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Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

New York City, New...
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Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

Have read that the road to Milford Sound (and I assume the Milford area) is very densely packed with tourists and buses. Doubtful was offered as a more relaxed option.

Milford Rd. and Milford Sound sounded more scenic based on what I've read. Any insights would be appreciated. Will be there in March.

Greymouth, New...
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1. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

Doubtfull sound is significantly larger than Milford Sound. It is more remote to get to, andyou cannot drive to it your self as there are no roads to get to it.

Your experience begins when you board a boat at Pearl harbour Manapouri, then travel across the lake for almost 1 hour to the West Arm where there is a huge undergound power station. The tour may include a visit to the power station, then by coach over the Wlomot Pass to Deep Cove in Doubtful sound.

day trips and over night trips are the two options available on the oubtful sound. Day trips venture right out to the Tasman sea then return again to Depcove before he bus journey to west Arm then launch back to Pearl Harbour.

Milford Sound is a beutiful drive into Fiordland including the Hommer Tunnel.

Milford Sound is not as big, but still as awesome

Sydney Australia
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2. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

Unfortunately it's not an easy choice. Some people seem to prefer MIlford, others prefer Doubtful.

I wouldn't say that Milford Sound and Milford Road are more scenic. There are a few stopping places along the Milford Road and it is a lovely and quite interesting drive. Different in character to the coach drive over Wilmot Pass. To some extent this might be impacted by the weather but the Wilmot Pass was spectacular the day we went. Heavy rain and water pouring off everywhere, as was the Doubtful Sound.

If you're going to be making lots of stops on the Milford road then I would probably agree that Doubtful is more relaxed.

The overnight on doubtful was brilliant. I've seen others recommend Doubtful for overnight, Milford for a day trip including time to stop along the way. If you can do both of those, as we did, that is ideal IMHO. I am glad we didn't have to make a choice between them.

We were there November and neither was crowded at that time. March is more usually recommended for trips so likely busier than when we were there, so best get other advice re crowd levels.

New Zealand
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3. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

Yep as mentioned, Milford for a day trip, Doubtful for overnight.

On a trip with limited time I would choose one or the other, not both.

Enjoy :)

Pennsylvania
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4. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

I agree ... an overnight on Doubtful Sound and a day trip to Milford Sound would be ideal. They are really quite different and I am very happy I didn't have to choose. We did this in early April and there were significant discounts on the Doubtful Sound overnight boat trip. We also did not find the spectacular Milford Road to be crowded at that time of the year. We started out early, made a couple of stops along the road, took one of the earlier boat trips on Milford Sound, then made a number of additional stops along the Milford Road on the way back to Te Anau. The scenery was varied and utterly spectacular.

I guess if I could only do one, I'd drive the Milford Road myself (not by bus) and take a Milford Sound cruise, taking plenty of time to see the many beautiful sights/walks along the way. Pack some drinks and snacks. It's really not an especially challenging road, especially by NZ standards, but unforgettably beautiful.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

Thanks for all the TA advice. I was going to ask the exact same question .

I was in the mind of doing Milford as a day trip and doubtful as an overnight - so really glad you are all in agreement.

Just one other thing - are there any recommendations on companies to use for these excursions ?

Thanks again - Jeff

Sydney Australia
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6. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

On Milford I went on both Real Journeys Nature Cruise late in the day and Southern Discoveries explore more bbq cruise in the morning. I preferred Real Journeys. Vessel we were on was the Sinbad if I recall correctly. It was a very comfortable boat. Take your swimmers and take a towel and get wet under the waterfall. .. they do warn you that you will get wet... we didn't realise that it would be about as wet as being tossed overboard :o).. almost.

We also went with Real Journeys on the overnight on Doubtful and were very happy with it. There has been a trip report just lately of a great experiences of another Doubtful sound operator also, name escapes me but they caught their own blue cod for dinner... mmm yummy blue cod... shouldn't be hard to find in the forums.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

Thanks to all for your input. Looking forward to an exciting trip!

8. Re: Milford Sound vs. Doubtful Sound

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