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Fiordland is one of the most dramatic and stunningly beautiful parts of New Zealand. Characterized by jagged granite peaks, tumbling waterfalls and glittering lakes, it is this rugged untouched terrain that gives the region its innate character. It is also heavily defined by the changing weather and seasons – glorious and pristine in the sunshine, and ethereal and mysterious when the clouds roll in.
Whatever time of year you visit Fiordland, you can be assured you’ll experience New Zealand scenery and the raw power of nature at it’s finest. Even outwardly benign scenes can be transformed into a movie masterpiece when the downpours arrive and the waterfalls swell to their fullest. As a result, Fiordland is truly a year-round destination – the best time of year to visit just depends on the experience you are seeking.
Summer in Fiordland means peak hiking season. The days are longer; the trails are drier, and glassy-smooth lakes compliment the surrounding scenes. What’s more, the alpine wildflowers are in full bloom and present a colourful panorama in contrast with the monochrome background of alpine peaks. Be sure to book ahead in summer as accommodation fills up fast.
As the sun sets on summer and the tourist season slows, you’re able to enjoy the dazzling autumn foliage while saving a few extra bucks. Even better, this drop in temperature means the local wildlife - including penguins and seals - tend to become more active. As a result, if you’re visiting Milford Sound and Fiordland because you love the wildlife, then plan your visit in the autumn and winter months.
May to September mark winter in Fiordland. As the days get shorter, snow settles in the valleys and the local pace of life slows. Towering peaks sparkle in the winter sun as their ice-laden coats reflect the sunlight, and the walking trails are blissfully uncrowded. If you’re seeking solitude and want to experience true kiwi wilderness without the crowds, then winter is the time to visit.
In the springtime, Fiordland awakens from winter slumber. Crisp cool mornings often develop into warm cloudless days, and the rivers and waterfalls are transformed into roaring torrents as the snows begin to melt. These waterfalls are at their most spectacular during the spring months. What’s more, in Te Anau – the hub of Fiordland you can expect to see newborn lambs and fawns on the surrounding farmlands.
Fiordland is a year-round destination, home to a kaleidoscope of natural wonders. For more information to plan your Fiordland trip, head to www.fiordland.org.nz.
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