Doubtful Sound Fiordland Navigator
Doubtful Sound, New Zealand
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.
At a Glance
Overnight cruise along the length of the Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea
Onboard nature guide giving talks and telling you more about the natural environment of the area
The chance to see wildlife including Fiordland penguins and New Zealand fur seals
Private twin or double cabins and one family cabin accommodating a family of four
Activities from the boat including kayaking, nature boat cruise and swimming (for the brave!)
Make sure to take insect repellent - the sandflies that live along the shore of the vegetation can be quite pesky!Scott Dunn team
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 tranquility of this beautiful place. Afterwards, the brave amongst you can take a swim if you wish!
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.
There are a choice of accommodations on board, all simple and functional - don't expect a luxury experience. There are bunk rooms, which are more for independent travelers, and private cabins which is what we would recommend. These are configured as twin or double beds, or one family cabin with bunk beds accommodating a family of four and all have ensuite shower rooms.
Location & Directions
Doubtful Sound, New Zealand
The Doubtful Sound Fiordland Navigator is based in Doubtful Sound itself, one of the remote and wild fiords that make up South Island's rugged southwestern coast.
When to go
The Fiordland region is a remote and wild part of New Zealand and weather here can change by the minute. The fiords receive 200 days of rainfall per year, which classifies a day where significant rain has fallen, but rain showers occur almost daily, and often visits will be misty and moody and cloudy whatever time of the year you are visiting. This is very much a part of the atmosphere of these dramatic fiords and if you do find yourself with sunshine and blue skies, make the most of it and count yourself lucky! You'll want to bring plenty of warm and wet weather clothes, including rain jacket, woolly hat and layers, again regardless of the time of year due to the changeable climate. On board the ship is of course nice and warm, but you'll want to be out on deck for a lot of the journey, when the weather permits.