Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruises

Give in to the wilderness, and escape to the secluded Pātea Doubtful Sound, located in the depths of the Fiordland National Park. Unlike a day cruise, this unique overnight experience completely immerses you in nature. Wake up feeling connected, in harmony, and full of wonder for Aotearoa’s native flora and fauna.  

The trip begins on the shore of Lake Manapouri, where you’ll hop onto a vessel to cross over to West Arm. Here, you’ll board our RealNZ coach to cross the scenic Wilmot Pass, before arriving at Doubtful Sound, and your home for the night. 


What's included? 

  • Choose to escape for one or two nights aboard one of our traditional-styled vessels. 
  • Explore the nooks and coves of Doubtful Sound all the way out to the Tasman Sea. 
  • Choose the onboard accommodation that suits you. Our two differing vessels offer slightly different accommodation offerings. See what’s on offer on each vessel. 
  • Our onboard chef will feed you well. Freshly baked afternoon tea, local platters, a gourmet buffet dinner and a selection of hot and continental breakfasts will be served. 
  • Understand what you’re experiencing with our onboard nature specialist. They’ll tell you about the land, local flora and the resident fauna who may come out to say hello. 
  • Be the captain of your own boat! Choose to explore a sheltered shoreline by kayak or hop into our small boat with a nature guide. 
  • Leave the driving to us, and explore our coach connections, available from Queenstown and Te Anau. 


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More Information

Doubtful Sound is pristine, unforgettable and out of this world. So get ready to create some lifelong memories as we take you on the ultimate Doubtful Sound experience. 

Your itinerary starts with a 45min-1hr cruise across Lake Manapouri, where you’ll hop off at the west arm. A coach then takes you across the Wilmot Pass, where you’ll travel on a sub-alpine road through dense rainforest. Arriving at Deep Cove, you’ll be met by our crew and vessel. 

Designed along the lines of a traditional scow, our vessels, The Fiordland Navigator and The Wanderer, blend old-world charm with modern comforts that include spacious viewing decks, dining saloons with fully licensed bars, and observation lounges. 

As you cruise through some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, our knowledgeable nature guides will provide commentary ensuring you don’t miss a thing, whether you’re encountering a pod of resident dolphins, fur seals or rare penguins.  

After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat, or simply relax onboard. For those looking to refresh, there’s even a chance to go swimming. All activities are weather-dependent.  

In the evening, you’ll enjoy a delicious three-course dinner prepared by our onboard chef, served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, try some local wines from our bar, and if the skies are clear, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars. 

Kick off the next day with a hearty cooked breakfast or a nourishing continental selection and get ready to explore the other arms of the fiord. Before long, you’ll return to Deep Cove, and take the trip back to Manapouri where you’ll tell the story of your experience in the remote wilderness of New Zealand. 


Things you should know: 

  • Duration is one or two nights. 
  • Two-night overnight cruises are available in April, May, October & November.
  • Accommodation: 
    • Private cabins - twin, double or single occupancy with ensuite bathrooms (single passengers must pay sole occupancy rate) 
    • Twin sleeping compartments with communal bathrooms. 
  • Enjoy a hearty dinner including a buffet of salads and hot dishes, as well as a selection of desserts and cheeses (dietary requirements can be catered for and should be noted at the time of booking).  
  • On the two-night trip, lunch is included on the second day. 
  • There is a licensed bar on board 
  • Includes kayaking and tender craft (small boat) activities 
  • You’ll enjoy a buffet breakfast on-board 

Extra information 

  • Duvets, sheets and towels provided 
  • Complimentary teas and coffee are available throughout. 
  • Suitable for all ages, except for infants intending to stay in a quad-share cabin 
  • Due to the multi-leg journey and floating wharf access, guests will need to have a reasonable level of mobility. 
  • Snacks and drinks are available for purchase with both eftpos or cash 
  • Waiau St Café, below the Manapouri Visitors Centre, opens from 9am - 1.00pm. The menu offers a range of homemade food and Allpress Coffee to enjoy before the experience or to take with you 

Departure Times 

The trip leaves Pearl Harbour, Manapouri at 12.30pm and returns 12pm the following day.  

You are required to check in at the RealNZ Visitor Centre 30 mins before your departure time. 


Getting there 

All our Doubtful Sound experiences start in Manapouri which is around 2.5 – 3 hrs from Queenstown and 30 mins from Te Anau. Our Manapouri Visitor Centre is located at 64 Waiau Street. 

Free parking is available in Manapouri. 

What to bring 

Only one carry-on bag is recommended for passenger convenience and safety.  Don't forget the following: 

  • Non-slip walking shoes/boots 
  • Waterproof jacket* 
  • Warm sweater/fleece jacket 
  • Change of clothes* 
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses 
  • Insect repellent* 
  • Swimwear (optional) 
  • Camera 
  • Lunch and snacks for the first day 
  • Personal medication, including for asthma and allergies 

*Essential items if you are doing activities. Activities take place even if it is raining. 

A close shot of the Fiordland Navigator docked in Doubtful Sound, alongside a man kayaking

Fiordland Navigator

About the Fiordland Navigator

The Fiordland Navigator is a purpose-built vessel designed to replicate a traditional trading scow and is perfectly suited to cruising the fiords.

  • Sleeps 52
  • Private cabins with ensuites (twin or double bed configuration)
  • Spacious viewing decks, dining saloon, licensed bar and observation lounge
  • Delicious buffet dinner served up by our onboard chef
  • Carries kayaks and tender craft onboard

Milford Wanderer in front of waterfall

The Wanderer

About the Wanderer

Our vessel, the Milford Wanderer, is a modern motorised vessel that has been purpose-built for navigating southern New Zealand.

  • Sleeps 36
  • Warm, comfortable accommodation (two passengers per sleeping compartment)  
  • Duvets, sheets and towels provided
  • Modern shared bathroom facilities with hot showers 
  • Delicious plated meals prepared by onboard chef  
  • Spacious viewing decks, dining saloon, licensed bar and observation lounge
  • Carries kayaks and tender craft onboard


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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