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    Cruise & Kayak - Milford + Doubtful Sound Fiordland Operatorof the year

Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound is one of the most remote places in Fiordland National Park. Discover the pristine wilderness as we transport you right into the heart of it all. Practically untouched by humans, apart from the select few allowed to operate there, our Tasman explorer cruises the fiord for three hours.

You can also embark on a day Kayak experience or Kayak + Camp adventure for two days with our crew.

Overview

Doubtful Sound is one of the best experiences you can have while here in New Zealand. The second largest fiord in Fiordland National Park boast pristine, untouched wilderness and is commonly referred to as the sound of silence.

You will be surrounded by mountain peaks, rainforest as far as the eye can see and hidden coves. Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords and offers an area rich in flora and fauna and plays home to pods of Dolphins, Fur Seals and Fiordland Crested Penguins, our local residents should they decide to make an appearance.

The adventure into Doubtful Sound is an essential New Zealand must do, a trip we encourage all our travellers to take. With no direct access to the fiord you will start your trip aboard a boat crossing Lake Manapouri, shortly followed by a coach journey across the Wilmot pass, where you will get your first look and appreciation of a land so uninhabited by man and totally overpowered by Mother Nature.

We are sometimes at a loss for words of how to adequately describe the raw, majestic beauty of this fiord, so ensuring we transport you into the heart of it is our way of doing things. Should you want to explore further into the fiord, join us on a kayaking experience for the day or camp overnight with our team.

About Doubtful Sound

Discovered by Captain Cook back in 1770 and practically untouched by humans, apart from the select few allowed to operate there, Doubtful Sound is very isolated. Only a power station at West Arm and a handful of workers reside here.  When you visit you are witnessing similar scenes to what greeted the early settlers.

It rains approximately 200 days of the year in Fiordland National Park and the weather can be very unpredictable. However, don’t let this dampen your mood. During rainfall hundreds of waterfalls appear and the mist adds to the dramatic landscape. Grand towering peaks will carve the way out to the Tasman Sea as you cruise or kayak through the fiord. This epic place will leave you speechless as you experience the power of nature in this remote land.

Getting There

All our Doubtful Sound experiences start at the Manapouri Visitor Centre. From Queenstown it will take you around 2.5 – 3 hours to drive and around 30 minutes from Te Anau. You are more than welcome to drive yourself or book on one of our coach connections and let us do the driving for you.

Weather

Fiordland National Park is one of the wettest places in the world, that’s right, the world. It rains for around 200 days of the year, with rainfall reaching 250mm over a 24 hour period.

Depending on the season the temperature can vary. You are looking at an average high of 19 in Summer (Dec-Feb) and an average of 9 in the Winter (Jun-Aug).

Whatever the weather Doubtful Sound is an enjoyable experience. The weather shapes this landscape and may reward you with a bluebird pristine day or a magical moody wilderness in the rain. Any experience in Milford Sound will be unforgettable.

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Wildlife

The lack of humans and activity in Doubtful Sound means our local wildlife thrives. Although we can’t guarantee you a wildlife sighting, this is the best thing about our residents being wild we can guarantee they are around. From Keas and Wekas on land and in the air to the pods of Dolphins who navigate the waters. 

If you’re lucky you may see an array of sea-life. Dolphins, Fur Seals and the Fiordland Crested Penguin. There has even been sightings of Humpback Whales, keep your eyes peeled and listen close if our skipper has spotted something in the water.

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History

In Maori legend, Doubtful Sound and the other fiords were created by the godly figure Tu Te Raki Whanoa who split the rock with his adze allowing the sea to pour in creating safe harbours from the restless, often stormy sea.

Captain James Cook was the first European to discover the fiord back n 1770, he also gave it the name Doubtful Harbour due to the fact he thought the fiord was unsafe for his vessel to navigate. 23 years later a visiting Spanish expedition charted the entrance and entered the Doubtful Sound.

The Manapouri Hydro electric power station was built in 1971 at the western arm of the lake. This power station was considered one of the greatest engineering feats in New Zealand using the 230 metre drop between lake and ocean to generate power. The road from West Arm over the Wilmot Pass was built as part of the project and per metre is New Zealand’s most expensive road. This road provides us with direct access to the fiord.

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