First Dose of Doubtful – Part Two

“On a Mish” #259 First Dose of Doubtful – Part Two. Patea / Doubtful Sound. Fiordland. 4.11.2017. As much as I love the impressive sight of Piopiotahi / Milford Sound, it is very different than a Patea / Doubtful Sound experience. The remoteness of the place is undone by the fact you can drive there in your own car. However over in Patea / Doubtful Sound, things are a little bit different. A cruise across Lake Manapouri takes you away from the normal hustle of the outside world, and into a wild place of untouched beauty. Next is the drive over Wilmot Pass, which takes you further and further away from civilisation. Finally you arrive at Patea / Doubtful Sound and hopefully once there you realize you are in one of the last wild places on earth. The cruise on the fiord accentuates the remoteness, and it is not uncommon to not see another soul while out cruising the fiord. I was pumped to finally be in Doubtful and finally I was going to see what all the fuss was about…

The cruise was a monotone affair, with thick dark clouds clinging to the steep sides of the fiord. We got out to the entrance and the Tasman Sea was as uninviting to humans as usual, with deep green rolling waves smashing into the bow of the boat as we headed west. Seeing the seal colony at the fiord’s entrance, and the open ocean beyond is a rare treat that not many get to enjoy.

The journey back was in more heavy rain, with increasing wind making the cloud swirl around the top of the peaks in the fiord. After returning to Deep Cove and getting back onto the buses I really started to understand the draw this place has on people. Having witnessed the place in rain meant I was already looking forward to returning on a day without rain so I could see the contrast. It didn’t take long before I was putting my hand up to go help out on the Fiordland Navigator (Real Journeys’ overnight boat), and from there it wasn’t long before I became the Navigator’s Team Leader. I’m still as fascinated with the place today as I was back in 2017, and now I get to unload some of my enthusiasm onto the country’s younger generations with my new role Nature Guiding on the Deep Cove / Doubtful Sound school camps. Getting young fellas into the outdoors is a new challenge I am more than happy to take on. Patea / Doubtful Sound is definitely worth a visit for both young and old!

The Magical Mist of Fiordland

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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