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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 fur seals packed lunch nature guide quad share seal colony
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Reviewed October 11, 2015 via mobile

Really well organised by a lot of committed and enthusiastic people. Doubtful Sound itself is just spectacularly beautiful - it should be on everybody's bucket list. Not the driest place on earth, so good waterproofs are useful, but you can stay inside on the boats and still see a lot. But outside is best.
And some really excellent seamanship by Dave the Captain along the Sound and to the edge of the Tasman Sea.
We had the Gourmet picnic lunch which was well worth the money.

Date of experience: October 2015
Thank ACM42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2015 via mobile

We booked this trip months before going and didn't know exactly what to expect, but we we're more than impressed. The Doubtful Sound is remote and getting there does take time, but the views are spectacular the whole way. The whoe process, including the ferry across the lake and the coach over the pass, are run by Real Journeys and they have the thing down to a science. We never had to wait more than a few minutes when transitioning and the rides were comfortable and well staffed. The small cruise ship is comfortable and the crew is very friendly, knowledgable and hard working. The food was great and there was always plenty to eat. We stayed comfortable on the cruise despite the rain and learned a lot about the Sound as we went along. The rain seemed a bother at first, but when you see the hundreds of temporary waterfalls cascading down the cliffs, you'll forget all about it. We were still able to see a fur seal colony despite the windy weather and even did some kayaking in the rain. This trip is a must-do while in New Zealand.

Date of experience: October 2015
1  Thank thebearded1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2015

We rarely participate in organised day-trips when holidaying and travelling, however after much deliberation we chose the Doublful Sount over Milford Sound because I read many reviews stating the beauty of both Sounds but the remoteness of Doubtful means there are less tour groups on the Sound.

We arrived at 8.25am for the 8.45am departure at the Real Journeys centre near the Te Anau Main Street. The staff were friendly and welcoming, and the mini-bus driver who took us from Te Anau to Manapouri was a lovely laid-back local who explained how everything would work during the day.

The staff at reception at the Real Journeys main office at Manapouri were also friendly and welcoming. We picked up our pre-ordered packed lunch from the little cafe and waited 15-20 mins to board the boat across Lake Manapouri which is stunning in its own right and NZ's 2nd largest lake!
One recommendation is for Real Journeys to provide adequate waiting area as it was cold and raining and there wasn't really anywhere to shelter during this time.

After the 50 min trip across Lake Manapouri we boarded another bus to travel the 40 min trip across the Wilmott Pass, with the funny (& competent) bus driver Justin, down to Deep Cove to board the Patea Explorer for the 3-hour tour.
The boat is large, comfortable, has a bar (yay!), snacks, friendly staff and knowledgable Eco-people that tell you interesting facts throughout the journey.

Apart from being constantly visually overwhelmed, a couple of highlights were;
- seeing the elusive Fiordland Crested Penguin at the mouth of the Sound where it meets the Tasman Sea
- the few minutes of pure silence ( sound of silence) when the captain shut off the engines and told everyone to shut-up ( nicely of course!) so we could enjoy the Sound without noise pollution. I will seriously remember those moments forever; just the sounds of the birds, the wind in the trees and the rush of distant waterfalls

Even though it was overcast and at times drizzling with rain, The whole day journey was on time and a pure pleasure. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to experience the raw beauty of the Sounds.

Date of experience: October 2015
2  Thank thisismelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2015

We did the over night trip on doubtful sound. Perfect in all ways . Trip across lake Manapouri calm and flat sunny . Bus over the Willmont pass what scenery. A wonderfull greeting quay side. Shown our cabin better than we thought . Nice queen bed and ensuite cabin with a window.
Fresh muffins yumm. Chose to do the nature event with Carol what knowledge she has.
Cruising this spectacular area is breathtaking. Dinner fab and plenty of it. A nature talk after dinner with carole we learnt so much.
Good sleep. Breakfast great. Snowed over night so mountains had a good covering. Ray our Skipper fantastic we spent time in the bridge with him. Dolphins galore . Nothing was a problem. A staff member had a birthday celebrated with a very cold dive into the water off the boat, My husband got his bagpipes out and played all good stuff.The sounds of silence was very moving.
All too soon our amazing trip came to a end. We were sad to leave.Some of the party had never been in snow so they got another experience on the Wilmont pass.
All in all this trip is a must do. Thanks real journeys.

Date of experience: September 2015
Thank glenysriggs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2015

Real Journeys are clearly a very professional outfit that works hard to deliver a user friendly and memorable product.

I was glad that we double checked the information given by the (non-Real Journey person) booking agent, if I had relied on that advice we would have literally missed the boat (allow 2.5 hours from Queenstown to Manapouri if you are self-driving).

The excursion is in three stages; Boat across Lake Manapouri, coach between Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound - all of the transport was efficient and comfortable.

On board the boats there is complimentary tea and coffee and other snacks and drinks are available for purchase.

The commentary provided on each of the three journey phases was accessible, informative and professionally delivered.

The scenery throughout the trip is stunning.

We all loved it.

Date of experience: September 2015
Thank Tim_Wi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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