION_M, Apr 2021
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise from Manapouri
Loved that we changed from boat to bus to boat with different staffing styles in each section. Our bus driver had an awesome quirkey dry sense of humour.
star-5
A great day on Doubtful Sound.
Chris_W, Feb 2020
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise from Manapouri
Enjoy a guided trip across Lake Manapouri then a guided trip through temperate rainforest and a relaxing guided tour of Doubtful Sound that included spotting fur seals at the mouth of the sound. A full and excellent day and we were privileged to have beautiful weather.
star-5
Incredible journey from start to...
Danielle M, Jun 2018
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
Incredible journey from start to finish. Well organised trip and our guide Chris was full of knowledge and made the long journey enjoyable. The ferry journey over Lake Manapouri and the drive over Wilmot Pass are both stunning. Doubtful Sound is breathtakingly beautiful and would recommend it to anyone who wants more of an adventure away from the crowds.
star-5
Trip of a lifetime
Hazel_P, Apr 2021
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
A great experience - thoroughly enjoyed it. I have wanted to do this trip for a long time. It surpassed expectations.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The weather in Doubtful Sound can be unpredictable, so prepare for wind and rain even in summer.

  • If hiking, wear comfortable shoes and bring water and snacks—there are limited places to purchase supplies.

  • Cell phone coverage is limited, but free Wi-Fi is available at the Fjordland National Park Visitor Center.

  • Most Doubtful Sound cruises are wheelchair accessible, but not all activities within Fiordland National Park are accessible to those with limited mobility, so it’s best to check in advance.

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How to Get There

Doubtful Sound is located on the southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The fjord can be reached from Manapouri, a town roughly 100 miles (170 kilometers) by road from Queenstown, a drive of about 2.5 hours. The journey includes a ferry ride across Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus ride over the Wilmot Pass. It is also possible to arrive by helicopter. The nearest international airport is in Queenstown.

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When to Get There

Summer (December through February) is the most popular time to visit Doubtful Sound, but the area is open year-round. Winter visitors will be at the weather’s mercy and there will be fewer departures to choose from, but tours are often cheaper and the snow-covered landscapes make for some stunning scenery.

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Wildlife Spotting at Doubtful Sound

Here you can spot rare Fiordland crested penguins and New Zealand fur seals, especially on the fjord’s islands. Be on the lookout for southern right whales, orcas, and humpback whales as you cruise through the fjord, and look down to spot black coral beneath the water.

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