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An overnight cruise on the Doubtful Sound is without doubt one of the best ways to experience Fiordland in all its glory. The Fiordland Navigator cruises through the sound to the Tasman sea, stopping to kayak and see birdlife and wildlife on the way.
Spend a day and night cruising through the spectacular fiords of southern New Zealand on the Fiordland Navigator. The ship accommodates up to 72 passengers and has a superb crew including a knowledgeable nature guide who will tell you more about the formation of the fiords and the wildlife in the area which includes Fiordland penguins and New Zealand fur seals.
Doubtful Sound is not the easiest place to access, but its remoteness is all part of the appeal. To reach the ship you depart by boat from Manapouri across Lake Manapouri, then take a coach over the Wilmot Pass to reach the head of Doubtful Sound. From here you set sail through the fiord, quite likely experiencing all kinds of weather during your cruise. It rains 300 days of the year down in the fiords, so you'll need to be prepared for rain, sunshine, mist and everything in between.
In the afternoon the boat will stop for a while, weather-permitting, to allow passengers to enjoy a choice of kayaking or nature cruise on the tender boat with the nature guide. Both last approximately 45 minutes and are a lovely way to get close to the walls of the fiords and take in the tranquillity of this beautiful place. Afterwards, the brave amongst you can take a swim if you wish!
If you opt for the kayaking experience you will spend around 45 minutes paddling the waterways, getting up close to the shoreline and its lush vegetation, and enjoying some great views of the Fiordland Navigator. Please note the kayaking is not suitable for young children. Alternately suitable for the whole family is the tender boat trip from Fiordland Navigator which departs at the same time as the kayaking experience. On the 45-minute tender boat cruise the onboard nature guide will regale you with information about the environment you are cruising through. You’ll learn about the diverse plantlife found in the fiords, look out for birdlife, and enjoy some great photo opportunities of the Fiordland Navigator, and the kayakers, too.
Back on the boat you'll cruise right out to the Tasman sea, hopefully spotting some colonies of New Zealand fur seals on the way, and if you're lucky some Fiordland penguins. The ship docks overnight and you'll enjoy a three course buffet dinner and a talk presented by the nature guide afterwards. The following day you'll cruise back up the sound, enjoying waterfalls and spectacular views along the way.
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