New Zealand

Fiordland National Park

Where is it?

Fiordland national park is located in the south western corner of the South Island. It is an extremely remote part of New Zealand with there being little to no road access to the park. The park contains stunning scenery including the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, deep lakes and thick forests. The closest main centre to the park is the small town of Te Anau, where a DOC visitor office is located. The office will have information regarding the status of tracks and the weather forecast for the area.

Facts about the Fiordland National Park

The national park was established in 1952 and is part of Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand World Heritage Area which was recognised by UNESCO in 1990 as an area of outstanding natural value. Due to its natural isolation, the park has over 700 plant species which are only found within its boundary.

It is also home to many native bird species including the worlds only flightless parrot, the kakapo. The takahe also lives in the park - this bird was thought to be extinct until when in 1948 it was re-discovered in the park.

The hydro-electricity industry has a large presence in the area, with a large hydro generator at Lake Manapouri.

To do

The park is home to a number of fantastic multi days hikes plus numerous shorter walks. Probably the most famous of all New Zealand tramping tracks, the Milford Sound is situated in the heart of the park, starting with a short boat trip from Te Anau Downs, ending at the beautiful Milford Sound. Other multi-day hikes include the Kepler, Routeburn and Hollyford tracks, all providing a great wilderness experience along with stunning scenery.

There are many shorter walks in the park, with a number available along the winding road between Te Anau and Milford Sound. Please note this road may be closed during winter due to avalanche conditions.

Other activities in the park include mountaineering, scenic flights and fishing and hunting.

Where to stay?

The main center of Te Anau has a wide range of accommodation offerings and at Milford Sound there is a backpackers hostel. Visitors with less time can stay in Queenstown and access the park via one of the many coach tours which usually a boat trip on Milford Sound.

Tramps in the Fiordland National Park

Milford Track

Described as the greatest tramp in New Zealand, the Milford Track is 53.5 kms of stunning Fiordland scenery. It can be completed independently or with a guide, staying in DOC huts or luxury accommodation. Booking is essential for the Milford Track.

Routeburn Track

The Routeburn joins the Fiordland National Park with Mount Aspiring starting at Lake Wakatipu and ending on the Milford Road. Its is 32 kms long and there are four huts to stay in. There is no booking for the huts and bunks are on a first come first served basis.

Kepler Track

A circular 60 km hike, the Kepler starts and ends at Te Anau, encircling the Jackson Peaks between Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau. Most trampers hike to Luxmore Hut on the first day, as this puts the main hard climb on the route behind them.

Hollyford Track

This track can be attempted in any season due to its low altitude. The 57 km route follows the Hollyford River downstream to Lake McKerrow and onto Martins Bay, along the route is the abandoned settlement of Jamestown.

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