Doubtful Sound

Take a scenic flight from Queenstown deep into the pure heart of New Zealand’s most stunning natural environment.  It’s a journey like no other, and one we’re proud to be the only Queenstown based flight operator to have the privilege of offering this service.

In summer we offer scenic flights to Doubtful Sound, named Patea by the Maori which translates to “Sound of Silence”.  The first European explorer to the region, James Cook, named it Doubtful Sound as he was uncertain if it would make for safe anchorage.

So – what should you expect with a trip like this?  Firstly, flying with Air Milford condenses the day into a manageable 9 hour trip, as opposed to 13 hours by road.  Doubtful Sound, unlike its more famous cousin Milford Sound, is less famous for visual grandeur but regularly trumps Milford on the native fauna (wildlife) you are bound to encounter.

It is not uncommon to strike the Fiordland ‘Big 5’– Humpback Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Fiordland Crested Penguin, NZ Fur Seals, and the almighty Southern Royal Albatross.  All in one day!  However the biggest secret is the serenity, you’ll possibly notice that many people talk in hushed whispers here, as if in a place of worship.

Doubtful Sound Flights from Queenstown - Doubtful Sound View


The journey to the Sound is inspirational.  After a stunning flight from Queenstown you’ll arrive at Manapouri and board the cruise across the lake sailing past the largest hydro-electric power station in New Zealand onroute.

From there you’ll board a coach and head across the legendary Wilmot Pass, the road snaking up and over a landscape that appears quite simply prehistoric.

Then you’ll arrive in Doubtful Sound.  This is an environment as pure a representation of natural New Zealand as you can get, with no town nearby and no crowds around.  There are no words to fully describe what it’s like there.  The only way to find out is to experience the trip for yourself.

Despite its isolation, getting to Doubtful Sound on a scenic flight is actually sometimes easier than travelling to Milford Sound.  That’s because the flight to and from Manapouri is not as weather dependent as one to Milford, making Doubtful far more certain in wet weather.



At 421 metres deep, Doubtful is the deepest of the fiords, with a long and winding layout separated out into three distinct ‘arms.’  The distance from where you’ll disembark the coach is 40.4 kilometres.

It is also home to New Zealand’s highest waterfall – the 836 metre high Browne Falls.  It’s not just this dramatic landscape that appeals to visitors. The fiord is rich in flora and fauna too



  • Return Scenic flights Queenstown to Manapouri
  • Cruise on Lake Manapouri
  • Coach journey across Wilmot Pass through Fiordland’s rainforest
  • 3 hour “Wilderness Cruise” in Doubtful Sound with Real NZ
  • Picnic lunch on board the cruise
  • Pick up and drop off from most local Queenstown accommodation
Departs 8.30am from Queenstown Airport.
(includes a Picnic Lunch on board the cruise)
From $1299 Per Person, please contact us for more details. 
Minimum 4 passengers (Summer Only)

Pricing valid 01 October 2023 – 20 April 2024.

Allow all day for this experience, returning to Queenstown approx 6:00pm

Our Doubtful Sound scenic flights offer a wonderful opportunity for guests who have already experienced Milford Sound and want to explore more of this unique New Zealand environment.

Discover Our Scenic Flights & Packages