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Fiordland, New ZealandFiordland Scenic Highlights

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

Vast, remote and isolated, Fiordland is an incomparable, ancient wilderness of calm lakes, majestic snow-topped peaks, dense rainforest and steep-sided fiords.

Fiordland Scenic Highlights Overview

The power of Fiordland's scenery never fails to enthrall travellers. Waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres into massive fiords; ancient rainforest clings impossibly to the mountains; shimmering lakes and granite peaks look the same today as they did a thousand years ago.

Fiordland was well known to Maori, who have many legends recounting its formation and naming. Demi-god Tute Rakiwhanoa is said to have carved the rugged landscape from formless rock, hewing out the steep sided valleys with his adzes.

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The Mystical Beauty of Milford Sound

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, Fiordland, New Zealand
Milford Sound
Fiordland National Park
Photographer: Heidi Coppock Beard
(www.coppockbeard.com)

Milford Sound, described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'eighth wonder of the world', was carved out during successive ice ages and, at its deepest point off Mitre Peak, plunges to a depth of 265 metres. The grandeur of Milford Sound can be appreciated from the air or water. Bowen Falls, hurtling 165 metres into the sea, and the Stirling Falls further down the sound, set amidst the towering cliffs and dwarfed by Mitre Peak, are truly spectacular after rain.

Bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins are resident in the fiord and can be viewed up close from the launch cruises or kayak trips.

A variety of launch cruises run daily on Milford Sound and overnight packages are also offered. Spectacular kayaking and diving trips are very popular as is the Underwater Observatory.

» Milford Sound Information

» Milford Sound Travel Directory

Choose a Track and Discover the Wilderness

The walks in Fiordland National Park are world famous.

Milford Track (53.9 kilometres) is often described as the finest walk in the world. It follows several glaciated valleys, ascends an alpine pass and traverses some spectacular scenery. The walk takes four days and involves boat travel at both ends. Both independent and guided walks are available on this track.

Routeburn Track (39 kilometres) starts from the divide between the eastern and western sides of the Southern Alps and ends in the beech forests some 80 kilometres by road from Queenstown. Dramatic alpine views, lakes and changing forest types can be experienced over the summer season on this three-four day walk. You can walk independently or take a guide.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Doubtful Sound, Fiordland National Park, Fiordland, New Zealand
Doubtful Sound
Fiordland National Park
Photographer: Bob McCree
(www.bobmccreephotos.co.nz)

Kepler Track (67 kilometres) starts and finishes at Lake Te Anau. You'll see lake edges, mountain beech forest, exposed mountaintops and glacial valleys along with excellent views of the Southern Alps. This track offers independent walks only.

Hollyford Track (80 kilometres) leads the walker from the sheer rock walls of the Darren Mountains down to the sand dunes of the Tasman Sea at Martins Bay. Experience the splendid isolation of the Fiordland bush, the bustling energy of the Hollyford River and the sand and windswept beauty of Martins Bay. Both independent and guided walks are available on this track.

Dusky Track (90 kilometres) is best suited to those with experience. Various options allow the traveller to spend five to seven days following three major river valleys. Climb two passes culminating in the arrival at Fiordland's largest and most extensive fiord—Dusky Sound. This track offers independent walks only.

» Fiordland National Park Track Information

» Fiordland National Park Information

» Fiordland Tramping, Hiking and Guided Walks Directory

Lovely and Mysterious - Lake Manapouri

Twenty minutes from Te Anau is picturesque Lake Manapouri, a beautiful lake framed by the spectacular Cathedral Mountains.

Pearl Harbour, adjacent to Manapouri township, is the gateway to the variety of excursions undertaken on Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound. Launch trips on Doubtful Sound begin with a launch trip across Lake Manapouri to West Arm, a visit to the West Arm underground power station, and a bus trip over the majestic Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove.

Those who have come to know this extraordinary lake value greatly the seclusion and pristine scenery to be found in its many arms and bays.

Useful Fiordland Links

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Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

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Large collection of independent hotels.

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Holiday packages for any occasion.

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Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.