Published Oct 14, 2009

Everyone says that you need to spend time on New Zealand’s famous sounds, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound (both of which are, in fact, fjords rather than sounds). Doubtful Sound is the more remote, difficult, and vast destination; of course, we had to go there. Of course, that meant more driving. But, fortunately, at the end of this drive was a boat, taking us through an overnight cruise far, far away from pretty much anything else in this world.

Sure, there was a quick bus ride first, and that after a fast catamaran across Lake Manapouri, which is supposed to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes. I was too impatient to see our final destination to pay attention, but when the bus crested the mountain to head down New Zealand’s steepest road into Doubtful Sound, and the fjord suddenly broke through the foliage, I knew we were in for quite an adventure.

At the base of said steepest road was our ship, the Fiordland Navigator. They greeted us with hot soup and we brought our bags into our little stateroom.

We set out into the mist and rain of the Sound. This was easily the coldest place we’d been so far, but at least with an excuse this time — Doubtful Sound is far, far south, and so remote. Which was the whole point. Whipping wind and fine mist of rain and fog and white-capped waves and all that.

The captain even took us out into the storm-tossed Tasman Sea. Waves broke over the bow of the ship, we rolled back and forth, and I staggered from one end of the forward deck to the next, trying to hold still long enough to actually get a shot off.

Dinner was delicious, with three salads, four starches, and delicious smoked salmon and roast beef and lamb, and even a Pavlova(food) for dessert. And then we fell straight asleep in the quiet dark night. The next day, before we docked, the Captain let Mrs. DJ L’il Bit drive the boat.

And then we drove to Queenstown, to finally park the car for good.