Fiordland question & Abel vs. south.south island

Dec 4th, 2002, 06:05 PM
Posts: n/a
Fiordland question & Abel vs. south.south island

First: Hands down, which is better: Doubtful or Milford Sound. All things being equal, meaning driving time and crowds and ease of arrival aside, which one is more worth seeing? (for a january trip)

Second: Im driving throughout the South island but need to make a choice as to whether to drive as far south as Invercargill or instead drive around the north bend and see Abel Tasman park. as far as scenery goes, which is the more enjoyable drive from christchurch?

Dec 4th, 2002, 10:55 PM
Posts: n/a
On a good-weather day (even in January an iffy proposition), I think that the scenery on Milfornd Sound is a little more spectacular, when compared to Doubtful Sound. However, there are far more boats and crowds in Milford, primarily because it is more famous and easier to access. It is a longer drive to get to Milford from Te Anau, compared to Pearl Harbor for Doubtful Sound. However, you then must take a boat ride across Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus trip on a dirt road over Wilmot Pass, before descending to the Doubtful Sound access point on Deep Harbor. You finally board a boat there to tour the Sound.

I much prefer the Doubtful Sound trip, as it is will provide far more solitude, and feels much further away from 'civilization'. You get to see much more, in terms of views along Lake Manapouri, a tour of the Manapuri power station (interesting, if you are into that sort of thing), and finally the Doubtful Sound tour itself. This tour is more expensive than a Milford Tour, but I would still take it first.

We really like Invercargill, but given the choice, I would pick visiting Abel Tasman Park first. We just love walking the beaches and hills of Abel Tasman. Even if you only have a day, you can hire a water taxi to take you to a fairly remote beach, then get picked up later (or walk back).
Dec 5th, 2002, 02:02 AM
Posts: n/a
Hi Anne
Question 1
I think Milford Sound is wonderful from a scenic point of view and the first time I went there it took my breath away. However I was down at Manapouri a couple of months ago and I have to agree with Alf. Milford is still great but it has become more of a tourist spot while Doubtful Sound has that grand wilderiness feeling of un-spoilt beauty. If you can afford the time do the overnight trip - it adds a totally different dimension.

Question 2
Not really a question! If you going to Doubtful or Milford Sounds you will be so close to Invercargill that the extra couple of hours driving will be worth it to say that you have been to the bottom of the South Island BUT do go to Bluff - the lookout over the ocean is a great view.

If you are going to do the northern loop through Marlborough and Nelson, some of my relations arrived there in 1841, then you will see a lot more than just Abel Tasman National Park. Marlborough is interesting if you are into food and wine (guess who is going to be down there next week!)

The coast road from Dunedin to Christchurch is an easy drive but not super interesting, the inland route up SH 71 is far more interesting. The same can be said for going north. Between Christchurch and Blenheim apart from a rocky coastline, seals and sea life it does not have that "in your face" scenery of central Otago. But loads of places to stop and picnic especially if you buy one of our rock lobsters (crayfish, a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a loaf of crust bread, but please no drink and driving!

The northern route Chrischurch to Christchurch, unless you are one of crazy non-stop drivers, will take you 4 days at least if you want to see anything.

Enjoy our country.


Dec 6th, 2002, 01:16 PM
Posts: n/a

Doubtful Sound remains the highlight of my trip last February. We went to both sounds, but spent the night on the ship in Doubtful, we booked through Fiordland Travel. The overnight cruise on Doubtful is awesome. It is very remote, great scenery, great boat, good food. The overnight cruise includes kayaking, exploring shoreline by a motorized launch, an early morning launch to see the bird habitats and more. The crew is on the constant look-out for seals and dolphins so you may get the opprtuninty for an up close and personal with them. Can you tell, we loved every minute of that trip!!
Dec 6th, 2002, 01:30 PM
Posts: n/a
hi anne
i'd agree with everyone above about Doubtful sound, it is the pick for peacefulness, a lovely adventure with the added bonus of a trip across lake manapouri which is beautiful. the overnight trip is fantastic.
as for driving routes, i'd recommend the southern senic route which goes from Te Anau (your starting point for milford or doubtful), around the coast to Riverton, Invercargill, the famous Catlins area and back to Dunedin. It is really lovely and well worth taking a couple of days to do it comfortably.
Also Chch through the middle to Queenstown, Te Anau is beautiful.
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Australia & the Pacific
Mar 22nd, 2006 07:44 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Mar 11th, 2006 05:45 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Oct 20th, 2005 11:56 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Aug 22nd, 2005 11:47 AM
Australia & the Pacific
Mar 14th, 2003 04:59 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:12 PM.