Fast Facts

  • Location: West of Lake Manapouri in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
  • Best Time to Visit: Between November and March
  • How to Reach: Doubtful Sound may be reached by boat across Lake Manapouri and a bus ride over Wilmot Pass.
  • Nearest International Airport: Christchurch International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Christchurch
  • Time required for sightseeing: A full day

Did Paul Simon have Doubtful Sound on his mind when he wrote the lines of ‘Sound of Silence’? Probably not, New York sounds more plausible, but a visit to this wonderful fjord in New Zealand will leave you with a feeling that this is the best place to experience that sensation. Doubtful Sound with its perfect combination of unspoiled wildness and peace is the 2nd largest of the 14 fiords in Fiordland National Park. According to the Maori legend, the holy figure Tu Te Raki Whanoa built this wonderfully beautiful fiord with the help of four young sea gods who created its sheltered arms. One of the most well-liked Fiordland trips is the one-day expedition from Manapouri to Doubtful Sound.

It is suggested that you take a cruise across Lake Manapouri to West Arm of the Lake and while passing over the Wilmot Pass Road, stop along the way at the Wilmot Pass lookout point to get some majestic views of Doubtful Sound.

Doubtful Sound Wildlife
Apart from the southernmost population of bottlenose dolphins, the fiord features a diverse range of wildlife like fur seals and penguins (Fiordland crested and blue), rare large whales (Southern Right, Humpback, Minke, Sperm, and some Beaked Whales). The waters of Doubtful Sound are also home to plenty of sea creatures including numerous species of fish, starfish, sea anemones and corals. But Doubtful Sound, New Zealand is perhaps well-known for its black coral trees which occur in unusually shallow water.

There are several ways to experience Doubtful Sound – by kayak or cruise, as a memorable day trip or on an adventurous overnight experience. The cruise around Doubtful Sound is really wonderful and you will get to enjoy the panoramic views of pristine forest, pure rock walls, and scenic waterfalls.

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