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Real Journeys – Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise

Real Journeys – Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise We did this tour in Nov. The day involved... read more

Reviewed 3 days ago

Waaaaaaaayyyy better than Milford sound! Great staff - very knowledgeable. Awesome to get two boat... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
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Reviewed November 3, 2015

We went on both the 2-hour Milford Sound nature cruise and the 22-hour overnight Doubtful Sound cruise. We had fabulous warm sunny weather for both, so in our case the overnight cruise gave us more to enjoy than the nature cruise (but BOTH were great).

We drove 2 hours from Queenstown in our rental car on easy roads in plenty of time to make the noon departure. Once aboard, we were happy to see there were no sand flies at all- hooray! My sister and I are prone to motion sickness, so we put on scopolamine patches and completely enjoyed the trip, although the only rough water was outside the mouth of Doubtful Sound in the Tasman Sea. There were 3 meals: afternoon muffins, buffet dinner, and buffet breakfast- all great. The toilet facilities were handy, and our sleeping quarters were a private room with 4 bunk beds- surprisingly comfortable. At night we anchored, and the ship was quiet.

A naturalist on board kept us informed about the geology, forests, birds, and aquatic mammals. Right away we had a pod of about 50 dolphins jumping at the bow! We saw fur seals, blue penguins, and fjordland penguins close to the sea. We took a tender craft out to examine the coastline vegetation, some people kayaked in the sunshine, others jumped into the 11-degree water for a swim, and we had a hour-long conservation slide-show after dinner. We had a beautiful full moon shining down on us at night, the stars were gorgeous, and the morning sunrise showed still, mirror-like water reflecting the green steep mountains. An hour before we concluded the tour, we had a 10-minute moment of complete silence (which everyone honored) with engines off- in an area of amazing beauty. I'll remember that as very special.

To get to this cruise, you have to check in at Manapouri, cross Lake Manapouri in a transfer boat, hop onto a bus, and drive a bit to get to the Real Journeys dock on Doubtful Sound. You do this in reverse on the way back. It's a bit fiddly, but appropriate for the remote location and was expertly handled. We all had a WONDERFUL, MEMORABLE, BUCKET-LIST time.

Date of experience: October 2015
1  Thank Raelene L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2015

Absolutely excellent. A very slick well organised operation. Good boat, good cabin, good food, great staff and of course who could fault the location.
Well done to Real Journeys.

Date of experience: October 2015
1  Thank CarolCrowthorne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2015 via mobile

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.

Date of experience: October 2015
1  Thank 368margaretb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2015

Doubtful is best experienced during a downpour, I know what your thinking, the problem is rainfall drives all the "waterfalls", so on a clear day, yet you get nice clear views but only on rainy days do you get the amazing waterfalls. But the company itself goes out of their way to make the cruise memorable, its quite a journey, not easy to get to doubtful sound like Milford is, and Doubtful is 100% better than Milford rain or not.

Date of experience: October 2015
Thank RobBas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2015

This was without a doubt the best experience of my holiday to Queenstown. I travelled with my partner in July, and were given the suggestion by our hotel staff to try Doubtful Sound instead of Milford.

It is a long day, (longer than the Milford tour I believe), we were at the station before sunrise and got back well after sunset. Be prepared for a journey as well. A bus ride is followed by a ferry ride, before another bus ride, all before you reach the Sound. But it is so, so worth it. The Sound was one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen.

We were treated to the works on our trip. Clear blue skies, fresh snow on the ground, icicles hanging on the trees, a visit from the dolphins who swam along side the boat for a few minutes, and baby seals. In fact, the day was so spectacular that on a couple of occasions, we heard the staff chatting to each other about how it was one of the best they had seen.

The staff were all wonderful as well, very friendly, our guides were full of life, knowledge and stories, which always adds that extra touch to a tour.

Date of experience: July 2015
Thank jimmy3536
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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