Living in the digital age can be overwhelming, with much of our time monopolised by technological devices. A recent study by NetSafe has revealed that 1 in 5 New Zealanders spend an average of more than 6 hours per day online. It’s time to wind back the clock, ditch the devices and reconnect with nature. Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound provide perfect (yet slightly different) conditions for a digital detox. So - which is right for you?
Known for its lush temperate rainforests, sheer mountainous terrain, and complete lack of mobile phone reception or WiFi, Milford Sound offers an entry-level detox, allowing you to disconnect for just part of your day.
Take a day trip from Queenstown into Milford Sound in a luxury coach with glass-roof for optimal viewing. You’ll have mobile phone service for the first two hours, but once you reach the outskirts of Te Anau your detox begins. This alpine drive offers plenty of stunning photo opportunities, so you can still stock up for your Instagram. By the time you reach Milford Sound, the itch to check your phone will have worn off, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the scenery. Cruise along the fiord on a traditional scow-style vessel, reminiscent of the ships used by early explorers of Fiordland, the dedicated nature guide provides commentary and looks for wildlife. Take in views of the iconic Mitre Peak and feel the mist of Stirling Falls as you nudge in for a closer look; breathe deeply and make the most of experiences you can’t get from scrolling.
Further south is Doubtful Sound, stretching three times longer and ten times the size of Milford Sound. With no access by road, Doubtful Sound is your ultimate digital detox destination. A favourite among New Zealand locals, it’s far more remote and offers an intimate one-day getaway for the digitally-drained, with similar (if not better) opportunities for wildlife sightings.
As the fiord is inaccessible by road, after a two-hour coach trip, you’ll cruise across Lake Manapouri and trip over a secluded alpine pass before your three-hour Wilderness Cruise through Doubtful Sound. The pristine landscape will force you to forget your digital addiction as you soak in your surroundings, most of which remain untouched by humankind; a keepsake of the New Zealand that once was.
For an extended detox in either Milford or Doubtful Sound, trade your tablet in for a kayak paddle or pair of hikers on an overnight cruise and enjoy having the place to yourself.
With over 10 years’ experience in the tourism industry, Alyssa has worked at various rafting/kayaking companies and ski resorts throughout Canada, Australia and New Zealand. She’s got an appreciation for 90’s hip hop and a passion for hiking and kayaking, but more often than not you’ll find her stuck in a daydream.