Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
The Fiordland National Park, New Zealand region has some of the most extraordinary and dramatic scenery in New Zealand. Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage wilderness area and includes Milford Sound, Mitre Peak and Doubtful Sound amongst the many scenic attractions.
You can reach Fiordland on a long full day trip from Queenstown. However we recommend basing yourself in the small town of Te Anau, which is the main centre for the whole Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. From Te Anau, you can reach Milford Sound in an easy two and a half hours drive; or 20 minutes if going to Manapouri, the start of the Doubtful Sound excursion. Te Anau is located in a beautiful location on Lake Te Anau. There is 7 day a week shopping, and a number of good restaurants and cafes in Te Anau, with a good range of accommodation options. However always book your accommodation here well ahead of time, especially in high season October to April, as it does book out very quickly.
As a World Heritage Region, Fiordland National Park is a very popular area for sightseeing and walking, with many day walks, and longer overnight hikes including some of the Great Walks. The jewel in the crown is Milford Sound and Mitre Peak. Come sunshine or rain, the views are incredible, a photographers paradise, with sheer cliffs and cascading waterfalls. However you should always allow plenty of time to drive to Milford Sound; as there are lots of places to stop on the way, and admire the view and the size of the mountains, or to take a short walk.
Whilst at Milford Sound you could visit the Underwater Observatory, or take a guided diving trip to see unique world that lies beneath the surface of Milford Sound. The sheer rock walls of Milford Sound reach a depth of up to 450 metres, producing a fascinating world.
Doubtful Sound in contrast is often called the "Sounds of Silence". Doubtful Sound is rich in natural history, flora and fauna. Whilst on Doubtful Sound you should look out for the Fiordland Crested Penguins, Bottlenose Dolphins and New Zealand Fur Seals. To experience either Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound you could take a day cruise, overnight cruise, or even a sea kayaking trip.
At Te Anau there are regular launch cruises across Lake Te Anau to the enchanting Te Anau glowworm caves. Here you can see the thousands of luminous glowworms, sculpted rock formations and rushing water as it flows through the mysterious underground chasms.
Fiordland weather is extremely unpredictable, with gale force winds and high rainfall a common occurrence. Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in the world, with annual rainfall of 7200 mm. Coldest months are in winter during May to August when maximum temperatures average 7-10C. Over the summer period November to February, temperatures average 16-23C during the day time. There are sustained periods of sunshine, with about 1600 hours per year. However sunny days are very unpredictable.
The Hollyford Track New Zealand is a spectacular walk from the mountains to the sea that is suitable for a wide range of fitness levels. Unlike any other walk, the scenery is geologically spectacular and ever changing - snow capped mountains, glaciers, rainforests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, reefs, sand dunes and surf. read more
Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are located inside Fiordland National Park, a colossal wilderness region of craggy snow-capped mountains, nearly vertical rock faces and lush rainforest. Kayaking inside the designated world heritage region of Fiordland National Park is matchless, it is hugely satisfying and heaps of fun! It is elating gliding along taking in the sights and sounds, dwarfed by cliffs hundreds of metres high. read more