Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruises

On a Doubtful Sound Day Cruise, explore the vast wilderness of New Zealand’s best-kept secret. As you experience the peace and seclusion of the 40km length of waterways, you’ll feel connected to real New Zealand nature in one of Fiordland’s most spectacular and expansive fiords.

  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Start with a cruise across Lake Manapouri, followed by a coach trip over the epic Wilmot Pass through Fiordland’s rainforest and into the Sound
  • A 3-hour cruise through the waterways of Doubtful Sound
  • Cruise onboard the Patea Explorer (Southern Express, Fiordland Navigator, Mariner or M.V. Sinbad may substitute)
  • Commentary by our knowledgeable Skipper and Nature Guide
  • Wildlife viewing, including dolphins, fur seals and even occasionally penguins
  • Picnic lunches available for pre purchase up to 8pm the day before your cruise
  • Snacks and drinks available for purchase onboard
  • Click "Book now" for more information on coach connections from Queenstown and Te Anau


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More Information

Doubtful Sound is a beautiful fiord; three times longer than Milford Sound and a surface area ten times larger with twisting arms. With its rugged peaks, verdant rainforest and twisting, hidden inlets, Doubtful Sound will take your breath away.

There’s no direct road access, so the only way you can to get to Doubtful Sound is a cruise across the picturesque Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus trip over Wilmot Pass - New Zealand's most expensive (and majestic) road. We’ll pause along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening below. This isolation makes this fiord a very special place, only those in the know get to see.

Once you arrive, you will board the Patea Explorer for a 3 hour (approximately) cruise on Doubtful Sound - a spectacular pristine fiord. During the cruise, our knowledgeable and friendly skipper or nature guide will share with you their passion for the region. They’re always ready to answer questions, point out landmarks and provide all the information about the varied wildlife you may see, including dolphins, fur seals, and the rare Fiordland crested penguin.

The Southern Express, M.V. Sinbad, Mariner or Fiordland Navigator may replace the Patea Explorer if maintenance or schedules require.

Things you should know

  • You’ll cruise across crystal clear Lake Manapouri to West Arm
  • A highlight is the coach trip through Fiordland’s rainforest and over Wilmot Pass
  • Your Skipper or Nature Guide will let you know all about the region's unique flora and fauna
  • Doubtful Sound is in remote Fiordland, with no WIFI available, the perfect place to unplug and recharge

Extra information

  • Due to the multi-leg journey and floating wharf access, guests will need to have a reasonable level of mobility
  • Manapouri Café will be open daily from 9.00am. Café menu has a range of beautiful homemade food & Allpress Coffee for you to enjoy pre-cruise or to take with you
  • Snacks and drinks are also available onboard
  • The tour is suitable for all ages

Getting there

All Doubtful Sound experiences start at our Manapouri Visitor Centre, located at 64 Waiau Street. Manapouri is a 2.5 – 3 hour drive from Queenstown and 30 minute drive from Te Anau.

What to bring

  • Non-slip shoes/boots, waterproof jacket, warm sweater/fleece jacket, sunscreen/sunglasses, insect repellent and camera.
  • Please remember to bring personal medication including for asthma and allergies.
  • As this is a 7-hour adventure we highly recommend you bring a packed lunch or order a lunch box from our Manapouri Café.


In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.

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