It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that, every single inch of the ‘Fiordland National Park’ exhibits the nature’s finest of the work on the planet! The mesmerizing ‘Fiordland National Park’, located on the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, is a certain visual treat that leaves every single visitor awe-stricken!
The ‘Fiordland’ is the largest national park in ‘New Zealand’ & is reckoned among the largest parks in the world as well! This compelling national park is sprawled across a mammoth 1.2 million hectares of area & its amazing landscape is heavily loaded with some of the most dramatic mountains, deep, azure fjords, cascading waterfalls that plunge down from thousands of feet off the cliffs, spectacular shoreline & thriving rain forest. A large part of this park still remains unexplored, which has resulted in the conservation of a comprehensive range of flora & fauna with high a degree of endemism!
The national park receives some of the heaviest rainfalls in the world as it has more than 200 rain days. The park is one of the premium highlights of ‘New Zealand’ as innumerable visitors throng here to get soaked in the divine beauty of this national park. The park is renowned for its world-class hiking trails that meander through its virgin rainforest, demonstrating various incredible avatars of this wonderland.
The landscape of the ‘Fiorland National Park was chosen as a location for shooting the Hollywood’s blockbuster trilogy- ‘The Lords of the Rings’.
Key Highlights of the Park:
The spectacular ‘Fiordland National Park’ houses a bevy of natural attractions that enthralls the visitors from all the age groups! Some of the most significant key features of the park are as below:
Fjords: The U-shaped glacier-carved gorges, filled with the sea water are known as fjords. The ‘Fiordland National Park’ has fourteen deep fjords, carved from the glacial process that took place some 100,000 years back. All the fjords, bounded by the towering mountains at their rims, create a stupendous sight, the beauty of which can seldom be explained in words!
Out of the fourteen gigantic fjords, Milford Sound is the most celebrated fjord of all & it serves as the major crowd-puller in the park! The Mitre Peak Mountain that emerges straight from the Milford Sound overlooking the fjord’s vicinity, reaching up to a staggering 1692 meters of height, creates the most incredible sight in the world!
The Doubtful Sound fjord, at 421 meters, stands as the deepest fjord in ‘New Zealand’. This fjord is also famous for its iconic beauty & ample aquatic life, including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals & penguins. National Park’s 14 fjords spans 215 km of coastline along the western coast of the park.
Flora & Fauna: The westerly winds coming from the Tasman Sea produce an extravagant rainfall, which supports the enormous growth of the temperate rain forests of the park region. The forest features plant species, including ‘Nothofagus’ trees & wide varieties of ferns.
The least explored part of the forest is thought to be the safe abode for many endemic animal & bird species, which were once threatened to be extinct from the planet. A flightless endemic bird, named Takahe, which was speculated extinct, was found thriving in the inner parts of the park. The park is a home for another unique bird, the Kakapo– the world’s only flightless parrot, which was seen residing in the remote parts of the park. Kiwis can also be seen within the park area.
The fjords are the home for aquatic species, including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals & penguins.
Waterfalls: The unbelievable amount of downpour has conceived hundreds of waterfalls of varying sizes within the park area. The waterfalls plunge down from a great height straight into the fjords creating a truly divine sight. The Sutherland Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, is among the premium attractions of the park.
- Drive along the State Highway 94 or take a bus from ‘Queenstown’ or ‘Invercargill’ & enter the park at Te Anau. A flight from ‘Queenstown Glenorchy’ or ‘Te Anau’ is available to reach ‘Milford’ & ‘Doubtful Sounds’.
- Alternatively, you can also start your journey to the park from Manapouri, which is located 20 km away from ‘Te Anau’.
The lakeside townships founded on the banks of Lake Te Anau & Lake Manapouri provide world-class accommodation facilities. Accommodation is also available at ‘Milford Sound’ in the form of a backpacker’s lodge. Both the towns are well-equipped with cafes, restaurants, shops & service stations.
Apart from the luxurious lodges in the towns, the Department of Conservation has made arrangement of cottages equipped with the basic needs at more than 50 designated campsites along the popular trek routes. A bountiful of modest huts with bare minimum necessities, are also provided along the other hiking routes. Advanced bookings are essential for staying in the huts in order to avert the on-site accommodation troubles.
The ‘Fiordland National Park’ is the paradise for the adrenaline junkies. The national park is world renowned for 500 km long walking tracks, which snake through the length & the breadth of its isolated wilderness. The park is hugely popular among the trekkers & trampers who come here to explore the unbelievable beauty of this Kiwi’s wonderland. Apart from the hiking, other activities such as sea kayaking, diving, swimming, hunting & cruising can also be done within the park.
Hiking: Hiking through the woods is the best & the most popular option to explore the sensational beauty of this park. The park is the home for New Zealand’s world famous three ‘Great Walks’- the Milford Track (4-5 days), the Kepler Track (4 days) & the Routeburn Track (3 days). The ‘Milford Track’ that stretches for some 53.5 km is the most celebrated track of all & is often regarded as the best walks in the world! One can also avail the less crowded tracks like Hollyford, Hump Ridge & Dusky, which are as spectacular as those of their more famous counterparts!
Sea Kayaking: Sea kayaking is the best way to explore the isolated parts of the fjords, which can never be accessed on foot. One can enjoy the mesmerizing sight of frolicking dolphins en route. Kayaking facility is also available in the lakes ‘Te Anau’ & ‘Manapouri’.
Diving: The diving in the crystalline waters of the fjords provides you with a rare opportunity to explore the ‘Black coral’ growing at a shallower depth than elsewhere.
Fishing & Hunting: Both the activities of fishing & hunting are allowed within the park area upon obtaining permits from the national parks Visitor Center. Hunters are allowed to hunt down only the introduced species such as red deer, possums & wapiti.
Cruising: Variety of cruising option is available to explore the breathtaking beauty of the fjords. Most of the cruising options are centered in the ‘Milford’ & the Doubtful Sounds’.
Key Safety Tips:
- Plan your trip well in advance.
- Be prepared for the bad weather as heavy rain & floods can hit the forest at any time.
- Opt for the guided tour if you are not completely aware of the tramping ethos.