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Things to do in
Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Manapouri: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

1. From Manapouri: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

Please note: the temporary 10am option added to allow for more guests to visit will be a shorter round trip: 5 hours 45 minutes (including a 2 hour cruise of Doubtful Sound Inner Fiords), compared with the 7 hour round trip (including 3 hour cruise of Doubtful Sound). Spend a day in the remote wilderness of Doubtful Sound, located in the heart of Fiordland National Park and three times longer than Milford Sound. Self-drive to Manapouri and board a cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus trip across Wilmot Pass. Stop en route to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest. At Deep Cove, board the Patea Explorer, a purpose-built catamaran, for a 3-hour cruise on Doubtful Sound. See waterfalls, rainforests, and mountains during the cruise. You might spot the resident pod of bottlenose dolphins, the colony of fur seals at the mouth of the fiord, or even rare Fiordland crested penguins. During the cruise, knowledgeable nature guides will provide informative commentary.  When it rains in Fiordland, the landscape is dramatic - rock faces stream with waterfalls, mist hangs around the tops of the mountains, and rivers and streams rage.  From a dry comfortable vantage point on board the bus or vessel, this landscape is spectacular. Be prepared for rainfall during your visit. Many say you have not seen Fiordland unless you have seen it in the rain. At the end of your tour, be returned to the departure point.

From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

2. From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

Visit Doubtful Sound on a full-day trip from Queenstown. Sit back and relax as we take care of your journey to this magnificent remote region of Fiordland National Park. To begin, board a luxury bus and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, through the rolling countryside to Manapouri. Enjoy informative commentary along the way from your driver. From Manapouri, cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm. Then board a coach to cross the stunning alpine route of the Wilmot Pass, through some of Fiordland National Park’s most dense rainforest. On reaching Deep Cove, climb aboard the Patea Explorer for a 3-hour cruise, exploring the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord. See waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, and wildlife. When it rains in Fiordland, the landscape is especially dramatic.Your knowledgeable nature guides will provide you with engaging and informative commentary throughout. Experience floating on the fiord, with only the rush of waterfalls and birdsong to break the silence. Bring your own lunch, or purchase drinks and snacks on board in the vessel’s cafe. At the end of your cruise, return over Wilmot Pass by coach and cruise across Lake Manapouri before the bus journey back to Queenstown.

From Manapouri: Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

3. From Manapouri: Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Create lifelong memories as your experience the unspoiled beauty of Doubtful Sound aboard an overnight cruise which includes a 3-course dinner and full breakfast, live commentary from a knowledgeable nature guide, shoreline water excursions, and modern amenities for maximum comfort.   Start your unforgettable journey in Manapouri with a short cruise across Lake Manapouri. A coach then takes you across Wilmot Pass, traveling on a sub-alpine road through dense rainforest. Arrive at Deep Cove, met the crew, and then board majestic Wanderer vessel. Marvel at the unique design of the Wanderer, which borrows from the aesthetic of a traditional scow, blending old world charm with modern comforts that include spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon with a fully licensed bar, and an observation lounge. Cruise through some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery and listen as the boat’s knowledgeable nature guide provides commentary ensuring you miss nothing, be it the pod of resident dolphins, fur seals, or rare penguins you might encounter. After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat – or simply relax onboard. For the adventurous, there’s even a chance to go swimming.  Enjoy a delicious three-course dinner in the evening, which is prepared by the onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at the licensed bar, and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars. Kick off the next day with a hearty cooked breakfast menu and get ready to enjoy the rest of the morning exploring other parts of the fiord. Finally, you’ll return to Deep Cove, then take the trip back to Manapouri.

Te Anau: Natural Landmarks & Lord of the Rings Location Tour

4. Te Anau: Natural Landmarks & Lord of the Rings Location Tour

This small group, fully guided day trip combines Te Anau’s top highlights with a Lord of the Rings experience and the option to add on some of the areas amazing activities, making this the ultimate way to experience stunning Te Anau. Itinerary: 1.Te Anau - The tour starts with pick you up from your hotel and head to a favourite spot for great photos of Lake Te Anau. 2.Te Anau Bird Sanctuary - Take a guided tour and to see some of the rarest birds in the country including the Takahe and Kaka. Learn about these animals and the local environment while exploring this Te Anau asset. 3.Dead Marshes - The journey continues to our first famous Lord of the Rings attraction, a viewpoint looking over The Dead Marshes. From here you can see where Frodo and Sam waded their way through the mud trying to get to Mordor. 4.Rainbow Reach – Visit a sight loved by hikers, Lord of the Rings fans and locals alike, Rainbow Reach. A cable bridge over the stunning Waiau River (known as The River Anduin in LOTR) leads to the start of the Kepler Track and one of the beautiful forests of Fiordland National Park. Hear some of the LOTR stories and learn about the amazing biodiversity in the park. 5.Lake Manapouri – Follow the river from Rainbow Reach to one of New Zealand’s most famous lakes, Lake Manapouri. The gateway to Doubtful Sound, spend some time exploring the shores of this crystal-clear lake and hear about its history including the construction of the Manapouri hydro dam, the largest in the country. Once you have had a look around it is a good time for a quick break at one of the local coffee shops. 6.Mavora Lakes - Departing Manapouri we make our way to one of the most famous LOTR sights and hidden gem of the Mavora Lakes region. See amazing landscapes and also several famous LOTR filming locations including two locations of Orc battles, where Pippin & Merry enter Fangorn Forest to escape the Orcs and where Frodo and Sam leave the Fellowship and cross the lake. This spot is paradise for nature lovers and LOTR fans alike, while here you will enjoy some free time to explore, eat lunch or maybe use some of our props and recreate some of the movie scenes. 7.Te Anau - Sadly the tour is coming to an end as we make our way back to Te Anau but your adventure should not finish there. While the destinations you will be visiting are truly spectacular, we believe it’s our small groups, passionate guides, the journey and the little details that set our tours well apart. Secret stops, wildlife viewings, specially designed vehicles, and many other pleasant surprises ensure our tours are an experience to remember.

Doubtful Sound: Scenic Flight with 2 Landings

5. Doubtful Sound: Scenic Flight with 2 Landings

Experience the stunning Fiordland National Park from the sky. Soar high above the Iris Burn Valley and Lake Manapouri, also known as the "Lake of Many Islands". Spot the infamous West Arm Power Station on Lake Manapouri before flying up and over the Wilmot Pass into Doubtful Sound. This long and winding fiord is one of Fiordland’s deepest and is home to a number of stunning waterfalls. Your helicopter will detour into magical Campbell’s Kingdom, a beautiful hanging valley encompassing a lake and a waterfall. This is the stuff of fairytales. From here, take a peek at Bradshaw Sound before soaring over the Main Divide of the Southern Alps for a second remote landing at scenic Mount Kidd. Make sure you have the camera or phone well charged for this flight — you’ll want to revisit the scenes and landscapes you visit over and over again.

From Te Anau: Scenic Flight to Doubtful and Milford Sound

6. From Te Anau: Scenic Flight to Doubtful and Milford Sound

Soar high above Lake Manapouri and deep into the heart of Doubtful Sound, also known as the "Sound of Silence" due to its remote location. The first landing is in Campbell’s Kingdom, a unique hanging valley suspended amidst mountains. See the picturesque valley that has its own waterfall and lake. From here, fly above several more fiords before arriving at Milford Sound and touring Fiordland’s most famous destination. A Milford Sound scenic flight is the best way to see all the fiord has to offer, as you will be amazed by the sheer granite cliffs and inky blue water. The second landing is at Lake Quill, high above Milford itself and is located at the head of the spectacular Sutherland Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere.

Other Sightseeing Options in Doubtful Sound

Want to discover all there is to do in Doubtful Sound? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Doubtful Sound

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 491 reviews

Everything was amazing! Customer service was excellent and food onboard was delicious and there was always extra available. The only downside was a lack of sleep due to being in room 1, located right next to the shared toilets and bathroom. Every time anyone went to the toilet through the night, the slamming of the toilet door would wake us up. I think we were really unlucky however as all other rooms were probably far enough away for this constant banging not to be an issue. We booked this trip about 6 months in advance and were really looking forward to it. And to be honest because everything else was so perfect it didn’t ruin it for us at the time, but did spoil the next day or two of our holiday whilst we were catching up on sleep. If you get this room, star gazing on the top deck will probably prove more relaxing until rush hour toilet use finishes around 2am and ear plugs a must for the remainder of the night.

Excellent tour but be prepared for a long day if traveling from Queenstown. We went on a perfect weather day - sunny and calm after a day and evetof rain (a lot of active waterfalls). We have now done both this trip and Milford Sound (on another perfect day). Both tours were great but if had to choose one, would hands down go to Milford Sound (better scenic drive and stops along the way, able to get up close to waterfalls in the sound).

we really loved how the crew was engaged with and interested in the passengers. all worked well as a team which provided a super atmosphere was a special treat for our 50th wedding anniversary. Arrived to towels specially folded wine in our room etc great food.relaxing time fabulous scenery both days one fine and hot the other pouring so saw the water falls.

Cannot recommend this trip highly enough. It ran like clockwork and the whole experience was sensational. Gave our naturalist was outstanding he really made the trip. The staff were great and the food was brilliant.

Everything from the crew to the food, cleanliness of room, bathroom, showers Insanely beautiful!