Milford Sound vs Doubtful Sound: Which one Should I Visit?

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    Should I visit Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound? This is one of the big questions travellers ask when touring the Fiordland region in New Zealand. Both offer spectacular and awe-inspiring scenery that takes your breath away. Both are part of the World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park. Both offer visitors a truly unique experience.

    Milford Sound

    Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions, is located at the northernmost end of the Fiordland National Park. This area of the National Park has the most mountainous terrain, developed millions of years ago. Milford Sound’s pure natural beauty is absolutely astounding.

    Milford Sound is the only one accessible by road and the drive is sensational. It is rated as one of the world’s most scenic drives. Experience this unforgettable journey as you sail out towards the Tasman Sea. Be amazed by the captivating views, waterfalls cascading from sheer cliffs above and the abundant marine life basking on the rocky outcrops. Drift past the dramatic Mitre Peak as it stands tall at nearly 1,700 metres high above you and enjoy the thrill of getting wet from the spray of the powerful Stirling Falls.

    There is also an option of taking an overnight cruise. Sail out to sea as the sun sets on the glistening sound and wake up in one of the most stunning places on Earth. Truly an unforgettable and magical experience one would not want to miss!

    See Milford Sound on a Real Journeys cruise
    Take a scenic cruise on Milford Sound

    Doubtful Sound

    On the other hand, Doubtful Sound is located at the centre of the Fiordland National Park, amidst untouched wilderness. This fiord is three times longer and ten times larger than Milford Sound giving visitors a sense of pure silence. Due to the incredible size of this Sound, there are many areas to explore within its three arms.

    To access the magnificent Doubtful Sound, you’ll need to take a short coach ride to Lake Manapouri, cruise across the crystal-clear waters and then travel by coach over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove where you hop aboard your cruise. The remoteness and silence of Doubtful Sound create a peaceful and tranquil cruising experience.

    As you glide past dense rainforest and rugged mountains that border the Sound, keep an eye out for seals, penguins and bottlenose dolphins. An overnight boat cruise lets you travel deeper into Doubtful Sound where you can explore even more of this spectacular natural wonder.

    Why You Should Go For a Doubtful Sound Cruise

    The magic of Doubtful Sound is difficult to capture with mere words – graceful, glorious, ancient and awe-inspiring, the hallowed cliffs of these prehistoric passages inspire wild imaginings and wide, toothy smiles without changing gear. You’ve probably been told time and time again, you must go, if there’s anything to do near Queenstown, the Sounds are it and you’d be sad to miss out… and they’re right.

    But these well-meaning givers of travel advice have only seen Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound – very few people consider the appeal of a cruise in either. Here are three reasons a Doubtful Sound cruise is right up your alley, the best and most beautiful of the two.

    Once in a Lifetime

    Your lifetime. As we’ve mentioned, not many people snap up the chance to see the Sounds by dusk, twilight and the morning sun, trading this opportunity for a two-hour tour that hit the usual hot spots… you want more than tourist hot spots. Both cruises deliver an experience you won’t believe, from watching the dolphins play around the stern come sunrise, to the colours on the cliffs when no tourist boat has touched the water. Simply unmissable.

    Dreams Do Come True

    Very rarely are you afforded the opportunity to step into a dreamscape, rising from a fitful sleep aboard a safe and secure vessel, and being mystified all over again by the magic that surrounds you? See the sunrise over the waterfalls and breathe in the clean, crisp air. You’ll never want to leave the serenity behind.

    Experience Doubtful Sound with Kirra
    Experience Doubtful Sound with Kirra

    Get the Real Sound Experience as Part of Your Amazing NZ Experience

    The daytime experience when visiting Doubtful Sound is charming, breathtaking and worth it. You’ll get to experience the magic of Doubtful Sound as the Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise is included in our 16-Day Ultimate New Zealand Tour.

    Do you want to be spellbound? Do you desire a new experience, beyond the usual guidebook? Maybe you’ve already taken the day tour, but you’ve always dreamed of doing the same at night?

    Reach out to our team of knowledgeable New Zealand experts. Chat or email us and we’ll connect you with the right vessel, according to the experience you’re dreaming of – don’t wait.

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    Kirra Crew

    Kirra Crew

    We have been creating memorable New Zealand experiences since 1968. Our passion for this country is displayed through our unique itineraries. And we love to blog about exploring New Zealand and the many things to do & see here. Check out our articles and experience New Zealand your way.
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