We researched whether to do Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound and in the end, we did both. They are each majestic in their own way.
Our tour with Real Journeys started at 7:00 AM. We had a 20-minute bus ride to our first stop, where we got on a boat to take a 45-minute ride across a lake. Then we got on a different bus to ride to where we got on the boat to cruise the sound. The only reason they can do these trips is that they had to build the road in between the two boat trips in order to build a hydroelectric power plant. So now they get to use the road for other things, but it doesn’t connect to any other roads.
The only reason they can do these trips is that they had to build the road in between the lake and the sound in order to build a hydroelectric power plant. So now they get to use the road for other things, but it doesn’t connect to any other roads.
Both boat rides and the bus trip between, that goes over the Wilmot pass, are beautiful. The picture below is from the road approaching Doubtful Sound.
Doubtful Sound is fabulous. We spent three hours cruising the fjord, with cliffs, waterfalls, and mountains all around, and rarely another boat in sight. The water was mirror smooth much of the time.
At one point they asked everyone on the boat to stand still, turn off their phones and cameras, and just be silent and listen to the birds and the waterfalls. They even turned the boat motors off. It was magical. We got some great photos, but I think they still won’t do it justice.
New Zealanders are so nice and friendly. There was a school group on board, and one of the chaperones stopped to tell us she hoped we had a great tour, even though we had the bad luck to be on the same trip as their school group. The kids were actually pretty well-behaved.
Where Doubtful Sound opens to the Tasman Sea we had another opportunity to see seals.
It was chilly that day, though clear. Apparently we got really lucky. Rain is very common!