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  • Address: Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
  • Admission: Free
While tour buses may flock to neighboring Milford Sound, the wild landscapes of Doubtful Sound are equally enchanting and much less crowded. Framed by looming cliffs and dotted with rocky islets and tumbling waterfalls, this natural fjord is three times longer and has 10 times more surface area than Milford Sound. It is also centrally located at the heart of Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Basics
Helicopter and small-plane flights offer spectacular aerial views of the fjord and the surrounding national park, while those interested in seeing the fjord from the water can embark on a catamaran cruise around Doubtful Sound, setting sail from Deep Cove. Tours run from Te Anau, Manapouri, and Queenstown, and often visit other natural wonders such as Manapouri Lake, the Te Anau Glowworm Cave, Dusky Sound, and the Wilmot Pass en-route to the fjord.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The weather in Doubtful Sound can be unpredictable, so prepare for wind and rain even in summer. 
  • If hiking, wear comfortable shoes and bring water and snacks—there are limited places to purchase supplies.
  • Cell phone coverage is limited, but free Wi-Fi is available at the Fjordland National Park Visitor Center.
  • Most Doubtful Sound cruises are wheelchair accessible, but not all activities within Fiordland National Park are accessible to those with limited mobility, so it’s best to check in advance.

How to Get There
Doubtful Sound is located on the southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The fjord can be reached from Manapouri, a town roughly 100 miles (170 kilometers) by road from Queenstown, a drive of about 2.5 hours. The journey includes a ferry ride across Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus ride over the Wilmot Pass. It is also possible to arrive by helicopter. The nearest international airport is in Queenstown. 

When to Get There
Summer (December through February) is the most popular time to visit Doubtful Sound, but the area is open year-round. Winter visitors will be at the weather’s mercy and there will be fewer departures to choose from, but tours are often cheaper and the snow-covered landscapes make for some stunning scenery. 

Wildlife Spotting at Doubtful Sound
Here you can spot rare Fiordland crested penguins and New Zealand fur seals, especially on the fjord’s islands. Be on the lookout for southern right whales, orcas, and humpback whales as you cruise through the fjord, and look down to spot black coral beneath the water.

Tours & Tickets

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Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Te Anau, Fiordland & Milford Sound, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Te Anau

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 159 Reviews

Your Doubtful Sound adventure begins as you cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri. Then it's over Wilmot Pass, stopping along the way to ...  Read more

Location: Te Anau, New Zealand
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $188.38
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise from Manapouri, Queenstown, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise from Manapouri

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Experience an 8-hour day trip into the remote wilderness of Doubtful Sound, the heart of Fiordland National Park, while nature guides answer questions and ...  Read more

Location: Manapouri, New Zealand
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $177.30
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown, Queenstown, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown

4.5 star rating: Recommended 66 Reviews

Be struck by the beautiful silence of Doubtful Sound as you cruise the crystal waters and take in the breathtaking scenery. Journey across Lake Manapouri, ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $203.15
14-Day South Island Adventure Tour from Christchurch, Christchurch, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

14-Day South Island Adventure Tour from Christchurch

This 14-day tour of the South Island of New Zealand will take you on a remarkable adventure, taking you further off the beaten track, with a small group of ...  Read more

Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: 14 days (approx.)

From USD $2,301.15
Doubtful Sound Scenic Helicopter Flight from Te Anau, Te Anau, Multi-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Doubtful Sound Scenic Helicopter Flight from Te Anau

Discover the beauty of the second largest Fiord in the Fiordland National Park. Being 10 times larger than Milford Sound there is plenty to view in the ...  Read more

Location: Te Anau, New Zealand
Duration: Flexible

From USD $494.49
Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound Helicopter Flight from Te Anau, Te Anau, Helicopter Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound Helicopter Flight from Te Anau

This scenic flight visits both Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound. Two of Fourteen beautiful Fiords within the Fiordland National Park. Doubtful Sound is the ...  Read more

Location: Te Anau, New Zealand
Duration: 105 minutes (approx.)

From USD $818.61
Full-Day Doubtful Sound Flight and Cruise from Queenstown, Queenstown, Helicopter Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Full-Day Doubtful Sound Flight and Cruise from Queenstown

Doubtful Sound flights take you to a more remote area of the South Island’s rugged West Coast. Feel humbled, yet uplifted by the atmosphere of powerful ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $687.02
Te Anau Super Saver: Doubtful Sound Cruise plus Te Anau Glowworm Cave Tour, Te Anau, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 3

Te Anau Super Saver: Doubtful Sound Cruise plus Te Anau Glowworm Cave Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 7 Reviews

Be amazed by the wonders of New Zealand on this two-day Te Anau Super Saver. First, take a wilderness cruise on Doubtful Sound where the natural beauty will ...  Read more

Location: Te Anau, New Zealand
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $243.34
Queenstown Super Saver: Doubtful Sound Cruise plus Walter Peak High Country Farm Tour, Queenstown, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 3

Queenstown Super Saver: Doubtful Sound Cruise plus Walter Peak High Country Farm Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Experience the natural beauty of New Zealand over two days with this Queenstown Super Saver. First up, take a wilderness cruise on Doubtful Sound and enjoy ...  Read more

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

From USD $247.47

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