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Kayak Doubtful Sound - Overnighter

This two day adventure connects you with nature in the spectacular wilderness of Doubtful Sound. There is no TV, no phones and no internet. Just you, your small group and your kayaks. 

Your itinerary is flexible and the route is dictated by the weather and your desire to explore. With around 5 hours of kayaking each day, you’ll get to truly appreciate the expanse and primordial beauty of the fiord. Our experienced and knowledgeable guides will make sure you see the best of Fiordland.

As you explore this wilderness, its hidden waterways and secluded islands, look out for the locals – seals, dolphins and penguins. If you’re lucky, you might even find yourself paddling in the company of dolphins! 

In the evening you’ll camp amidst the forest next to a freshwater stream in Hall Arm. Relax along the shore as the long southern twilight descends in the fiord. Bring your own food – we’ll supply hot drinks and swap stories with your fellow travellers. And as night descends, lie on the beach and spend some time star gazing.

The next morning, you’ll explore more of the fiord before heading back under sail (weather permitting) by early afternoon.

  • Includes cruise across beautiful Lake Manapouri and coach over Wilmot Pass
  • Small groups – maximum of 8 people per guide
  • High-quality sea kayaking and camping gear provided
  • Experienced kayak guides – who carry all the safety and emergency equipment, make all safety decisions, provide helpful paddling instruction, comprehensive safety briefing and tell you about Doubtful Sound
  • Competence in water and moderate fitness required
  • Minimum age 16 years
  • No paddling experience needed although drive, a can-do attitude and positive outlook help.

No Departures Currently Scheduled for the 2021/2022 season.

Departure Location

  • RealNZ Visitor Centre, 64 Waiau Street, Pearl Harbour, Manapouri

What to bring

Fiordland National Park is a massive wilderness area of rugged snow-capped peaks and luxuriant rainforest. It’s one of the wettest places in the world with high annual rainfall and waterfalls that cascade into the deep fiords. Kayaking within this world heritage area is unbeatable - but often encounters a huge variety of weather. With this in mind, we’ve prepared the following list so you’re ready, whatever the weather.

  • Swimsuit or underwear (for wearing under wetsuit)
  • Plastic bag for wet gear
  • Shorts
  • Soft shoes or sandals (note they will get wet)
  • Warm socks
  • Towel
  • Sunblock / Sun hat / Sunglasses / Insect repellant
  • Camera (disposable or waterproof)
  • Water bottle
  • Change of clothes, socks, footwear and rain jacket for wearing after kayaking
  • Next to skin layer (polyprop or wool)
  • Warm tops, Long trousers or track pants & underwear
  • Shoes for campsite
  • Waterproof jacket & Rain trousers (if available)
  • Warm hat
  • Sleeping bag (available to hire from us)
  • Torch / Flashlight
  • Toilet gear
  • Personal medication
  • Spare plastic bags (ziplock)
  • Food (Te Anau has two good supermarkets which stay open late)

We provide

  • Thermal top and leggings, Fleece top, hat & Pogies (paddling gloves)
  • Long john wetsuit (Doubtful Sound)
  • Paddle jacket & Spray deck
  • Life jacket (buoyancy vest)
  • Dry bags (for your clothing and camera)
  • Map
  • Double kayaks/paddles
  • Group safety and emergency gear
  • One or two person tents
  • Thermarests
  • Gas cookers (food needs to be quick to cook)
  • Pots/cooking utensils
  • Plate, cup and utensils
  • Chairs
  • Communal shelter (insect proof)
  • Hot drinks provided

What to wear when kayaking

Please wear your swimsuit or kayaking underwear layer beneath warm clothes/waterproof jacket on pick-up (makes changing into paddling gear easier and quicker). The best way to carry your other gear to the launch point is in a backpack.

Food for Overnight & Multi Day Sea Kayak Trips

On a kayaking trip, you will eat more than usual and there is plenty of storage space on the kayaks. Bring food that is simple but nourishing. Please remove excess packaging and carry food in bags (supermarket cloth bags are ideal).

Food Suggestions:
  • Snacks: Bananas, chocolate, muesli bars
  • Lunches: Sandwich type food (cheese, salami, tuna), fruit, biscuits
  • Evening meal: pasta, rice or noodles with sauce plus soft vegetables, meat, canned fish
  • Breakfast: cereals, fruit, yoghurt, toast, baked beans​

Safety & Risk

Sea kayaking and wilderness camping have inherent risks and can be dangerous. In Fiordland, they are characterised by: remoteness, rapidly changing and sometimes extreme weather and water conditions, cold water, limited kayaking landing sites and camping under forest canopy.

Detailed risk management and strict safety procedures are observed, however, there still remains an element of risk. RealNZ cannot absolutely guarantee participants safety. RealNZ accepts its legal responsibilities but cannot be held responsible for personal injury or for loss, theft or damage of/to your equipment outside legal responsibilities. Participants will be required to sign a liability form to this effect before starting a tour.

Changing conditions can mean that tours have to be modified. No two tours are the same. It is very rare but weather could delay your scheduled return by up to 24 hours e.g. road closures or weather conditions preventing kayaking. Clients on guided tours must listen carefully to and follow guides' instructions and adhere to safety requirements. Our reputation depends on your safety – we give it top priority and take it seriously.

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