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“Good Way To Spend a Day”
Review of Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound
Ranked #4 of 53 things to do in Te Anau
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities
Attraction details
Useful Information: Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed February 17, 2013

Our tour included a trip to the underground hydro-electric station, in addition to the crise across the lake and the one on Doubtful Sound. The hydro-electric station is a feat of engineering that took years and unfortunately some lives to accomplish. The sound is a large and beautiful fiord (bigger than Milford Souns though less dramatic). The day was both interesting and relaxing inspite of a constant mist.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,436 - 1,440 of 1,895 reviews

Reviewed February 17, 2013

The trip consists of a ferry over Lake Manapouri, a coach trip to Doubtful Sound with a visit to the hydro power station, and a boat trip on Doubtful Sound. On the return trip there is the coach journey and the ferry.

The ferry trip lasts just under an hour and is relatively uneventful. You then embark onto the coach which takes you to the power station a few minutes away. The coach drives into a two kilometer long tunnel deep underground. Here you alight for a one minute walk to the power station viewing room. There is a short talk from a power station employee and a number of displays explain the history of the operation. This is one of the most adventurous engineering endeavors in New Zealand. It is pretty warm in the viewing room so leave your warm jackets on the coach. The visit is more interesting than you might expect.

Returning to the coach you then travel for about an hour on a gravel road up and over the Wilmot’s pass to Doubtful sound. The road is twenty two kilometers long, and quite steep both up and down. The coach travels slowly and the trip takes about an hour. During this time you are likely to have an entertaining commentary from your coach driver.

Arriving at the sound you swap the coach for the boat. The boat then travels down the sound almost to the open sea. Wildlife encounters cannot be guaranteed. Large waterfalls are. The boat will poke its bow into at least one of these waterfalls allowing for some spectacular photographs and a real soaking for those who choose to stand on the front deck at this time. The boat ride lasts about three hours and you can move around the boat freely staying inside or going out onto the bow or onto the top viewing deck. Free tea, coffee and milo are available on board at all times.

We ordered pack lunches and they consisted of a couple of sandwiches, cheese and biscuits, an orange, a soft brownie, and a fruit drink.

On the day we went we did not have the best of weather. It rains two hundred days a year here. We didn’t see any wildlife, but there were numerous waterfalls on display. The mists hovering among the peaks provided plenty of atmosphere.

2  Thank SVPromise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

What a cruise. We will never forget our visit, starting at 12on Monday 4th Feb. Firstly the cruise across Lake Manapouri, then the visit to the power station followed by the drive from West Arm to Deep Cove and stopping at Wilmot's Pass for our first glimpse of Doubtful.

We boarded the boat at 4pm and set off immediately for the Tasman Sea. We were greeted, then shown our cabin then got to explore the ship with some lovely fresh muffins. The more energetic hopped into kayaks whereas my husband and I took the tender with about 12 others and spent an hour motoring around that part of the sound, looking at waterfalls and hearing all about the glaciers, NZ bush and wildlife with Jason whose knowledge was huge. That was a lot of fun.

We went back on board and were served soup before going back on deck and arriving at the islands at the mouth of the Sound where it joins the Tasman. Viewing the fur seals and albatross was just magic. The captain and Jason kept us all entertained and updated about the sound and history. We were able to get so close to the islands to see the wildlife. Then we headed off to overnight in another arm of the sound, enjoyed a great dinner and we retired without seeing Jason's slide show.

We had a terrific night's sleep (was not like being on a boat at all) and woke up refreshed. Headed off for a yum breakfast before going up on deck where we headed for Hall Arm. The highlight for me was seeing a pod of dolphins and later a penguin. This was then topped off by the captain turning the engines off, everyone turning their cameras off and we enjoyed the silence.

We then headed back to Deep Cove, said our goodbyes to a fabulous crew then headed back up the pass to West Arm, before taking the boat back to Manapouri.

The region is so unspoilt and untouched by man. This trip was so enjoyable. Would highly recommend it.

2  Thank Karen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

The bit of the world that the brash noisy 21st century has not touched. Be brave, be very brave New Zealand, and keep it just as it is. This really is travelling to the end of the world, to peace, utter silence, crystal sharp beauty, profound tranquillity, a true harmony of weather and water and mountains and birds. My tiny moment here in a lifetime was quite precious and I will remember it for ever.

Thank Shelagh P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 14, 2013

Doubtful Sound is a changing place in the autumn months (June). One visit may be sunny with lots of photo ops and the next visit may be full of hail. We have had both. Either time brought serenity and lots of fun. Each time we boarded the Tutoko with another family and enjoyed the entire two days. The meals were tremendous, not to mention the scones and cream for tea time. We fished and shared traveling stories. To stay overnight on the sound was so beautiful. It is hard to imagine visiting the sound without staying that long. The crew on board the Tutoko (nz.com) really made it a nice trip. Tip: If you go during a colder month, beware that the boat motor is shut off at night and there is not any heat. Bring warm clothes to sleep in and keep your cabin door shut while the heat is on and all should go well. To get the personalization that a small boat offers really makes the trip. Some of us jumped off the top deck into the freezing water below. Some of us kayaked and some of us got wet when we neared a waterfall. A boat load of adventure!

Thank jsh326
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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