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“Doubtful Sound with Real Journeys: the star of a month's holiday in NZ” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound
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Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Te Anau or Manapouri
Ranked #2 of 42 things to do in Te Anau
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator
Attraction details
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Doubtful Sound with Real Journeys: the star of a month's holiday in NZ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2011

Three of us - two from the UK and one from Australia - had been advised by a friend not to miss a cruise on the remote Doubtful Sound even if thatmeant missing Milford Sound, much vaunted as the world's best tourist attraction and apparently sharper but smaller - and overcrowded in peak season, with only short times there normally possible. Overnight on Doubtful was the opposite. Lucky with stunningly peaceful weather while Otago to the east drowned, our overnight cruise with Real Journeys was one of those life-memorable moments you can talk about for ever. Most reviews here I read were much of the same opinion, but I was amazed to read one which said the food was ordinary - the food for us was utterly spectacular, and I found myself talking to friends about that afterwards - even before mentioning the astounding scenery, the mollymawks and albatrosses, the seals in the mild gale at the fjord's mouth, the astonishing 'tree avalanches' marking the vertical mountain sides, and of course the 'Sounds of Silence' switch-off in a quiet bay in the morning. I would suggest that in future they park the boat far away from a waterfall, even though it is a sound of nature - but anyway it was still memorable to hear bird sounds emerging from the forested mountain slopes the more you tuned in. All on board except one irritating French girl stayed utterly quiet as instructed. As for the cruise being 'regimented' and the information routine and pre-processed, I couldn't disagree more: nothing could have been more customised and adaptable, any questions would be answered and there were loads of books about the wildlife etc. The chap Jason who took us out on the tender boat to places underneath the dripping vegetation knew all that stuff, and was even personally studying the geology in detail by drawing his own maps, so that he could talk about it. But all the crew (staff?) were extraordinary multi-taskers - their schedule was an intense one but they were all wonderful. As for the food ('all you can eat' on a grand scale) - did I mention that? The coach trip over the Wilmot Pass, the boat over Lake Manapouri, and the quick look at the hydro power station museum were also of great interest. I forgot to say that I adored the food too - though I couldn't eat half as much as the young chap we got talking to!

Visited May 2011
4 Thank Sedcopian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Kamloops, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Smaller IS better - when it comes to exploring Doubtful Sound”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2011

We did an overnight trip in mid February on Doubtful Sound with Fiordland Expeditions. With only a couple of days notice, they had space for us on the Tutuko II. Turned out there were only 4 of us on this trip! From the moment we stepped aboard and were handed a glass of champagne the adventure began. The crew was friendly and efficient, and made us feel instantly at home. The delicious meals we were served included the seafood we caught. What a myriad of amazing experiences : fishing at the edge of the Tasman Sea, retrieving lobster pots, kayaking at dusk, wild life viewing - dolphins, seals and several albatross circling the boat and stealing the bait as we fished. Our skipper Fiord had a great eye for things we would have missed - some rare orchids growing on a tree overhanging the water, a fiordland penguin perched on the rocks. As well, he took us into the smallest inlets and close up to waterfalls. Be sure to take bug spray and a camera. Smaller is definitely better. I'm sure it wouldn't have been as much fun or as personal on one of the big boats.

Visited February 2011
4 Thank HezgoesNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“An incrediable experience WOW!!!!!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2011

Fabulous from the moment we were collected by Mandy for the transfer to lake Manapouri, 50 min boat trip and then a coach to board Tutoko 2 ( a lovely small boat ) for an overnight trip on Doubtful Sound. Champagne to start and regular snacks throughout the day. Highlights included fishing in the Tasman sea - we caught a shark!! sea kayaking, Dolphins surfing the bow wave, Richard, the skipper diving for crayfish, which we had for dinner along with blue cod and the shark!! Guitar music which we all sang along to after dinner, the fabulous stars and most of all the quiet & wilderness of Doubtful Sound - a super experience which we will never forget - small is definately much much better!!!!!

Visited March 2011
3 Thank carryoncycling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gisborne, NZ
Level Contributor
81 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“It has it all - an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound with Fiordland Expeditions”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2011

Leave the crowds behind! Enjoy the comfort and companionship of a smaller vessel, aboard Tutoko II as you admire the beauty of Doubtful Sound.

We were welcomed on board and treated as "one of the family". Our every need was catered for - the bed was comfy and the meals A M A Z I N G - if only I had the willpower to leave some of those calories on my plate. There were plenty of private areas to head to, to study the scenery, the main cabin was a welcoming meeting place, and the shortbread....... perhaps the best thing to say about that is that the jar was very soon empty! The skipper knew just where to head for the best views and photos, and the dolphins played and danced for the cameras. Even a bit of rain served only to make the scenery more dramatic.

Thank you , Mandy and Richard, for our wonderful experience - when we saw the crowds getting off some of the larger boats, we appreciated even more the peace and companionship of the smaller craft. We have already passed on your brochure to some friends.

Janet and Ron

Visited March 2011
2 Thank gnilloc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Well worth doing”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2011

We did the overnight cruise on the doubtful sound from Queenstown and would highly recommend this.

We got picked up from Queenstown in a coach with a glass roof, (which encourages sunburnt heads and a warm coach when the sun is out!), the journey involved a half hour stop at some remote cafe. There was a lot of good information given from the coach driver on the way to Manapouri.

Next step was an hour boat trip before being picked up by another coach, (with a weird eccentric coach driver), to the fiordland navigator for our doubtful sound cruise.

Our cabin was comfortable, the food and staff were excellent and the trip was enjoyable, we also saw fur seals and had a fantastic display from the wild dolphins during our cruise.

Although this didn't take from the trip it did rain the whole time and was foggy, this apparently is not uncommon but no one told us this prior to going so just be aware when you pack.

The only negative points would be:

1) A family with 4 young children, I wouldn't recommend this overnight cruise for young children, they just ran around the boat and disturbed the peace throughout the trip. No fault of the children but if they do come on a trip like this they should be controlled and the enjoyment of the other guests who have paid a lot of money to come respected.

2) The return journey - there was a lot of hanging around waiting for coaches, this could have been organised a lot better. Also the coach driver refused to drop the last few people off to their hotels and stopped at the Real Journeys office in Queenstown instead.

Our voucher stated we would be dropped off at the hotel and for the price we paid for the trip this should have been honoured.

Visited January 2011
1 Thank Griff1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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