Destination Pure New Zealand Travel Rambles Travel Tips

Milford Sound Vs Doubtful Sound #101

Located Southwest of New Zealand, the Milford and Doubtful sounds are popular attractions that lie within the Fiordland National Park. Each fjord has its unique characteristics but they have one similarity. Both present a landscape of majestic beauty, regardless of weather conditions.

Do You Know?
In Maori legend, the fiords were created not by rivers of ice, but by Tu Te Raki Whanoa, a godly figure (atua), who came wielding a magical adze and uttering incantations.

(Sailing into the fiord, guess which did i choose?)

I had a hard time deciding between the two. Extensive reading and snooping around countless forums and blogs only led me to one consoling but unhelpful conclusion: I am not the only one with the dilemma of choosing between Milford and Doubtful sounds!

Well, a decision needs to be made. If you happen to stumble upon this site and need some guidance in choosing between the two magnificent fiords, here’re some of my findings (based on users’ experiences and reviews).

enroute te anau
(Enroute to start Milford / Doubtful sounds tours) 

 Milford Sound Vs Doubtful Sound

  • Both fiords are part of the Fiordland National Park
  • Doubtful Sound is 3 times longer than Milford Sound, with a surface area 10 times larger!
  • Milford Sound is the more popular choice (for good reasons!), hence there tend to be higher number of tourists and is more crowded
  • Doubtful Sound tours are limited in number, which translate to lesser tourists but monopoly of tour operator (though I think Real Journeys is a great operator!)
  • For time-constrained travellers, Milford Sound day tours may be more suitable due to lesser travelling “distance” and greater enjoyment
  • For overnight cruises, Doubtful Sound is definitely the destination not to be missed!
  • The highlight of Doubtful Sound lies in experiencing the sound of silence
  • Tours to Milford Sound are kinder to your pockets cost lesser as compared to Doubtful Sound


The following comparison table between Milford and Doubtful sounds is only applicable for those contemplating the coach-tour-coach option from Queenstown. It was created from the absolute biased opinions of my good self the author and should only be used as a reference.   

Cruise Tour

Milford Sound

Doubtful Sound

Full Day


Full Day






















So… would you choose the Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound? 🙂

The above information has been complied based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. Check out for more information on the magnificent fiords of New Zealand.

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