NZ Trip – Te Anau and Doubtful Sound

April 3, 2024
Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound

DAY 12 (24 May 2023)

Another big day today that started with breakfast at the lodge where we’re staying Te Anau Lodge’ – you can read more about where we stayed in this post. The lodge itself is a 1936 relocated former convent – very historical with lots of antiques and interesting knick knacks! They even had Vegemite to cater for the Aussies which I was thrilled about! The dining room where we had breakfast was what once would’ve been the ‘chapel’. 

After breakfast we drove to Manapouri – about 20 minutes from Te Anau – which is where we cruised for about 45 minutes across Lake Manapouri, then went on a 30-40 minute bus trip over Wilmot Pass into the heart of the Fiordland National Park.

We then enjoyed a 3 hour cruise on the waterways of Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound is about 40kms in length and is the second longest Fiord (not sound) with the longest being Dusky Sound. It’s a lot longer and wider than Milford and there’s lots of little islands along the way which we were told interesting stories about! We went to the end and out to the Tasman Sea heading for a little island that has a seal colony on it but the sea got too rough so we turned around. Though I was looking forward to seeing the seal colony I was relieved when our captain decided to turn around because it was getting too rocking and rolling for me and I was getting quite queasy! The Tasman Sea is apparently the second most rough sea in the world. As luck would have it we were lucky enough to spot one solo little baby seal on a rock back in the fiord.

I enjoyed both Milford and Doubtful sounds. Milford was short but majestically dramatic. Doubtful was so much wider and longer and with islands and I actually enjoyed this day more. It seems that of the two, Doubtful Sound attracts less tourists so we had less people (less crowds and selfie sticks!) which was very enjoyable and much easier to fully immerse yourself into the experience. It was also more remote and we had a fabulous commentary. I saw a seal which was a thrill but what I really loved was that we listened to ‘the sounds of silence’. The engine was shut off and everyone remained quiet and we listened to the silence of the fiord. It was actually quite special and emotional. I’ve included a short video of that too. It was a fabulous day!

I found it easier to shoot some short videos rather than take photographs as they capture the magic of the place much better than photos. Here are some (they are all pretty short).





Just a snippet from our ‘Sounds of Silence’ experience where the engine was cut and everyone remained silent (I can’t remember how long this was for). All we could hear was the rain. It was beautiful.

We had a quiet night in tonight. We picked up a couple of frozen meals in town to zap in the microwave. Tomorrow after breakfast we move on to the next place which I’ll leave as a mystery until the next NZ Trip post!

Ciao for now,

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  • Reply Lydia C. Lee April 3, 2024 at 6:14 am

    Just stunning. We went to one in Norway and it was extraordinary to float up past the mountains and waterfalls either side. Words can’t quite express it! I love those hotels in previous functioning places….it’s like you’re stealing into the past.

    • Reply Min April 3, 2024 at 9:19 am

      Hi Lydia – oh it would be amazing to see the one in Norway! Yes, it’s very much like stealing into the past. It’s the most wonderful experience!

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 April 3, 2024 at 6:16 am

    Hi Min, such a beautiful area. We cruised through Milford and Doubtful Sounds which were stunning. On our first trip to NZ we stayed at Te Anau and took a trip to Milford Sound. I remember the waterfalls. Thanks for sharing your trip with us and also hosting #WWWhimsy. I hope life is settling down for you and you had a relaxing Easter break. xx

    • Reply Min April 3, 2024 at 9:22 am

      Hi Sue, it’s the most wonderful experience isn’t it? So beautiful and peaceful. Life is still very hectic for me at the moment. We have a lot to get done at the house. Settlement is next Wednesday 10 April. Hope you had a fabulous Easter break! xo

  • Reply Joanne Tracey April 3, 2024 at 8:00 am

    Such a beautiful area. As you know I walked in one time so stayed at the lodge there. On another trip we did an overnight cruise on the sounds – an experience I’ll always remember.

    • Reply Min April 3, 2024 at 9:24 am

      Hi Jo – so nice to see you here! I don’t know how you managed the walking trip to Doubtful Sound. I’m sure it must’ve been incredibly challenging, but beautiful and an amazing experience! We wanted to do the overnight cruise but none were operating at the time of year we were there unfortunately. Maybe another time!

  • Reply Christie Hawkes April 3, 2024 at 8:28 am

    Such a beautiful area, Min. I just love waterfalls!

    • Reply Min April 3, 2024 at 9:24 am

      Hi Christie, I love them too and the waterfalls in the sounds are like no other!

  • Reply Jennifer Jones April 3, 2024 at 12:45 pm

    Beautiful memories for you here Min. I cruised into the Milford Sound and will never forget its beauty. NZ is an amazing and scenic place to visit.

    • Reply Min April 4, 2024 at 7:19 am

      Hi Jennifer, it’s an experience I’ll never forget for sure. I loved NZ (I’ve only seen the south island so far) which is why I really want to capture all the places that we visited here on the blog. xo

  • Reply Debbie Harris April 3, 2024 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Min, we just loved this area when we visited a few years ago but didn’t get to Doubtful Sound or any of the sounds for that matter, so that will be next time! Hope all is going well with you.

    • Reply Min April 4, 2024 at 7:20 am

      Hi Deb, I really hope you get to visit the sounds next visit to NZ. It’s a magical experience – nature at its very finest! I’m ok – another visit to the house today and all next weekend. Settlement is on the following Wednesday 10/4. Hopefully things will settle down after that. xo

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid April 3, 2024 at 10:07 pm

    Amazing – especially loved the sound of silence – thanks for the videos, they make me feel like I’m experiencing a bit of it with you. What a fabulous day you had and I loved your accommodation, so cool! Can’t wait to see where you go next…

    • Reply Min April 4, 2024 at 7:23 am

      Hi Sammie, I’m glad you enjoyed the sound of silence … even though it was a brief video. All videos I do are brief because my phone is always running out of space and I’m having to delete stuff all the time! This was a really, really fab day. I remember it very clearly and how it made me feel being immersed in a fiordland and all its beauty. Truly magic! xo

  • Reply Natasha Mairs April 3, 2024 at 10:48 pm

    Loving the videos!! Thanks again for hosting x

    • Reply Min April 4, 2024 at 7:23 am

      Thanks Natasha. My pleasure! xo

  • Reply Joanne April 4, 2024 at 5:04 am

    That looks like such a beautiful area!

    • Reply Min April 4, 2024 at 7:23 am

      It certainly is Joanne – a magical place. xo

  • Reply sherry April 4, 2024 at 6:21 am

    New Zealand is so wonderful! We have been a couple of times and would love to go back but I find flying very difficult these days. Ah well, I have memories…

    • Reply Min April 4, 2024 at 7:25 am

      Hi Sherry, we’ve only been to the south island so far but gee whiz did I love it over there (as if you can’t tell). I’d go back in a heart beat. I’ll definitely be visiting the north island at some point and most likely revisiting some favourite places on the south island. I’m glad you’ve been twice since you’re not a fan of flying these days! xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan April 4, 2024 at 11:41 am

    How lovely it is to see your memories of a most wonderful trip shared.

    Thank you for the link up.


    • Reply Min April 7, 2024 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks Denyse! It was such a wonderful trip that I really want to capture as much detail from it as I can to look back on in later years! xo

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