Fiordland National Park in New Zealand is a place of unparalleled natural beauty that covers nearly 5,000 square miles of the country’s southwestern region. It is New Zealand’s largest national park and is home to various landscapes, from rugged coastlines to glaciated peaks, dense forests with turquoise-tinged lakes to steep cliff faces, and endangered wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. For those planning to explore this vast terrain, Fiordland promises a lot of awe and adventure. Here are some must-do activities in the park.
Cruising around Milford Sound is a must-do activity in Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound, also known as Piopiotahi, is one of the most famous fjords in the region and is described by legendary novelist Rudyard Kipling as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” A 90-minute ride through the sound offers stunning views of snow-capped palisades and sheer cliffs that soar up to 4,000 feet in height, created by glaciers over millions of years. The government maintains several huts along the so-called “Great Walks,” including the Kepler Track and the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track, which are popular among hikers. For families, the Lake Gunn Nature Walk offers a shorter, more family-friendly experience, with breathtaking views of the peaks.
To get to Fiordland National Park, visitors can fly into the nearest major airport in Queenstown and rent a car or take a bus to reach the park. Four-wheel-drive options are recommended in case of inclement weather. Motor coaches are another common way to get in and out of the park, with daily buses to Milford Sound each morning out of Queenstown and Te Anau. If travelers are willing to spend a premium, helicopters and seaplanes are available for booking, weather permitting.
Where to stay
For accommodation, Te Anau offers four-star options, such as the Distinction Luxmore Hotel and Lakefront Lodge Te Anau. Further up the road, the Milford Sound Lodge provides upmarket cabins with stunning views, but reservations should be made months in advance.
Where to eat
For dining options, Te Anau offers some surprisingly cosmopolitan options, such as the boisterous gastropub, The Fat Duck, and Ditto, which specializes in oversized bao stuffed with various proteins. However, dining options in Milford Sound are slim, so visitors should stock up on supplies and sundries before heading up from Te Anau or dine at the Milford Sound Lodge’s Pio Pio Cafe.
In conclusion, Fiordland National Park is a must-visit destination for those seeking natural beauty and adventure. Whether cruising around Milford Sound or hiking along the Kepler Track, visitors will be rewarded with breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.