Blogs from Doubtful Sound, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania


A day in the wilderness. Because holiday lodges are not being kept full by overseas people we have found that the restaurant at our motor lodge is not providing all meals, as advertised. This meant that a local cafe run by local people have benefitted so it's not all bad. Due to Covid19, a large contingent of 140 Kiwis boarded the Real Journey's Doubtful Sound vessel at 10.00am. We thought that without all the overseas tourists there wouldn't be huge number of people on the boat but we were wrong. What we're finding is that New Zealanders are filling the overseas tourist spaces particularly on the popular activities. It's lovely. It's like it used to be years ago when we didn't have to compete for space. Good for us but not so good for some business ... read more
One of the many waterfalls
Another stunning view of Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound from Wilmot Pass

The highlight most anticipated by many visitors to New Zealand's South Island is a visit to Fiordland National Park, and for many that means a cruise on Milford Sound. In normal times, this means about a two hour car drive from Te Anau or a longer drive from Manapouri or Queenstown, followed by a relatively short cruise on what is a surprisingly small body of water. However, this was not normal times. Continuing our string of catastrophic near-misses, we arrived in Fiordland just days after an historic flood event devastated the road to Milford, stranding hundreds and requiring several air rescues. Over 39 inches of rain fell within a 60 hour period. The result of the consequent flooding was that the road into Milford was several damaged in several places. When you drive the road, ... read more
Eglington Valley
Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake

Although enjoyable, the trip to Milford Sound was a little underwhelming, given its rank in the pantheon of world travel destinations. Lots of waterfalls, but small in size and little else to see on the Sound itself. However, the next day went the other way. Our day started with a short drive to another lodging in Te Anau with a large parking area, where we parked the car and took our small overnight bags for our overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound is much more remote than Milford, perhaps accounting for its second place among South Island attractions. To get there, we took a van about 20 km from Te Anau to Manapouri, boarded a boat which took us about 35 km across Lake Manapouri to the Manapouri Hydro Station, then boarded a smaller van ... read more
Raging stream on way to Deep Cove
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound

Absolutely the best morning of the entire trip! We woke up deep into Doubtful Sound. We had a 180-degree view from the bunks on the top deck, and we were surrounded by magnificent mountains, waterfall and calm see. Within 20 minutes we had dolphins jumping out of the water. Amazing! We had booked an overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound. It had required a bit of planning and researching to find out how we could best see the Fiordland National Park. The two big sounds are Milford and Doubtful Sound. A blog comparing the two explained (in much more detail) how Milford has more jaw dropping landscape, higher waterfall and taller mountains. It’s also the busier of the two, and often has several helicopters flying above you at any one time. Doubtful is less dramatic and ... read more
Sooo many waterfalls
Our room was perfectly placed on the top deck
Our penthouse cabin

The last two days Tony and I were in Fiordland National Park! Our first stop was a short walk around Milford Sound and then we hiked to the top of Key Summit Track! The following day, we took a boat cruise through Doubtful Sound! If you ever make your way to this part of the world it’s worth the extra bus and boat ride to experience this fiord!!! We happened to be there after a night of heavy rain, so the waterfalls were countless and amazing! Truly an experience of a lifetime! ... read more

Wednesday 4th December, 2013. Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, South Island, New Zealand We had to get up early again as we had to be at the Wharf in Manapouri (about 20 minutes drive from Te Anau) at 7.40 for an 8 am departure. We arrived first at about 7.30 am and were issued our boarding passes immediately. Doubtful Sound is not accessible by road. It is necessary to go by boat across lake Manapouri (the 5th largest in NZ) to the "neck" and then cross the Wilmot Pass before taking another boat up the Sound itself. Doubtful Sound was originally named "Doubtful Harbour" by Captain Cook when he sailed past in the Endeavour on his first circumnavigation of NZ in 1770. He skirted past the entrance wondering whether there was sufficient wind to manoeuvre his vessel in ... read more
68. M, Marjorie and Mike on Doubtful Sound Cruise
27. Doubtful Sound
54. Crooked Arm, Doubtful Sound

Now I know what you are thinking; they have turned into Pirates and are not coming back? Have won the Malaysian version of ‘Who wants to be a Millionare?’ Maybe it’s that we have struck gold in Oz? Afraid not – but we have found some pics that we haven’t put up before. Julian thinks they are real gems (even though – yep I know Lyn – he’s not on many. It’s the weather you see – he is finding it difficult to cope). So the pics – they are of NZ, some seen before others new – a real mixture. To help understand this mixture, here is a handy guide (Whales + Dolphins = kaikoura; Nice blue water = Lake Tekapo. Snowy Mountain = you’ve guessed it (!) Mount Cook; Water, Mountains and Rich n ... read more
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Photo 20

Queenstown, a tourist town on Lake Wanaka flanked by the ‘Incredibles’ mountain range and Ben Lomond. Ok that’s the boring bit done, Queenstown is an adrenlin packed playground and our welcome involved travelling by cable car to the sadle of Ben Lomond and looking down to Queenstown with hang-gliders above us, bungee jumpers below us, Luge drivers alongside us and jet boaters on the lake. So we took the soft start and raced the Luge circuit in a go-kart no less than 5 times. Then to the serious stuff…45 minutes on the lake and Shotover River in a twin jet boat driven by Kevin with a glint in his eye like it was his last drive…it was. The boat shoots down the river like something from a Bond film, aiming for any obstacle and swerving at ... read more
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As well as revisiting old favourites, on my quick trip through the South Island I've tried to tick off a few sites on my must-do-still list. Abel Tasman and Dunedin were both on this list, as was Doubtful Sound, and a fortnight ago I finally visited this beautiful and remote part of Fiordland. We piled camping gear into Luke and Lisa's beast of a 4x4 and drove out to Te Anau for a night under canvas...or under a $10 tent from the Salvation Army store as it turned out! We eventually settled on a grassy clearing after testing the off-road capabilities of the beast on a twilight drive up a muddy, overgrown track. I spent the night wearing all the clothes I own, having weird and scary dreams, and trying not to touch the sides of ... read more
Me on our cruise of Doubtful Sound
Albatross, Doubtful Sound
Kayaking Doubtful Sound

Winding down with the Weather The morning after my incredible luck at the glaciers, the weather was anything but pleasant. You will not be able to tell from the pictures I have chosen for the blogs, but I have had nasty weather on the way. But I have managed to time it, so that I have been on the road on those days and not missing out on anything really important. It is also a way of cleaning the dust of the EDS. I headed further south - into the mountains and stayed a couple of nights in Wanaka. Some of NZ's skiing territory is in this area, but the season was over weeks before I arrived and the summer activities had not really kicked off yet, so it was nice and quiet. I went tramping ... read more
Wakatipu Reflection

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