Doubtful Sound, Patea, the sound of silence, whatever the name, it’s god damn beautiful. Doubtful Sound is a fjord in Fiordland National Park, in the far south west of New Zealand. Access is pretty limited but the adventure down into Deep Cove is worth it. During the Summer months we have access to the fiord on board the Tasman Explorer and also on the water during day and multi-day kayak experiences. We recently asked one of our returning kayak guides, Oliver to tell us a little about his epic job down south.
What does it feel like when you Kayak in Doubtful Sound?
It is hard to adequately describe kayaking in Doubtful Sound. The serenity, scale and overwhelming beauty is something that you can only fully experience for yourself.
What's the best part about the experience?
I believe the best part of an experience is something that is specific to an individual, however, my personal favourite part of any trip is my rain or shine end of day swim at camp, surrounded by breath-taking bush-clad giants and the refreshing chill of fiord.
What is it like waking up in Doubtful Sound?
Waking up in your sand-fly protected tent, to a symphony of native bird song, brimming with excitement for the action-packed day of paddling in one of the most remote and beautify places in New Zealand.
What is the camp like?
Campsite two in Hall Arm is simply put, one of the most amazing places you’ll ever spend the night.
Deep in the heart of New Zealand native bush is the kayak guides home away from home, campsite two, hidden away down the pristine Hall Arm. As you follow your kayak guide up Hall Arm towards camp and begin to carry your kayaks along the rocky shore into the bush, you have no idea of the incredibly surreal place you are about to be introduced to.
Do you see anyone else while you are there?
Whilst on the trip you will only see a few other kayakers during the two days and only a hand full of cruise boats dotted throughout the fIord.
Where do you kayak/what do you see?
On an average trip you will spend the first day kayaking from Deep Cove down to the end of Hall Arm- the first of Doubtful’s main arms. From there you will head back up to about halfway down the arm to your secluded camp, stopping for lunch on a remote beach.
On the second day depending on the weather and the ability of your fellow group members you will leave camp about 8am and head back up Hall Arm, aiming to either head around the top of Elisabeth Island or, around the bottom. Before slowly making your way past breath-taking waterfalls back into Deep Cove.”
There is the possibility of seeing many spectacular marine animals, commonly seals, dolphins and penguins. However, Doubtful Sound being the completely natural environment that it is, it’s an absolute privilege and luck on the day if you see any wildlife, there is naturally no guarantee of seeing wildlife, it’s wild after all.
What do you feel about the whole experience?
You come out of an overnight kayak trip in Doubtful Sound feeling privileged, humbled and inspired to discover more of our spectacular natural world.
Well, I don’t know about you but we are inspired. Head online and book your own epic experience now and find out exactly what Oliver is talking about.
Quotes from seasoned sea kayak guide – Oliver Eden-Mann