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Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

Ontario, Canada
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Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

Hello.

I will be staying in Te Anau for 3 days in November. We will have 3 full days to visit the beautiful scenary. Hoping to spend the time visiting Doubtful (and maybe Milford) Sound and do some hiking.

I am planning on doing a cruise in Doubtful Sound. Should we also visit Milford Sound? I am sure they are equally breathetaking but will it be too similar to be worthwhile? Thoughts?

Also - are there cruise options that DO NOT include travel from Te Anau? We much prefer to drive ourselves if possible.

Thank you for any information you can provide!

New Zealand
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1. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

You cannot drive to Doubtful Sound, you first need to cross Lake Manapouri then bus over the pass before getting to the fiord.

Yes you can drive to Milford in Nov and then take a cruise. I wouldn't book a cruise in advance. Just drive to Milford, allow 2.5 hours from Te Anau non-stop, and choose once there. All the boats go the same places, so it is just cost, size of boat and extras (some offer lunch) which differs.

I think there is little point in visiting both fiords. Milford is best for a day trip - the road is fabulous - Doubtful is best for an overnight trip.

Enjoy :)

Troy, Michigan
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2. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

We spent three nites in Te Anau and overnited on Doubtfull Sound and took a day trip on Milford Sound. If you are going to do just one day trip I suggest Milford. Doubtfull was wonderful for an overniter but very pricey. Also consider going to the Glow Worm trip. Very interesting and you can easily fit it in to a 3 day visit.

Ontario, Canada
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3. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

Thank you both for your advice. Still not sure what we will decide upon but I appreciate the input.

I think we will skip the glow worm tour this time around as we visited the caves in Waitomo when we visited a couple years ago. But thanks for the suggestion :)

Western Victoria
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4. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

I did Milford last time, be aware that recommended travel times include a fair bit of sightseeing, because if youget there too early there isnt much to do until the boat leaves.

Book in advance, dont be caught out by getting the only busy day for the week and there is enough variety tomake a choce worth while. the cruise I went on left before the buses and didnt include the observatory.

Doing Doubtful Sound on a day tour in Sept this year, boat leaves from Manapouri which is about 25km from Te Anau, holding my breath!

The glow worms is a great trip, did the evening run and the boat trip in itself was fantastic. But one glow worm is just like another glow wrm, I think.

Colorado
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for Western Australia
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5. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

<Also - are there cruise options that DO NOT include travel from Te Anau?>

You can self drive to Manapouri, park your car there then board the boat that crosses Lake Manapouri.

We've done cruises in Milford Sound three times (we've never booked) and we recently did the day cruise in Doubtful. It was winter, so we just rocked up the morning of and got right on. I personally preferred Doubtful Sound, but would have enjoyed it more if we'd had better weather.

The advantage of the Milford cruise is that if you're staying close (like in Te Anau) you can see what the weather is up to before committing to the cruise...you can just turn up. You might be able to do that in November on the Doubtful cruise, but then again, you might miss out.

Edited: 4:56 am, July 02, 2012
Virginia Beach...
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6. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

Would appreciate other comments on advance booking of the Milford Cruise. We will be in Te Anau for 3 nights from Dec 28-30 and it would at least be great to know the next day's forecast in selecting the day for the cruise. If you take the first cruise - will this always be before the buses arrive?

Also, is the nature cruise advisable over the scenic cruise - it is longer. I did look at one company online yesterday and the trips did not leave until 11 am (is this before the buses) and a pre-ordered bento box lunch was $32 or $17 for a sandwich/snacks. Ouch - I will pack a PBJ myself - thank you very much.

South Island
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7. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

If you are into the wide open spaces and natural landscapes I would advise doing both Milford and Doubtful. To me they are very different places of outstanding natural beauty.

Timeshare.... Normally you do not need to prebook Milford cruises but since you are visiting during the peak time, I suggest you book the morning you leave Te Anau. The Nature and Scenic cruise virtually travel the same route in the fiord and the only difference being the Nature cruise takes longer. The marketing hype about the small boats getting closer to the wildlife etc. should be ignored as the fiords are very deep in those particular places and the larger boats are not disadvantaged. I actually prefer the larger boats because the open viewing decks are huge and of much higher elevation.

You are correct about all the picnic lunches provided by the tour companies, they are not good value.

8. Re: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, or both?

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