🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
One of the southern hemisphere's great wilderness regions Fiordland has achieved World Heritage status for its stunning natural features and exceptional beauty. It's also known as the walking capital of the world and is a highlight for many that travel to New Zealand.
Highlights can include:
- Fiordland Cinema has daily exclusive screenings of Ata Whenua - Shadowland along with a selection of the best current releases 🎥
- encounter tranquil forest scenes of the Hollyford Track on a good, valley-based day walk for families on the 4-6 hour Hidden Falls Track 👟
- ascend through lush forest into a unique alpine herb field offering panoramic views of mountains, alpine lakes and bush clad valleys far below on an incredible day out on the renowned Routeburn Track 👟
- enjoy tramping the beautiful Lake Marian Track- an alpine lake in a beautiful hanging valley 👟
- get out and explore the landscapes while walking the picturesque Kepler Track, an easy 1/2 day guided family-friendly hike on a well graded trail taking you around the south end of beautiful Lake Te Anau 👟
- enjoy the thrill of jet boating down the majestic trout filled Waiau River, to the serene Lake Manapouri, step foot into ancient beach forests and be wowed by beautiful scenery aboard Fiordland Jet
- rain or shine, wet or fine, Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is incredibly grand - Mitre Peak magnetises photographers, and the fiord's sheer cliffs excite both admiration and apprehension 📸⛰️⚓
gaze at fish and other wildlife at Milford Sound Underwater Observatory offering views of the fascinating underwater environment - discover species of black coral found at depths of 500 metres in the ocean 🐟
- Gertrude Saddle Lookout is an adventurous guided day hike from Te Anau - its unrivalled alpine terrain affords spectacular views of Milford Sound from the summit 👟
- horse ride over farmland and be greeted by other friendly horses and farm animals with Westray Adventures, or take a truly memorable quad bike tour enjoying 360 degree panoramic mountain views 🐴
- if you like to get out into the wilds, away from the crowds but still amongst stunning Fiordland scenery, then Lake Monowai may be the best spot for you, especially if you like to fish or go boating 🛥️🎣
- taste the magic of the world-famous Milford Track with a day walk designed for people with limited time, or those who would rather walk for just a single day 👟
- seeing Fiordland National park from above with Southern Lakes Helicopters scenic flights are an unforgettable addition to your New Zealand trip
- a good short walk option for those with children, wander the Lake Gunn Nature Walk through red beech forest, enjoying glimpses of the birdlife of the Eglington Valley and the surrounding mountains 👟
- carved by glaciers, remote Doubtful Sound deserves its Maori name, Patea, the 'place of silence' - aside from haunting birdsong, and boats gliding through this fiord, you'll be humbled by its beauty 📸⛰️⚓
- Wairaurahiri Wilderness Jet adds the element of grade 3 whitewater rapids to the thrills of jet boating, and is a great way to see experience Lake Hauroko 🌊
- go on a paddling adventure with Rosco's Milford Kayaks, offering a variety of trips suitable for the first-time paddler through to the seasoned kayaker - a great way to experience Milford Sound 🛶
- an almost compulsory stop on the Milford Road is the short and easy Mirror Lakes Walk where you'll wander among small lakes with lovely reflections of the Earl Mountains 👟
- hidden beneath the mountains on Lake Te Anau's western shores is an underground network lit by hundreds of Glow Worm Caves - one of the best places to see them on New Zealand's South Island 👨👩👦👦
- The Chasm is a series of gushing waterfalls, the sheer force of the water is impressive to see and the rocks look unnaturally smooth depsite being sculpted by nature
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors6.0
🌦️ Chance of Rain5.5
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun3.5
🍽️ Food + Wine 7.5
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of devinsupertramp on YouTube
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in Fiordland
You'll travel to the region, arriving either by car, by coach, or by a charter flight landing in either Te Anau or Milford Sound. Upon arrival into the Fiordland region you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
Take the opportunity this afternoon to view the fascinating Te Anau GlowWorm Caves across the otherside of serene Lake Te Anau. Or take in the unforgettable scenery from above with Southern Lakes Helicopters and relive the experience later that evening at the Fiordland Cinema which brings the beauty of the Fiordland National Park to the silver screen, and provides a glimpse of what you could see tomorrow.
However you've spent your time and energy, we'll re-fuel you with a suggestion for dinner at a local favourite hot spot offering the best in New Zealand food. Venison in particular is a great dish here, as this region is home to many deer farms.
Day 2 : Visit a fiord - a day in Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound
Given you only have one full day in Fiordland, you're forced to choose between two impressive fiords.
If you don't mind sharing your experience and love a bit of atmosphere then Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is the obvious choice for you. It's also the most photographed of the two fiords, so if you're an avid photographer or want to lift your selfie game on social media, you'll probably want to visit this fiord. Marine biologists and enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to see black coral so close to the surface at Milford Sound Underwater Observatory. You can self-drive here (though we would recommend a tour to give everyone including the driver the chance to see more), and you'll be able to experience not only Milford Sound during your day, but also enjoy experiences along the scenic Milford Road, including The Chasm and the Mirror Lakes Walk. Self drivers could also take in Lake Gunn Nature Walk, and enjoy a paddle with Rosco's Milford Kayaks.
Alternatively, you can escape to Doubtful Sound / Patea which offers a very peaceful day or overnight experience where your highlight will be the natural environment itself. Apart from the wildlife your boat will likely be the only thing causing ripples in the water. Self-driving is not an option as you need to cross Lake Manapouri and join a brief bus ride over a mountain pass to reach this fiord. You'll have a chance to take photos and delight in the view from a high vantage lookout high above 'the sound of silence' before arriving to your cruise. Open your eyes wide to the impressive views, breathe in the fresh clean ocean air and listen for the sound of birds as you take a moment to re-energise.
Whatever you've ended up doing with your day, as always we'll arrange dinner tonight for you to celebrate delicious New Zealand food and your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.
Day 3 : Depart Fiordland
Walking in the amazing national park is the highlight of this region, so make sure you take the opportunity and get up early, even if it is just for a short walk on a beautiful nature trail. When you are ready to move on we'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.