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All reviews wilmot pass across lake manapouri doubtful sound real journeys day trip the bus new zealand nature guide packed lunch recommend this trip west arm bucket list tour company free tea and coffee spectacular scenery once in a lifetime milford sound cruise
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Reviewed 6 January 2019

This was spectacular....it was raining, I was woefully under dressed...the sensible people wore rain jackets, gloves, thermals...Mind you it was summer.

The scenery was breathtaking, sea lions played on the rock, waterfalls galore, the vast space, the timeless beauty and Mother Nature at her best..though to be fair she was doing her best to cover up her work with cloud, mist, drizzle, sea spray, waves..etc. but if you ignore all of that the trip was well worth it, well planned, well organised, fabulous commentary great boats, buses and staff. They know their stuff...and are happy to share it..they tell stories not recite facts.
I almost was a no show because of the weather....but I went (it’s my year of saying “YES”). I am so glad I said yes to this tour......if I had to choose between this and Milford I would choose this...but I did both no choice required....happy with both trips....they are very different.

Date of experience: January 2019
1  Thank Faye M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 5 January 2019

Everything about this operation is slick, professional and confident. We booked the overnight Doubtful Sound cruise on the Fiordland Navigator and loved every moment from the trip across the massive Lake Manapouri on the Fiordland Flyer, to the great coach journey that took us into Doubtful Sound to join the ship. This is the largest vessel cruising the Sound and that means that it is comfortable - we had a lovely private cabin - and staffed with a crew of knowledgeable and helpful folk, each with their own specialism. To be picky, the Kayaking activity was poorly managed, with the 'leaders' failing to account for the variable rates of expertise and just dashing off round the lake. It was potentially a little dangerous to do this. Nevertheless we enjoyed the experience and it prepared us for dinner. Dinner was sumptuous and of excellent quality with a range of incredibly lovely desserts to follow. It was followed by a presentation from our ever-present nature guide.
Anchored in the Sound overnight, we were aware of the awesome splendour of our surroundings and, the following day, when we stopped at a cove and shut down all engines, machinery and conversation, we experienced the kind of stillness with nature that is a rare commodity in this busy world.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank John V
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 January 2019

This is a fantastic way to see Doubtful Sound. We did the overnight stay on the Fiordland Navigator. But to get there we had to take a 1hr. ferry ride across Lake Manapouri and a 45min bus ride across a mountain pass before getting on the Navigator. The bus driver will stop at some of the best spots for pictures. The Navigator has quite a bit of space and is very comfortable. It was very calm when we traveled, so there were no problems with waves or sea sickness.

Once aboard the Navigator the afternoon is mostly spent moving towards the Tasman Sea. We stopped for 2hrs for some kayaking and swimming. The crew is very careful to ensure experienced kayakers are in front and behind at all times. And the crew also ensured no one had any mishaps while swimming or jumping off the boat.

The nature guide on board provided us with plenty of commentary and information about Doubtful Sound (which is really a fjord) the whole way. When we got closer to the Tasman Sea is when everyone starts looking for penguins, seals, dolphins and whales. We were fortunate to see a few Fiordland penguins. They were nesting on one of the islands and some distance away, but easy to see through binoculars. The nature guide knew all the best spots to find what we were looking for. And there is plenty of deck space for everyone to take pictures of the scenery and the wildlife.

One of the most amazing parts of this excursion is the food. We had a 3 course meal for dinner, which started with soup after swimming. It was very tasty and just enough to quell the hunger pangs while we were looking for penguins. The dinner itself was really good, with salmon, beef roast and lamb shank, not to mention a dozen sides to choose from. Dessert was equally extravagant with cheesecakes, pavlova, mousse, chocolate brownies, apple crumbles and a full cheese platter. Breakfast the following morning did not disappoint. We had a choice of eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, fruit, yogurt and muesli. What really makes all this food amazing is how well the staff and chefs plan it out when you realize all the food has to be brought on the same ferry and bus pass we took to get to the Navigator!

This whole trip was well managed, timed and organized. The crew was very friendly and knowledgeable. I highly recommend this trip!!

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank marcy s
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 30 December 2018 via mobile

This was one of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand.
We spent two days on the Navigator and loved it. The vessel was comfortable, the meals were excellent, and the crew was fun and enthusiastic. The onboard nature guide provided great information about the fiords and marine life.
Our first day was sunny. Everyone was on deck while our guide pointed out whales and seals and penguins. That night we were all on deck again as a billion stars lit the sky.
The next morning we woke to a completely different scene. Heavy cloud cover created a moody atmosphere that was beautiful in its own way.
At one point we came close to shore. Our guide asked us to put away our cameras and cell phones and remain perfectly still. The captain then cut the engines. A distant waterfall and occasional bird song were all we could hear. It was a unique and wonderful experience that we’ll always remember.

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Airmale1
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 29 December 2018

The boat trip from Manapouri also had beautiful scenery. The bus ride to Doubtful Sound was bumpy but you can't beat the pictures of the sound when you come through the pass. The scenery is different than Milford Sound but just as beautiful. The tour of the sound hit all the key spots and is well worth it.

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank TeekyK
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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