Escape to the peace and tranquillity of Doubtful Sound on a magical overnight cruise.
Update 18 Feb 2020:
These Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruises are NOT affected by the recent weather-related road closures.
These Doubtful Sound tours are NOT affected by the recent weather-related closures.
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.
Doubtful Sound is unspoiled, unmatched and unforgettable. So get ready to create some lifelong memories as the Fiordland Navigator takes you through the ultimate Doubtful Sound experience.
Your itinerary starts in Manapouri with a short cruise across Lake Manapouri. A coach then takes you across Wilmot Pass, travelling on a sub-alpine road through dense rainforest. Arriving at Deep Cove you’ll be met by our crew and the majestic Fiordland Navigator.
Designed along the lines of a traditional scow, the Fiordland Navigator blends old world charm with modern comforts that include spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon with fully licensed bar and an observation lounge.
As you cruise through some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, our knowledgeable nature guides will provide 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 to simply relax on board. For the adventurous (or very brave), there’s even a chance to go swimming. All activities are weather dependent.
In the evening, you’ll enjoy a delicious three-course buffet dinner prepared by our on-board chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at our 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, the trip back to Manapouri and many, many conversations telling friends just how amazing your trip was.
Things you should know:
All our Doubtful Sound experiences start in Manapouri which is around 2.5 – 3 hours from Queenstown and 30 minutes from Te Anau.
You can drive there yourself, or if you’d much rather relax and let us do the driving, we offer coach connections from Queenstown and Te Anau.
Our coach drivers are extremely knowledgeable about the area, its history and local flora and fauna and will provide you with informative commentary along the way.
We depart from three main locations:
If you choose an accommodation pick up in Te Anau and Queenstown, please note that these times do vary from those noted above - accommodation pick up times are shown during the booking process and also on your booking confirmation.
Only one carry-on bag is recommended for passenger convenience and for safety reasons. Don't forget the following:
* Essential items if you are doing activities. Activities take place even if it is raining.
If you require a vegetarian lunch, or if you have any special dietary needs please add this into the comments box during the booking process. Please order your lunch when you make your booking. Lunches to be picked up at the Manapouri Visitor Centre prior to boarding the vessel. All lunches are contained in a recyclable cardboard box. We no longer issue additional plastic bags, so we encourage you to bring your own bag to carry your pre-ordered lunch onboard. Lunch menus are indicative only.
Adult $21, Child $21 (1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020)
Fresh filled wrap, chopped fruit, muesli slice, nuts, chocolate presented in a recyclable cardboard box. Complimentary tea, coffee and water.
The Fiordland Navigator is a purpose built vessel designed to replicate a traditional trading scow and is perfectly suited to cruising the fiords.
1 June 2019
This was a true pleasure. We took a bus from Queenstown, a boat on Manapouri lake, then another bus to the edge of Doubtful Sound, followed by an overnight cruise in the sound. The sites were magnificent! It rained pretty hard the first day, but the result was an incredible number of waterfalls that disappeared the following day (which was beautiful sunshine). All of the staff (bus, boat, visitors center, etc.) were all very helpful, and made the experience very worthwhile.
6 May 2019
One of the easiest 5/5 to give. The boat trip over the lake was beautiful. The coach journey the other end was enjoyable and the driver with his commentary excellent. The navigator ship was amazing - spacious, everything we needed. The staff were all really friendly and knowledgeable. The food was incredible- so much choice, so delicious and potentially the best soup I have ever tasted. Doubtful itself is beautiful, dolphins came to say hi. We have been truly spoilt and have the biggest smiles on our faces. Thank you real journeys. Probably the highlight of my time in NZ to date.
22 April 2019
I really couldn’t recommend this more highly. The small ferry trip across the lake was scenic enough, as was the coach ride up and over the pass. But the overnight trip on the Sound was so much better. The nature guide (Carol) was excellent and seemed to be on deck giving commentary at all hours of the day or night! Her after dinner talk was worth attending. The scenery is simply awe-inspiring. The kayaking was great fun and one of our kids even took the invitation to jump in for a swim off the back of the boat (apparently it was VERY cold!). Food was excellent and plentiful. Staff were excellent. We stayed in the cheapest accom (4 berth share) and it was very comfortable - even had a little porthole at water level. The sunrise in the morning was stunning and we were lucky enough to have clear skies. We saw plenty of seals at the fjord entrance and even encountered a pod of dolphins on our way back to the dock. Apparently far less busy on the water than Milford, and it certainly felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
9 March 2019
The organizing, the service, the care and the extra touches of the overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound were brilliant. Can't say enough about what a wonderful experience the trip offered us - we learned a great deal, and saw an amazingly wild, ancient part of the world, safely cared for by the entire team, including Alan, who drove us over the pass to Doubtful, the ship's captain and crew lead expertly by Marky, who informed us, taught us and fed us so generously. Seeing fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins, the magnificent rain forest mountains, cliffs, valleys, fjords, plants and deep waters left us awestruck. Right up there with the Great Barrier Reef, Petra, and all the wilderness experiences. Highly recommended - go to Doubtful Sound with Real Journeys!
8 February 2019
This was our second trip here and being repeated because we had enjoyed it so much 8 years ago. This time weather and season was totally different but ‘Real Journeys’ are totally committed to everyone having a stunning trip. Doubtful Sound can only be reached with a tour company as it involves crossing Lake Manapouri by boat, crossing the Wilmott Pass by coach before boarding the boat. Carol and the team on board worked tirelessly to give us ‘an experience of a lifetime’ - all worked hard and were enthusiastic and engaging with visitors. Food was terrific and plentiful, trip by tender, kayaking and swimming on offer plus Carol’s amazing nature knowledge on hand and an after dinner talk. Cabins were well equipped and comfortable.
For 5 mins in the morning a ‘Sounds of silence’ was held - no talking, photos, phones and engine silent. It’s a powerful time listening to birdsong, watching ripples and clouds and just breathing! Hugely enjoyable and highly recommended.
10 January 2019
Stunning, breathtaking, a New Zealand trip highlight are not sufficient to describe our time on the overnight cruise on the Navigator. Real Journeys is incredibly organized and has an efficient transportation system to get us from Lake Manapouri to Doubtful Sound via ferry, bus over Wilmot pass and to the Navigator waiting for us at Deep Cove. I was initially disappointed to hear a rainy weather report but we had the most incredible experience rain or shine. The steep fjord walls come alive with abundant waterfalls that only appear when it rains and the fjords are rather mystical and mysterious when mist shrouded. Even though there was a pretty stiff wind our skipper gave us the Tasman Sea experience complete with fur seal viewing at Nees islets. After anchoring up in the calm Precipice Cove we were given opportunities for water activities in the rain. Turns out kayaking around the cove near the waterfall drenched shoreline was tremendous fun. After working up an appetite we were fed the most delicious 3 course dinner with numerous appetizer, entree and dessert options. Even a person who is vegetarian or gluten free had tasty options. Our family enjoyed a quad-share bunk style room to ourselves with shared bathroom facilities. This is the least expensive option. The Navigator is spacious and there is plenty of room to walk around the decks at different levels. The beds were very comfortable and all bedding and towels are provided. A wonderful hot breakfast with lots of options as well as fruit, cereals, yogurt, pastries and juices is provided in the morning. There is complimentary hot drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate) throughout the cruise. Also very worthwhile was the insightful commentary of the history and nature provided by our coach drivers and our onboard nature guide. The staff onboard were friendly and helpful doing whatever they could to give us the best experience. I really appreciated the "Sound of Silence " in Hall arm. I would recommend this trip for all ages, rain or shine. We did experience Doubtful Sound sun-drenched and blue sky the 2nd day.
29 December 2018
This was one of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand. We spent two days on the Navigator and loved it. The vessel was comfortable, the meals were excellent, and the crew was fun and enthusiastic. The onboard nature guide provided great information about the fiords and marine life. Our first day was sunny. Everyone was on deck while our guide pointed out whales and seals and penguins. That night we were all on deck again as a billion stars lit the sky. The next morning we woke to a completely different scene. Heavy cloud cover created a moody atmosphere that was beautiful in its own way. At one point we came close to shore. Our guide asked us to put away our cameras and cell phones and remain perfectly still. The captain then cut the engines. A distant waterfall and occasional bird song were all we could hear. It was a unique and wonderful experience that we’ll always remember.
17 October 2018
We booked the overnight cruise - what a wonderful experience - lovely boat, great staff and good food. Such a serene peaceful cruise to the mouth of the Sound - kayaking also part of the experience and saw seals, penguins and dolphins! The scenery, the sky and the silence were breathtaking - all very different from the Milford Sound cruise which is much busier, shorter cruise but lovely drive over. Worth doing both if you can.
8 September 2018
Fabulous and our highlight of 3weeks in NZ South Island. The entire staff were all friendly and couldn’t have done anything more for us. The cabins in the overnight boat were very clean; quiet and so comfortable with lovely white sheets and fluffy pillows. The meals supplied were delicious with plenty of options. The wine list choices were fantastic. Our ship’s captain had an open visitor policy and he was very welcoming and friendly (his commentary was awesome with so many points of interest provided). Excellent - thank you.
10 July 2018
We highly recommend the overnight Doubtful Sound tour with Real Journeys. They made it so easy for us, picking us up at our hotel in Queenstown and driving us to our bus. The driver was fantastic, as was our boat captain and crew. Very comfortable and entertaining. The sound was absolutely breathtaking and so peaceful. The highlight for sure was the kayak tour of the sound. We felt like we were at the end of the world (exactly what we were looking for). Waterfalls everywhere we looked. Informative tour guides. Highly recommended!
3 June 2018
Our overnight trip with Real Journeys to Doubtful Sound has to be one of the highlights of our NZ holiday. We’d heard about how beautiful the Sounds were and decided we preferred Doubtful over Milford, with the latter feeling more touristy and commercial. We took a 4-man bunk which was all that was left despite it being a couple of months before we were due to travel, and which was just as well because other options would probably have been expensive for the 4 of us any case. My expectations of the bunk were pretty low but in fact I was proven totally wrong as it was a great set up and we had a very comfortable nights sleep. As for the rest of the trip it was quite simply awesome. We loved dawn and dusk especially, the moodiness of the weather which changed so quickly, the rainbows, the waterfalls, the landscape, the wildlife, the tranquility. I guess there is a dependency on the weather and it might not have been the same experience in torrential rain and fog, but that would be seriously unlucky and the rapidly changing weather of our trip actually made it what it was and I wouldn’t have changed a single bit of it. Real Journeys looked after us very well indeed on a nice boat and with good food and hot drinks on tap. Great people in both the staff and other guests and I so wish we could do it all over again.
14 May 2018
Such an incredible trip! There is no way to describe being out in the sound and enjoying the untouched beauty that is this place. Real Journeys staff members were wonderful on board and made the whole experience even more enjoyable. The food was delicious and was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the rooms were! I highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting truly experience this place!
13 May 2018
I booked an overnight trip on the Fiordland Navigator, through Real Journeys. I cannot fault this trip. The expense may detour some, but the value for money is exceptional. Being picked up and dropped off my the hotel, the commentary from the bus drivers, and launch skippers is great.
The overnight trip is incredible. There is not a thing, left wanting.The cabins are typical compact cabins. The food is exceptional, and the comfort of the main lounge is first rate.
We had very good commentary, from Carol, on the wildlife, and features of the area as we traveled. Although the weather wasn't favourable, the journey, is worth doing.
Look forward to the Five Minutes of Silence. Well worth being there.
21 April 2018
Very well organised trip overall. Interesting boatrip from Manopouri to West Arm. Our coach driver Alan over the Wilmot Pass drive was excellent, so knowledgeable & funny. The staff on the Navigator were brilliant, friendly and v hardworking. The boat is comfortable, clean and well set up for this type of experience. The Naturalist Nick on board was great, and the sights on this trip were just breathtaking. There had been rain so nature was in full swing with low cloud and waterfalls flowing everywhere you looked! This trip is a must do for if you want to experience such a unique corner of the world with totally natural wonders.
12 April 2018
We booked the overnight trip on Doubtful Sound and it was amazing. We were very lucky with the weather, which was perfect. Clear skies and still air allowed amazing star gazing and 15 minutes when the captain turned of the engines and we floated in silence. We took the offered dip in the sound - my that was cold. But wouldn't have missed it for anything.
2 March 2018
There was a special almost serene feeling about this trip from the point of arrival at Manapouri. The day started with a boat trip across lake Manapouri before being taken by bus on a gravel road through the bush, the road owed its existence to the hydro station built at the far end of Lake Manapouri. By this point you are already well off the beaten track. We boarded the impressive Navigator at the start of Doubtful Sound. Excellent cabin, service and food. Highlights included two lengthy encounters with bottle nose dolphins, fur seals, albatross, kayaking, swimming and the special moment when the engines were cut so we could all experience the sound of silence. Everybody from the captain, the nature guide and all members of staff were excellent and gave us an experience to remember.
3 February 2018
The Fiordland Navigator (operated by Real Journeys) offers a wonderful experience. I was travelling as part of a group and we occupied the least expensive option - quads, with access to excellent hot showers. I particularly enjoyed going out on the tender with the naturalist who pointed out orchids, plants, trees, birds and fish but do cover up - the sandflies have voracious appetites! Afternoon tea and a good soup was followed by a plentiful buffet. Do leave room for the dessert! I was up early to see the sunrise - stunning scenery in very good weather - and enjoyed a hot breakfast before we arrived back at Deep Cove to take the 45 minute bus ride over Wilmots Pass and the 45 minute ride across Lake Manapouri.
An experience not to be forgotten and a highlight of my time in NZ.
4 January 2018
Doubtful Sound is a real magic and rural area which is not accessible just by car. Therefore less tourists go to this area and much more enjoyable. We had an overnight stay with Real Journey, where we had 69 people on board. It did not feel too much either. You can´t see other boats around you. Beautiful and peacful place. Highly recommended.
11 December 2017
The overnight trip on Doubtful Sound was a truly memorable experience and worth every penny of the price.
Lovely accommodation with en-suite shower, great food, friendly and very helpful staff and totally stunning scenery and wildlife.
A "must do" trip when in New Zealand.
24 December 2017
We left the overnight trip on Doubtful Sound until the end of our holiday. We found the company absolutely brilliant every step of the way from initial booking to the politeness and friendliness of all the staff we had contact with. The trip itself was a stunner. Apart from the amazing scenery, the sense you really are somewhere special, the wonderful food we had and the quality of the accommodation as well what we really appreciated was the way the crew turned a trip into a very personal experience for us. Their knowledge of the Sound, the geography and biology is excellent and they took full advantage of local conditions to ensure we saw, and heard, as much as possible. The young crew were a delight. Now we are back home we cannot stop talking about the experience we had. So thank you everyone for the holiday highlight.
25 November 2017
My friends and I had a great experience aboard the Navigator for our overnight Doubtful Sound Cruise with Real Journeys. The scenery was just amazing even with cloudy skies and low hanging clouds. We were fortunate to see the sun the next morning and this brought even more fantastic views! This is such a peaceful place! We had the four person berths with shared baths but this was fine with us though it can get a little noisy during the night since there are just curtains and no doors on the cabins. (FYI: I booked our rooms one year in advance and these were the only beds available for our November sailing) This was a real adventure in travel for us but fun too! We saw dolphins three times, several penguins and fur seals. Kayaking or a tender boat ride and swimming was available once we docked for the night. The food was wonderful and plentiful! Cash bar is available too. We especially enjoyed the on board naturalist, Carol, for all the information with interesting historical facts and wildlife information. A fantastic experience if you have the opportunity but book early if you want a private room with en suite bath!
16 October 2017
We booked an overnight in doubtful sound on the Fiordland Navigator boat. The journey to the sound is long. We took a coach from Queenstown to Lake Manapouri. From there a ferry to the road which takes you to the sound where you board the boat.
The staff on the boat are great. Very knowledgeable about the area, there is a nature expert and a full staff including chef. The views, the peaceful environment, the nature, seals, penguins all contribute to an amazing experience! On top of that, the food is absolutely delicious!
20 September 2017
We went on the overnight cruise to Doubtful Sound from Queenstown and it was absolutely magnificent! Queenstown was hit with some bad weather which can often close the Milford Sound road so we played it safe with Doubtful Sound trip (and heard it was the better and less touristy of the Fiord tours!). We were not disappointed! From the second we got on the bus, our first bus driver was giving us facts and information about the local area and hot spots on the way to our ferry. One of our group of 3 was partially sighted and said the commentary was an amazing touch to the drive. Then we caught the ferry with amazing reflective views across Manapouri and onto our next bus trip, with equally good commentary! And that’s not even starting to talk about the overnight boat. We’ve never been in such untouched, isolated tranquillity. The staff were fantastic, food was delicious and plentiful and the nature guides gave us so much information and were so enthusiastic about their jobs, it really made the trip. It was worth every penny and the accommodation was really clean and comfy. I genuinely don’t think we can find a criticism about this trip. Would definitely recommend to a friend!
22 May 2017
We visited Doubtful Sound and had a night on the Fiordland Navigator which I would recommend to anyone visiting the area. The 2 days were very well organised from the coach pick-up at 11.30 am, then the boat across Lake Manapouri, next the coach across Wilmot Pass and then the cruise down Doubtful Sound on the Fiordland Navigator. The boat is very impressive,- the public areas are large and although there are 70 passengers on board it doesn't seem cramped. Our cabin, number 2 was well spec'ed, a comfortable bed and a small bathroom but everything you needed. As we left the jetty a pod of dolphins appeared,- what a start! The weather was amazing and the scenery jaw dropping. The food was delicious and plentiful. The staff were all energetic and informative, especially the nature guide and Catherine. We really enjoyed this cruise and would recommend it to anyone visiting New Zealand.
3 May 2017
We went on the Fiordland overnight cruise. This was my favourite part of our month long New Zealand tour. Everyone we met, from the coach driver to the boat staff were amazing, friendly and helpful. The accommodation was lovely, clean and surprisingly spacious. The food was equivalent to a top restaurant. The staff were well informed and happy to answer questions. A lasting memory is standing in complete silence looking at the scenery, a moment to savour. We were very lucky with the weather too.
17 March 2017
We did an overnight cruise provided by Real Journeys. Weather fine, bright sunshine, scenery just stunning. Crew were amazing, really helpful and informative. Kayaking was on offer, we did a shoreline tour in a small tender, guide provided lots of insights into how the landscape formed, the plant and bird life. Saw a fur seal colony, including a pup, on rock at the junction with the Tasman Sea; and a pod of dolphins came to ride the bow waves early morning. And we had 10 mins complete silence on the boat just hearing the birdsong and watching the sun slowly come up. Really good buffet dinner and full breakfast were included. A bit of a hassle to get there (boat across Lake Manapouri, coach over Wilmot Pass), but well worth it and, we were told, far fewer boats and people than Milford Sound, but equally good scenery.
14 February 2017
Real Journeys organised this marvellous overnight cruise. Doubtful Sound has many different arms and the cruise explored many of them. Saw NZ fur seals, woke up to see a school of dolphins accompanying the boat. The trip included activities such as kayaking, swimming and visiting the shoreline on a tender boat. Food excellent and staff very attentive. This trip is a must if you want to see untouched nature at its best - feel privileged to have seen such virgin wilderness. Thank you, RJ!
10 January 2017
Even though it rained much of the first day, this was our favorite part of our 2 week NZ vacation. The cruise is amazing, the scenery and animals are incredible and Real Journeys crew does a great job letting you know what is happening and makes the whole thing feel comfortable. They are very knowledgable and even though the boat holds 70 passengers it did not feel like a big group experience because there was enough space for everyone to be comfortable in multiple areas of the ship and the water activities were divided into small groups. You really should do this cruise!
29 November 2016
We were amazed by this wonderful trip. It leaves from Manapouri, travelling across Lake Manapouri, then a bus to Doubtful Sound. There were about 66 of us on the trip. The ship was magical - like stepping back in time. No wi-if, no phone signal, so very peaceful. The crew were great - particularly Carol, the wildlife guide, whose knowledge and enthusiasm were inspiring. We say blue penguins, lots of seals, dolphins that put on a spectacular show - leaping out of the water for the pure joy of being able to do it! We made friends from Ukraine over dinner - the food was surprisingly good. Not a cheap trip, but one of those special things that will stay with us forever.
26 April 2016
Wonderful experience in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen
We made an overnight cruise from Manapouri aboard the Fiordland Navigator. Everything about the trip was first rate for service and sights. Food and accommodation were excellent and the Nature Guide was so passionate about her subject with obvious reason. The place is unreal!
31 March 2016
We went on an overnight cruise with Real Journeys. From the start everything was well organised. The journey there is long but interesting - across Lake Manapouri and then a bus ride across the Wilmot Pass before reaching the Sound. The boat was good, very clean and the cabins were a good size for one night with a clean bathroom and fluffy towels. Our guide, Carol, was excellent and the chef, Stefan, catered well for my egg allergy. The food was good and catered for all diets including vegan......
9 March 2016
Did the overnight cruise starting from Queenstown at 8am and then 2 bus journeys and a boat. All well organised by Real Journeys. Overnight cruise was great. Lovely boat and crew. Nice twin cabin, good self service food and drink. Excellent activities - the small boat, kayaks, swimming, sound of silence. Fantastic scenery and well informed commentary.
20 January 2016
Shouldn’t need to say much if you have ever seen pictures of the Doubtful Sound. An extremely professional staff took us on the overnight trip. The boat was extremely comfortable, the food delicious, and we had a great time. Those who get seasick have little need to worry given how protected the Sound is. Highly recommend the overnight, with an opportunity to kayak and swim in the Sound! Real Journey was definitely the company to use given their professionalism and knowledge.
12 January 2016
The overnight cruise with Real Journeys is fabulous. This company is very professional and efficient. Doubtful Sound is more remote and therefore less crowded and touristy than Milford Sound. Although I have not been to Milford Sound, I cannot imagine anything more beautiful than Doubtful Sound. It involves a bus ride from Queenstown, then a boat ride to another bus which takes you up and over a range to Doubtful Sound. Because of the lengthy transit, I would highly recommend the overnight cruise rather than the day trip.....
11 November 2015
We did the overnight cruise in doubtful sound - research suggested it was just as good as Milford but much quieter. The journey there is part of the experience:
bus to Manipouri, boat across the lake, bus to the top of the sound, boat on the sound. It all went like clockwork and the scenery, especially over wilmot pass,
was awesome. The boat was very comfortable, food was great and we were lucky enough to see a whale. The commentary from the coach and boat drivers and the naturalist on the boat were superb. Hats off guys.
But the best bit? When motors and generators on the boat were turned off for 10 minutes and everyone was asked to sit and enjoy the silence. You could hear the waterfalls, the birds, the bush. Brilliant.
Visited November 2015
6 November 2015
We had a fantastic time cruising the spectacular sound with great food and drinks. The on board, bus driver and all staff help and commentary was really good too. We saw great wildlife including whales and awesome scenery. Just a pity they let other tourists in too!
Visited November 2015
14 October 2015
This review is for the Doubtful Sound overnight trip. My friend and I were planning to do a day trip to Milford Sound, but when we were chatting to staff at our hostel we discovered that the Doubtful trip was on sale and meant to be great.
We went ahead with it and couldn't have been happier with our decision. The staff at Real Journeys were phenomenal to deal with from start to finish. All of the crew on the boat were knowledgeable and friendly. Carol was a wealth of knowledge and really helped make the experience immersive with all of the details she shared. The food was amazing - I'll admit that I had low expectations when I heard there was a buffet dinner since I find those kinds of mass produced meals to usually be underwhelming, but the food Stefan and his team prepared was amazing. Since we were traveling and staying hostels we had been cooking most of our meals, so this was such a treat. The chance to kayak in the fjord was unreal - so serene to be out there in the water.
The only thing I'd change about the trip would have been to find a way to make it longer!
Visited October 2015
29 October 2015
I have had the pleasure of previously doing a day trip (1990), overnight (2007) and the overnight again this week. Just an amazing tour company to tour with.
Doubtful Sound undoubtably surpasses Milford Sound that I have also done day trip on. The buffet dinner and breakfast were superb and the crew exceptional.
Sim's knowledge of the environment is exceptional. Thank you all.
Visited October 2015
20 November 2014
A once in a life time trip! Overnight cruise. Doubtful Sound is a truly beautiful place, everywhere you turn there is an incredible view.
Apart from the Navigator there was only one other boat on the Fiord, a much more peaceful & exclusive experience compared to Milford Sound which can get very busy with tour operators.
The food was beautiful, the accommodation unique & comfortable. Transfers between land and water were efficient whilst remaining enjoyable, learning about Fiordland National Park from the running commentary. All staff were fantastic & a credit to Real Journeys.
Visited November 2014
8 October 2014
Went for the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise with Real Journey. The boat had great facilities and was very comfortable. The staff was very friendly and looked like they enjoyed helping us discover the sound. Doubtful is mesmerising, bigger and more impressive than Milford Sound and yet as fewer people visit there is a real feeling of tranquillity and remoteness. The wildlife is incredible and you usually get to observe dolphins and seals. There is an option to go kayaking which is a great to explore the shores more closely. The dinner served was also delicious and the boat has a bar to enjoy in the evening. Overall it was one of the best thing I have done in New Zealand.
Visited September 2014
7 January 2014
We chose to do the overnight trip on Doubtful Sound. It was a very memorable experience. There had been plenty or rain before we arrived but cleared up later which meant we got to see gorgeous scenery and waterfalls. Did the kayaking which was fun. The staff were brilliant and enthusiastic. We were lucky to see plenty of wildlife - hump back whales, dolphins, penguins, albatross, seals and lots of birds. The cabins were nice and clean. The food on board was excellent. We love the 5 minutes of complete silence. A really memorable experience would highly recommend.
Visited November 2013
21 January 2014
i had previously done the milford sound overnight trip and totally loved it and had been on day trip in doubtful sound.i think the best way to see the sounds are on an overnight trip.its so much more relaxed and you get to do activities on the water when you moor in a beautiful sheltered cove for the night.first you leave pearl harbour in manapouri and cross the lake which is beautiful,then at the end of the lake where the underground power station is you board a bus over the divide to the wharf.its beautiful if theres snow up there in the mountains.once on the fiordland navigator you start cruising doubtful sound.the staff are very knowledgeable and make it really interesting.they sail out towards the tasman sea and if conditions are condusive the raise the sails and sail out to see and back.then they cruise to the mooring spot and you get to choose from varied water activities for the next couple of hours.the smorgasbord dinner is fantastic!!!!they have games on board and books to read .they also show a commentary film which is great.the morning brings a smorgasbord brekky as well.what a beautiful trip.having done both the sounds with real journey overnight cruises ,i couldnt pick the better one of the 2 because they are both different and equally as amazing.
Visited September 2013
28 April 2013
Overnight cruise and kayaking in Doubtful Sound. All perfectly organized, super friendly helpful staff, the best buffet I've had in New Zealand! The naturist had all the info, the Captain was so friendly and easy to talk to. I chose the shared 4 bed cabin. Plenty of space and comfortable. Besides the mindblowing kayak experience, waking up in the still waters of Doubtful Sound and watching the sun rise through the mist was something I'll never forget. Including the boat ride across Lake Manapouri, and the bus ride over the pass to get to Doubtful, the staff were always entertaining and teaching along the way. Not a single complaint. Well done Real Journeys!
Visited April 2013
19 April 2013
We did an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound after 2 weeks in a camper van with 2 teenagers in April 2 years ago but thought it was a real highlight of our trip and I should recommend it. The collection point in Te Anau was easy and we felt comfortable leaving our camper there. The journey started with a small boat trip, then a coach ride before we got to the boat. The boat was more than comfortable and we had a bunk style room for the 4 of us with a shared bathroom. Food was incredible and always plenty. The weather was beautiful and sunny one day and the next was raining so we got to see the best of both worlds with amazing reflections and then waterfalls flowing. The canoeing was great to get up close to the bank, swimming off the back deck if you could stand the water temp. A trip well worth the $. Highly recommended - Real Journeys.
Visited April 2013
Ingrid08_11 Canberra, Australia via TripAdvisor
16 February 2013
We had (as part of our holiday package) booked the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. The first part was a boat transfer from the wharf at Manapouri to the power station on the West Arm of Lake Manapouri. After this 1-hour ride, we transferred to a bus for the ride over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove (at the start of Doubtful Sound). The bus driver was very informative on the 45-minute journey. We boarded the boat at Deep Cove for our overnight cruise. Part way along, we had the choice of kayaking or going on a tender for a quick explore of the water's edge. I chose the latter since it was led by an experienced guide who was providing natural history information. The food on the boat was really good (and plentiful); the cabin was comfortable (not huge, but the boat isn't very big). We would recommend this trip to anyone.
Visited January 2013
11 January 2012
From the moment we were picked up from our hotel accommodation till we reached our destination at Manapouri we were blown away. The informative, excellent coach driver. the the welcoming staff on the boat, the coach driver from Manapouri to Fiordland, to the welcoming staff when joining the boat we can't speak more highly of. What a memorable trip. We would recommended this trip to anyone.
Visited January 2012
Sillyshoes, New Zealand via TripAdvisor
In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.
From Queenstown to Manapouri by car or coach takes around 2 hrs 45 mins and from Te Anau around 30 minutes. For more information refer to our Driving Times webpage.
Yes, we have plenty of free parking at Manapouri. Daytime car parking is provided adjacent to the Visitor Centre. Overnight car parking is a available on View St, a short 2 minute walk from our Manapouri Visitor Centre.
Overnight Cruises and Quadshare - We are a group of three people and would like to book a shared quad-share room. Will this mean we would be sharing with another person?
Yes, you could potentially be sharing with another guest. Alternatively you could choose to pay for the entire quad cabin, or two double cabins, to ensure privacy. If you wish to pay for an entire quad cabin, please contact us directly by email, by phone or via webchat.
Note: quad-share cabins are mixed gender.
A double room is a private room for two people, with one bed to share. A twin room is a private room for two people, with two single beds.
Milford Sound at the mountainous north end of Fiordland National Park is the classic fiord - a deep water inlet between steep sided high mountains. Milford Sound is a middle-sized fiord at around 13 kms in length and it is famous for its dramatic scenery, especially Mitre Peak. This fiord is the most accessible of Fiordland National Park’s 14 fiords and it can be reached by bus, car or flight connections from Queenstown.
Doubtful Sound is located in the heart of Fiordland National Park where the mountains are still very impressive but not as high as Milford Sound. Doubtful Sound is three times longer and has a sea surface area roughly ten times larger than Milford Sound. Its three arms are Hall, Crooked and First Arm. It is famous for its wilderness scenery and wildlife sightings. To get to Doubtful Sound visitors first take a launch trip across Lake Manapouri and drive over Wilmot Pass.
Visitors with enough time choose to visit both fiords as they have different characters.
Fiordland’s weather is what gives the region its unique character. Rainfall is what makes Fiordland a land of lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls and fiords. Visitors should always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during their stay. It is recommended to bring sensible clothing for cool and wet weather to fully appreciate your stay.
The temperatures you can expect in the different seasons are as follows:
Many say you have not seen Fiordland unless you have seen it in the rain. 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 the bus or boat, this landscape is spectacular for sightseeing.
We recommend each passenger brings no more than a carry-on sized bag due to space restrictions in the cabins. For a list of what to bring please see the 'more info' section or your booking confirmation.
Yes, there is very limited luggage storage available in the waiting area at our Manapouri Visitor Centre for our overnight cruise passengers (maximum one bag only per person).
If you have booked a coach and cruise to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound our buses pick up from most accommodation in Queenstown and Te Anau. When booking either from our website or directly with our staff, please let us know if you want to be picked up from your accommodation or from our Visitor Centre.
We operate round trip combined 'coach & Doubtful Sound cruise' excursions departing Te Anau & Queenstown. However if you want to depart Queenstown and return to Te Anau (or depart Te Anau and return to Queenstown), then please contact us directly email@example.com as these trips are NOT bookable on our website.
While we cannot guarantee you will see wildlife, sightings of fur seals are reasonably common in both Doubtful and Milford Sounds. A pod of bottlenose dolphins resides in Doubtful Sound so you have a good chance of seeing these fascinating mammals, and in Milford Sound dolphins are occasional visitors. In both sounds the rare Fiordland crested penguin can at times be observed.
Where can we securely park our car / campervan in Te Anau whilst we are going to Milford or Doubtful Sound?
Whilst parking in and around Te Anau is safe, we cannot guarantee this. 'Safer Parking' offers paid secure day-night parking for customers who wish to ensure their valuables are safe. Please visit the Safer Parking website to find out more details for rates, information, etc. Real Journeys buses do collect customers from Safer Parking - simply select this option when booking your excursion from Te Anau.
Throughout Fiordland the fiords are officially mapped as sounds. Strictly speaking, they should be called fiords.
A fiord is a glaciated valley - typically narrow and steep-sided - that has been flooded by the sea after the glacier’s retreat. A sound, on the other hand, is a river valley flooded by the sea following a rise in sea levels or depression of the land, or a combination of both.
The Manapouri Underground Power Station visit is CLOSED indefinitely due to maintenance by operators Meridian Energy. We are not permitted to access the Power Station for tours during this time. The Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise tour will still operate without the visit underground to the Powerstation.
All prices and transactions on the Real Journeys website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
Our staff are trained to deal with incidents and in case of an emergency you should listen to their instructions.
We have a portable defibrillator on each of our overnight cruise vessels (Milford Mariner, Milford Wanderer and Fiordland Navigator).
In addition to this we also have portable defibrillators at the following locations:
• Milford Sound Visitor Terminal
• Real Journeys Visitor Centre, Manapouri
• Cavern House (Te Anau Glowworm Caves)
• Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, Walter Peak
• TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship
• Stewart Island Ferry (Bluff - Oban - Bluff).