Enchanting Doubtful Sound

For a magical glimpse of the untouched beauty of Fiordland, don't miss visiting stunning Doubtful Sound.

New Zealand's deepest and second-longest sound, Doubtful Sound is a fiord home to spectacular waterfalls, wildlife and otherworldly landscapes. It's often called the 'Sound of Silence' due to its serenity and the fact that it remains so untouched by the modern world. Exploring Doubtful Sound means adventuring into pure, untouched New Zealand wilderness.

Unique and fascinating wildlife

Doubtful Sound is a haven for the unique flora and fauna that call this place home. Visitors are never left wanting for a more vibrant spectacle with untouched forests that sprawl from mountain top to sea level and rare marine and birdlife that abound. Playful Bottlenose Dolphins frequently dance the bow wake of boats and New Zealand Fur Seals bask on the rocks along the shoreline. Rare Fiordland Crested Penguins are also a special sight here.

Early history

Doubtful Sound was originally named by Captain James Cook who first discovered the fiord in 1770. He deemed the waters unnavigable and the area was not fully explored until later on with the arrival of whalers and sealers. In 1793, a Spanish Scientific Expedition made the first accurate charts of the mouth of the fiord and also it's lower reaches. As a result, the only Spanish place names to be found on the New Zealand map are in and around Doubtful Sound.

Environment & geography

Due to the huge volume of rain water flowing into Doubtful Sound, there are two distinct layers of water here. With a maximum depth of 421m, the water column is topped by a thin layer of fresh water. Cold and stained by natural tannins this layer cannot be penetrated by light. As a result, deep sea, light sensitive species can flourish in depths far shallower than usually possible. Grand waterfalls tumble from soaring cliff tops - the magnificent Browne Falls cascade over 600m to the sea below and, during the rainy season, the whole fiord is punctuated by multitudes of waterfalls that tumble down sheer granite rock faces.

Cruise Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea

Picture yourself breathing in the stunning scenery of Doubtful Sound aboard a comfortable seagoing vessel, all the while enjoying warm hospitality and kiwi dining. Doubtful Sound can only be truly appreciated in this way - sail smooth waters while keeping an eye out for the vibrant marine and birdlife that thrives here. Nourish the soul as you marvel at the many waterfalls, and let your mind drift back to times long past when pioneers first laid eyes on this remarkable landscape.

MoaTrek's Doubtful Sound and West Coast Odyssey small group tour offers an unforgettable experience amongst this beautiful fiord. As part of the tour you'll enjoy a beautifully appointed overnight boat cruise in Doubtful Sound itself, anchoring for the evening in a beautiful cove. Find out more here, or contact us directly.