Welcome to Doubtful Sound

Until relatively recently, Doubtful Sound was isolated from all but intrepid explorers. Even Captain Cook only observed it from off the coast in 1770, because he was ‘doubtful’ whether winds would be sufficient to blow the ship back to sea. Access improved when the road over Wilmot Pass opened in 1959 to facilitate construction of West Arm power station.

Boat and coach transfers from Manapouri to Deep Cove are easily organised through tour operators, but time-consuming enough to deter some travellers...ideal for those who want to enjoy the silence.

Top experiences in Doubtful Sound

Travel guides

Starting at $27.99

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Doubtful Sound activities

$236.73 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Te Anau Glow Worm Cave, Doubtful Sound Cruise 2-Day Tour

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise (Day 1)Your adventure begins with a transfer from Te Anau and a cruise along the crystal-clear waters of Lake Manapouri, followed by a drive along Wilmot Pass with stops to enjoy the stunning alpine landscapes along the way.At Doubtful Sound you will board a spacious catamaran for a 3-hour wilderness cruise, where your captain will provide expert commentary on the region as you navigate the waterways. The dramatic views of dense rainforests, rugged peaks and cascading waterfalls will leave you awestruck. Doubtful Sound is an unspoiled natural wonder with many seasons in one day – from clear blue skies to eerie hovering mists, and is home to an abundant range of wildlife, including bottlenose dolphins, penguins and fur seals. Your cruise ends with a transfer back to your hotel.Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour (Day 2) Make your way to the Visitors Centre, and board a modern catamaran for your cruise across Lake Te Anau to Cavern House, on the western shores. An expert guide will join you at the visitor interpretation center to explain how the Te Anau cave system works and tell you about its inhabitants.Then go underground and follow the labyrinth of twisting limestone pathways filled with whirlpools and waterfalls. Hop aboard a small boat and drift along the current, deeper into the cave system to the glowworm grotto. Here a magical wonderland comes alive as the thousands of glowworms twinkle in the darkness. After this amazing experience, you'll return to Te Anau where your tour ends.

$171.66 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Doubtful Sound Cruise from Manapouri

Your day begins in Manapouri with a cruise across the picturesque Lake Manapouri followed by a trip across New Zealand's most expensive road over the Wilmot Pass, pausing along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below.In Doubtful Sound, you will board our spacious catamaran for a three-hour cruise through the pristine fiord. During the cruise our knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter like dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin.What to bring: Non-slip shoes/boots, a waterproof jacket, a warm sweater/fleece jacket, sunscreen/sunglasses, insect repellent and a camera.

$763.92 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound Helicopter Flight from Te Anau

Departing from Te Anau airport, head west over Lake Manapouri for Dusky Sound. Passing over head New Zealand's famous hydroelectric power station at the West Arm.Tracking along a glacier carved valley, you will cross from the East coast of New Zealand to the West coast and into Dusky Sound. A remote alpine landing will show you how isolated this part of Fiordland is and also how beautiful and untouched the mountains are. You are welcome to take as many photos as you like so you can take these memories home forever.After lifting off from the remote landing site, you make your way towards Doubtful Sound, and its many arms which meander off the main Fiord. Another landing in Doubtful Sound brings more great photo opportunities.Once again crossing the Southern Alps heading East this time back to Te Anau Airport, you will have views of Lake Manapouri and the Kepler Mountains.

$2024.25 Classic

New Zealand Express

See Middle Earth with your own eyes on this nine-day tour through the best of New Zealand. Explore the stunning North Island and its geothermal park, stargaze around Lake Tekapo (the world's largest dark sky reserve), and cruise along fjords, cliff walls, and waterfalls in Doubtful Sound. Cross a few items off your bucket list by visiting the adventure capital of the world with pretty much every thrilling sport at your fingertips (paragliding, skydiving, jet boating). It is, after all, the birthplace of the bungee jump.

Doubtful Sound in detail