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The journey to Doubtful Sound

Go Orange Cruise Doubtful Sound - Tasman Explorer

Down here in the South of New Zealand you will find one of the country’s most beautiful national parks. Fiordland National Park on the border of Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri is very popular with visitors to New Zealand. If you have been you will know why, if you are yet to visit let us tell you.  There are 12 fiords in Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound is the only one accessible by road. The journey to Doubtful Sound is quite the adventure.

Your day will most likely start in Te Anau or Queenstown depending on your departure time.  If you are based in Te Anau then our shuttle that'll drive you through to the Manapouri visitor centre.

Go Orange Manapouri.jpg

Here you will board a boat for the one-hour cruise across Lake Manapouri. Your destination is West Arm, famous in New Zealand as it is home to the Manapouri power station. Completed in 1971, Manapouri Power Station is an underground power station on the west arm of Lake Manapouri. With 850 megawatts installed capacity, it is New Zealand's largest hydro-electric power station.

From West Arm, you will board the Go Orange bus and head over the Wilmott Pass. Now, The Wilmott pass is pretty awesome, the steady incline to the lookout over Doubtful Sound is breathtaking and one that on a good day will be perfect for photographs. The road was purpose-built to aid the construction of the Manapouri Power Station. It took two years for the road to be carved through the mountains and bush with a full length of 20km. It is one of few roads down here in Fiordland and offers spectacular views of the valleys, mountains and cascading waterfalls.

Go Orange Cruise Doubtful Sound - View

Once you have filled your memory cards on the 50-minute journey over the pass you will finally reach Deep Cove. This is where all cruise and kayak operations depart. On a clear day, the inky black water will reflect the surrounding mountains perfectly, again, the chance to fill up your cameras. Enjoy two blissful hours cruising through the Fiord before heading back the way you came and on to your onward travels.

Go Orange Cruise Doubtful Sound - Front

We have put together five epic facts about Doubtful Sound to help feed that wanderlust a little more…

  • Doubtful Sound was first named Doubtful Harbour by Captain Cook in 1770. Why? Because he sailed past and due to being Doubtful that it would be navigable, he carried on his way, leaving the name Doubtful Harbour in his wake.
  • At 421 meters deep, Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the Fiords, it also stretches a distance of around 40.4 kilometres.
  • Doubtful Sound is home to a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and the Fiordland crested Penguins, be sure to keep your eyes open for them.
  • The only access to Doubtful Sound is either by sea or over the Wilmot Pass Road from West Arm.
  • There are three distinct arms off the main fiord. These are also home to hundreds of waterfalls on rainy days. The main waterfalls in Doubtful Sound include the Browne Falls, which stretches a huge 619m in height. Helena Falls is the waterfall that will greet you at Deep Cove.

That’s all folks for our wrap up on Doubtful Sound, we hope to see you in Fiordland soon.  Book here

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