Visited March 2018
- Go Orange Visitor Centre, Waiau Street, Pearl Harbour, Manapouri
- Go Orange Visitor Centre, Te Anau
This two day adventure connects you with nature in the spectacular wilderness of Doubtful Sound. There is no TV, no phones and no internet. Just you, your small group and your kayaks.
Your itinerary is flexible and route dictated by the weather and your desire to explore. With around 5 hours of kayaking each day, you’ll get to truly appreciate the expanse and primordial beauty of the fiord. Our experienced and knowledgeable guides will make sure you see the best of Fiordland.
As you explore this wilderness, its hidden waterways and secluded islands, look out for the locals – seals, dolphins and penguins. If you’re lucky, you might even find yourself paddling in the company of dolphins!
In the evening you’ll camp amidst the forest next to a fresh water stream in Hall Arm. Relax along the shore as the long southern twilight descends in the fiord. Bring your own food – we’ll supply hot drinks and swap stories with your fellow travellers. And as night descends, lie on the beach and spend some time star gazing.
The next morning, you’ll explore more of the fiord before heading back under sail (weather permitting) by early afternoon.
Fiordland National Park is a massive wilderness area of rugged snow-capped peaks and luxuriant rainforest. It’s one of the wettest places in the world with high annual rainfall and waterfalls that cascade into the deep fiords. Kayaking within this world heritage area is unbeatable - but often encounters a huge variety of weather. With this in mind, we’ve prepared the following list so you’re ready, whatever the weather.
Please wear your swimsuit or kayaking underwear layer beneath warm clothes/waterproof jacket on pick-up (makes changing into paddling gear easier and quicker). The best way to carry your other gear to the launch point is in a backpack.
On a kayaking trip, you will eat more than usual and there is plenty of storage space on the kayaks. Bring food that is simple but nourishing. Please remove excess packaging and carry food in bags (supermarket cloth bags are ideal).
Sea kayaking and wilderness camping have inherent risks and can be dangerous. In Fiordland, they are characterised by: remoteness, rapidly changing and sometimes extreme weather and water conditions, cold water, limited kayaking landing sites and camping under forest canopy.
Detailed risk management and strict safety procedures are observed, however, there still remains an element of risk. Go Orange cannot absolutely guarantee participants safety. Go Orange accepts its legal responsibilities but cannot be held responsible for personal injury or for loss, theft or damage of/to your equipment outside legal responsibilities. Participants will be required to sign a liability form to this effect before starting a tour.
Changing conditions can mean that tours have to be modified. No two tours are the same. It is very rare but weather could delay your scheduled return by up to 24 hours e.g. road closures or weather conditions preventing kayaking. Clients on guided tours must listen carefully to and follow guides' instructions and adhere to safety requirements. Our reputation depends on your safety – we give it top priority and take it seriously.
Your wilderness experience begins early in the morning with a short road shuttle to Manapouri to board a boat for the 30km journey across stunning Lake Manapouri.
This is followed by a road journey crossing the remote alpine route of Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound. On arrival you will change into paddling gear, pack kayaks and be given a full safety briefing and instruction from your experienced guide.
The group then spends 5 - 6 hours kayaking in the midst of Doubtful Sound, alongside the massive glacial landscape, deeply faulted mountainsides, waterfalls and sometimes penguins, fur seals and dolphins. A lunch break is made on an uninhabited beach, surrounded by pristine native rainforest.
On arrival at the camp site, you will set camp. As evening falls, enjoy the company of fellow paddlers as you each prepare your meals in the group shelter and enjoy the surrounding untouched, pure wilderness.
After breakfast we break camp, load the kayaks, then encounter the morning stillness of Hall Arm. The fiords mirrored waters ripple past the kayaks, or in the wet, waterfalls cascade from the mountain sides.
The group paddles to Malaspina Reach and Elizabeth Island before returning early afternoon to Deep Cove, under sail if possible, for pack up and lunch.
The final leg is the journey back across Wilmot Pass and Lake Manapouri by boat and vehicle, allowing you the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the scenery and the rewarding two-day experience.
Totally enjoyed a well organised 2 day trip with Logan who was our safety conscious, very capable but entertaining guide. First day was misty, with many temporary waterfalls adding drama to the vistas, and the second sunny and calm. It's a pity that apart from Logan I was the only kiwi on our trip - its a must do for anyone with moderate fitness.
Visited March 2018
The overnight kayak trip at Doubtful Sound was splendid! The scenery was breathtaking and we even were able to have a relaxing swim. We really enjoyed the remote campsite, laying in an amazing forest, next to a freshwater stream. All credits goes to Joel, our guide who was very considerate and fun. In the end he had a surprise for us (only possible with good winds) and that was great! 5 stars for Joel ; )
Visited March 2018
Kayaking in the Doubtful Sounds with a great guide and because of being the only kayaking company out there - no tourists!
We did the 2-day/1-night kayak in Doubtful Sound. It really is a beautiful area to travel. Our guide was excellent - fun and informative.
We did the 2-day/1-night kayak in Doubtful Sound. It really is a beautiful area to travel. Our guide was excellent - fun and informative. The only issue we had was the sandflies which can't be controlled - though a sandfly free tent has been set up by the tour group for entertainment which was excellent to be able to sit with everyone, chat, eat and have a couple of drinks.
How long will it take to get to Manapouri?
It will take around 30 minutes to get to Manapouri from Te Anau. If you’re coming from Queenstown, then allow just over two hours by car.
Do you pick up from accommodation in Te Anau?
We have a shuttle that runs to Manapuori for our Doubtful Sound experiences. We also have coach connections from Te Anau for Milford Sound experiences, please notify our staff when booking if you need a pick up.
Can we park at Manapouri?
Yes, car parking is free at Manapouri. Make your way to the visitor centre and park there. If the car park is full there is additional parking on View Street.
Do we kayak from Manapouri?
No. You will take the one-hour boat over Manapouri then a 45-minute bus ride over the Wilmot Pass down to Deep Cove. This is where the kayaking starts.
How long do we kayak Doubtful Sound for?
On the day trip you will kayak for 3 hours. On our multi night trips the kayaking each day will vary but will be around 3-5 hours a day depending on the next location and weather conditions.
What should I bring with me?
Generally, we need you to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Bring wet weather gear and also food for the lunch stop. If you have booked one of our kayak trips, then you will receive a kayak itinerary detailing what to bring with you. If you have any extra questions, please contact the team at one of our stores or email email@example.com
Where do we go after the kayaking has finished?
You will return to Deep Cove then take the trip back over the Wilmott Pass before getting the boat back to Manapouri.
What do I bring if I am on the overnight experience?
Generally, we need you to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Bring wet weather gear and also food for your trip. If you have booked one of our kayak trips, then you will receive a kayak itinerary detailing what to bring with you. If you have any extra questions, please contact the team at one of our stores or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What if it’s raining? Will we still camp?
Yes! It’s all part of the adventure, right? We have set up shelters and tents before you arrive on site so no getting wet while hammering in the tent pegs.
Can I shower during the overnight experience?
We don’t have access to showers out in the wild. Let’s be at one with nature this one time.
What if the experience is cancelled due to weather?
Our team will do their best to accommodate you on another of our experiences, if not you will receive a refund, or a date transfer will be available.
Can we visit the Power Station at Manapouri?
Unfortunately, due to health and safety reasons we can’t take you into the power station. However, you get a great view from the boat as we pull into West Arm.
Where do we camp?
For our overnight kayak experiences, we have set up a camp in the heart of Fiordland National Park. We will kayak on the first day of the experience and get you there safe and sound.
What if the kayak trip is cancelled due to weather?
We will do our best to accommodate you on another trip, there is always the option to cruise in Milford Sound. If not a date change or refund will be arranged.
What is the difference between Milford and Doubtful?
You will find both Milford and Doubtful Sound deep down in the South Island of New Zealand in the Fiordland National Park.
Milford Sound is around 13kms long and famous for its dramatic mountain peaks 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.
What kind of weather will we experience in Fiordland?
Bring your raincoats as sometimes we experience all four seasons in one day. Rainfall is what makes Fiordland so unique, a land of rivers, waterfalls, luscious forest and fiords. You should be prepared to experience some rainfall during your visit, after all it rains approximately 200 days of the year. Please bring sensible clothing for cool and wet weather.
What is the difference between a sound and 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.
Is it worth visiting Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound on a wet day?
Yes, yes and yes. We say you haven’t experienced the real Fiordland unless it rains. The landscape is dramatic, rock faces are covered in waterfalls and the resident waterfalls are way more powerful. From the comfort of our boats you can experience the spectacular landscape.
Will I see any of the local wildlife?
The awesome thing about our local residents is that they are totally wild. Although we can’t 100 percent guarantee a sighting, Dolphins and Seals are spotted on the regular. If you’re really lucky you may see a Fiordland Crested Penguin or a whale!
What shall I bring on my kayak trip?
If you have booked a Kayak trip you should have received a Kayak Itinerary, this details everything you need for your experience. If you need extra information, please call our team or email them at email@example.com
Will we still kayak if it rains?
It may rain during your experience down in Fiordland, but that’s okay. We will still go ahead with your kayak experience if it rains. We base our weather decisions on the marine weather forecast and will only cancel if there was a threat to our safety.
What about the Sandflies?
When out in the water Sandflies are not a problem, however they do make an appearance on land. We suggest you bring strong insect repellent and wear clothes that cover your skin. For guided overnight trips we provide insect shelters, great for cooking, relaxing and keeping the little pests away.
How safe is kayaking?
We have awesome, experienced and knowledgeable guides that accompany you on every trip. We will provide you with a full safety briefing before each trip and ongoing instructions throughout the day.
Am I fit enough to kayak? Do I need any experience?
No previous experience is required to kayak with us on our 1 day experiences. We do ask that you are water confident and a moderate fitness level is required. You will be kayaking for at least 4 hours a day.
Is this a guided kayak tour or can we rent kayaks from you?
Our tours are guided yes, ideal for those without experience. The guides make all the decisions and give paddling instructions throughout the day. They add the local flavour and have a heap of local history and facts for you along the way.
We do not offer kayak rentals.
What is the minimum and maximum age for a kayak tour?
The minimum age for all our kayaking experiences is 16 years old.There is one exception, minimum age is 14 years old for our Kayak Milford Sound + Milford Track. There Is no maximum age, we just ask you are physically fit.
Can I fish from the kayak?
There is absolutely no fishing from our boats or kayaks in Fiordland due to our fragile eco system and Marine Reserve status.
Am I going to get wet?
Unless you opt for a swim it is unlikely you will get wet, from the ocean that is. If it rains, yes you will. We do provide you with a waterproof spray jacket and skirt to keep you dry should the heavens open.
Do you provide the kayak?
Yes. All our kayaks are double seated sea kayaks. They comfortably seat two, with enough space to store a few valuables in the hole or strapped to the front on the ropes.
How many people will go on the kayak experience?
Along with your guide then the minimum people on your trip will be four. There is a maximum of eight people per guide so if we have more people, we will provide more guides
Will I return on time from the kayak experience?
Yes, it is very rare that the weather will delay us. However, we have experienced it in the past, so we suggest you leave plenty of time after your experience for your onward journey.