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foomoo Nov 3rd, 2003 11:18 AM

Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound?
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

ALF Nov 5th, 2003 09:21 AM

Doubtful Sound cruises are more expensive, because they are much longer and more involved: You must take a boat across Lake Manapouri, then a motor coach trip on a rough road over Wilmot Pass and down to Deep Harbor, where you finally board another boat for the actual Doubtful Sound cruise. A side trip to the underground Manapouri hydro station is included as well. Because of the xtra cost and effort, far fewer tourists choose Doubtful over Milford. Personally, I found the absence of fleets of boats to make it worthwhile. Pearl Harbor is fairly close to Te Anau. Milford is a longish drive on a twisty (albeit spectacular) road. I don't think that it is worth going to both Sounds unless the weather was horrid on the first cruise. One thing to consider would be a cruise on Doubtful, then a drive to Milford, without the cruise. If you are short on time, Milford would probably be the better choice.

We went on an overnight kayak trip on Doubtful - I am not aware of any single day trips on Doubtful - I think that you would have to go to Milford for that.

Abby43 Nov 6th, 2003 05:27 AM

I went on a day trip to Doubtful Sound from Queenstown this past July. It was a long day but fabulous. It started early in the AM with a bus ride to the cruise. I don't think it was any more expensive or at least not hugely more than a Milford Sound cruise. There were only 7 people on our boat as compared to the 100s who were going to Milford that day. Try

nzers Nov 6th, 2003 01:24 PM

We went to Milford Sound because it was cheaper and weren't disappointed. We took our own hired Motorhome in no problems at all despite our initial hesitations. We were able to stop when we wanted, go on walks when we felt like it and we avoided all the busloads by leaving early-ish from Te Anau. We didn't do Doubtful Sound, so I won't comment on it. We went on the Red Boat Cruise which was smaller than the other Real Journeys one, but not as flash. We sat on top of the vessel and had fantastic views out in the open. Both boats followed the same route and on our day there were only two operating at the same time. We also went down into the underwater observatory which was really interesting. In my opinion the drive into Milford was unbelievable in itself and just as awesome as the boat ride - I would have to say that even though I live in NZ and have seen it all now, this is my absolute highlight. Why don't you look at doing the overnight trip in Milford - you go sea kayaking as part of this and it would be fantastic.

As far as staying in Te Anau or Manapouri - Te Anau hands down.


Carrabella Nov 8th, 2003 08:01 PM

The day trip we did from Te Anau to Doubtful Sound was the highlight of our South Island trip, a few years ago. It rained lots, but you get the bonus of hundreds of waterfalls. This was October, and we struck snow on the alpine bus trip between the lakes - the road is only there because of the Hydro, and there is no other traffic.The flora was spectacular here.
The power station almost had the atmosphere of a cathedral, being carved out of solid rock. I think it costs about $150NZ now, but I thought it was worth it, for a full day cruise and lunch too, as I remember.
The road to Milford is terrific, though,going through the tiny tunnel is an adventure, and just through the tunnel on the left is a spectacular natural rock-whirlpool formation, for a short walk.

Whichever you do, it will be a great memory, unless perhaps, you are from Alaska and used to this sort of scenery?

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