Fiordland National Park is New Zealand’s largest national park. It is home to famous attractions like Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves, as well as several of the New Zealand Great Walks. On average there are 200 rainy days per year, making the rainforests and greenery astoundingly lush and the waterfalls a delight to watch year round. Many tourists who visit Queenstown spend at least a day or two (if not longer) exploring this beautiful region. If you’re wondering what to do in Fiordland, here are the attractions you won’t want to miss.
Fiordland is named because it is home to 12 major fiords – steep, glacier-carved, ocean-filled valleys. The mountainous surroundings and serenity of the water make each fiord stunning to visit. Milford Sound is the most well-known of the 12 and is also the only one accessible by road. There are many options for you to choose from when planning your Milford Sound experience, including day cruises, overnight cruises, scenic flights and kayak tours. Each adventure gives you the opportunity to take in the gorgeous landscapes and spot the native wildlife that lives in the area.
Doubtful Sound is the second most popular fiord as it is accessible by boat and car. Its difficulty to get to means that the nature is absolutely pristine and you get to fully immerse yourself in your surroundings. Just like with Milford, you can experience Doubtful Sound via day cruise and overnight cruise. Some of the animals you might see on these cruises include penguins, seals, dolphins and more.
One of the must-do experiences in New Zealand is visiting a glow worm cave. The Te Anau glow worm caves are located just outside of Fiordland National Park and are the most popular glow worm caves to visit on the South Island. The limestone caves are relatively young and are continuously being carved out by the river that runs through them to this day. Within the caves, the limestone passages are filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and an underground waterfall.
Once you are deep inside the caves, you’ll get to enter a silent hidden grotto where you’ll see hundreds of glittering, shimmering glow worms. These glow worms are unique to New Zealand and are truly a sight to behold. Being surrounded by these twinkling little beings in the subterranean darkness is a magical experience that is unmatched.
The road to Milford Sound is chock full of excellent sightseeing and photo opportunities that you’ll want to be pulling over every few minutes just to take a picture. If you’re planning to self-drive, you can easily do that and spend a whole day just soaking up all the beautiful nature along the way. Even on a coach tour, you’ll be taken to all the highlights including places like Lake Gunn, the Mirror Lakes, the 1219 metre Home Tunnel and so much more. Make sure you have plenty of memory on your camera or phone as we’re sure you’ll take many shots that are worthy of your Instagram.
As we mentioned, Fiordland National Park is home to a few of the New Zealand Great Walks: the Milford Track, the Kepler Track and the Routeburn Track. These multi-day walks are well-serviced with huts and facilities along the way to make your backpacking trip as comfortable as possible. All of the Great Walks are known for taking you through varied scenery deep into the wilderness of the country. While each of these tracks are meant to be completed over several days, it is possible to do the Milford Track as a guided single day hike. This option is great for people who are either short on time or perhaps less experienced and would like a guide to lead them through the first part of the walk.
Beyond the Great Walks, there are lots of other Fiordland walks of all lengths and difficulties to suit your needs. One excellent scenic walk is at Lake Gunn, a beautiful lake with deep blue waters surrounded by vast mountains. This 45-minute loop is leisurely and suitable for families and people of all ages. There is also a chance for seeing some native birds, including the South Island robin, the kaka and bats.
There are so many excellent attractions in Fiordland that you won’t want to miss. One of the best ways to experience Fiordland is by booking a Fiordland Inside & Out Day Tour. This full day excursion takes you to several of the best highlights this area has to offer, including a Milford Sound cruise, the Te Anau glow worm caves, a walk around Lake Gunn, travel along the Milford Road and more. Book your Fiordland Inside & Out Day Tour for an incredible experience you’ll never forget.