Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound -2/3 days

Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 11:42 AM
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Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound -2/3 days

Does it matter which day cruise one takes to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound? Any favorites? or list of operators? The Doubtful Sound cruises seem to be triple the price of Milford Sound - is it worth? If I have to choose between the two - then which one should I go with - or should I cancel one day in Queenstown to be able to do both.
Also, is it better to be based in Te Anau or Manapourifor the 2 trips? Any recommended places to stay would be great.
Does anyone know where I can find out about a one day sea-kayaking trip in Doubtful sound
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 05:16 PM
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Hi foomoo - have only been to Doubtful Sound - it was magnificent even though it rained all day. Stayed in a B&B at Te Anau - not flash but clean and comfortable with good breakfast. It was Shakespeare House www.4db.co.nz/shakespeare
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 06:12 PM
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We just returned from a month on the South Island - we'd planned to take the Doubtful Sound cruise, but were put off by the price and the miserable weather. The owner of our motel told us we needed really good weather to make the Doubtful Sound cruise worth the extra cost. Having said that, if I had to do it over again, and the weather was good, I'd take the Doubtful Sound cruise and skip Milford altogether.

We've taken the Milford cruise twice over the past 8 years, and both times we were disappointed. I know it's incredibly popular, but personally, I feel it's overrated.

I think all the operators are similar, but some do offer smaller boats and longer tours. We took the Red Boat, only because we arrived just as they were leaving, and the Real Journeys boats were packed with bus loads of tourists.

I'd suggest staying in Te Anau if time allows, as this saves you quite a bit of drive time vs staying in Queenstown. We spent three days in Te Anau, and quite enjoyed it. I can highly recommend the Explorer Motor Lodge - huge studio units, very clean, well managed, comfortable and cheap - $54 US at the time we were there - off season.

Lastly, I'd suggest you do one cruise only as you might want that extra day in Queenstown.

Have a great time!
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 06:38 PM
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Thanks Pat. Did you take one of those eight hour cruises to Doubtful Sound? Are there different carriers - I just seemed to find one on the internet and the rates are about NZ$210 (from Te Anau) does that sound about right?
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 10:46 PM
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The Doubful Sound trips are more expensive, because there is a lot more to them. You first take a boat from Pearl Harbor across Lake Manapouri, then a coach along a gravel road to Deep Bay, where another boat takes you out onto Doubtful Sound. The extra time and cost puts off many tourists, so the experience is much more peaceful than the fleets of boats that you encounter on the more accessible Milford Sound. The weather is always chancy, and one advantage that Milford has, is that you can pop over there for a quick boat tour if the weather is good - or put it off for a while to see if there is a change. Doubtful is a full-day commitment that should be booked at least a day or two in advance.

We've done both trips, and although there are differences, I wouldn't do both of them if I was short on time. As I mentioned in another posting, I would suggest spending the xtra $ and time to go to Doubtful Sound, then take the spectacular drive to Milford, which is quite scenic, even without a boat tour.

We went on a spectacular 2-day kayak trip on Doubtful Sound with Fiordland Wilderness Experiences (http://www.fiordlandseakayak.co.nz). I'd recommend them to anyone.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 05:55 PM
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Hi Foomoo - yes, it was about an 8 hour trip - alf has explained why. Can't remember exactly how much we paid but it was exxy. In November it was lightly snowing on the gravel road before Doubtful Sound - beware of the sandflies around Lake Manapouri - we complain in Oz about our sandflies - they're nothing on the Kiwi ones. Big ones which fly at your face!
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