One of the finest vessels sailing in Fiordland, the Fiordland Navigator is a three-masted sailboat offering overnight cruises through the untouched and inspiring beauty of Doubtful Sound, the second largest fiord in Fiordland National Park. This bed and breakfast wilderness cruise is perfect for travelers who want to dive into a remote corner of New Zealand and encounter its scenery, wildlife, and nature in utter seclusion away from the tourist circuit.

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A journey aboard the Fiordland Navigator begins with a speedy catamaran cruise across the beautiful Lake Manapouri, followed by a steep road transfer through Wilmot Pass. As the dense rainforest clears, the Deep Cove waters emerge and the Fiordland Navigator comes into full view. The Fiordland Navigator was designed to mimic the region’s traditional trading scow and is therefore perfectly suited to cruising the mirror-like fjords in ultimate comfort. Accommodation on board sleeps up to 70 people in any of the 18 private cabins with en-suite bathrooms or in nine quad-share bunk style compartments with shared bathroom facilities.

The remainder of the Fiordland Navigator is a warren of common areas, including multiple viewing decks to allow everyone on board to observe the passing waterfalls, wildlife, rainforests, and mountains of Doubtful Sound. As the Fiordland Navigator cruises through some of the fiord’s most stunning scenery, the onsite nature guides contribute a wealth of information about the area and ensure that everyone catches a glimpse of the resident bottlenose dolphins and fur seals riding the bow waves, or the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin waddling along the rocky crags. After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, guests can then choose to further explore the shoreline by kayak, swimming, or tender boat.

As evening falls, the Fiordland Navigator serves up a lavish three-course buffet in the dining area accompanied by drinks from the well-stocked bar. Guests are welcome to enter the wheelhouse to chat with the captain, track the vessel’s progress on the charts, or just step out onto the upper deck to admire the view under the stars before retiring to their private cabin for a good night’s rest. The following morning begins with a hearty cooked breakfast and further exploration of the fiord before the Fiordland Navigator makes its return journey back to Deep Cove.

With its rugged peaks, verdant rainforests, and twisting, hidden inlets, Doubtful Sound offers a never-ending adventure through nature’s most awe-inspiring facets. It might be less dramatic than its Milford Sound neighbor, but Doubtful Sound is more than three times longer and much less frequented, making it very likely that guests will have the entire sound to themselves during their overnight Fiordland Navigator cruise. This isolation makes the fiord a very special place, a place only those who know to go there get to see.

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