Fiordland National Park is over 1.2 million hectares in size, and encompasses mountains, lakes, waterfalls, fiords and rain-forest environments.
Established as a reserve in 1904, it was designated a national park in 1952.
People are drawn to Fiordland for the untouched landscapes, extreme wilderness and natural history of the area.
The Maori have many legends recount Fiordland formation and naming. Demigod Tuterakiwhanoa is said to have carved the rugged landscape from formless rock.
The variety of habitats in Fiordland National Park allow a diverse flora and fauna to thrive and its isolation has meant a large number of unique species, over seven hundred plants, are found only here.
Fiordland National Park is, and was, home to some of the strangest of New Zealand’s birds. The world’s only flightless parrot, the käkäpo live here.
Also there is the kea, the only alpine parrot in the world and the kiwi, which is native to New Zealand.
During the cooler past, glaciers carved many deep fiords, the most famous (and most visited) of which is Milford Sound.
Even in a country packed to the brim with majestic landscapes, Milford Sound stands out. The sheer cliffs ofthe fiord rise up from the water in jagged rock triangles, lushly carpeted in bush towards the water’s edge, with the supreme centerpiece of pyramid-shaped Mitre Peak – often brushed with snow on the summit – lording it up over the surrounding rock faces.
Doubtful Sound is a remote fiord in Fiordland National Park known as ‘the Sound of Silence‘. The fiord is home to one of the southernmost populations of bottle nose dolphins. First named as “Doubtful Harbour” by Captain Cook in 1770, who sailed past deciding not to enter due to worries of whether it would be navigable, Doubtful Sound is the largest fiord in Fiordland.
Fiordland National Park’s famous Milford Track known as ‘the Finest Walk in the World’. You need four or five days to complete this track.
The Sutherland Falls is gorgeous 580 meters (1900 feet) waterfall was easily New Zealand’s most spectacular waterfall. Given its remote location deep in the wild and beautiful Fiordland National Park , this was one of many highlights of the Milford Track.
A remote and beautiful area the Hollyford Valley where the river flows from dramatic Fiordland mountains to the west coast sea is only accessible by Milford Track.
The Kepler Track offers vistas of lakes Te Anau and Manapouri, alpine grasslands of the Jackson Peaks, beech forest and U-shaped glacial valleys.
The Routeburn Track offers spectacular alpine views and alpine flowers.
Several large lakes lie wholly or partly within the park’s boundaries, notably Lake Te Anau, Lake Monowai, Lake Manapouri and Lake Hauroko.
The mighty Lake Te Anau is rimmed by native forest with the snow-capped peaks of Mount Luxmore and Mount Murchison rising up in the background. Hugging the lake is the pretty settlement of Te Anau, often called the “walking capital of the world.” This is Fiordland’s main base, and the unhurried and relaxed charm of this tiny town (with a population of 2,000) beguiles all who make the long journey here.
Lake Manapouri is often described as the ‘loveliest’ of all lakes with its array of 33 small islands, backdrop of the majestic Cathedral Mountain range, native bush clad edges, sandy beaches and coves.
The extraordinary beauty of Fiordland was recognised by the United Nations in 1986 when it was made a World Heritage Area. The Fiordland National Park was described as having ‘superlative natural phenomena’ and ‘outstanding examples of…the earth’s evolutionary history’.
The Lord of the Rings films make up one of the world’s most famous movie trilogies. Even for those who have not seen the movies, the scenery found within them is nothing short of spectacular. It is thanks to Lord of the Rings that thousands of people descend upon the New Zealand Fiordland every year.