Te Anau - Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound?

Old Jan 30th, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Te Anau - Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound?

OK, we've got our NZ trip all planned out and DH wants to see as much as possible in our limited (18 days) time so we're really motoring. I won't go into the details but at the tail end of our trip we will be going from Dunedin to Te Anau, a 4 hour plus drive, and will have just that afternoon and the following day to explore the area. So do we drive to Milford Sound and take an afternoon cruise of the Sound or do we go to Doubtful Sound instead? If you had to choose one or the other which would it be? And, just so you are aware, the end of our journey looks like this:
Dunedin - 2 nights (driving from Wanaka)
Te Anau - 2 nights
Queenstown - 1 night and then flying home at 2 pm the following day
Thanks!
reginaca is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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The end of our trip was similar, we drove from Owaka to Te Anau. We spent one night in Te Anau, then did a Milford Sound overnight cruise the next day, and then drove to Queenstown the next day. I recommend the overnight cruise, it was the best part of our trip. I'm not sure when your trip is, ours was in March so we had good weather and drove up to Milford ourselves and took our time, stopping for lots of mini hikes. I can't comment on whether Doubtful or Milford is better, but we have never been to other places that are supposedly similar (Alaska, Norway) and we were amazed at the beauty of Milford. I think with your limited time that Milford would be the better choice.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 08:14 PM
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Thanks britomart! You wrote an amazing trip report too. We're not keen on the overnight cruise but who knows? We had been leaning toward Milford because of the drive and the opportunities to stop. We were figuring on getting out early, getting on a boat and then taking our time on the way back to Te Anau. But then a couple of friends have told us how amazing Doubtful Sound is so we started to consider that. And maybe we'll get stuck in QT too!
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 11:58 PM
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I had my doubts about the overnight cruise but we really loved it. And one night in Te Anau was sufficient. Taking the overnight cruise felt like we stayed at Milford Sound rather than just visiting it. I have heard that Doubtful is supposedly better than Milford, maybe some others who have seen both can comment on which is better. Hehe maybe you will get stuck in Queenstown too... if you're lucky!
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 09:06 PM
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Both sounds are beautiful - Doubtful is more remote and you need to do a tour to get there. From memory, the tour went by boat across to land, met by bus with a tour of the power station, then bus to Doubtful Sound.
You can drive easily from Te Anau to Milford, stopping all along the way to take photographs and ooh and aah at the scenery. We were recommended to do a mid-afternoon boat trip as the coach tours take over on the earlier trips. We got to Milford in time for a late lunch and then did the boat trip about 3 pm when the boat was almost empty.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 11:42 PM
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When I went to the South Island with friends we were all determined to take the boat on Milford Sound - which we loved! But we then took the boat - a much longer trip - on Doubtful Sound and agreed that this was better and more spectacular than the more famous Milford Sound. Both, therefore, are great, but if you have only time for one, you can see which I'd choose.
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Old Feb 8th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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We went to Te Anau and did a day trip to Doubtful Sound which was more expensive than Milford Sound. The Milford Sound trip was not possible because of bad weather and road closures in March. The road was closed for days.
From what I heard, Doubtful Sound is bigger and quieter than Milford. There were no helicopters or other boats about when we were there.
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