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Wow

What an awesome day. My wife and I did the Doubtful Sound trip with Real Journeys. We got on a... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
PhillipB294
,
Palmerston North, New Zealand
via mobile
Lucky enough to say this is my 2nd time :-)

I have recently done this cruise for the 2nd time (the first time being 15 years ago). That was... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
kristabel2016
,
Napier, New Zealand
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Reviewed 6 August 2017 via mobile

Can't rate this highly enough if there was an option to give six I would. Just come back from a magical seven day cruise from preservation inlet to doubtful sound. The ship and the crew are unbelievable add to your bucket list and go

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank 391lucindaj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2017

This was a bucket list holiday ever since we heard about it 10 years ago.
Realjourneys 7 day Preservation Inlet Discovery Expedition from Doubtful Sound to Preservation Inlet, exploring Dusky, Chalky and Breaksea Sounds. Shore excursions to view nature at its best, stunning landscapes and historic sites, highlight was Astronomers Point, where Cook's crew set up a temporary observatory, whilst on their second voyage of discovery in 1773.
Best of all, small boat, 32 passengers, 6 crew who were amazing, and the helicopter ride at the end.
Great food and company, weather was mostly kind, and we visited all sites on the itinerary.

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank rsghill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at Real Journeys, responded to this reviewResponded 12 July 2017

Hi there and thanks for the amazing review for our Presevation Inlet Discovery Expedition. We are absolutely thrilled you managed to get to do this bucket list item! The trip is absolutely spectacular and are delighted you thought the same. Astronomers Point is truly breathtaking and to immerse yourself in such history is just wonderful. Hopefully the next bucket list item is just as enjoyable for you!
Kind Regards, the team at Real Journeys.

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Reviewed 9 July 2017 via mobile

This is a review for the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, departing from Queenstown. We visit New Zealand every year and this trip was definitely one of our all time highlights. We felt privileged to be able to go to such a stunning, pristine place in such a comfortable fashion. Yes, there is a long bus trip from Queenstown, then a boat across the lake and another smaller bus over the spur and down to the Sound....but the scenery along the way is beautiful and it is absolutely worth the effort.
Doubtful Sound is, in itself, a place of extraordinary natural beauty but it is the experience of spending time there in relative isolation that makes it so special. As well as the stunning fiords, we were so lucky to see and importantly, hear, wonderful native birds - penguins and keas. The commentary provided by our guides was incredibly interesting and ensured we didn't miss any of the wildlife. We had a special moment on the second morning when the engines were turned off and the guide asked people to find a spot on deck and not speak for some minutes. It was amazing to be able to focus all our attention on our senses, particularly hearing, noticing the sound of the lapping water and the constant bird calls.
The boat sleeps 70 and we felt they managed the size of the group well. We're not cruise people but had a small, very comfortable double cabin with ensuite and loved the experience of sleeping on the boat. The food was good and we enjoyed meeting other travellers during the meals. In the course of the afternoon, we were able to go kayaking and it was a real bonus to be able to see the shoreline up close. We were on one of the first trips of the season so it was certainly too cold for us to go swimming!
This is an expensive 2 day excursion but given the logistics involved and the multiple forms of transport required to reach the remote Doubtful Sound, it was definitely worth the money. We loved every moment.

Date of experience: October 2016
1  Thank Wisehams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at Real Journeys, responded to this reviewResponded 11 July 2017

Hi there thanks for the review and five star rating! Doubtful Sound is indeed one of the most beautiful spots in New Zealand and the Overnight Cruise is the perfect way to explore and immerse yourself into this wonderful environment. We are pleased to see you were well looked after by our staff and enjoyed listening to the detailed information delivered by our amazing nature guides! We look forward to seeing you again in future!
Kind Regards, the team at Real Journeys.

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Reviewed 3 July 2017

We couldn’t make up our mind to do Milford or Doubtful Sound, hence we just went ahead with both.!
Did Milford Sound one day before and the next day, joined Real Journey’s Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise.

The journey from Queenstown to Doubtful Sound was exhausting…
(Coach -> Cruise -> Coach -> Cruise)
First we were driven to Manapouri. The coach was big and comfy, with a glass roof and seats designed slanting towards the window for a better view I guess.
There were not much photostops along the way except for our driver Adrian, giving some commentary from time to time.

We then boarded a short cruise (Approx 1hr) across the Manapouri Lake. Just a relaxing cruise, not much of a view along the way except for the distant mountains. Complimentary tea and coffee available at the counter.

After we disembarked, we boarded another coach and drove across the scenic Wilmort pass (Approx 40mins), downhill before reaching Doubtful Sound where we boarded the actual cruise.
Contrary to the dreary drive during the first part of the journey, the drive along the Wilmort pass and downhill where the glistening Doubtful sound comes in view beneath the dense Fiordland rainforest is absolutely scenic and picturesque.!
There are some unobstructed views on the road that the bus would drive pass that overlooks the forest, just stunning.!
And finally with much anticipation, we’ve reached Doubtful Sound.
Collected our pre-ordered lunch from a café on the port before boarding the cruise.

We’re blessed with an amazing weather during our trip. We were greeted by countless of rainbows, few waterfalls (Just some sparse trails of water as it wasn’t raining that day), but no luck with the dolphins. However, we visited some fur seals on a rock.
Fur seals are a common sight, but what makes this view standout from other seal sightings elsewhere would be the backdrop of vast blue sea and with powerful waves clashing against the rocks, making the view captivating.!

As we continue to cruise deeper, the serenity of the surroundings and the massive fiords left us in awe, making us feel small in the face of nature.
The cruise at one point switched off the engines and allowed passengers to take in nature at its most pristine and undisturbed condition, with only gentle waves streaming against the cruise and birds singing at a distant.
The ripples subsided after the engines were switched off, and that’s where the undisturbed waters mirrored a stunning reflection of the fiords and sky. Beautiful is an understatement for the view in front of our eyes.

A magnificent experience before we start our dreary journey back to our accommodation.

Overall, Doubtful sound is a hidden gem away from civilization. It has so much to offer and full of unspoilt nature that will take your breath away, but until you are willing to set on the long and exhausting trip, you cannot see these precious scene of incredible beauty.

Tips:
*Bring lotsa food. The trip is very long and the pre-ordered lunch did not keep us filled for long.

*Doubtful VS Milford:

- The drive to Milford Sound is really scenic and enjoyable but the cruise itself is just alright. Pleasant, beautiful, but nothing breath-taking (apart from dolphin sightings)

- The journey to Doubtful sound is exhausting with not much photostops until you reach the Wilmort pass, where the glistening Doubtful sound comes in view beneath the dense Fiordland rainforest.
The cruise covers a vast area of the fiords in comparison to Milford Sound since Doubtful is 3 times larger than Milford sound.
Overall, Milford is more touristy and more people tend to opt for Milford since it’s more accessible, leaving the nature in Doubtful sound more preserved, pristine and unspoilt. A perfect hidden treasure.!

Both sounds showcase their beauty in their own ways, but my heart still goes to Doubtful sound.
One thing we can be sure, is that unless you are an avid fan of cruise, maybe going for both is not such a good idea….
Tickets are pricey and the views are kinda similar after awhile since both cruises through the fiords. We find ourselves and a few others spacing out from time to time during the cruise…..

Date of experience: June 2017
2  Thank yEeVoNy25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at Real Journeys, responded to this reviewResponded 4 July 2017

Kia Ora and thanks for taking the time to post this detailed review of your experience in Doubtful Sound. We totally agree that it is a hidden gem and has some of the most breathtaking scenery a person can ever lay eyes on. As you mention, during the cruise, when the engines are switched off and your just sitting there in the perfect still water with only the birds singing around you, it's truly spectacular. As you mention there are definitely reasons to visit both places and hopefully more people make the time to get to them both as they are definitely different experiences. We do hope the rest of your time in the deep south of New Zealand was just as enjoyable!
Kind Regards, the team at Real Journeys.

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Reviewed 30 June 2017

Had a superb short cruise on the 'Navigator' in Doubtful sound. The ship was first class and we had a very comfortable warm cabin with two beds. When we arrived at the dock it was very misty and raining but during the afternoon the weather and visibility vastly improved and the scenery was quite surreal. The weather held overnight and the following day. We went out on deck later in the evening and had amazing clear views of the Milky Way.
The staff established a very good rapport and the buffet evening meal was excellent. Would certainly recommend this short cruise.

Date of experience: February 2017
1  Thank Givelin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at Real Journeys, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2017

Kia Ora Givelin, thanks for the fantastic review. We are delighted to read how highly you rate this experience in Doubtful Sound. The sky down there at night is just breathtaking on a clear night! Getting both good and bad weather in Doubtful really lets you see it for how it really is - after all it rains about 200 days a year there! Hopefully the rest of your time in NZ was just as enjoyable.
Regards, the team at Real Journeys.

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