Arrowtown, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
Beach, New Zealand
Fiordland, New Zealand
Lake Matheson, New Zealand
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
Rotorua, New Zealand

Fiordland, New ZealandFiordland History

Fiordland | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

Step back in time and enter a whole new world in Fiordland, a beautiful, mostly untouched, region of southern New Zealand.

Fiordland History Overview

Fiordland is a stunning region boasting deep fiords carved many thousands of years ago, huge glimmering glaciers, and vast beautiful forests. The region is mostly untouched by man and its history is told by Mother Nature.

Send a Fiordland related E-Postcard to your friends.

Spell of the Glaciers

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Crested penguin in Fiordland, New Zealand
Crested Penguin, Fiordland
Photographer: Gilbert van Reenen
(www.cleangreen.co.nz)

The fourteen fiords that fringe the southwest corner of the South Island were 100,000 years in the making, with the final details added during the most recent ice age just 10,000 years ago. The Maori attributed the creation of the fiords to a giant stonemason called Tute Rakiwhanoa, who hued out the steep sided valleys with his adzes.

Towering, snow-capped peaks reflect in the midnight blue fingers of ocean that reach into the park's thickly forested interior, where you can find trees that are more than 800 years old. For sheer drama, few places of earth can compete with this remarkable natural environment.

In 1990 Fiordland was listed as a United Nations World Heritage site and given the name Te Wahipounamu—'the place of greenstone', after the area's most treasured mineral resource.

» West Coast Glaciers Information

Fiordland National Park

Created in 1952, Fiordland National Park is the largest national park in New Zealand, and one of the largest in the world. It stretches 230 kilometres from north-east to south-west. At its broadest it is 80 kilometres across.

The isolation of the region has encouraged endemism—over 700 plants are found only in Fiordland.

Three of the country's 'great walks' (the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler tracks) are located within the park's boundaries; there is also a variety of short walks to enjoy.

» Fiordland National Park Information

» Fiordland National Park Track Information

Lake Manapouri

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Green Lake in Fiordland, New Zealand
Green Lake, Fiordland
Photographer: Rob Brown
(robbrownnz@yahoo.com)

Beautiful Lake Manapouri is within the boundaries of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. The lake is framed by the spectacular Cathedral Mountains and has four arms—North, South, West and Hope.

During the last ice age, about 20,000 years ago, glaciers originating in central Fiordland spread out to the east across the present sites of Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri, dumping great quantities of rock and gravel in long ridges. When the ice melted, lakes formed behind the ridges. Lake Manapouri is 440 metres deep in places and has 34 islands.

Several tracks start on the eastern shores of Lake Manapouri. These are ideal for day trips and easy two or three day hikes. From Pearl Harbour, which is adjacent to Manapouri township, you can organise a lake cruise or a tour of the West Arm underground power station.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Fiords in Fiordland, New Zealand
Fiords, Fiordland
Photographer: Holger Leue
(h.leue@geonet.com)

In 1960, it was proposed to raise Lake Manapouri by up to 30 metres for the power station, but a strong nationwide protest prevented this from happening. The lake levels are instead carefully controlled to mimic natural fluctuations.

This region was chosen as a filming location for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The Norwest Lakes were used to show the Fellowship travelling south from Rivendell; sections of the Waiau River, which flows between Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri, were used for scenes of the River Anduin.

» Manapouri Travel Directory

Routeburn Track

In pre-European times Maori frequently used the Routeburn Track during expeditions to the west coast, where they would hunt for pounamu, a highly valued type of jade.

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand's 'great walks' and takes you through wild mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of the Southern Alps. It passes through two national parks—Fiordland and Mount Aspiring—and is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.

» Fiordland National Park Track Information

Useful Fiordland Links

To help plan your Fiordland holiday choose from the main categories below:

Send a Fiordland related E-Postcard to your friends.

Fiordland Region Information

Fiordland Tourism Operators

Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.