If you've been searching for places to go In New Zealand, then I'm sure they're some names in this blog that are going to ring some bells. Fiordland is in my opinion, one of the most dramatic environments I've ever been in. To truly experience it, you've got to get in amongst it all, take a cruise, walk along trails and get high up for a view point or 2. As the name may suggest, Fiordland plays host to 14 different fiords, the most accessible being Milford Sound, some bells ringing now I'm sure. It's a place that has earned World Heritage status and is the largest National Park in New Zealand covering 1.2million hectares.
If you're a fair weather outdoors person, you may struggle here. Whatever the season, the rainfall in Fiordland is amongst the highest in the world, raining over 200 days of the year and a measurement of 9metres of rainfall falling in Milford Sound per annum; just crazy! Don't be too down about the weather though, because for a place where the weather is king, it brings to life the region, with waterfalls crashing from steep, sheer cliff faces and the rivers begin to roar. Out of all the places in New Zealand to experience an incredible environment like you've never seen before, I know for a fact you'll find that here.
While planning your trip to the walking capital of the world, here are some offerings you may want to consider for packing into your adventure-fuelled, Fiordland experience.
A hike with a big reward, the 3 hour up-hill trudge to Lake Marian is a workout you won't regret doing. Sitting at the southern end of the Darran Mountains, this alpine lake has crystal clear waters of almost jewel-like quality. A spot that can be visited all year round, the hanging valley in which it sits offers incredible views across to the steep peaks on the other side of the lake. Sitting in this exact spot, I actually witnessed an avalanche on that peak on the far side of the lake you can see in the picture above, sending a huge rumbling echo throughout the valley; incredible!
If there is one way to get neck pain, then it will definitely come from gazing up at these tremendous falls. Totalling 275 metres in height, the Humboldt falls are always cascading year round, with the sheer volume of water coming down amplified in a roaring sound. Located just off the Milford road heading down the Hollyford Valley, it will take you 20 minutes to walk to the view point, a more than worthy pit-stop on your way to/from Milford Sound.
The place that inspires travellers from far and wide to visit New Zealand's South Island. Considered the most spectacular natural attraction in New Zealand, it's earned a nickname as the '8th wonder of the world'. The reason why? Well, it's the most accessible of the 14 Fiords in Fiordland, giving people less logistical issues to reach here. It's got the talisman of Mitre Peak standing tall as the centre point of the view of Milford Sound. With a back drop of glacial cut cliff faces and ancient rainforest, it makes this area an undeniably picturesque setting, one which I have found many times, hard to leave.
Suitably named, 'The finest walk in the world', The Milford Track is one experience I can vouch for and say it earns every bit of it's reputation. From start to finish, this 55km journey is full of wonders and highlights, the highest waterfall in New Zealand, the Giants Gate Falls (pictured here), and the Clinton River (pictured at the top) to name just a few. To walk this track, you will need to get a water taxi from Te Anau, which will take you to the track start at Glade Wharf. Walking from here, expect 3 days to complete the track where you will arrive at sandfly point, right in the heart of Milford Sound. From here, you will need a water taxi to then take you back to the mainland of Milford.
The Routeburn track is a world-renowned trail that takes you from Fiordland National Park into Mount Aspiring National Park. At 32km long, it is very accessible for even the novice hiker, experiencing some of the best sights Fiordland has to offer. Key Summit and Lake Mckenzie(pictured here) are just a couple of highlights I personally loved and I'm sure you will too! With soaring mountain peaks, deep glacial-cut valleys and sweeping rivers, I would put this high up on the to-do list in Fiordland. As the track starts/finishes at different ends, you will need your car relocated in order to be able to drive away at the end of your walk.
Easy Hike Car relocation: https://www.easyhike.co.nz
If you need any further information on Fiordland National Park, feel free to drop me a message on the contact page!