Occupying the southeast of the South Island, Fiordland is one of the wildest and most spectacular regions of New Zealand. It is part of Te Wahipounamu, a group of 4 national parks classified as World Heritage by UNESCO for their preserved nature. Shaped millions of years ago by the melting of glaciers, the 14 fjords mark the coast over more than 215 km. Fiordland is also primary forests as far as the eye can see, sprawling lakes and hundreds of waterfalls fed by torrential rains, all in the heart of breathtaking Alpine landscapes, a favorite playground for hikers.
Located on the shore of the lake of the same name, Te Anau is the ideal base camp to discover the wonders of the region. In the North, Milford Sound is the only fjord accessible by road and therefore the most visited. The journey is a magical experience in itself, which will offer you a summary over 120 km of the diversity of Fiordland. To the east, Doubtful Sound is much larger, wild and will allow travel enthusiasts against the tide to enjoy the beauty of the region while avoiding the crowds.
Milford and Doubtful Sound both offer the possibility of longer or shorter cruises or kayaking, but the experience we highly recommend for an intense immersion is the night aboard a boat to fully enjoy the wilderness. You can also explore the fjords by air in a seaplane and discover the inaccessible Dusky Sound.
The famous glow worm caves of Waitomo in the North Island are a place that many travelers wish to visit. What few people know is that there are equally beautiful caves departure from Te Anau. This generally avoids making the detour to Waitomo which is quite isolated.
Finally, always starting from Te Anau, it is possible to make an excellent outing by bicycle in the region. The little extra is that the operator takes you to the starting point by jetboat and that you will return to Te Anau by pedaling.
Fiordland National Park is a must for all lovers of elevation with three treks over several days classified as "Great Walk" (most emblematic hike in the country): Kepler, Routeburn and Milford Track. There are also more options off the beaten track like the Hollyford Track which allows you to walk in more pleasant housing conditions. The road to Milford is also an incredible playground with shorter hikes like those of Lake Marian or Key Summit.
Due to its beauty and diversity Fiordland remains a real must, even if certain sectors like Milford Sound or Te Anau can prove to be very busy in high season. However, there are solutions to avoid these congestion points, such as a panoramic overflight from Queenstown with cruise in Milford Sound, which will also save you long hours of driving. Whatever your profile, we can best include this region in your exploration of the South Island.
In Feb to March this year, we had a wonderful month touring in NZ and all with the help of Romain at OUAT. It did all feel a bit like a leap of faith, but...
Jane Chaplin, UK
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Wayne & Gabrielle, Australia
Carolyn, I thought we should tell you how much we enjoyed the trip. NZ was great - the people, the food, the scenery. We liked all the places you booked for...
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