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Driving New Zealand's South Island

Matakauri Lodge, outside Queenstown, which overlooks Lake Wakatipu.

Photo: Courtesy of Matakauri Lodge

Day 4 : Te Anau–Manapouri Loop (26 miles)

Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most famous fjord, is magnificent, but savvy Kiwis favor Doubtful Sound, which is both larger and less touristy. Real Journeys (cruises from $184) operates a daylong excursion to Doubtful Sound that starts in Manapouri, about 25 minutes from the lodge. You’ll take a one-hour boat ride across Lake Manapouri, then get on a bus to cross 2,200-foot Wilmot Pass before glimpsing Doubtful Sound glittering below. Once aboard the Breaksea Girl—a 20-passenger ketch small enough to get close to the waterfalls—look out for fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, and penguins. The day ends with an astronomy session back at Fiordland Lodge: with no major cities for at least 100 miles, the stargazing here is unparalleled.


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