Skip navigation

Trip Itinerary

Doubtful Sound 3-day Epic

These three day trips are all about allowing yourself some quality time to experience a personal adventure; a genuine sea kayaking and camping experience in a remote environment that epitomizes what Fiordland wilderness is all about – and of course having fun along the way.


Day 1:

Arriving at Deep Cove at 9.30am approx. the Doubtful Sound experience begins with changing into paddling clothes, loading sea kayaks, safety briefing. From Deep Cove we paddle down Malaspina Reach, past Rolla and Elizabeth Islands and Olphert Cove. The main reach can become quite challenging from late morning in places as frequently a sea breeze will be blowing against us.

Small sheltered headlands give time for rests as we carry on down the fiord passing the tumbling Browne Falls on the western mountains, stopping at a small beach for a late lunch. Watch for seals and penguins as we paddle round the rocky edges. Nearing the entrance to Crooked Arm the weather will decide whether we cross into the Arm or whether we camp in a river valley opposite its entrance which, like that into Hall Arm, is guarded by towering sentinels providing shelter from the prevailing westerly winds.

Our campsite is relatively close to the entrance and after paddling under some rock overhangs we head into the sheltered bay that will be our camp for the night.

Day 2:

Stillness is normally the theme in the morning. We have the choice of spending the day exploring Crooked Arm and returning to our same campsite or leaving the Arm and paddling down to Hall Arm for the night. Crooked Arm is a long narrow arm with a definite turning point like an elbow.

If the time, energy and weather are right it is possible to explore its length and, taking a break from the kayaks once we reach the head of the arm, to stretch our legs. Crooked Arm in some seasons is the preferred playground of the resident bottlenose dolphins and their presence invariably dictates our paddling timetable.

Day 3:

Either the exploration of Hall Arm or the early departure from Crooked Arm to hopefully kayak down the southwest shoreline for lunch on a shingle beach opposite Elizabeth Island – possibly time for a quick look into Hall Arm on our way past – a challenging day’s paddle with the weather being a determining factor in the choices made – which shoreline, which lunch stop and which route into Deep Cove.

Normally the conditions allow us to put up the sails for our final stage, ending the 3 days kayaking on an exhilarating note.