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Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound

Both fiords are spectacular and you should explore at least one of them during your New Zealand holiday.  Which you visit and how depends on your itinerary, how much time you have and your own preference.  Read the summaries below to help make your decision and talk to our travel consultants for their thoughts on which would work in best with your other holiday plans.

Let's compare the two:

Travelling there:
  • Milford Sound is easily accessed by driving. Located at the end of Milford Road in Fiordland National Park, the approximate driving times to reach Milford Sound are: 2 hours from Te Anau; or 4 hours from Queenstown

  • Doubtful Sound is only accessible by boat. In order to visit Doubtful Sound you will need to drive to the town of Manapouri: 20 minutes from Te Anau; or 2 hours from Queenstown. From Manapouri you can join a cruise that will take you across Lake Manapouri, over Wilmot Pass, and on to Doubtful Sound.

Size comparison:
  • Milford Sound is 16 kilometres in length, with towering mountains rising straight up out of the water in a fairly spectacular fashion

  • Doubtful Sound is significantly larger, stretching a whopping 40 kilometres in length, with three different 'arms' to explore along the way

Tour suggestions:
  •  Milford Sound is a great option for a day trip if that's all you have time for. As it is easy to access, travel time is minimised getting there and you can spend more of your day exploring the beautiful area. Take a look at our blog about cruising on Milford Sound.

  • Doubtful Sound can be a little travel heavy for a day trip - with the extra 2 hours from Manapouri to get to Deep Cove where your Doubtful Sound cruise begins, consider taking an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound if you have the time. This is an amazing way to fully enjoy your Fiordland experience

Highlights for a Milford Sound trip:
Highlights for a Doubtful Sound trip: