Fiordland is the largest National Park in New Zealand and is situated in the South West corner of the country. Found within is Doubtful Sound, an area regarded as one of the most beautiful places to visit that offers a awesome wilderness experience. I had heard a lot about the Fiords and really wanted to go on an overnight cruise there to experience them for myself and have the time to fully enjoy it. There are a lot of different ways to experience the National Park: scenic flights, day cruises, bus tours… However, if you’re thinking of Doubtful Sound, I recommend you go for the overnight cruise.
Doubtful Sound is in a remote part of the Fiords and is only accessible by water. First, I had to take a boat across Lake Manapouri to the Power Station, then a bus through Wilmot Pass which is the most expensive road in NZ to the dock where my boat, “The Navigator”, was waiting.
The weather had me a little worried as it was raining for most of the first day but I soon realised there is no such thing as bad weather on The Sounds. The rain made all the waterfalls spectacular, the low hanging mist added an air of mystery and when the sun came out it gave us rainbows and everything looked glorious. I had the option to go on a tender and have a closer look at the rainforest which was beautiful but what I really loved was going underneath the waterfalls and feeling the cool spray on my face.
One of the most magical experiences of my life was a part of the trip they call ‘The Sound Of Silence’. All the engines on the boat are turned off so it doesn’t make a sound and all the passengers gather on the front of the boat and are asked to stand silently for a couple of minutes. The only sounds you can hear are the birds, the waterfalls and the breeze. It is so peaceful and calm, just you and the wilderness, only you and Mother Nature.
I hope this gives you an idea of the beauty of the place but it is really something you must experience for yourself. As a final tip, the winter season starts at the beginning of April and there are great discounts to be had.