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All reviews wilmot pass across lake manapouri doubtful sound day trip tasman sea overnight cruise the bus fiordland navigator new zealand te anau west arm complete silence turned off nature guide fur seals quad share packed lunch
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Reviewed 9 December 2017

Real Journeys gets great reviews for the overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound and they are very much deserved. The hour long boat ride to the west side of Lake Manipouri was enjoyable, the hour long bus ride to Deep Cove was thrilling, and the cruising for the next afternoon on Doubtful Sound was beautiful beyond words. Because the seas were calm we actually went out into the Tasman Sea and put up the sails for about an hour--a wonderful experience. The buffet dinner was great except for the lamb (overcooked). The bedrooms were small but well organized. Breakfast was also very good, The next morning some bottle nosed dolphins joined us for a while. A final highlight was stopping in a secluded cove where the crew turned all engines off for 10 minutes. We all sat or stood on the outer deck listening to the sounds of waterfalls and bird calls. it was sublime.

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank 375michaely
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 December 2017 via mobile

From beginning to end this overnight trip to Doubtful Sounds was amazing. The initial boat trip over Lake Manapouri is a lovely way to start the trip with interesting commentary along the way. This is followed by a coach trip to Doubtful Sound. Out driver, John was informative and amusing and stopped off for a couple of photo stops along the way.

The boat is great, large enough that you don't feel on top of everyone and the rooms are comfortable. The crew is lovely and obviously work very hard as everything ran perfectly.

Carol, the wildlife guide, was extremely knowledgeable and kept us informed throughout the trip of what to look at and look out for.

The food was great, how they prepare so much to such a high quality is a feat in itself.

Although it is pricey, you do get a lot for your money although you can probably do without the packed lunch if you have breakfast Oran lunch before getting to Pearl Harbour to catch the first boat (you'll get a soup once you board at Doubtful Sound).

All in all a great trip!

Date of experience: December 2017
Thank Simon81W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2017

We took the RealJourneys tour out of Queenstown. An Uber driver picked us up at our hotel and dropped us off at the RealJourneys office where we were sorted out and put on a nice bus for the first leg of our trip to Lake Manipouri. Our veteran driver had lots of interesting things to say during the 2+ hour drive to the lake. We boarded a fast catamaran for the trip across Lake Manipouri where we were loaded onto another bus for the trip to Doubtful Sound. It was incredibly scenic.

We boarded a large catamaran for the tour of Doubtful Sound. I had paid for one deluxe lunch for the two of us to share. It was very good and quite adequate. Quite a step up from the food offering on the InterCity tour of Milford sound.

Unlike our trip to Milford Sound, the weather was gorgeous. This meant that the waterfalls weren't as amazing but it made for a lot more time out on the deck instead of hunkering inside. The captain took us right out into the Tasman Sea.

On the boat was a young guide who provided narration with a wireless microphone. He was enthusiastic and had a great sense of humor. I made fun of his kiwi accent ("yeesterday," "look to the leeeeft," "flakes" for flax) and he gave it right back to me. A really good sport who made the trip even more fun. Also on the boat was a naturalist. I called out when I spotted a Fiordland crested penguin with my big telephoto lens. The naturalist, with just his naked eyes said "no it's not." When it turned out I was right, the naturalist was in for merciless ribbing from the tour guide.

After our boat trip, we got back on the bus and headed home. I was pleasantly surprised when our driver dropped us off at our hotel. All in all, RealJourneys does a fantastic job. They really mind the details.

This all being said, the tab for the two of us, with one deluxe lunch was $643NZ for the day. Worth it, in my opinion, but I am sure that there must be cheaper options out there if you look.

Date of experience: October 2017
Thank scottbA3717FE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2017

We did the overnight Doubtful Sound cruise on Real Journeys' Navigator. First, the good. The scenery is beautiful and the crew is adept at spotting wildlife - we saw a number of humpback whales and a couple of penguins. The cabins are comfortable. The staff was uniformly helpful and good natured, including the bus drivers.

Overall we had a good experience. However, there were some negatives. First, on the bus ride from the lake to the sound, we were in the second of two buses. This was a mistake as our bus followed the first one so closely that we were in a cloud of dust the whole time, definitely compromising the views. Not sure why there can't be a few minutes interval between the buses. Second, we were disappointed in our cabin assignment. It appeared that all the private cabins had two windows with views out except for the two cabins to the front. Those face a metal corridor wall, with a view outside only at an angle from one of the windows and none from the other. Of course, we got one of those cabins. Not critical, as you're likely to be out on the deck or in the lounge most of the time, but I did feel there should have been a modest price reduction for the lack of view. Finally, the water activities were so-so. They ran out of kayaks so we took the tender ride instead, which basically follows the kayakers around herding them if they get too far off course rather than exploring on its own. The guide/driver was very congenial, though.

Although we enjoyed the cruise and I would recommend it (with a few caveats), if we had to do it again I would book on one of the smaller boats - fewer annoying people snapping photos continuously, even during the requested minutes of silence.

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank NSsummerset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2017

What a wonderful day trip with boat trip, coach over the Pass and the pinnacle to kayak on Doubtful Sound on a calm day when we have clear reflections and saw yellow penguins and other wildlife.
After the hustle and bustle of Milford Sound the peace and tranquility (early in the day before the bigger tour ships got going!) was awesome... Beautiful Place and Stunning scenery... a real highlight of our trip to NZ

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank GreensinOz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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