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Flying High In New Zealand’s Fiordland


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Beilul Radcliff



Welcome to Fiordland, a place where nature showcases its majestic beauty in breathtaking landscapes that will leave you in awe. Located in the southwestern corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Fiordland is a region renowned for its stunning fiords, lush rainforests, towering mountains, and abundant wildlife. It is a haven for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and those in search of tranquility amidst untouched beauty.


Fiordland is home to two of the most iconic fiords in the world: Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. These spectacular waterways, carved by glaciers over millions of years, showcase sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and serene waters that reflect the grandeur of the surrounding mountains.


But Fiordland is not just about the fiords. It is also home to the Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest national park in New Zealand. The park’s diverse landscapes encompass rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and ancient forests, offering countless opportunities for exploration and discovery.


Whether you want to embark on a scenic cruise through the fiords, go hiking on one of the many trails, indulge in thrilling adventure activities, or simply immerse yourself in the serenity of nature, Fiordland has something for everyone.


Join us as we take you on a journey through Fiordland’s natural wonders, hidden gems, and unforgettable experiences. From the breathtaking beauty of Milford Sound to encounters with unique wildlife, exhilarating adventures, and delightful culinary experiences, Fiordland is sure to captivate your heart and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.


The Majestic Beauty of Fiordland

Fiordland is a landscape straight out of a dream, with its towering peaks, mist-shrouded fiords, and pristine wilderness. The region’s dramatic topography is a result of ancient glacial activity, creating a mesmerizing combination of rugged mountains, deep valleys, and coastal wonders.


One of the most iconic features of Fiordland is Milford Sound. Often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, Milford Sound is a fiord that stretches for 15 kilometers and is surrounded by sheer cliffs that rise up to 1,200 meters above sea level. The sight of waterfalls cascading down these majestic cliffs is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Take a scenic cruise along the sound and immerse yourself in the tranquility as you glide through serene waters, surrounded by towering peaks and lush rainforests.


Another gem of Fiordland is Doubtful Sound. Known for its untamed beauty and remote location, Doubtful Sound offers a deeper sense of solitude and serenity. Accessible only by boat, the journey to Doubtful Sound is an adventure in itself. Explore the hidden coves and waterways, keeping an eye out for dolphins, seals, and penguins that call this place home. The deafening silence, interrupted only by the occasional bird call or the sound of waterfalls, will transport you to a world untouched by human hands.


Aside from the fiords, Fiordland National Park is a testament to the region’s natural beauty. Covering over 1.2 million hectares, the park is a diverse tapestry of landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to ancient beech forests. The Milford Track, one of New Zealand’s famed Great Walks, takes you through some of the park’s most breathtaking scenery. Hike through lush valleys, cross glacial-fed rivers, and bask in the awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding mountains.


Fiordland is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for the elusive and endangered Fiordland crested penguins, as well as fur seals and sea lions that inhabit the rocky coastlines. You may even be lucky enough to spot the rare and elusive takahe, a flightless bird found only in New Zealand.


Whether you’re exploring the fiords, hiking through ancient forests, or simply taking in the breathtaking views, the majestic beauty of Fiordland will capture your heart and stir your soul. It is a place where nature reigns supreme, and where you can witness the true power and beauty of the natural world.


Exploring Milford Sound

Milford Sound, with its awe-inspiring beauty and spectacular landscapes, is a must-visit destination in Fiordland. Located within the Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.


One of the best ways to explore Milford Sound is by taking a scenic cruise. Hop on a boat and sail through the fiord, surrounded by towering cliffs that rise dramatically from the water. As you glide along, keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins swimming alongside the boat. Marvel at the stunning waterfalls that cascade down the rocky cliffs, including the iconic Stirling Falls and the mighty Bowen Falls. The sound of the water crashing into the fiord creates a symphony of nature that will leave you in awe.


If you prefer a more adventurous experience, kayaking is a popular option in Milford Sound. Paddle through the calm waters, immersing yourself in the tranquility and serenity of the fiord. Get up close to the wildlife, such as seals basking on the rocks or penguins diving into the depths. The silence of the surroundings, broken only by the gentle splash of your paddle, will transport you to a place of pure bliss.


For those seeking a bird’s-eye view of Milford Sound, a scenic flight is a must. Soar above the fiords and marvel at the sheer grandeur of the landscape from above. From the air, you can truly appreciate the scale of the towering peaks, the intricate network of waterways, and the untouched wilderness that stretches as far as the eye can see.


For the adventurous souls, a hike along the Milford Track is an unforgettable experience. This world-renowned hiking trail takes you through some of Fiordland’s most stunning landscapes, including lush rainforests, towering mountains, and sparkling rivers. Immerse yourself in nature as you follow the trail, and keep an eye out for unique wildlife and native birds along the way.


Whether you choose to explore Milford Sound by cruise, kayak, flight, or on foot, one thing is certain – you will be captivated by its beauty. It is a place where nature’s grandeur is on full display, and where the serenity of the fiord will leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.


The Enchanting Doubtful Sound

Hidden away in the remote wilderness of Fiordland lies the enchanting Doubtful Sound. Often referred to as the “Sound of Silence,” Doubtful Sound offers a serene and untouched paradise for those seeking a deeper connection with nature.


Accessing Doubtful Sound is an adventure in itself, adding to the allure of this magical place. Begin your journey with a scenic cruise across Lake Manapouri, a pristine lake nestled amidst towering mountains. From there, a coach ride will take you over the breathtaking Wilmot Pass, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of dense rainforests and cascading waterfalls.


As you arrive at Doubtful Sound, a sense of tranquility washes over you. The sheer size of the fiord is awe-inspiring, stretching for 40 kilometers and reaching depths of up to 400 meters. The towering cliffs, covered in lush vegetation, provide a dramatic backdrop to the glassy waters below.


Exploring Doubtful Sound by boat is a must-do experience. Glide through the calm waters, surrounded by a sense of seclusion and serenity. The stillness of the fiord creates a mesmerizing mirror effect, reflecting the towering peaks and verdant forests. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife encounters, as dolphins often playfully swim alongside the boat and seals can be spotted sunbathing on the rocks.


For a more immersive experience, consider kayaking in Doubtful Sound. Paddle through the tranquil waters, following the contours of the fiord. Get up close and personal with the cascading waterfalls that line the cliffs, feeling the refreshing mist on your face as you pass by. The silence is palpable, broken only by the sound of your paddle dipping into the water and the occasional call of a native bird.


One of the most mesmerizing aspects of Doubtful Sound is its pristine wilderness. The untouched rainforests that fringe the fiord are home to a rich ecosystem of flora and fauna. As you explore the fiord, you may encounter unique bird species, such as the flightless New Zealand kakapo and the elusive tui bird. The lush foliage provides a haven for countless plant species, adding to the vibrant tapestry of the fiord’s beauty.


Doubtful Sound is a place of sheer natural beauty, where the silence and seclusion allow for an unforgettable connection with the environment. Whether you choose to cruise, kayak, or simply take in the breathtaking views, this enchanting fiord will envelop you in its tranquility and leave you with memories to treasure for a lifetime.


Discovering the Fiordland National Park

The Fiordland National Park is a pristine and untouched wilderness that encompasses the heart of the Fiordland region. As the largest national park in New Zealand, it offers a playground for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and those seeking solace in the embrace of raw, natural beauty.


Spanning over 1.2 million hectares, the Fiordland National Park showcases a diverse range of landscapes, from soaring mountain ranges to pristine lakes, dense rainforests, and cascading waterfalls. It is a haven for outdoor activities and exploration.


One of the most iconic features of the park is the Milford Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. This 53-kilometer trail takes hikers on a journey through some of Fiordland’s most breathtaking scenery. Traverse through ancient beech forests, cross swing bridges over crystal-clear rivers, and witness the power of nature at Sutherland Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in New Zealand. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of your surroundings as you camp overnight in designated huts along the way.


If you prefer a shorter hike, the Routeburn Track offers a fantastic alternative. This 32-kilometer track takes you through alpine meadows, past turquoise lakes, and up to breathtaking mountain vistas. The dramatic landscapes at every turn will leave you spellbound.


For those seeking a more leisurely experience, a scenic drive through the park’s winding roads will showcase the dramatic beauty of Fiordland. The Milford Road, in particular, is renowned for its stunning vistas. Keep your camera ready as you pass Mirror Lakes, where the still waters perfectly reflect the majestic mountain backdrop. Make a stop at the Chasm, where rushing water has carved striking rock formations over centuries. And don’t forget to marvel at the stunning panoramas from the Homer Tunnel, a feat of engineering that connects the east and west of the park.


Boat cruises are also a popular way to explore the fiords of Fiordland National Park. Embark on a journey through Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, and marvel at the sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife that call these fiords home. The peacefulness and serenity of these pristine waterways will leave you in awe.


As you venture deeper into the park, keep an eye out for encounters with unique wildlife. Fiordland is known for its diverse birdlife, including the endangered takahe and the cheeky kea, the world’s only alpine parrot. Take the time to appreciate the delicate balance of this untouched ecosystem and the importance of its conservation.


The Fiordland National Park is a place of untamed beauty, where nature reigns supreme. Whether you’re hiking through its majestic trails, cruising its fiords, or simply soaking in the tranquility of the surroundings, this wilderness is sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul.


Wildlife Encounters in Fiordland

Fiordland is not only a haven of breathtaking landscapes but also a sanctuary for a diverse array of unique wildlife. From elusive birds to playful marine creatures, the region offers incredible opportunities for unforgettable wildlife encounters.


One of the emblematic creatures of Fiordland is the rare and endemic Fiordland crested penguin. This charismatic bird species can be spotted along the coastline, where they come to breed and raise their chicks. Keep a watchful eye along the shores of the fiords, as these penguins waddle gracefully from the water to their nesting sites. Admire their distinctive crests and marvel at their resilience in adapting to the challenges of the rugged environment.


Seals and sea lions are also common sights along the rocky coastal areas of Fiordland. As you cruise through the fiords, you may spot them basking on the rocks or playfully swimming in the water. These marine mammals are known for their playful nature, often entertaining onlookers with their acrobatic displays. Keep a safe distance and observe them in their natural habitat, appreciating their beauty and agility.


The waters of Fiordland are also home to various species of dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins frequently swim alongside boats, delighting visitors with their energetic leaps and flips. Dusky dolphins, with their distinctive dark and light patches, can also be spotted in the fiords. Take a moment to admire their grace and fluidity as they glide effortlessly through the water.


If you’re lucky, you may even encounter the awe-inspiring spectacle of a whale in the fiords. Instances of humpback whales and southern right whales visiting Fiordland have been reported, offering a truly remarkable experience. Witnessing these majestic creatures breach the surface of the water is a humbling sight that leaves a lasting impression.


While exploring the forests of Fiordland, keep an ear out for the melodic songs of native birds. The park is teeming with unique avian species, including the mischievous kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, known for its intelligence and playful nature. Tui birds, with their enchanting melodies and distinctive white throat feathers, are a common sight amongst the lush rainforests. Take a moment to appreciate the chorus of birdsong that fills the air and connects you to the natural world.


Fiordland’s wildlife encounters are a testament to the delicate balance of this untouched ecosystem. As you witness these creatures in their natural habitat, it is a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts to protect their habitats and ensure their continued survival.


So, keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready as you explore Fiordland, for its diverse and captivating wildlife will make your journey even more extraordinary.


Thrilling Adventure Activities

Fiordland is not only a haven of natural beauty but also a playground for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts. From heart-pounding activities to adrenaline-fueled experiences, there are plenty of opportunities to get your blood pumping in this magnificent region.


For those who crave heights, helicopter tours provide a unique perspective on Fiordland’s stunning landscapes. Soar above the dramatic peaks, cascading waterfalls, and deep valleys as you take in the grandeur of this untouched wilderness. Witness the sheer scale of the fiords from above and appreciate the raw power of nature.


If you’re looking for an activity that combines adventure and exploration, canyoning is a thrilling option. Navigate through ancient canyons, rappel down waterfalls, and plunge into crystal-clear pools. The combination of adrenaline rushes and breathtaking scenery will make for an unforgettable experience.


For water enthusiasts, jet boating is a popular choice. Hop aboard a high-speed boat and zoom through the pristine rivers and narrow canyons of Fiordland. Hold on tight as your skilled driver navigates tight corners and executes thrilling maneuvers. The rush of wind in your face and the excitement of the ride will leave you exhilarated.


Diving and snorkeling in Fiordland’s marine reserves offer an opportunity to explore the underwater wonders of the region. Dive into the clear waters and discover a vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish, intricate coral formations, and unique marine life. Get up close and personal with the diversity of marine creatures that call these waters home.


If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, mountain biking through Fiordland’s epic trails is a thrilling adventure. Zoom along rugged trails, navigate through dense forests, and conquer challenging terrains. Feel your heart race as you ride through ever-changing landscapes, surrounded by nature’s beauty at every turn.


Feeling the need for speed? Fiordland is also a hotspot for kayaking and rafting. Paddle through the roaring rapids of the region’s majestic rivers, embracing the rush of adrenaline as you navigate through the white water. The combination of breathtaking scenery and the exhilaration of conquering the rapids will create lifelong memories.


For those seeking a more heart-stopping activity, skydiving over Fiordland is an experience like no other. Plunge through the sky from thousands of feet above and witness the jaw-dropping beauty of the region unfold beneath you. The thrill of freefall and the awe-inspiring views will leave you with an unforgettable adventure.


With its stunning landscapes and untamed wilderness, Fiordland is a paradise for adventurers. Whether you choose to fly, dive, paddle, or ride, the exciting array of activities in this magnificent region will satisfy your craving for thrills and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Hiking in Fiordland

Fiordland is a hiking enthusiast’s paradise, offering a multitude of trails that weave through its captivating landscapes. From lush rainforests to rugged mountain ranges, Fiordland’s hiking trails provide an immersive experience in the beauty and serenity of the region.


One of the most iconic hikes in Fiordland is the Milford Track. Spanning 53 kilometers, this world-renowned trail takes you on a journey through ancient beech forests, past cascading waterfalls, and along the shores of pristine lakes. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings as you traverse diverse landscapes, crossing suspension bridges and witnessing awe-inspiring mountain vistas.


The Routeburn Track is another must-do hike in Fiordland. This 32-kilometer trail offers a blend of alpine and forest landscapes, with stunning mountain views and crystal-clear lakes along the way. Ascend to Harris Saddle for sweeping panoramas of the surrounding peaks, and marvel at the beauty of Key Summit, a short detour off the main trail that rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas.


For those seeking a shorter and less strenuous hike, the Lake Marian Track is a great option. This 3-kilometer trail takes you through ancient beech forests, alongside babbling streams, and ultimately leads to the stunning alpine Lake Marian. The reflections of the surrounding mountains on the calm waters of the lake create a scene of pure serenity.


In addition to these well-known tracks, Fiordland offers countless other hiking opportunities. The Kepler Track, a 60-kilometer loop that encircles Lake Te Anau, showcases diverse landscapes from mountains to lakeshores and beech forests. The Hollyford Track, renowned for its rugged beauty, takes hikers through remote valleys and along the wild coastline.


While hiking in Fiordland, keep an eye out for the unique and native wildlife that inhabits the region. Listen to the melodic songs of native birds, such as the tui and bellbird, echoing through the trees. Spot the cheeky and intelligent kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, as it swoops overhead. And if you’re lucky, you may even encounter the elusive takahe, a flightless bird found only in New Zealand.


It is important to come prepared when hiking in Fiordland, as weather conditions can change quickly and trails can be challenging. Ensure you have proper hiking gear, including sturdy footwear, rain gear, and adequate food and water. It is also recommended to check weather and track conditions before setting out, as some tracks may require permits or have restrictions.


Hiking in Fiordland offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty and tranquility of this extraordinary region. Whether you embark on a multi-day trek or opt for a shorter day hike, the experiences and memories created on Fiordland’s hiking trails will be cherished for a lifetime.


Culinary Delights in Fiordland

Fiordland not only captivates with its breathtaking landscapes but also tantalizes the taste buds with its culinary offerings. From fresh seafood to locally sourced delicacies, Fiordland’s food scene showcases the region’s natural bounty and unique flavors.


Seafood lovers will rejoice in Fiordland, where the pristine waters are brimming with an abundance of marine life. Indulge in succulent crayfish, tender green-lipped mussels, and plump Bluff oysters. These delicacies, sourced locally and prepared with care, offer an unforgettable taste of Fiordland’s coastal treasures.


For a true Fiordland dining experience, immerse yourself in the rich flavors of traditional New Zealand cuisine. Savor a classic lamb roast, cooked to perfection and accompanied by seasonal vegetables from local farms. Enjoy the savory goodness of a venison dish, showcasing the region’s bountiful game meat. And don’t forget to try the iconic Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert topped with fresh fruits, a true Kiwi favorite.


Exploring the local towns and villages in Fiordland will also grant you access to charming cafes and restaurants. Stop by one of the quaint bakery cafes for a selection of freshly baked pies and pastries, perfect for a quick and delicious snack on the go.


As you venture deeper into Fiordland, make sure to visit the nearby wineries and craft breweries. Sample a variety of locally produced wines, from refreshing Sauvignon Blanc to elegant Pinot Noir, often hailed as some of the finest in the country. If you’re a beer lover, taste the flavors of the region with a pint of craft beer, brewed with passion and using locally sourced ingredients.


For a unique culinary experience, consider joining a foraging excursion or a cooking class in Fiordland. Learn about the native plants and herbs that thrive in the region and discover how to incorporate them into your own dishes. With the guidance of expert chefs, create a meal that captures the essence of Fiordland’s natural flavors.


Fiordland is not just about the food itself, but also the dining experiences it offers. Enjoy a meal with a view at one of the waterfront restaurants, where you can relish a delicious dish while taking in the mesmerizing scenery of the fiords and mountains. Or opt for a cozy dinner by a crackling fireplace, immersing yourself in the warm and inviting atmosphere of a rustic lodge.


Fiordland’s culinary delights are a reflection of the region’s natural abundance and the passion of its talented chefs and artisans. Every bite tells a story of Fiordland’s unique terroir, blending flavors from land and sea to create a gastronomic experience that is truly unforgettable.



Fiordland is a destination like no other, where nature showcases its grandeur and leaves visitors in awe. From the majestic beauty of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound to the rugged landscapes of the Fiordland National Park, this region is a utopia for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure seekers.


The fiords of Fiordland are a sight to behold, with towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and tranquil waters that reflect the surrounding mountains. Cruising through these stunning waterways or kayaking along their shores offers a profound sense of tranquility and a connection to nature’s raw beauty.


Exploring the Fiordland National Park unveils a tapestry of landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to ancient forests that house a rich biodiversity. Embarking on hiking trails such as the Milford Track or the Routeburn Track allows one to immerse themselves in the unspoiled wilderness and witness the region’s dramatic scenery up close.


In Fiordland, encounters with unique wildlife are a common occurrence. From Fiordland crested penguins and seals along the coastlines to dolphins that playfully swim alongside boats, these encounters remind us of the preciousness and fragility of the natural world.


Thrill-seekers can partake in a range of adventure activities, including helicopter tours, canyoning, kayaking, and diving, embracing the exhilaration of exploring Fiordland’s rugged terrain and pristine waters.


And let’s not forget about the culinary delights of Fiordland. From delectable seafood delicacies to traditional New Zealand dishes, exploring the local cuisine is a journey for the taste buds, with an opportunity to savor the region’s natural flavors and indulge in delightful dining experiences.


Whether you seek tranquility, adventure, or a combination of both, Fiordland offers an escape into a world of unparalleled beauty and captivating experiences. It is a place where nature reigns supreme, leaving visitors with a sense of awe and a lasting connection to the natural wonders of the region.


So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and prepare to be enchanted by the majesty of Fiordland. Immerse yourself in its breathtaking landscapes, embark on thrilling adventures, and witness the harmony of nature in this untouched corner of New Zealand. Fiordland awaits, ready to ignite your spirit and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.