Our tour of Doubtful Sound was my first real sightseeing activity on my trip to New Zealand, after a series of travel mishaps delayed my arrival in Auckland and forced me to cancel my plans to see geysers in Rotorua. After finally meeting up with my brother, I spent the entire next day flying to Queenstown and traveling to the town of Te Anau on the South Island.
When we woke up in the morning, the sky was gray and dreary, and it was drizzling. I was afraid that my poor travel luck was continuing – why had I planned a trip to New Zealand in the winter anyway?
We were picked up at our hotel by a bus and driven to a boat to cross Lake Manapouri. As soon as I set foot on the boat, I forgot about how cold it was outside in my excitement over the beauty of our surroundings.
I took so many pictures that I nearly forgot that we hadn’t arrived at the main attraction yet.
After crossing Lake Manapouri, we got on another bus to drive to Doubtful Sound, where another boat awaited us for the cruise on Doubtful Sound.
The drive to Doubtful Sound included some spectacular views of the sound and waterfalls. The misty weather only added to the beauty of the sound. As a side note, Doubtful Sound is actually not a sound, but a fiord, located in Fiordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island.
Once we were out on the sound, we were treated to an amazing display of wildlife. The misty weather appeared to draw out all kinds of animals, and for a while, I was running around the boat, trying to catch a glimpse of all of them.
The water was crystal clear, showing beautiful reflections of the surrounding mountains.
The on and off rain also made for some nice rainbows across the water!
The cruise took us out close to the Tasman Sea, where we saw some rocks covered in dark spots. As we got closer, we could see that the spots were actually a sea lion colony.
As we turned around and headed back to land, I spotted a rainbow.
The boat got closer and closer to the rainbow and the pool of color around it, until it was almost close enough to touch. The rainbow glimmered so brightly that I was almost tempted to dive into the frigid water to see if there was a pot of gold underneath.
It was over all too soon, though I was glad to get back to sitting in a warm vehicle. I had kept myself warm all day by drinking hot tea on the boat and going into the cabin to warm up from time to time, I had spent most of my time standing out on the deck, exposed to the elements.
And despite the seemingly disappointing start, this ended up being my favorite day of the trip!
We took a Wilderness Day Cruise through Real Journeys. It cost ~$200 USD per person and included pick up and drop off at our hotel in Te Anau.
Have you ever been to Doubtful Sound? What was your experience?