When you are in New Zealand, you must explore the woodlands and national parks that have best preserved the flora and fauna. The Fiordland National Park is one such destination. Spanning over an area of 12,500 sq. km., the largest national park in New Zealand is all-embracing. It is home to mountains, stunning lakes, valley, and rainforests. From rare birds to endemic wildlife and waterfalls to deep fiords, there’s always so much to discover and take delight in. This is where the one of the most photographed peaks is located and so are the much talked about Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
Fiordland National Park was established in 1952. It is supervised by the Department of Conservation in New Zealand. In 1990, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was given the name ‘Te Wahipounamu’, which, in Maori language, means ‘the place of greenstone.’ It was a reference to its treasured mineral resource.
Activities at Fiordland National Park
Trekking – The National Park has three of the ‘Great Walks’ in New Zealand. When you walk down the Milford Track, you will realize why it’s the most popular one. The circular Kepler Track and the Routeburn that extends to the Mount Aspiring National Park are best options for exploring the niceties of the Park.
Sea Kayaking and Diving – While fiords are always a good option for sea kayaking, diving gives you a rare opportunity to encounter black coral and spectacular underwater life.
Fiord Cruises – Get into a flight and enjoy the scenic ride over the Milford Sound and opt for cruises to the remote fiords from Manapouri or Te Anau. Besides skiing, climbing, and fishing, you can also look forward to canoeing in Milford Sound.
Wildlife Watching – A wildlife photographer would consider this park a treasure trove as he gets to see dolphins, fur seals, and penguins at Doubtful Sound – the deepest fiord in New Zealand. The National Park is also considered the last refuge for the only flightless parrot in the world – Kakapo. Deer, kiwi, Tube-nosed Bird, Oystercatcher, Mottled Petrel, and Cree Weta are other star attractions.
The pyramid-shaped Southland Museum & Art Gallery is regarded as the largest cultural and heritage institution in Southland. It has an exhaustive collection of regional art, history, and natural history.
If you happen to cruise across Lake Te Anau, visit the Te Anau Glowworm Caves. It will be a unique experience to witness glowworms twinkle over speeding water.
Te Hikoi Southern Journey Museum, Ulva Island, Burt Munro, Cathedral Caves, Lost Gypsy Gallery, and Milford Discovery Centre are worth exploring.
Where is Fiordland National Park?
The Fiordland National Park is located near the Lake Te Anau in southern New Zealand. The gateway to the Park is beside the town of Te Anau.
Location map of Fiordland National Park
How to Reach?
By Air – You can fly into the Europcar-Invercargill International Airport, which is around 160 km from the Park. It’s a three-hour drive from the airport. You can also take a bus to Te Anau – the gateway to Fiordland.
As far as accommodation is concerned, there are plenty of huts, hotels, and lodges available for visitors. Some of the famous huts in Fiordland are Caroline Hut, Demon Trail Hut, Halfway Hut, Back Valley Hut, and Green Lake Hut, Hope Arm Hut, Junction Burn Hut, Lake Roe Hut, and Lake Thomson Hut.
The Fiordland National Park houses a good number of restaurants. The best place to try international cuisine is Redcliff Cafe. Yesteryear Museum Cafe and Batch are the best cafes there. The South Sea Hotel offers sumptuous food and an ambiance of a pub. Those looking for some of the best pies in the country, must come to Miles Better Pies.
Best time to visit Fiordland National Park
Summer is the best season to be at the Fiordland National Park. It’s from October to May that you can catch the most pleasant views.
Things to Remember
- Snow, strong winds, and rain can occur at any time of the year.
- It’s also advisable to carry insect repellent to the National Park.
November – April: 8.30 am – 6.00 pm
May – October: 8.30 am – 4.30 pm
Facts About Fiordland National Park
- The Fiordland National Park is spread over an area of about 3 million acres.
- The National Park is a World Heritage Site.
- Author Rudyard Kipling had once described Milford Sound as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’
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