While Milford Sound is more famous (see the subtitle of this blog), Doubtful Sound should not be missed, either. First, though, a comment on Milford Sound. When we decided to go on an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, I wondered if we should maybe skip Milford Sound. Fortunately, we didn’t. We went to both, and it was the right decision. We were very lucky in our trip to Milford. We took the bus from Te Anau, and it rained most of the way there. The sun came out about ten minutes before we arrived at Milford Sound. Which, we discovered, was perfect. Only a couple of the waterfalls at Milford Sound are permanent. The rest are rain-fed. And we got to see them all. It was fantastic. I have dozens of pictures. Here’s just one.
To Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound has only been accessible to tourists, except for the odd yacht or hikers, since the West Arm hydroelectric power station was completed in 1971. Instead of hauling construction materials up from the port at Bluff at the bottom of the South Island, they brought them in via Doubtful Sound. They built a road from Doubtful Sound to the construction site on Lake Manapouri. Once the power station was completed, the road could be used to take tourists the opposite direction. To get to Doubtful Sound, you take a boat across Lake Manapouri and then a bus on the Wilmot Pass supply road to Doubtful Sound itself.
As I said, we took an overnight cruise. There are several operators to choose from. We went with Fiordland Expeditions because they have a small boat and only take a few people. The maximum number is fourteen, and we only had seven on our cruise. In addition to the sightseeing, you could fish, go kayaking, or just rest. The evening meal was fish that we caught and crayfish that one of the crewmembers went down and got. The accommodations were more spacious than I expected. We picked a double en suite, which even included a shower. I can’t speak for the other cruise operators, but Fiordland Expeditions was great.
Doubtful Sound is definitely worth it, and if at all possible, go on an overnight cruise. You might think it is a little pricey, but it is definitely worth it. Here are some pictures of Doubtful Sound.