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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 8 March 2019

Very well organised, boats and coaches are great, the coach driver was really good. Was disappointed we didn't go out the sound to the open sea while the weather was perfect and the sea really calm. Also, the building where the information about flora, fauna and the exceptionnal power station was crowded by other grops (kayakist, etc), and we didn't get a chance to read them. At the end, very expensive, especially compared to the same company Nature cruise on Simbad in Milford sounds. This one was very good !

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank De S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 28 February 2019

One day to remember all your life. Intact wild nature, hardly wounded by the discrete power generation plant in Manapouri lake.
Very good organisation of the tour, be it on boat or in coach.
However, I wold have preferred less story telling in loud speakers, so that to enjoy more the quietness of the nature.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank Vincent B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 21 February 2019

getting to Doibtful Sound is a bit of an adventure in itself. It is in a remote area of Fjordlands National Park in the Southwest corner of New Zealand. First you must find your way to Manapouri. It is a two hour bus trip from Queenstown to Manapouri. At Manapouri, you are provided a very filling box lunch to take on your day trip. (We started in Queensland at 07:45, returning back at 8 pm in the evening). Why a whole day trip? Because you will reach a beautiful fjord that is completely pristine, as it was millions of years ago. No noisy power boats, no tourist traps. Just you and Mother Nature at her finest. Real Adventures has a friendly, knowledgeable staff that make your trip memorable. First, you are met with a boat at the dock. Once on board, the Captain gives a commentary about what you see as you travel about one hour across the lake to get on a bus that takes you across the land on a road built to accommodate construction of a huge underground power project. That being complete, there is no need for equipment, personnel, housing to fill the environment.
Driving through evergreen beech trees, ferns, mosses that hang on the rocks and trees, you will see vegetation that is unchanged since New Zealand broke away from the original land mass of the world. The only sound is that of birds. There is no settlement, so it is pristine. That drive is about an hour since you stop to take pictures and enjoy your driver's commentary. Then the cruise itself. Our was almost three and a half hours around the sound. We were lucky. It was a glorious sunny day. It rains about 200 days a year. Our driver told us rainy days can also be great because the waterfalls run thick and heavy when it rains. However, I don't know if one would be able to appreciate the sheer cliffs dropping down to the water, on a rainy day. The scenery is stunningly beautiful. The wind driving in from the Tasman Sea is bracing, as you head out. Coming back, it is lovely. We didn't see any fur seals, whales or dolphins on our trip. Perhaps they don't like the sunshine and you might find some on a rainy day.
There are snacks on board, liquor, if you choose ( I was drunk on the scenery) and free tea and coffee. Given the filling box lunch, I didn't need anything except my eyes and my camera. If the Captain turns off the boat and asks for silence and no picture taking for a couple of minutes, do it and imagine how it must have been when Captain Cook discovered it in 1770. This boat cruise goes on one of my best ever experiences. Bonus: you don't get the crowds of smaller Milford Sound. It is just you, your fellow passengers and Mother Nature.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank sjecalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 February 2019

Despite cloudy weather we had a fantastic overnight cruise.
If you book 2 activities via Real Journeys you can get a discount!
Don't forget to reconfirm your booking 48 hours prior on a free phone.
Check-in 20 min before departure at Manapouri, by catamaran to the West Arm, by bus over the Wilmot pass, best seats are left in the bus on the onward journey ( take pictures when the bus stops because on the return journey the bus will not stop) and check-in at Navigator in the Doubtful Sound.
Warm welcome from the staff and explanation of rules and program. First the people who booked a cabin for 4 go downstairs ( 2 stairs). 4 beds in a cabin, we were lucky that the boat was not fully booked so we get a 4-cabin for 2. Otherwise it's small for 4. Little window in the hut. 8 cabins on this floor with 3 toilets and several showers. Mixed.
Thee and coffee are free during the journey.
Take warm clothes because it can be cold and windy outside, but with the beautiful nature, who cares.Don't forget swimwear.
The boats sails to the Tasman sea and we saw penguins and fur seals, bring your camera!!
At 5 they serve a soup and afterwards you can go for a 45 min kayak or go in the tender boat. Because it was a little rainy we decide to go in the tender boat. They have plastics plaids for your knees otherwise we would be very wet. Unfortunately the tender boat is not sailing in the fjord but stays close to to kayak people and the skipper tells a lot. It's a pity because in 45 min you can see a lot, now you are only within sight of the boat. After this trip they provide laundry rack for your wet clothes. Smart.
Free seating in the mainsalon and dinner is buffet style table for table. Good food and a lovely dessert buffet. People love to work and to cook here. After dinner a presentation and at 10pm you are glad you can go to bed.The boats doesn't sail at night.
You are allowed to go to the skipper so you can sea at the map where you are.
Wake-up at 06.15 because of dolphins swimming around the boat. Amazing because there are not so many dolphins left.
English breakfast. They ask you to leave your cabin at 8 so they can prepare for the next cruise.
Just before the end of the cruise, the boat stops the engines and generator to hear "the sound of silence". Very special. Check out at 10am and back to Manapouri by bus and boat. The nature is beautiful, maybe you see a tree avalanche and for sure a rainbow! Crew knows a lot about the Doubtful Sound. It's a lot of money but it's worth it.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank MTBChica
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 18 February 2019 via mobile

The organisation is first class and the staff as in most places we have visited in New Zealand were great.

The scenary is undeniably amazing, but what they dont tell you in the brochure is that this is one of the wettest places on earth. It rains two days out of 3, so maybe expect clouds and murky views, which make a huge difference to how you feel. If you get a blue sunny day, I suspect that the journey to and Doubtful sound itself seems like paradise, but it is a little darker literally and metaphorically if the weather is not so great. So overall, glad I went, but wouldn't rush to go again.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank QCooke
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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