travelling the seven parts of the world
Feb 15th, 2008

Doubtful Sound is one of New Zealand's most beautiful fiords. It is very remote, only accessible by a boat ride across Lake Manapouri, and then a bus ride after that. It is also a great wildlife spotting place, mainly due to its remoteness.

Doubtful Sound is not actually a sound, it is a fiord. A sound is a flooded river valley, while a fiord is a flooded glacier valley. Because the English language didn't contain the word "fiord" until very late (it is a Norwegian word) and because people didn't understand the processes behind creation of such valleys 2 centuries ago, these were wrongly called sounds, and people have been calling them wrongly ever since.

Leaving behind some bad weather (pictured above), we set out on a 3 hour boat cruise on the sound itself.

The valley is a magnificent work of glacier art, with great glacier formations, and cliffs reaching hundreds of meters into the sky.

The one member of wildlife that you're inevitable to meet in Fiordland is the fur seal. I don't know if we were just lucky, but we saw these guys a lot, even in other places, like Milford Sound.

There is also a colony of dolphins who live in one arm of the Doubtful Sound. This colony has lived there for quite some time, and has actually adapted to living precisely in this arm of the fiord, as it appears they grow fat specifically to survive the winter here.

This was a great and beautiful cruise. The rainfall in Doubtful Sound is high, so the landscape is really green and lush, there are magnificent mountains that surround you at all points, and you really do feel like you are far away from civilization, as the fiord itself takes a boat and bus ride to get to.

At the time we were told that the cliffs are nowhere near as spectacular as the ones at Milford Sound, and later we did find out that this was very true - Doubtful Sound is not as great scenery wise as Milford.