Get closer to Doubtful Sound through its people, places and experiences.
Pātea Doubtful Sound is a destination with a history of life-changing moments.
Our founders, Les and Olive Hutchins bought the Manapouri-Doubtful Sound Company in 1954, intending to show people the real raw power of Doubtful Sound. From then on, the fiord has been New Zealand’s true nature retreat, showing all who visit the power of its wilderness.
“I’ve never experienced generosity like it”, Div, the nature guide, says earnestly, on board the Doubtful Overnight Cruise. Div’s epic story of how he became a nature guide centres around upheaving his previous life, ditching high-intensity work, material desires, and city living. It is captivating when he speaks of having a pivotal moment because it’s a moment so subtle, it could almost happen to anyone. It is what Div chooses to do with his moment that transforms him into who he is today. He finishes his story and resumes discussing the fiord’s geography with the microphone.
With Div’s guiding words leading your expedition, your time in Doubtful Sound is a chronology of subtle moments, each full of potential. Like Div, it is what you choose to do with them that changes your life.
Many know the importance of Secretary Island. As the third highest island in New Zealand, it towers over visitors re-entering Doubtful Sound from the Tasman Sea; its huge mass imposes its impressive predator-free status. Its adjacent sister, Bauza Island, is overlooked as the gatekeeping stronghold. Many do not realise that Bauza was frequently used by pests as a launchpad to Secretary Island, an easy swimming distance for stoats and rats. Now, the Department of Conservation check its traps twice yearly, and RealNZ check them throughout the rest of the months in the year. Bauza is a fortress, and though it protects, it still needs our help to be protected.
Doubtful Sound isn’t a noisy spot. However, much like your eyes becoming accustomed to the darkness, your ears become accustomed to the quiet fiord’s subtle sounds. Whether that’s the splattering of waterfalls, the wake of a dolphin’s dance, or the harmonies of birdsong, over the course of the overnight cruise, your ears tune into sounds you may not otherwise pay attention to. By the time you reach Hall Arm on the second day, you experience the ‘Sound of Silence’. An opportunity to relish real wilderness without any manmade noises. The boat is still, engines off, and guests silent. It’s a raw sensation, with the silence, unbelievably, ringing in your ears.
Does silence sound interesting? Find out when the next Doubtful Sound departure is here.