Doubtful Sound is a very large and naturally imposing fiord (despite its name) in Fiordland National Park, in the far south-west of New Zealand. Though it is 3-1/2 times larger than Milford Sound, Milford is more famous as it is more accessible. It is also much more crowded with boats.

According to Wiki, Doubtful Sound takes second place after Milford Sound as New Zealand’s most famous tourism destination. After a bus ride to Te Anau (such a pretty little town!), a van ride to Manapouri, a ferry across Lake Manapouri, and another van up and over Wilmot Pass, we boarded Fiordland Expeditions‘ boat for an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound.

A map of the lakes and fiords in the Doubtful Sound area. To get to Doubtful Sound, we crossed Lake Manapouri from east to west (starting on the right side of this map), then took the road in red over the pass to Doubtful Sound.

The views from Lake Manapouri were impressive in themselves, with the shoreline rising up into towering peaks. In the winter months, there will be snow to the waterline.

Narrow rivers empty into the fiord, with fresh water layering on top of sea water below. Peak after peak after peak.

The flora clung to the granite (there’s no soil just interlocking root systems that latch on and spread out in the lichen and plant decay). But in some places, all had washed out in massive ‘tree avalanches’.

Our crew prepared to brave the cold water (60 degrees or so) to catch dinner.

The crew in action….. watch your backside, guys!

And catch they did!!! The New Zealanders call these crayfish. We call them lobsters.

Shauna can’t wait…..

fresh fish…..

and fresh mussels, round out our feast.

Captain Gene and the motherlode.

Yum, yum, yum.

And just when we think we can’t eat another bite…. sticky toffee pudding for dessert!

Not sure what kind of seabird this was, but the black-tipped wings were majestic in flight.

And another bird takes flight. Shauna decides to brave the cold water for a swim.

….too late now. No turning back.

The more civilized alternative to swimming in frigid waters.

One of the many waterfalls pouring into the fiord.

….a natural water fountain.

Sunrise found the fiord with almost still water.

Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins surfing along the bow of our boat.

Our fellow passengers from New Zealand, Minnesota, Nova Scotia and China on the overnight cruise.

This is the only other cruise boat we saw on Doubtful Sound.

Our last view of Doubtful Sound as we made our way back over the pass to Lake Manapouri.