Practically untouched by humans, apart from the select few allowed to operate there, Doubtful encapsulates you the moment you arrive. Travel with us into the heart of Fiordland National Park to discover dramatic landscapes and secluded coves as we cruise the inner fiords of Doubtful Sound. This intimate experience allows you to gain a deeper connection to the heart of Fiordland.
Our Doubtful Sound experience is currently not running. If you would like to discover this remote fiord this winter visit our friends at Real Journeys >
You self-drive to the Manapouri terminal up to half an hour before. This gives you time to park, walk to the terminal and check-in before the boat departs.
Please bring sensible clothing and footwear. Wet Weather gear is advised, it does rain 200 days of the year in Fiordland. You can bring snacks and your own lunch. Please note, there is no food available to purchase on the Tasman Explorer. Don’t forget to bring your camera, we want to see your adventure!
We enjoyed this trip and chose it because it is reportedly less crowded than Milford and required less driving (due to ferry boat). The mountains truly meet the sea in Fiordland. We were thankful to have good weather (partly sunny) which can make a big difference in scenery. Rain and wind are typical, so be prepared with a waterproof jacket.
Doubtful sound was an amazing experience in itself, but with the tour guides of #goorangenz made it a very personal touch. If you are lucky enough to have Tony as your tour guide prepare your self for a very informal trip with plenty of banter and not forgetting the "hot cups" of hot chocomilk. Go Orange made the day hastle free and didn't feel commercialised like the other companys looked. They also are very passionate about the national park which is fantastic to see. Highy recommended by me
As part of a family holiday we booked a scenic cruise from Manapouri through Doubtful Sound, the Fiord itself is absolutely breathtaking as you can imagine but Go Orange definitely added the extra touch. We took a boat across Lake Manapouri deep into Fiordland National Park where we were picked up by a coach and traveled along the Wilmot Pass Road. Our coach driver, Tony, was fantastic! He gave us a really insightful talk about the national park, the road, the power station and had a cracking sense of humour! He also took the time to let us soak up the beauty and gave us the space to enjoy this with each other.
The cruise through Doubtful Sound was breathtaking, definitely worth doing on a rainy day!
Having done both Milford and Doubtful on our holiday, I would definately say Doubtful replenishes the soul much more effectively - having a Jurassic feel, it makes you appreciate having protected parts of the world!
This day trip booked with Go Orange was a day packed with stunning views. Lake Manapouri was spectacular as was the three hour cruise on Doubtful Sound. From the booking to the last minute of the trip the staff were extremely friendly and professional and it was a pleasure to have had them show us these glorious places. A very highly recommended adventure to have while in this glorious part of the world.
Visited Nov 2018
We had the 7:15am day cruise with Go Orange, they operated jointly with RealJ ourney company so choose the one who best suits you. We were the first cruise with few people on board only 16 folks. Our guide Dan was amazing. He shared his local knowledge and we stopped at many view points on our way back. The captains on both cruises gave us interesting insights. We loved our time with Go Orange and highly recommend them for your Sounds experience.
Visited December 2018
In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions you ask about our experiences. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.
How long does it take to get to Manapouri?
Manapouri is a 2.5 hr drive from Queenstown. If you are departing Te Anau it will take around 20 - 30 minutes. For more information refer to our Driving Times webpage.
Is there car parking at Manapouri?
Daytime car parking is provided adjacent to the Go Orange Manapouri Visitor Centre.
What is the weather like in Fiordland?
They say you can never have a bad weather day in Fiordland. If the sun is shining, you're in for a treat, if it's raining, then get ready to be blown away by all the extra waterfalls on show.
The rainfall is what makes Fiordland National Park so unique and visitors should be prepared for some rain during their visit, after all it rains 200 days of the year.
Temperatures can vary and here is roughly what you can expect in all four seasons.
Summer (December-February) 19-23 Celsius / 66 - 73 Fahrenheit
Autumn (March-May) 8-18 Celsius / 46 - 64 Fahrenheit
Winter (June-August) 5-9 Celsius / 41 - 48 Fahrenheit
Spring (September-November) 10-19 Celsius / 50 - 66 Fahrenheit
What if it’s raining in Milford or Doubtful? Should we still go?
The answer is yes. You will experience the real Milford Sound in the rain. The rockfaces stream with waterfalls and dramatic mists hang around in the valleys hugging the mountain tops. From the comfort of our brand-new glass roof coach & Milford Haven boat, you can appreciate the epic surrounds.
What are the chances of seeing Wildlife?
The awesome thing about the wildlife in Fiordland National Park is that it is wild. We cannot guarantee you a wildlife sighting, however we have a pod of dolphins residing in Doubtful Sound so, you may witness these incredible mammals swimming in our bow waves. Seals are also sighted regularly, taking residence upon a collection of rocks in Milford Sound & if you're super lucky then the Fiordland Crested Penguins can sometimes make an appearance.
Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound? That is the question.
You will find Milford and Doubtful Sound deep down in the South Island of New Zealand. They are different, but equally beautiful. Milford Sound is around 13kms long and famous for its dramatic mountain peaks and waterfalls. Home to Mitre Peak, it's easy to see why people flock here.
Doubtful Sound is three times longer than Milford Sound, home to three arms named Hall, Crooked and First arm. Commonly known as the sound of silence and famous for Wildlife sightings, Doubtful is a real adventure experience.
Our travellers with enough time choose to experience both fiords.
Let us explain the difference between a sound & a fiord.
A fiord is a valley created from Glacial movement. Typically, narrow and steep sided, flooded by the sea after glacial retreat. A sound is a river valley that has been flooded by the sea, from and movement or rising sea levels
Throughout Fiordland our fiords are officially mapped as Sounds, however we should call them fiords. Milford Sound has a better ring to it though, right?