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#backyourbackyard

You asked for it, so here it is - Brook Sabin and Radha Engling's Fiordland itinerary from their time with us in November last year, during their #backyourbackyard road trip.

Doubtful Sound v2
DAY ONE : Choppers and Caves

Morning Activity :

Dusky and Doubtful Sound - Helicopter Flight with Southern Lakes Helicopters

Journey deep into the heart of Fiordland’s remote wilderness with our Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound Scenic Flight.
Departing from our Te Anau lake front helicopter pad, begin by soaring over picturesque Lake Manapouri and above the Kilcoy mountains. A landing is made at Mt Pender, where we shut down the helicopter to enable you to soak up the grandeur. One of Fiordland’s largest and most remote fiords, 40km-long Dusky Sound is dotted with more than 350 small islands. Access to the sound is by sea or air only – very few people get to experience the beauty of this magical place.

Once airborne again, you’ll fly over three more impressive fiords before descending into Crooked Arm in Doubtful Sound. Often called the ‘Sound of Silence’ because of the total serenity that blankets the Sound, Doubtful is long, winding and home to several stunning waterfalls. While flying up this fiord you’ll detour into a unique hanging valley known as Campbell’s Kingdom, complete with its own lake and waterfall. At this stage you might want to pinch yourself. This is the New Zealand you came to see.

The return journey flies aloft the Main Divide of the Southern Alps with a second landing at Mt Kidd, a remote alpine location with dramatic views.

Land at Mt Pender in Dusky Sound, one of our most remote Fiords
Fly over stunning Campbell’s Kingdom, a unique hanging valley in Doubtful Sound
Enjoy a second landing at stunning Mt Kidd

Campbells Kingdom - credit Southern Lakes Helicopters

 

Afternoon Activity:

TeAnau Glowworm Caves – Real Journeys

Experience a mysterious underground world with a guided cave tour past the rushing water of an underground stream before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of hundreds of glowworms.

Your trip to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves begins with a cruise to the western shores of Lake Te Anau on one of our purpose-built scenic cruise vessels.

This underground world is astonishingly beautiful. By geological standards, the caves are very young (12,000 years) and are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall.

Deep inside the caves, beyond the roar of the water, you will be taken by small boat into a silent hidden grotto inhabited by hundreds of glowworms, unique to New Zealand. In the subterranean darkness, they produce a glittering display that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Duration: 2hrs 15 mins
Includes return cruise across Lake Te Anau
Optional short guided forest experience to learn about the unique flora of the region (summer only)

Glowworms - credit Real Journeys

 

 

Yatch Club wharf Noeleen Whelan Cunningham v2

Enjoy a free morning to explore or relax in Te Anau –  we highly recommend a walk along the Kepler Track or along the lakefront, Frisbee golf at Ivon Wilson Park, or checking at the local cafes and shops.

River Ride Bike and Jet Boat – Fiordland Jet and Wild Rides

Travel down the Upper Waiau River to Lake Manapouri by jet boat. Enjoy plenty of 360’ spins and high-speeds while also making stops along the way to soak up the amazing surrounds. Guests will be able to spot trout in crystal-clear water, listen for native birds and get the inside scoop on three Lord of the Rings film locations. Guests will be awed when emerging onto Lake Manapouri for a view that is sure to leave them speechless and a moment of absolute silence. The guide will then take the boat ashore as guests disembark into Fiordland National Park for a short nature stroll to learn about the local flora and fauna and local conservation efforts. The jet boat will then head back up river for more commentary, spins and laughs - a

perfect combination of excitement and local insight. See our Pure Wilderness Tour for more details

 At the conclusion of the jet boat tour, mountain bikes will be waiting along with helmets and any personal gear for guests to follow the newly formed Lake2Lake Cycle Trail back to Te Anau and the Fiordland Jet office. The trail follows the river's edge and is an ideal way to view the Lake Te Anau Control Gates up-close and savour the beauty of Fiordland. There are heaps of places along the way to enjoy a rest, picnic or even a refreshing dip on a sunny day.

Local Tip: I’ll just mention that the Punanga Manu o Te Anau Bird Sanctuary  is especially worth visiting.  We have Kaka,  Takahe and  Whio/blue duck. Check out the daily feeding tours.

Exploring the Waiau - credit Fiordland Jet

Beach Lake Hankinson Douglas Thorne

Hidden Hankinson – Fiordland Outdoors Co.

A full-day adventure to a remote and rarely seen part of Fiordland.

  • Discover a hidden lake deep within Fiordland, inaccessible by road or walking track. There is only one way to get here, and that’s with us. 
  • Experience two return boat rides and a bushwalk. 
  • Explore Fiordland National Park’s oldest hut. 
  • Very few people visit this remote location – enjoy incredible nature-spotting.
  • An intrepid experience made easy with a local expert as your guide.
  • Perfect for anyone looking for an authentic adventure, including families with children.
  • Lunch provided.

Crossing Lake Hankinson - credit Douglas Thorne

 

Atawhenua – Shadowlands, Fiordland Cinema

 Meet at the Black Dog Bar at 5.30pm for a drink before, Ata Whenua is a breath-taking cinematic film showcasing Fiordland’s stunning scenery.  Filmed by owner operator Kim Hollows of Fiordland Helicopters this film is an experience in itself.  35 minutes in length and narrated by Sir Tipene O’Regan of Ngai Tahu this film is not to be missed while visiting Te Anau. 

Enjoy the big screen in luxury - Fiordland Cinema

SophiePiearceyHomer Tunnel

Trips and Tramps Milford Road and Hiking Experience

If done right, the journey to Milford Sound can be as rewarding as the final destination. With a Private Milford Sound Experience, you can fully immerse yourself into the heart of Fiordland National Park and give this World Heritage Area the full attention it deserves.

Enjoy every second of this bespoke experience can be catered to your individual interests, without the stress of having to be in the driver’s seat. Under the care and guidance of our knowledgeable local guides, you will uncover the hidden gems of Fiordland for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

*Please not this day will involve some hiking.

Lush Forest - credit Trips and Tramps

Hall Arm DS Douglas Thorne v2

Wilderness Day Cruise Doubtful Sound, with Real Journeys


Your Doubtful Sound adventure begins with a cruise across the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri and then it is over Wilmot Pass by coach. On reaching Deep Cove, you will board our spacious catamaran, for a three hour cruise that takes in the most dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound.

  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Start with a cruise across Lake Manapouri, followed by a coach trip over the epic Wilmot Pass through Fiordland’s rainforest and into the Sound.
  • A 3-hour cruise through the waterways of Doubtful Sound
    Cruise onboard the Patea Explorer (Fiordland Navigator or M.V. Sinbad may substitute) 
  • Commentary by our knowledgeable onboard nature guide
    Wildlife viewing, including dolphins, fur seals and even occasionally penguins
  • Snacks and drinks available for purchase (cash only). We recommend you bring your own packed lunch.

Hall Arm Reflections - Doubtful Sound