Frequently Asked Questions


What availability and departures do you have?

Our full availability can be found on this website. Simply click ‘check availability’ on the left hand side of the screen or click here to visit our secure online booking engine to check availability and reserve your Doubtful Sound cruise. Simply use the calendar to select the date you wish to depart on your cruise.

Can you tell me how long in advance we should book this Cruise? We don’t want to be disappointed.

We recommend booking as soon as you know the date you wish to take the cruise. November to March are our busiest months, but as we only have five cabins on-board we do get booked out quickly. On occasion you may be able to book right up until the day before, however all bookings are subject to availability.

Are the prices per person or for 2 people?

The rates shown are per Cabin and includes up to 2 people sharing, e.g. Double Cabin at $1,590.00 is for the Cabin, regardless if it is 1 or 2 people in the Cabin. The Twin/Double Cabin rate is for up to 2 people and there is an additional cost for each additional person booked (as this cabin can accommodate up to 4 people).

How many crew are on the boat?

There is usually 1 Launch Master who skippers the boat and 1 Crew member.

Will the Crew have lots of knowledge about the area and wildlife?

Commentary is given throughout your Doubtful Sound Cruise. The crew are very knowledgeable about the Fiordland area, some of them have worked in Doubtful Sound for many years and they are a wealth of information.  They really enjoy passengers picking their brains. They will tell you all about the flora, fauna, history, conservation and of course all about the amazing wildlife. If you have any specific questions you are welcome to make a cup of tea or coffee and join the Launch Master at the helming station.

Can we meet the cruise from Queenstown?

Yes, Tracknet offer bus connections that will allow you to link directly with our cruise from Queenstown. There is also return transport to Queenstown after your cruise.  Departures are able to be arranged for an additional $99.00 per person return or $60.00 one way. Note this bus service is only available from the 29.10.2019 until 01.05.2020 inclusive. For other dates please ask our reservations team.

For departures from Queenstown, do you do hotel pick-ups?

We are unable to offer accommodation pickups in Queenstown. Departure is at 6.55am from The Station Information Centre, on the Corner of Camp & Shotover Streets in Central Queenstown. The Station is right in the middle of town and you will be able to find accommodation nearby.

On Day 2, the itinerary says we arrive back in Te Anau at 12:30 pm.  What time do we head back to Queenstown and what activities do you recommend that we could do in Te Anau while waiting for our trip back to Queenstown?

The bus from Te Anau to Queenstown leaves Te Anau at 5:00 pm and arrives in Queenstown at approximately 7:45 pm, giving you the afternoon in Te Anau.
There are many activities to enjoy in Te Anau, an option that fits perfectly is the Glowworm Caves Tour which departs at 2:00 pm. Or you can just relax at one of the town’s cafes.
A relaxing walk along the lakefront of Lake Te Anau is a fantastic way to spent the afternoon, this can even take in a section of the world famous Kepler Track.
Fiordland Cinema has regular Showings of Ata Whenua – Fiordland on film a must do to complete any visit to Fiordland.
If you enjoy flying, there are float plane and helicopter options to see Fiordland by air.
Check the following link for more on Destination Fiordland.

 What is the lay-out of the boat?

Our boat layout can be found here.

What sort of cabin setup would be best suited for a family party of three/four?

Our Double / Twin Cabin features 1 Double bed and 2 Single beds, in bunk style above the double bed. This is suitable for up to 4 people sharing.
Due to the nature of our cruises we do not accommodate children 12 years and under.

 Are there any mobility or safety issues?

What is the main difference with being on this cruise with a small group? 

On our cruise there is a maximum of just 12 passengers. Small and personalised tours mean that we are more able to remain flexible and adapt each cruise to our customer’s preference. On our cruise each guest gets to interact with all the other members on the cruise. This experience often results in lasting friendships, with the common sight of guests exchanging contact details.

What is the main highlight of your cruise? 

The highlights can be found here.

Do you allow passengers to explore the waterfalls in the area?

Yes, our skipper always looks to bring you the best examples of waterfalls in the area at the time. If you wish to explore and photograph the waterfalls, please let the skipper know, as we try to adapt our cruise to your preferences.

Is alcohol available for sale on the cruise?

We do not sell alcohol on the cruise but we do invite you to bring your own. The local supermarkets in Te Anau have a large selection of beers and wines available, with the bottle store in Te Anau able to provide something a little stronger. In Manapouri the local store has wines available for purchase.

Does your package include an underground trip to the Manapouri power station?

We do travel past the external walls of the station but choose not to provide this tour as the focus of our trip is experiencing Doubtful Sound. Update as of October 2018: The Manapouri Underground Power Station is CLOSED due to ongoing maintenance so the Power Station is currently closed for an indefinite period.

I have heard that some Cabins are next to the power/generator room in the boat which could make sleeping at night very difficult, is this the case?

Due to the size of our boat, we are able to use battery power overnight, this means that our generators are switched off – so there is no mechanical noise at night.

How much space is there for luggage?

Our Cabins have space for luggage, but we do suggest just bringing an overnight bag with your personal belongings. Remember to bring a change of clothes and some wet weather gear. You never know what the Fiordland weather will produce.

Am I able to store my luggage with you while I am on the Cruise?

You are welcome to leave your luggage with us in storage at our Office. Our Office is based at Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park, 77 Manapouri – Te Anau Highway, Te Anau.

I am travelling with a rental car, where can I park while I am on the Cruise?

Our office is based at Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park. You are welcome to leave your vehicle here, for no additional cost whilst you are on the Cruise and we provide a complimentary shuttle to/from Te Anau. If you wish to start and finish your Cruise in Manapouri, then Pearl Harbour has plenty of free parking available.

If we have not done kayaking before, will there be a tutorial prior?

Kayaking is an adventurous activity and a full safety briefing is held prior to going on the water. Lifejackets are provided and are compulsory. Kayaking only occurs at the discretion of this skipper and is weather dependant. A crew member always accompanies guests when kayaking.

Do we need to bring insect repellent?

It is highly recommended, as there is always sandflies about when you are near the water edge in this area. Ensure that your insect repellent is for repelling sandflies.

What do I need to bring?

Here is a list of things you may wish to include in an overnight bag: Comfortable walking shoes, change of clothing for day two, waterproof jacket, sweater or fleece jacket, thermals/warm undergarments, sun cream, sun hat/glasses, insect repellent, camera, alcoholic beverages.

We were interested in a two-day Doubtful Sound cruise, does one spend two nights on the boat?  Does the boat do the same tour each day? 

We welcome passengers on two night Doubtful Sound cruise. You will remain in your original Cabin for both nights on Doubtful Sound. Our cruise is delivered on a one night platform so there is some double up of experiences when taking the 2 night option. This is due to new passengers arriving in on day 2. In saying that, there is a lot to see in Doubtful Sound that takes more than just one night to see. Our cruises are kept flexible so that the crew can adjust the cruise to suit the requirements of the passengers and what they wish to do. Our cruises are not set to being the same tour each day as the conditions and what is best to do always differs from day to day. Our cruise also includes the chance to undertake kayaking and fishing which are great experiences and lots of fun on the fiord.

Will I get sea sick?

If you suffer from seasickness, you should bring your own seasickness tablets / remedy. We have had guests on our boat who suffer from seasickness, but not got it while they have been on our Cruise. Doubtful Sound is surrounded by mountains which makes the waters quite calm. We try our best to stay in calm waters and we moor overnight in sheltered and calm areas.

Is it possible to arrange a fly-back from the two day cruise?

Yes, you can fly back from Deep Cove to Lake Te Anau upon the conclusion of your Doubtful Sound Cruise.
There are two options for a float-plane flight. A direct flight from Deep Cove to Lake Te Anau that requires a minimum of 2 passengers. There is also the option of a longer flight to Lake Te Anau via remote Dusky Sound which also requires a minimum of 3 passengers.
The scenic flight is a great way to finish your experience in Doubtful Sound. All flights are of course reliant on the weather conditions on the day. Please contact us for more details.

I would prefer to pay by American Express card. Is this possible?

Yes, we accept payment by VISA, MasterCard and AMEX.

Can I go fishing?

Fishing is loads of fun and takes place outside of the marine reserves. We catch and release where possible as currently there is a moratorium on certain fish species. Common catches can include Blue Cod, Sea Perch, Terakahi, and School Groper.

What wildlife will I see?

Doubtful Sound is home to a range of rare and beautiful wildlife and encounters may include Fiordland Crested Penguins, Southern Fur Seals or Doubtful Sound’s indigenous Bottle Nose Dolphins. To protect our rare and endangered wildlife we operate to a strict code of practice when we encounter wildlife.

Is crayfish always served on your cruise?

Fiordland Lobster are captured in traps that are baited each cruise, while we cannot guarantee that fresh Fiordland Lobster will be on the menu, there is a certain excitement in watching how these creatures of the Fiord are captured.

What are the meals like – luncheon, dinner and breakfast? Do you have vegetarian options?

We can cater to several diets, such as vegetarian /gluten free etc.
Due to the remote location of Doubtful Sound, we do need to be advised at least 48 hours prior to your departure of your dietary requirements and also of any medical conditions/allergies.
Our Luncheon served onboard the Southern Secret consists of salad/ breads/ meat and when available crayfish/fish. Fruit, Tea & Coffee.
Our Evening meal varies from cruise to cruise and is served buffet style. They are wholesome meals consisting of New Zealand meats, Fiordland fare and seasonal vegetables and salads. As an example, a meal would consist of a meat (such as chicken, steak, lamb) supplemented where available by the catch of the day (usually caught during your cruise – blue cod, terakihi, crayfish etc), and accompanied by a selection of salad and vegetable dishes.
Breakfast is continental style with muesli and other cereals, fruit, toast etc.
Complimentary Tea and Coffee as well as cordial and water is available throughout the cruise. You are welcome to bring your own snacks and beverages such as coke, lemonade, sprite, wine, beer etc.

How big is the boat?

MV Southern Secret is a 20 metre vessel which has 3 levels.
Upstairs there is a fly bridge deck which is perfect for 360 degree views.
On the mid deck there is the kitchen, galley and living area with the Launch Masters station to the front of this.
Below decks forward there are 3 passenger cabins and below decks aft there are 2 passenger cabins and staff quarters.

Do you offer SCUBA Diving?

We can offer use of the MV Southern Secret as a dive platform only. This means that people wanting to SCUBA Dive must have their own “Diving Activity Supervisor” or DAS. The DAS is responsible for ensuring the safety of participants in the water and being registered with Work Safe New Zealand and also must hold an audited Safety Plan pursuant to the Health and Safety in Employment (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011

Are children welcome on the boat?

Due to the nature of our cruises, it is not be suitable for children under 12 years old.