5 star rating: Highly Recommended 41 Reviews

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  • Location:Queenstown, New Zealand
  • Duration:2 days (approx.)

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Experience the natural beauty of Doubtful Sound on an overnight cruise departing from Manapouri on New Zealand’s South Island. Cruise on a traditional three-mast sailing scow (flat-bottomed trading boat) along the pristine waters of the fiords, and see a vast array of wildlife including dolphins, seals and penguins in their natural habitats. You can join the cruise in Manapouri or include luxury coach transfers from Te Anau or Queenstown.


  • Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise from Manapouri
  • Cruise the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri
  • Travel the alpine route over Wilmot Pass for exceptional views of the Fiordland
  • Explore the pristine waters of Doubtful Sound
  • See a vast array of wildlife, including dolphins and penguins in their natural habitat
  • Choose to join the cruise in Manapouri or connect by luxury coach from Queenstown or Te Anau

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Doubtful Sound has one of the most dramatic landscapes in New Zealand. It is the second largest of the 14 fiords in Fiordland National Park and is three times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound. With deep black fiords, soaring granite peaks and ancient rainforests that cling to the surrounding mountains, Doubtful Sound is a magnificent, unspoiled wilderness.

Your Doubtful Sound overnight adventure begins with a short cruise across island-studded Lake Manapouri and a coach trip over Wilmot Pass. You'll then descend to Doubtful Sound to meet the crew and board the sailing scow awaiting you in Deep Cove.

The sailing scow is purposely built for these waters and designed along the lines of a traditional sailing vessel, combining the charm of a bygone era with all the modern comforts, including spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon, fully licensed bar and an observation lounge.

Cruise the full length of the fiord, weaving through hidden coves and waterways. Doubtful Sound is home to a vast array of natural flora and fauna. See bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins in their natural habitats from the vessel’s large viewing decks and platforms. A specialist nature guide is on board to provide commentary and insight into the history of the region.

In the late afternoon, the crew will drop anchor in a sheltered cove, allowing you to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender craft (small boat) with a nature guide. For the more adventurous, there’s even a chance to go swimming.

Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner prepared by the onboard chef and relax in the saloon before retiring to your cozy cabin.

The next morning, following a cooked or continental breakfast, cruise a little further before returning to Manapouri.


  • 18 cabins have private bathrooms (12 single or twin cabins; 6 cabins with double beds)
  • 9 quad-share cabins are bunk-style with shared bathroom facilities
  • Linen, duvet, towel and pillows are provided
What to bring:
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm clothing
  • Swimsuit
  • For passenger comfort and safety, only one overnight bag per person allowed on board

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

This was a highlight of our trip and I'm so glad that my husband and I did Doubtful Sound over Milford Sound. Although it took longer to get there from Queenstown, Doubtful Sound was more isolated but just as breathtaking and beautiful. With its glassy rivers that reflected off the landscapes, our first day there, we got to experience Doubtful Sound with bright blue skies, kayaking in open waters. The second day, everyone was up early to see the sun rise and see Doubtful Sound in a more natural view with gray cloudy skies, but just as magical. The crew were all friendly and helpful and the captain and our nature guide were very knowledgeable about the landscapes and Doubtful Sound which was great to hear and experience. We saw seals and a few penguins but no dolphins on our trip, but did get to experience a seal feeding in the waters and even the captain had to stop the boat completely and took pictures of the experience. Accommodations were good and as expected and the food was amazing.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

A magical experience. Wonderfully friendly and helpful crew. Awe-inspiring landscapes. Learned a lot about the history, animals, and geography from the educational guide and also the captain. Delicious and plentiful food. Very comfortable sleeping quarters. Kayaking on the open water was a wonderful experience.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Very relaxing trip, cabin was comfortable to sleep at night with engine off. Beautiful and nice view at every turn.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

A fantastic time, facilities were awesome, staff were wonderful, and despite the rain a blessing if you like because we had some wonderful waterfalls the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. New Zealand is a fantastic country this is a must do trip!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Absolutely fantastic, weather was perfect, staff were friendly, boat was by well equipped, food was great, good wines and plenty of Dolphins to watch. Would definitely recommend it to anyone. Thank you!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

highlight of the trip! magnificent scenery, superb boat, enthusiatic crew and delicious food. unforgettable. many thanks!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

This will be I'm sure one of the best 24hrs of our 6 weeks in NZ. All the crew on board and the skipper of the cat from Mannapourri and bus drivers were were brilliant, helpful, friendly and humorous! Accommodation on the Navigator was excellent and the food superb. The chaps giving the commentary on the history and wildlife were so informative and enthusiastic. Thanks to the Captain we were able to get close up and comfortable with Doubtful Sound. They thought of everything even sandfly repellant when we took to the small boats.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

It was exactly as publicized. The staff was as incredible as the views and Claire really knew her stuff.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

We saw Dolphins and seals but no penguins. The food was wonderful. The whole experience was memorable

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2015

Highly recommended! Enjoyed every moment of it:) Great food, scenery, and crew members. Would love to do it again if theres a chance!

From USD $ 185.33

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Tour code: 2264RJ350_351_358


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