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Recommended experiences in and around Manapouri
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All reviews wilmot pass across lake manapouri doubtful sound day trip tasman sea overnight cruise the bus fiordland navigator new zealand te anau west arm complete silence turned off nature guide fur seals quad share packed lunch
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Reviewed November 18, 2014

I'll preface my review by saying that good weather here is much like the luck of the draw. With an annual rainfall of more than 22ft (that's a 2-story building) chances are it'll rain on your visit. So just be warned that you may not get the picturesque photos like the ones on the brochure.

Having said that, i LOVED the outing. The day started with miserable rain and chilly temperature, and the rain only got harder as the bus drove towards Manapouri. On Wilmot Pass it was snow flurries. But lucky for us, as the cruise ship got to the farthest point of the journey, the ocean inlet at Doubtful Sound, the sun broke out and it was so picture-perfect! Word can't really describe the majesty of the landscape, it was breath-taking. When the sun is out, it was like a warm spring summer day. But on the way back, it quickly turned into rain and snow again as the bus journeyed back to Queenstown.

Unlucky for us, the only wildlife we encountered was the New Zealand penguins. They are so tiny and far away that you need a good binocular to see their trademark yellow eye brow. We didn't get to see any of the seals or resident dolphins. Oh well, I'll leave that to my imagination.

Real Journeys runs a very smooth operation, from pick up to drop off. No real complaints from me.

Date of experience: November 2014
1  Thank Meng Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2014

I am always reluctant to write negative reviews, especially when I think Mother Nature wrecked my day. But here goes, as this was the ONLY unpleasant and strikingly PAINFUL excursions I have been on in my life.

It rained and rained and rained and rained. Raining only not to be outdone by the chilly boat\bus, AND NO WAY OUT.

It is said it rains 5 out of every 4 days in the sound. JK, of course it rains more than the sun is shining.

Luckily we drove to the Sound from Auckland which was AMAZING...the only bright spot in our day. SOOOOO happy we didnt take the bus-to-a-boat-to-a-bus-to-a-boat-to-a-bus-back to baot\bus\boat\bus. THATS WHAT YOUR SIGNING UP FOR WITH THIS TOUR. We just had Car-to-a-boat-to-a-bus-to-a-boat-to-a bus-to-a-boat.

It rained all day. COLD all day. Bus was under heated. Boats were not warm due to in-and-out of passengers to take rainy\foggy pictures of water and nothing.

The box lunch was awful. I upgraded to the deluxe and the cheese and crackers was fake cheese and the sandwich was slathered in that ketchup sauce...dripping...eeeeeek. My friend had the vegetarian and the ginger cookie tasted like a big lick of a can of ginger with no sugar...YUCK.

The Captain came over the loudspeaker at one point and said "If you not having a good time it is because of your attitude". He KNEW most of us were not enjoying our trip. Attitude? If they had a $ 500 option to get airlifted outta there we would have taken it in a heartbeat.

Wish I would have gone to Milford.

Date of experience: November 2014
4  Thank Rebecca C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2014 via mobile

This tour is perfect. The commentary from all the crew is great, interesting and informative. Nice modern buses and boats. It is a big day from queenstown but you can rest on the way home if need be. However, the scenery is worth staying awake for.

1  Thank tomd427
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2014

Real Journeys is an impressive organisation. We were going to travel to Milford Sound but on the recommendation of others we went to Doubtful Sound instead and we are so glad we did.
We were collected from our Te Anau motel and returned there from Manapouri by coach at no extra charge.
We travelled the length of Lake Manapouri on a modern vessel, then went by coach over Wilmot Pass, then on another excellent vessel the length of Doubtful Sound right to the open sea.
We were impressed with the condition and cleanliness of all the vessels and coaches. The Real Journeys staff were very friendly, professional and knowledgeable about the area. They provided good commentaries throughout the day.
This was a 9-hour trip and excellent value for money.

Date of experience: November 2014
2  Thank OB1NZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2014

Wow! Iv'e been to NZ alot of times and this has heen on my bucket list for a long time and it was worth the wait. The ferry driver and the bus driver are very knowledgeable about the environment they work in, also very passionate about the the wildlife.
The boat was fantastic, very comfy and warm.
The staff are incredibly hard workers always busy and smiling. They go out of their way to help, and are a pleasure to chat with. We were on board for halloween and the cook and the staff who pitch in with everthing had prepared the most fantastic meal for us all halloween themed! There was enough food to have seconds and it was al a carte....yum yum yum.
A big thank you to all of the staff and the captain (31 Oct 2014).
The bunks were comfy, warm and clean. The entire boat was immaculate, the staff well presented and polite. Their knowledge of the boat and the flora, fauna and wildlife was great.
You don't need to take alot of baggage with you. Take a good rain jacket, closed in non slip shoes, a good camera, sunscreen and hat. The showers and quad share are unisex so be prepared to mingle. There are doors on the showers :-)

Weather permitting you can Kayak and if you cant kayak they will take you out in a dingy (small alloy craft).
If you are driving to Manapouri you can leave your vehicle in a carpark close by. I had concerns about doing this with the rental vehicle but it was still there in one piece when we got back. I found that even though we had some rain on our trip it didn't take away the majesty of the surrounds, it made it all the more fascinating.

Thank you Real Journeys and the crew on the Navigator for one of the most momorable trips to NZ. A special thanks to Steve who was so knowledgeable and passionate about his environment!

Sharyn, Tracy, Leisa, Maria & Tahnee - the girls from Brisbane

Date of experience: October 2014
Thank Sharyn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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