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Milford v Doubtful Sound

London
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Milford v Doubtful Sound

We are organising our NZ trip and planning to visit either Milford or Doubtful Sound or both.

Which one do folk recommend and if visiting one is it going to be pretty much the same as the other. Don't want to pay to do both if there is not that much difference between the two.

Thanks.

Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

They are different but most people only have time for one. You can drive to Milford - and the road alone is worth the trip - so it works out a lot cheaper. To get to Doubtful requires a boat and a bus; no DIY option. Some say Doubtful is better as an overnight.

Indiana
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2. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

Hi Didge -

From the perspective of a tourist who did both 2 years ago. First - you can only do Doubtful Sound via an overnight cruise. Doubtful is far more serene/quiet than Milford - but not quite the scenery. The cruise was fine - it's something to me you do once perhaps. if you like a slower, relaxing pace in a pristine wilderness and virtually not another soul in site on the entire cruise - this might be your thing. It's a little frustrating if you want to get out and explore - you are confined to the ship - although there's an option to take a short kayak trip.

Now for Milford - we spent two days there. First, we took a bus from Real Journeys from Te Anau and did an afternoon cruise. It was raining that day, and at first - I thought - crap - rain, rain, rain - but it turns out that is maybe the best way to see Milford Sound. There were waterfalls everywhere - just quite spectacular actually. We really enjoyed the bus ride and the cruise.

The next day, it was a perfect blue day, and as Milford had made such an impression on us, we drove ourselves back to the Sound, taking our time, stopping along the way for some short hikes, take pictures, and so forth.

I'd have to say that while we liked both, it's Milford Sound we talked most about. We were very lucky we got to see Milford in both rainy and dry weather. If we were to go back - we would probably skip Doubtful and instead, spend a few days at Milford.

Note that Milford can be *quite* busy - it's more touristy and heavily visited, and the road can be a little hairy to drive. We went in mid-March and the tourist traffic was not as heavy as it can get in Jan/Feb.

Iowa
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3. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

If you can afford both, do Doubtful overnight and Milford during the day. We preferred Doubtful, but if we had been able to do only a day trip, it probably would have been a toss-up as to which we preferred. Our Doubtful trip started in rain which continued into the night but by morning there was a glorious sunrise. The waterfalls and the wildlife were so beautiful. As far as a combination of beauty and serenity, I don't think any other trip will ever match it. The food was fantastic. (Real Journeys) Personally we would not have enjoyed driving to Milford. The glass-topped bus worked well for us. We both got to enjoy the scenery, and the bus made two stops where we were able to get out and walk and take photographs. Wonderful memories of both excursions.

New Zealand
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4. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

You can do Milford and Doubtful as day trips or overnight.

My preferance is Milford - the drive Te Anau to Milford is just glorious. And yes, I actually think it best in rain.

Enjoy :)

Brisbane
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5. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

Hi Didge. I've also done both cruises both as a day trip. I have a definite preference for Doubtful though.

Western Victoria
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6. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

Gday Didge

I did Doubtful on 13/9 and its a fantastic day trip, those who push the overnighter have a lot of money and time to spend.

As an experience the Doubtful Sound trip is better than Milford, the 2 boat trips across beautiful Lake Manapouri is unbeatable and the trip on Doubtful Sound is the equal of the Milford boat cruise.

What Milford has an advantage is the ability for you to drive yourself which cuts the price and offers some fantastic scenery, but I've seen equally stunning voews on every other day of my trip so it could be missed if desired.

I'm sure that whichever you chose you will have a fantastic adventure

South Island
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7. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

Most people would agree that Milford and Doubtful are different places. They both change with the weather and each day is different. The overnight in Doubtful or Milford Sound can not be compared because each of these trips will vary according to the weather conditions.

If you have the time and the money try and visit both.

Start with a coach cruise fly day trip Milford Sound and if you want to see more go for the overnight in Doubtful.

California
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8. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

It's been my plan for an upcoming trip to do both but not cruise at all. We'll do the kayak day trip to Doubtful on one day, and drive to Milford and back on another day. We don't really plan on doing the Milford cruise, but may change our minds once we get there. It's the drive that is so stunning, I'm told, so we wanted to do that and perhaps a hike to Key Summit along the way for a full day trip (without cruise),

New Zealand
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9. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

That's a great plan Dec, the drive to Milford is indeed the highlight for many. And the walk to Key Summit is lovely, enjoy :)

South Island
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10. Re: Milford v Doubtful Sound

The only time I would recommend not doing the cruise in Milford Sound would be on a foggy rainy day. However if the weather is fine and clear you should do it. If you are visiting Milford Sound for the first time take the coach. Some of the professional coach drivers provide excellent commentaries and are able to make the road trip to Milford more enjoyable then the cruise, but the cruise is still an important part of the fiordland experience.