Doubtful Sound and its beauty is practically untouched, visitors feel humbled yet uplifted by the atmosphere of powerful solitude in the presence of superb physical grandeur of Doubtful Sound. Sometimes called “the Sound of Silence” there is a cloistered serenity within Doubtful Sound that contrasts with Milford Sound. It is three times longer and ten times larger than Milford Sound.
Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords in New Zealand, at 421 metres deep and is long and winding with three distinct “arms” and several outstanding waterfalls in the area from Deep Cove to the open ocean, a distance of about 40.4 kilometres.
The fiord is rich in flora and fauna, and all sorts of marine and wild life can be found in the sound, fur seals and penguins (Fiordland crested and blue), or even rare large whales such as Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale, Minke Whale, Sperm Whale and some Giant Beaked Whales. Orca, the Killer Whales and Long-Finned Pilot Whales can be found also.
There is no road into Doubtful Sound so access is limited – however flights via helicopter, coach and boat trips are available from Te Anau and Queenstown into Manapouri. From Manapouri you can take a short cruise on Lake Manapouri, take a coach trip across Wilmot Pass, and then board your Doubtful Sound cruise ship at Deep Cove.
Explore Doubtful Sound
There are a few different ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of Doubtful Sound. Enjoy a wilderness cruise in Doubtful Sound, this is a great 8 hour cruise from Manapouri or you can get a coach connection from Queenstown, making for a 12 hour day. We would recommend doing this activity from Te Anau, as the travel time to Manapouri is shorter & the day is about 9 and a half hours long. To have the ultimate cruising experience on Doubtful Sound, overnight cruises are available. This is a great way to see the Sound as the cruise travels the length of the fiord and passengers are also able to enjoy kayaking on the sound. There are also some great scenic flights available (helicopter options to Milford & Doubtful Sounds) from Queenstown to the Sound. From scenic return flights to something a bit more special, perhaps include a gourmet lunch atop a mountain during your scenic journey or add a Milford Sound trip to your Doubtful Sound scenic flight. Just ask one of the Luxury Adventures team for more information about adding a Doubtful Sound scenic flight onto your itinerary. Luxury Adventures top picks for exclusive New Zealand helicopter flights.