The Doubtful Sound 3-day Epic trip is all about allowing yourself some quality time to experience a personal adventure; a genuine sea kayaking and camping experience in a remote environment that epitomizes what Fiordland wilderness is all about.... and of course having fun along the way.
Small friendly groups (8 kayakers per guide)
Top quality sea kayaking equipment
Experienced kayak guides (carry group safety and emergency equipment)
Comprehensive safety and paddling techniques briefing provided
Te Anau coach connection included (includes pick-ups from most accommodation)
Operated by Go Orange.
Price: $599 per person for the kayaking, camping and return transport (prices valid until 30 Sep 2019).
Prior paddling experience preferred - our staff will be in contact to discuss your prior experience and suitability
Competence in water and moderate fitness required
Kayakers supply own food
It is essential you join us at 4pm the day before (at our base in Te Anau) to answer questions and work through details - e.g. food, equipment, advise your height and weight (wetsuit sizing), etc.
Doubtful Sound is the second largest of Fiordland National Park’s 14 fiords (Dusky Sound is the largest).
It is three times longer than Milford Sound and it has a sea surface area roughly 10 times larger than Milford Sound due to its greater length and its three arms - Hall, Crooked and First.
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What To Bring - Multi Day Kayaking Trips
Swimsuit or underwear (for wearing underneath wetsuit vest/long johns)
Plastic bag for wet gear
Soft shoes (e.g. trainers/runners) or sandals (note they will get wet)
Sunblock / Sun hat / Sun glasses
Camera (disposable or waterproof)
Change of clothes – socks, footwear and rain jacket for wearing after kayaking
Camping/ After kayaking
Next to skin layer of clothing (polyprop or wool)
Warm tops, Long trousers or track pants
Underwear & Warm socks & Warm hat
Shoes for campsite
Waterproof jacket & Rain trousers (if available)
Torch / flashlight
Spare plastic bags (ziplock)
Food (Te Anau has two good supermarkets which stay open late)
Additional campsite clothing is required for 3 – 5 day trips
We Provide - Multi Day Kayaking Trips
Long john wetsuit
Fleece top & Fleece hat
Paddle jacket & Spray deck
Life jacket (buoyancy vest) & Pogies (paddling gloves)
Dry bags (for clothing and camera)
Double kayaks / paddles
Group safety and emergency gear
One or two person tents
Gas cookers (food needs to be quick to cook)
Plate, cup and eating utensils
Pots & cooking utensils
Communal shelter (insect proof)
What To Wear When Kayaking
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.
What Food to Take When Kayaking
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). Food Suggestions:
Snacks: Bananas, chocolate, muesli bars
Lunches: Sandwich type food (cheese, salami, tuna), fruit, biscuits
Evening meal: pasta, rice or noodles with sauce plus soft vegetables, meat, canned fish
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.
Doubtful Sound reaches about 430m at its maximum depth. Near the entrance there are sills where the water is relatively shallow (90m).
The water temperature in the fiord averages a bracing 11 degrees Celsius.
Did You Know?
Fiordland, one of the world’s wettest regions. Most of the rain falls on the seaward side of the mountains.
Manapouri village receives 1,143mm a year but over in West Arm the rainfall rises to 3,786mm. Deep Cove receives 5,290mm per year.
Your sea kayaking 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.
We begin kayaking from Deep Cove and we paddle down the main reach of Doubtful Sound, passing Elizabeth Island and Olphert Cove, watching for seals and penguins, stopping near Crooked Arm for lunch - a long first stint.
Afternoon paddling becomes more challenging in places - time to practise new skills. As we near the entrance to Crooked Arm, the weather will decide whether we cross into the Arm or camp in a river valley opposite its entrance. Our campsite in Crooked Arm is relatively close to the entrance, in a sheltered bay beside a waterfall.
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.
Stillness is normally the theme in the morning. The choice is to spend the day exploring Crooked Arm (30kms to its end and back to the campsite) or leaving the Arm and paddling to Hall Arm for the night (see 2 day tour above).
Crooked Arm is a long narrow arm with a definite turning point like an elbow and often the afternoon playground of the resident bottlenose dolphins - their presence can dictate our paddling timetable as can the weather! Time, energy and weather permitting we explore its length, stop for lunch, maybe a swim, sometimes put up the sails.
Departing early from Crooked Arm, we kayak down the southwest shoreline of Doubtful Sound, having lunch on a beach opposite Elizabeth Island, possibly a look into Hall Arm. A challenging morning's paddle with the weather being a determing factor affecting shoreline choice, lunch place and route into Deep Cove. Normally the sails are put up for the final stage, ending the 3 days on an exhilerating note or an America's Cup Challenge, kayak style!