Explore the natural wonders of Fiordland by water, land or air. Discover the Top 8 experiences in spectacular Fiordland.
Many of New Zealand's rarest native bird species make their home in Fiordland, and you can see some up close at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Local residents include the flightless Takahe and the Kaka, or native forest parrot. The Fiordland Crested Penguin or Tawaki is another wee beauty, which can be found in Milford Sound during breeding season – July to November. Living alongside them you'll often see the world's smallest penguins, known as Little Blue Penguins or Korora.
Located on the western shore of Lake Te Anau, the Glowworm Caves(opens in new window) are nature's work in progress, continuously carved out by the river's force over 12,000 years. Take a scenic boat cruise across Lake Te Anau, then venture into the deep to see sculpted limestone, whirlpools and a roaring subterranean waterfall. Climb aboard a small punt to drift further into the caves, where you'll see thousands of glittering glowworms overhead. This trip with Real Journeys takes just over two hours, and is suitable for all ages.
Whether you're into freshwater or saltwater, you'll find Fiordland teeming with fish. Anglers can go for Rainbow and Brown Trout on the beautiful Waiau River, which borders Fiordland National Park. Fiordland Outdoors Company(opens in new window) combine trout fishing with jet boating, for the ultimate day out. Saltwater fishermen and fisherwomen will enjoy the bounty of Fiordland's pristine coast, rich in blue cod, gurnard, tuna and more. Fiordland Expeditions(opens in new window) can take you to the best fishing spots, and no experience is required.
A testament to its vast natural beauty, Fiordland has three of New Zealand's nine Great Walks – the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn Tracks. These walks take 3-4 days each, and hikers stay in huts or tents along the way. But you don't need to be a serious hiker to experience Fiordland on foot; some bush walks take as little as half an hour. Choose a track to suit your schedule and fitness. Walk independently, or let a guide show you the ways(opens in new window) of the forest.
Ata Whenua is a 32 minute film showcasing the landscapes for which Fiordland is famous. Simply put, it should not be missed. See untouched mountains, lakes, rivers and rainforests that can only be reached by helicopter. And if you've got time to spare, the cosy Fiordland Cinema also shows new release films, and its Black Dog Bar is the perfect place to relax after a day of adventuring.
An overnight boat cruise lets you travel deeper into Milford or Doubtful Sound. Experience the soaring peaks and immense waterways of the Sounds; spot bottle nosed dolphins, fur seals and penguins. Your boat will anchor in a sheltered bay, where you can disembark to explore the coastline by kayak or small boat. Dinner, breakfast and a private cabin are included, and transfers are available from Te Anau or Queenstown.
Kayaking is an amazing way to experience Fiordland, allowing you to explore the quietest corners of the sounds and see rare wildlife up close. Kayaking trips in Milford Sound range from 1 hour to all day, and can be included as part of an overnight boat cruise. If you want a longer escape, Go Orange Kayaks(opens in new window) offer multi-day trips through Doubtful Sound, with ovenight camping in the widlerness.
This experience combines two amazing adventure actitivities with some of Fiordland's best scenery. Take a scenic heli flight from Te Anau to beautiful Lake Hauroko, New Zealand's deepest lake. Here, you'll board a jet boat for a heart-stopping ride down the Wairaurahiri River. Stop at the remote Waitutu Lodge for lunch, before taking your helicopter for more flightseeing on your way back to Te Anau.