We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Doubtful Sound day tour

Corvallis, Oregon
Level Contributor
134 posts
37 reviews
Doubtful Sound day tour

Hello experts! My husband and I will be staying in Te Anau for two nights (7 an 8 November) and plan to take a daytime wilderness/nature boat tour to Doubtful Sound, departing from Lake Manapouri. It looks like there's an early morning departure about 8 am and another about 1030 am. We're looking for a smaller boat and smaller group. Any idea which tour might fit our needs? Is Real Journeys the only company to use? Do we need to book ahead? Thanks for your advice; the What To Do listing isn't clear if there are more choices. Your recommendations are appreciated.

8 replies to this topic
Nelson-Tasman...
Level Contributor
9,321 posts
474 reviews
1. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

i recommend milford sound for a day tour and doubtful sound for an overnight. its a long trip to doubtul sound by boat over lake manapouri, then coach across wilmot pass and then boat on doubtful sound. doubtful sound is huge

Queenstown, New...
Level Contributor
4,519 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

Ditto Poppy...

A friend just did a day trip on Doubtful Sound after doing Milford last year - and he preferred Milford.

I've just done an overnight on Doubtful Sound - loved it... time to anchor and kayak, watch seals, put the sails up in the Tasman Sea, moored up overnight - so quiet and peaceful - then that moody, misty early morning... fantastic!

Unfortunately the Manapouri power station is currently closed to tours - unfortunate as I remember that as a huge highlight when I visited as a teen 25years ago!!!

Te Anau, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Te Anau
Level Contributor
4,611 posts
49 reviews
3. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

As far as I know know Real Jourmeys are the only ones doing a day tour. There are others which offer overnight yours

Don't be put off the day tour on Doubtul Soumd. It's a long day,. But definitely worth it.

Corvallis, Oregon
Level Contributor
134 posts
37 reviews
4. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

Thanks for your replies. We look at the approach across Lake Manapouri and across Wilmot Pass as part of the adventure. We've planned for a long day. Any knowledge of boat and passenger size? Need to book sooner rather than just before the tour? Any difference between 8 am and 10:30 am tour? Thanks again.

California
Level Contributor
11,178 posts
73 reviews
5. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

The only difference I detect is the earlier tour is $50 less than the later one.

I liked this blog about the Doubtful Sound day trip: https://www.dangerous-business.com/2011/07/doubtful-sound-milford-sound’s-underrated-little-brother/

Torquay, United...
Level Contributor
218 posts
47 reviews
6. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

We are doing this as a day trip on the 19th November as part of our month long road trip of the South Island. I think Real Journeys are the only company that offer this. I emailed them some time ago with regards to the earlier trip being cheaper and they said it was the quieter and less popular, hence tempting more people on the early one. No other difference. They will also pick you up from your accommodation in Te Anau should you wish, saves driving down to Lake Manapouri. We have recently booked it, just incase as we are tied to that particular day.

Doing the overnighter would be great but just didn't fit into our itinerary but like you, the trip there and back is all part of it. We did Milford Sound two years ago on our first trip to NZ which was pretty awesome but we are expecting Doubtful to be a different experience but a great one all the same.

Corvallis, Oregon
Level Contributor
134 posts
37 reviews
7. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

All good info -- thanks!

California
Level Contributor
11,178 posts
73 reviews
8. Re: Doubtful Sound day tour

I imagine the later tour is the one folks from Queenstown are limited to so they offer the lower price as incentive for those staying in Te Anau and Manapouri. If the later tour sold out because those in Te Anau/Manapouri booked it out, they wouldn't have anything to offer the Queenstown passengers. Good business sense.

Reply to: Doubtful Sound day tour
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Te Anau
Recent Conversations