Fiordland, New Zealand
If you were to imagine the most dramatic landscape on the planet, it might look like this. Fiordland will move you to seek new adjectives.
Fiordland comprises the rugged, glaciated country and fiords in the south-west corner of the South Island.
Te Anau is the gateway to the world-famous Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage Area covering nearly 1.2 million hectares. Fiordland represents nature on a grand scale, where waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres into pristine, forested valleys, and glacier-carved fiords indent its coastal boundaries.
Main Attractions and Activities
The road to Milford Sound, which traverses Fiordland National Park below massive peaks and bluffs, is considered one of the finest alpine drives in the world. Arriving at Milford, visitors are confronted by the most famous of New Zealand icons - the majestic Mitre Peak.
As roads provide access to only a relatively small part of Fiordland, flightseeing provides one of the best ways to really appreciate this vast wilderness. Flights are available from either Te Anau or Milford. Taking the road one way and flying the other adds variety.
Fiordland National Park also contains five of the country's best-known hiking trails, ranging from 1½-day nature walks to three-day walks on well-established tracks. Other activities in the Te Anau area include sea kayaking, diving, cycling, golf, fishing, sailing, swimming, hunting and visits to spectacular glow-worm caves.
If you have time to cruise the sounds, you will be surrounded by mountain peaks and towering sheer granite cliffs from which spectacular waterfalls plunge to the sea below. This is the realm of playful bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and gulls. Milford Sound is the most famous, but Doubtful Sound - the deepest - is also easily accessible.
Visitors to this vast, remote area, practically untouched by humans, are often overwhelmed by the incredible solitude and serenity of Fiordland.
- Te Ana-au Caves and walks
- Milford Sound trip and cruise
- Underwater Observatory, Milford Sound
- Lake Manapouri cruise
- Doubtful Sound trip and cruise
- Hiking one of the renowned walks
- Te Anau - for restaurants and accommodation