Fiordland - Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound an unforgettable, breath-taking, remote, dazzling, must-see fiord in New Zealand’s wild southwest – at Doubtful Sound you are perfectly surrounded by untouched Mother Nature at its very best. Doubtful Sound is one of Fiordland’s two accessible fiords and is characterised by a large number of stunning branches, hidden inlets, picturesque islands, thundering waterfalls, vertical cliff faces and lush-mossy rainforest. Doubtful Sound’s main activities are scenic cruises, overnight cruises, kayaking, fishing and scenic flights. more
Doubtful Sound is perhaps the most inaccessible of New Zealand’s major attractions – apart from accessing the fiord via the sea – the only way to reach the fiord is by taking a cruise over the large and stunningly picturesque Lake Manipouri and then busing over the ranges and down to the fiord. This incredible journey just to get there, is part of what make Doubtful Sound so special. All visitors first cruise the incredible Lake Manipouri – an forgettable lake characterised by innumerable islands, lush rainforest, scores of hidden lake branches and inlets, sandy beaches, cascading waterfalls and towering rugged mountains. Secondly visitors are driven through some of New Zealand’s most pristine untouched alpine scenery, and then finally reach this secluded hidden wonder of nature. Many visitors choose to stay overnight on the cruise ships and awake to secluded Doubtful Sound’s famed “sound of silence”. Doubtful Sound offers the perfect less-commercialised alternative to Milford Sound presenting the ideal opportunity to explore more of the hidden secrets of the deepest parts of Fiordland National Park.
Hewn by mighty glaciers during past ice ages, Doubtful Sound today stands as a testament to the awesome power and awe-inspiring sculpturing ability of glaciers. Glacial hewn U-Shaped valleys, sheer vertical cliff faces and glacial hanging valleys characterise the landscape, and as you gaze in wonder you will be overcome with its sheer beauty and majesty. Doubtful Sound is actually a fiord (a flooded valley formed by a glacier – while a flooded valley formed by a river is a sound). Stretching for about 40 kilometres and reaching depths of 421 metres, Doubtful Sound is 3 times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound as well as New Zealand’s deepest fiord.
Doubtful Sound hosts both a rich and peculiar marine eco-system. Not only does Doubtful Sound boast a resident population of about 70 bottlenose dolphins (among the world’s southernmost), but also populations of endemic Fiordland Crested Penguins, fur seals, sea birds and sometimes large whales (especially humpback whales and southern right whales). Sitting on top of Doubtful Sound lies a layer of 2-10 metre thick fresh water (depending on the latest rainfall). Below this stained layer of freshwater (stained by tannins from the rainforest) is the heavier, warmer salt water. Due to the tanned layer of freshwater above blocking the light – deep sea creatures, like black coral, flourish just 10 metres below the surface (ordinarily living 30-40 metres below).
The climate of Doubtful Sound is mild temperatures and very wet. Temperatures typically range from highs of 19C in summer to about 9.5C in winter. Rainfall averages in excess of 6500mm annually making Doubtful Sound one of the wettest places in the world with rainfall 180 days a year. On a sunny day Doubtful Sound brightens up revealing its incredible mountain peaks and awe-inspiring views, on a rainy day the moody sound comes alive with gushing walls of waterfalls, cascading from sheer cliffs around you. All year round – regardless of the weather – Doubtful Sound is a profound, unforgettable wonder of nature.
Doubtful Sound has only limited accommodation facilities. Most accommodation options in Doubtful Sound are in the form of cabins on the cruise boats. Otherwise most people stay in the stunning lakeside resort towns of Te Anau and Queenstown.
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What Do You Want To Do?
Mobile-friendly - Air Milford proudly operates the only brand new Cessna Caravan aircraft. This aircraft offers leather seating, quiet air conditioned comfort and great viewing for all passengers. It is one of the safest aircraft flying today. Family owned and operated, with a 100% safety record. Flights to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, the Southern Alps and Glaciers.
Mobile-friendly - As you board, your friendly crew will welcome you with a glass of bubbly to set the mood for you to take in the majesty of this awesome World Heritage area. Cruise amongst breath-taking mountain vistas with your captain giving an informative commentary on the area, its' history and how Fiordland was formed, as playful bottle-nose dolphins surf alongside.
Mobile-friendly - Whether it’s water taxi transfers, all-in-one transport packages or making sense of getting to the Great Walks, we’re here to make adventures happen. Fiordland Outdoors Co has transported thousands of hikers, hunters and explorers into Fiordland National Park for unforgettable experiences in nature. Fiordland is our backyard. Sustainability and guardianship are at the forefront of everything we do.
Mobile-friendly - Spectacular scenic helicopter flights to Milford Sound, Fiordland, and the Queenstown region. Based in Glenorchy, NZ - the real "Middle Earth", a 45 minute lakeside drive from Queenstown. For an even more exclusive skiing experience, why not try a day of heli-skiing in untouched alpine terrain. Heli Glenorchy offers boutique heli-skiing in the spectacular mountains surrounding Queenstown, Wanaka and Glenorchy.
Looking for the very best of New Zealand for your 'Trip of a Lifetime'? You'll love our small friendly groups and relaxed pace as you discover the true flavour of New Zealand in comfort and style. We’re all Kiwis, we grew up here and can’t wait to show you our favourite spots and introduce you to our mates!
Small group guided tours for mature travellers. MoaTrek holidays are designed especially for those who want to explore our beautiful countryside in a small friendly group with the care and attention of a professional Kiwi Guide. Enjoy special annual events, summer getaways and get to know the locals over relaxed lunches in their homes.
Mobile-friendly - At New Zealand Self Drive Tours we can custom design your perfect New Zealand holiday package. With over 200 different tour suggestions, every one of our self drive itineraries are 100% customisable, allowing you to incorporate any of our excellent range of activities and accommodations. Chat with our New Zealand travel experts to begin crafting your dream New Zealand holiday!
Mobile-friendly - Explore Doubtful Sound with Real Journeys, a local company that has operated excursions in Fiordland for 60 years. Choose day, overnight or coach/cruise options: *Wilderness Day Cruises - a three-hour wilderness cruise through the fiord with our on-board nature guide. *Overnight Cruises - the ultimate dinner, bed and breakfast experience in Doubtful Sound (private en suite cabins).
Mobile-friendly - Discover Fiordland, Queenstown and Te Anau with Real Journeys, a local company that has guided excursions into these unique areas for 60 years. Choose day, overnight or coach/cruise options to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. Visit the Te Anau Glowworms Caves, try the Milford Track Guided Day Walk, Queenstown's iconic TSS Earnslaw Steamship and Walter Peak High Country Farm.
Mobile-friendly - Locally owned company offering outstanding range of tours in Milford Sound. Both day and overnight cruises that explore this magnificent fiord. Luxury coach transfers from Queenstown and Te Anau and flight connections to/from Milford Sound/Queenstown.
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