Wind? Fog? Torrential rain? Time to drown our sorrows in free coffee. (Doubtful Sound, New Zealand)

Doubtful Sound, a fjord in the southwest of New Zealand, is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. At least, that’s what our German friend told us when my group was planning our New Zealand trip.

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So we booked a day tour of Doubtful Sound as part of our trip. Doubtful Sound is quite out of the way from… anything, really. To reach it, we first had to cross Lake Manapouri. We boarded the boat in high spirits…

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…but soon, we were hit by typical west coast New Zealand weather.

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By the time we reached the other side of the lake, it was pouring rain. You could sense that the tour group was becoming more and more downcast. Regardless, we had all paid for the tour, so we were going on with it. The tour guides ushered us into buses, where we rode to the Doubtful Sound bay.

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Our tour guide futilely tried to comfort his passengers.

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An hour later, everyone sprinted from the bus to the next tour boat. The rain was getting heavier and heavier.

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My friends and I took shelter inside, where we drowned our sorrows in the complementary tea and coffee.

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Everyone was a little frustrated at this point, including myself. Our one chance to visit the most beautiful place in the world, and it was raining! On a normal day, I’d be out on the deck, snapping photos like a madman.

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This kind of weather was a normal day in western New Zealand, right? What’s a little water? My friend and I ventured outside.

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As it turns out, our tour guide wasn’t lying: the rainy weather, while gloomy, created huge, cascading waterfalls.

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And as the rain continued, more and more waterfalls started to form.

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My friend and I rushed back inside…

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…and then back outside.

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Even in the fog, clouds, and rain, Doubtful Sound was stunning. 

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No wind or rain was going to keep me from enjoying this ride. I spent the rest of the trip running around the boat, snapping photos and getting pummeled by rain.

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Getting cold and soaked seems to be a common theme in New Zealand. Still, by the end, we all agreed: Doubtful Sound is a beautiful place. We left the Sound happy with our experience.

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…or maybe it was just denial. Because, as we started back across Lake Manapouri, the sun started to come out…

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And man, you have never seen any five kids so excited to see sunlight before.

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I guess we really needed our Vitamin D.

16 thoughts on “Wind? Fog? Torrential rain? Time to drown our sorrows in free coffee. (Doubtful Sound, New Zealand)

  1. WHAT GREAT FUN!!! First, the rain is bad, then good, then it disappears. Looks like a great time in New Zealand. And, I don’t even need to mention your pictures. You know they are AMAZING!! Those grassy mountains look so cool!

    Now that you have been to five countries outside of the United States (at least that you have told us of), it’s… JUDGING TIME!! Out of all five, what order would you put the countries based on the experiences that you have had in them? Please exclude public opinions, national governments, and which country has the coolest TV shows and books. Just one to five. And remember each of their governments is probably watching this website, so just keep that in mind. Basically, if I was to go to any of these five countries, which should I go to first?

    • Hmmm….

      Man, this is a hard one. Every country has its pros and cons, you know? For instance, I really love Australia, but it’s really not a big stretch to go here since it’s so similar to the United States. For the nervous first-time traveler, then, Australia or New Zealand could be a good choice. It’s very easy to adapt to the culture, and there’s no language barrier. If you want a bit more of a culture shock, Germany’s where it’s at: while most people know a bit of English, German is definitely the predominant language and the mindset and people are both completely different and totally the same! Japan is a whole different world in both language and culture. Vietnam has been the country where I got the biggest culture shock, although I’m Vietnamese!

      Maybe I’m biased because that’s what I did, but I’m glad I got to go to Germany first. Every experience is different, though, so it’s hard for me to say for sure. I say, if you get the chance to travel, no matter where, just take it!

  2. I love your expression in the second photo you took.

    It’s good everything turned out after all. Honestly, this post reminds me of my trip to Tasmania. Our hike to Cradle Mountain started raining towards the end, but luckily I was one of the few who made it back to the bus before then.

    We also went to Sarah Island, which used to a convict island where the worst criminals went. I was lucky there too, because it didn’t, and normally the wind is torrential, but the day I went it was normal.

    • That’s lucky! I heard the weather in Tasmania can be unpredictable. And the weather can really affect how much you enjoy a trip. How is Tasmania? I didn’t have a chance to go while I was in Australia– so I’ve definitely got to make a return trip to the land of Oz one day!

      • Well, it didn’t rain too much of the time, but it was fairly pleasant when I was there. They said at the Cadbury factory that they built it there instead of the mainland because Tasmania was just cold enough, though. It rained at Cradle Mountain, but at the sand dunes, it was pretty clear.

        Is that what you meant?

  3. Hi Comicsmaniac,
    your comics were linked by Experiment (probably your exchange organisation?). Hadn’t heard of Doubtful Sound before, but due to your blog visited it on a tour in January. Blue sky, no cloud at all, rather long period of fine weather, therefore only two waterfalls. So beautiful!
    But the next day we kayaked on Milford Sound, and for a change we had rain and oncoming storm, nearly capsized! So very exciting! Waterfalls everywhere, Milford Road – in fine weather the day before, now drowned in water and clouds….
    So glad I had both!
    Thanks for your blog!

    • Experiment, huh? I’m not familiar with that organization– do you happen to have the place where they linked me? My high school exchange program was actually Youth for Understanding, through which I was able to go to Germany.

      You went kayaking at Milford Sound?! That must of been amazing; I can only imagine how incredible that must have been! And wet, of course. It’s great that you got to see the Sounds in both kinds of weather.

      And, of course, thank you for reading! Writing and drawing this blog is a personal pleasure of mine, so it’s always an honor when someone else is able to enjoy my strange little hobby. 🙂

      • Experiment e.V. is another long established German exchange organisation, quite similar to YFU.
        They shared your blog on facebook (20. Nov. 2013). So have a look at FB and don’t miss to click to 27. and 28. Nov. 2013 too, so funny!

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