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All reviews kayaking trip overnight kayak doubtful sound sleeping mats thermal underwear dragon's den difficult situation guide tim experienced paddlers experienced guide waterproof shoes great guide safety briefing rain and wind overnight stay recommend this trip new zealand
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Reviewed 11 June 2018

We were really looking forward to this, being out in such a beautiful place just a few Kayaks. It was a bit of a bumpy start, as one couple capsized 5 minutes after getting on the sea. It was super calm, so who knows how they did it but our guide Ollie handled it well. I have to say it was pretty obvious they were novices so I think the Go Orange office should have quizzed them more before taking the booking but unfortunately after an hour it was obvious the girlfriend was scared and miserable, so Ollie took the smart decision to take them back before we ended up in a more difficult situation. Luckily it was decided that after dropping them at base we could head back out and get to camp that night. It was a really long day paddling with the extra 2 hours and by the end we were knackered but conditions were good and the scenery was stunning. There aren’t so many boats on Doubtful, so it feels a bit more untouched.
The camp was pretty nice, sand flies excepted. Would highly recommend a head net, gloves and basically keeping everything covered. Yeah there is an insect shelter but inevitably a few get in and bite you but it’s definitely helpful for dinner. Having to pitch your tent and pack it again in the morning is a bit of a pain to be honest and I wasn’t super impressed with the sleeping mats as you are lying on stony ground and they only half stop that feeling. The toilet was kept pretty clean but the vent holes were not netted, so it was fairly full of bugs. We aren’t big campers to be fair and those who were seemed more relaxed. It really is a beautiful spot to spend the night though, with a nice little river to wash in.
The second day we were aching a little but we managed to go around one of the island and land on a beautiful beach. It was another great day’s paddling and overall a memorable trip.
It’s definitely not a trip for beginner kayakers (my wife had only done it about 6 times before but was confident) and you have to be reasonably fit and happy to do a bit of work with packing and unpacking but I guess you wouldn’t be considering this kind of thing if you weren’t.
Our guide Ollie was a nice guy who clearly loved what he did and the equipment all seemed in good condition. Would recommend this trip and Go Orange.
Ikurangi Retreat

Date of experience: January 2018
1  Thank JonnyC000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2018

We couldn't have had a better day on the Sound. Glassy-smooth water, slightly overcast so the sun wasn't too fierce. Pretty cold, but the four (or was it five?) layers of thermals/fleece/wetsuit vest/PFD and jacket kept us warm.

Matt was the perfect guide: clear and relaxed on all the technical and safety side, knowledgeable on the water, the rock, the plants, the animals. Rafting-up to have our lunch in the middle of the sound was magical.

I can't recommend this trip highly enough. Good gear, good people and, of course, a fabulous location.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2018 via mobile

We had a wonderful time on this expedition with a knowledgeable, fun, and experienced guide. I was especially grateful for the team’s outstanding customer service in locating and shipping back my lost jacket from NZ to the US. All above and beyond expectation. We would definitely use Go Orange again. Thanks for a wonderful trip!

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank Journey554594
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2018 via mobile

This was a two part trip, kayaking with a group of six and one instructor in the morning and taking a boat cruise including a small lunch with a hundred of so in the afternoon.

Be aware that there are 200 days of rain in Milford Sound per year, so ideally plan your day around the weather. We understand it may not be possible depending on traveling schedules, but if you're able we'd definitely recommend trying to wait to visit until a clear day - the views were unbelievable. We chose Go Orange over other companies as they had the best price. We were also lucky having hired a car through GORentals to benefit from an extra discount with their Play discount cards.

We have kayaked once before and although you don't need much experience you do need stamina as it's quite tiring against the strong winds. The guide allowed a few breaks where he'd talk us through the history of the Sound which was interesting - sometimes he wasn't quite sure on the facts but did a good job of making it seem like he did!

There was a small incident when we almost got knocked out of the kayak by a renegade buoy which came hurtling towards us and collided with our kayak but fortunately we withstood the crash and stayed firmly upright - it would have been a cold experience otherwise! But the company is not to blame for this and we were advised it was a one off, relieved to see it being captured by some fishermen a little while later - it all added to the experience really.

The cruise in the afternoon was well set up, and the captain aboard had some great knowledgeable and amusing commentary! We were also treated to a half an hour spectacle of wild dolphins which was the icing on the cake.

The only downside to the trip would be there was a lot of air noise from helicopters and planes above - but it you block that out whilst finding a blu sky day you'll be telling people about the experience for months!

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank totravelandinspire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2018

The only thing I booked in advance in my three weeks on the South Island was an overnight kayaking trip in Doubtful Sound with Go Orange. Getting there requires a boat ride across Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus out to the fiord. It typically rains out there and you kayak anyway. Apparently they'll only cancel for really bad winds or other conditions that create a real hazard. We were four double kayaks led by our guide, Mop. Day one we made our way out, got dressed and hit the water, paddling out to the Hall Arm where the campsiite is located. We stopped for lunch then got bak on the water and continued to explore Hall Arm in the occasional rain and mist, occasionally “rafting up” to chat or just take in the scenery.

The rain creates scenery that’s very different from the postcard views you sometimes see. Every gully in the surrounding mountains turned into a cascading waterfall. Really fantastic and worth experiencing, but definitely an adventure for those willing to put up with some adversity!

The campsite is fairly basic. There's a pit-type toilet, a shared eating/socializing tent made of mosquito netting and space for the tents. As with anywhere in Fiordland, you will be quickly devoured by sandflies if you don't cover yourself pretty well with DEET-based repellant. I would also recommend a pair of paddling gloves (they don't provide any), as the repellant washes off your hands in salt water and they'll come right at you as soon as you are close to shore. It's the one downside to this place but I guess it's OK because otherwise it would be overrun by tiki-tourists.

They provide fairly-large double tents. I had one to myself as I was the only unattached guy in the group which was mostly female.

The rain creates scenery that’s very different from the postcard views you sometimes see. Every gully in the surrounding mountains turned into a cascading waterfall.

Date of experience: December 2017
Thank Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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