Our Favourite Things To Do In Fiordland National Park
Date: 6 August 2019
Aptly named Fiordland National Park is home to 14 fiords spanning 215km of coastline. This beautiful region of New Zealand is one of the most visited by tourists and locals alike, with an estimated 1 million people visiting Milford Sound in 2019. While Milford is undoubtedly the most well-known tourist attraction in the area, there are many other great things to do in Fiordland that are just as spectacular. Here are our favourite things to do in Fiordland National Park.
After Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is perhaps the second most visited place in Fiordland National Park. While it is also a fiord, the scenery is quite different in Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound is three times longer than Milford and is far less accessible because there is no direct road access. In fact, in order to reach this piece of untouched wilderness you have to cruise across Lake Manapouri and then coach over Wilmot Pass.
The level of isolation is one of the reasons why Doubtful Sound is one of our favourite things to do in Fiordland – the wildlife is abundant, the nature is pristine and the tranquillity and peacefulness of the entire experience is one that everyone should experience while in New Zealand. Whether you chose to explore Doubtful Sound by overnight cruise, kayak or scenic flight, we’re sure that you’ll be in awe of this unique, untouched corner of the world.
If you have the time to go even deeper in your exploration of Fiordland, Dusky Sound is an incredible place to visit on an expedition cruise. Dusky Sound is 40km in length and 8km wide at its widest point, making it one of the largest fiords in Fiordland National Park. To get to Dusky Sound, you must first cruise the lake and coach across Wilmot Pass to get to Doubtful Sound, then continue sailing onward through Breaksea Sound to reach your destination.
Beyond the nature and wildlife you’ll get to experience, you’ll also learn about the rich history of how Fiordland was discovered by Captain Cook and all the conservation efforts by the government to maintain the purity of the environment.
Cooper Island, Dusky Sound
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
One of the best places to see glowworms in New Zealand is in the Te Anau glowworm caves. Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland as the nearest town to the national park. Glowworms are interesting creatures that light up in the darkness of the caves, creating a magical experience of hundreds of shimmering, sparkling lights that are reminiscent of stars in the night sky. Experiencing the Te Anau glowworm caves is a unique experience in Fiordland and is a must do when visiting the area.
In addition to seeing hundreds of glowworms, you’ll also get to cruise across Lake Te Anau, the largest lake on the South Island. You can also partake in a guided nature walk to learn about the unique flora and fauna of the region. Of course, entering the limestone caves and being amongst the rushing waterfalls and whirlpools inside is an experience like no other.
Take A Walk
You may have heard of the New Zealand Great Walks, a collection of premier hiking and tramping tracks throughout the country that pass through diverse and spectacular scenery. These tracks are well-maintained by the government and offer hut facilities to stay in overnight. Fiordland National Park is home to three of the ten Great Walks: the Milford Track, Routeburn Track and Kepler Track. In addition to these three designated Great Walks, there is also the Hollyford Track and Tuatepere Hump Ridge Track. One of the best things to do in Fiordland is to go for a multi-day walk, whether it’s one of the Great Walks or another fabulous one in the area.
If multi-day hikes are not your style, there are plenty of amazing day walks in Fiordland to suit your level. Key Summit, Lake Marian and Gertrude Saddle are all very popular day walks and offer rewarding views and beautiful nature.
One of the most popular ways to travel around New Zealand is on a road trip, whether it’s in a campervan, RV or regular car. With so many amazing places to stop on the way into Fiordland National Park, road tripping is one of the best things to do so you can experience all these places at your own pace. Check out our collection of the most Instagrammed photo spots in Milford Sound to draw inspiration for your own road trip itinerary.
From reflective lakes to enjoyable walks to historic tunnels, there are plenty of interesting places to stop on your way into Fiordland National Park. Make sure you give yourself enough time to really appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the area!
What are your favourite things to do in Fiordland National Park? Tag us in your social media posts with #RealJourneys and let us know!