Doubtful Sound is definitely one of the many jewels in New Zealand’s crown.

After leaving Stewart Island on the 8am ferry back to the mainland (that post coming at some point), I drove to New Zealand’s land of the Fjords, aka Fjordland National Park where I was to join and overnight excursion on Doubtful Sound the following day.

Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are the two sounds of Fjordland visited by local and international tourists alike.  Milford is by far the more popular because it is so easily accessible.  You can drive there on your own to gawp from its shores or join a day boat tour or an overnight cruise or a motorcoach tour.  There are lots and lots of tourist options for Milford, while Doubtful has just one or two.  I opted for Doubtful Sound because it is far more remote (you can’t drive there), it is much, much larger than Milford which could fit inside Doubtful several times, and I understand they equal each other in beauty.  We did not see another boat from start to finish.  None at all.

To get to the Doubtful Sound Cruise boat, I drove to Manapouri where I caught a passenger boat for a 50 minute ride across beautiful Manapouri Lake.  Upon reaching the other end of the lake I, along with 58 other cruise participants, boarded a big motor coach which drove us up and over the Wilmot Pass and down to the Sound.  This trip was also about 50 minutes and traversed a gravel, somewhat twisty and steep road.  I took the banner photo from the last lookout point after coming over the pass.  What you see is just a wee tiny bit of the Sound.  Once down to Deep Cove, we were met by the most friendly crew of The Navigator, our cruise vessel for the next 24 hours.

There she is in the photo below, or at least part of her.  You can see she is a motor-sailor.  The captain utilized all three of her sails while cruising out to the mouth of the Sound and just a bit out into the Tasman Sea before turning back into the Sound to moor in a sheltered arm for the night.

Below you can see Cabin #1, my cabin for the duration complete with en-suite bathroom.  Pretty cool, huh?  Though I barely spent any time in my room, I was appreciative of the comfy bed, private bath, and two windows.

As mentioned, the itinerary had us cruising down the length of the Sound, out into the Tasman Sea, back to overnight in a protected cove, and then back to Deep Cove, the point of origin where we reboarded the big motor coach for the ride up and over Wilmot Pass back to the boat across the lake, and back to where we started.

I had the BEST time!  And the beauty!  THE BEAUTY! I must have taken 3 dozen photos, but will share just a few of my faves here.

Check out the BEAUTY.  No filters were used in the creation of these photos, I promise.

Would you look at that reflection!?!  It’s hard to tell what’s going on and which way is up. I had a tough time choosing the banner photo since there were so many contenders, this being one of them. 

Below you can see those who opted to kayak, coming back to the boat in time for dinner.

And the photo below might be my favorite (along with the reflection photo) as well as being another contender for the banner shot. I took this one off the stern about 6:30 this morning, just as the sun was rising.

Pinch me. I swear, I’d do the Doubtful Sound overnight trip again and again.  My goodness!  

And last but not least, Vicki and Ray from Oregon.  These were my best pals onboard.  Here we are in the main Salon enjoying a delicious charcuterie board though we were all stuffed from the afternoon tea with delicious scones and somehow had to have room for dinner. 

It was all Deee-lish!!!

And lest I forget, on the way back this morning, the Captain told us he was going to run a fire drill so the crew could practice.  When the polite siren sounded, all of us passengers were to muster on the Muster Deck while the Crew went about their safety business.  Afterwards, we were treated to a surprise show which was a complete delight.  Take a look.

Joy, Joy, Joy. And more Joy. 

I am so amazed by the young people of today.  So many of them seem so aware and conscious, far more than I ever was at their age.  It warms my heart and supports my knowing that all is well and will be well in our world.  The Age of Aquarius, indeed.  A new day has dawned and I couldn’t be more excited to be participating. 

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading up the east coast with a foray inland to Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo, but first, Dunedin, pronounced Done-ē-din, accent on the middle long e. I’m not sure when, but sometime soon I’ll be seeing the world’s smallest penguin, which is blue, so stay tuned.

Until next time.



  • Rusty

    January 29, 2023

    Just wow! All the pictures were amazing. It looks like you’re having a ball.

    • Margie

      January 29, 2023

      Wow is right! It was a fabulous experience, for sure.

  • Janet Feinberg

    January 30, 2023

    What amazing adventures you are having.
    Thanks for sharing some of the beauty of New Zealand, enjoy the remainder of your time there.

    • Margie

      January 31, 2023

      Hi Janet, New Zealand is a beautiful Country, for sure. It’s my pleasure to share it’s beauty and my adventures. Glad you are following along and enjoying it.

  • Heather

    January 31, 2023

    Incredibly beautiful photos. The boat excursion sounds like the perfect way to explore doubtful sound. We took a kayaking trip on Milford Sound – a line squall came through in the middle of the trip – another tale to tell you. We also visited Dunedin – actually visited a professor there that had come to UNCW for a semester. Loved the funny little penguins. Enjoy!!!!


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