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Real Journeys rapt with Kiwi Must-Do's

13 February 2007

Real Journeys rapt with Kiwi Must-Do's

Real Journeys, the major tourism operator in both Milford and Doubtful Sounds, is elated that New Zealanders have voted Milford and Doubtful Sounds their top "Must-Do" destinations.

"We are absolutely thrilled that the beauty and importance of these areas is recognised by New Zealanders as well as overseas visitors," says Real Journeys CEO Dave Hawkey. "It's wonderful to see Kiwis taking such pride in Fiordland and it's particularly pleasing to see Doubtful Sound rank so highly. Fifty years ago, most New Zealanders probably wouldn't have known it existed!"

The five-month survey by the Automobile Association attracted almost 200,000 online votes. Mitre Peak and Milford Sound ranked number one, followed closely by Doubtful Sound.

South Island destinations took out all but one of the top eight positions, including Fiordland National Park at number four. Stewart Island also ranked well at number 18.

Mr Hawkey said it was especially rewarding to see Doubtful Sound rank so highly after all the energy Real Journeys had put into the region.

"When company founders Les and Olive Hutchins first began operating excursions into Doubtful Sound in 1954 the area was practically unexplored. Regular transport services were non-existent, suppliers were often hundreds of miles away and "tourists" were a scarce commodity."

It was testimony to their hard work and dedication that Doubtful Sound now ranked second highest on New Zealanders' "Must-Do" list, Mr Hawkey said.

"We believe it's important that New Zealanders have the opportunity to explore these areas for themselves. Our "locals' specials" every autumn allow a wider range of locals to experience what so many visitors come to this country to see."

He said Real Journeys felt proud and privileged to operate in such a magnificent part of the world. In 2006, the company was recognised by Environment Southland as one of the region's highest environmental achievers for its work to minimise the impact of tourism in Doubtful Sound.

ENDS

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