Welcome to our gallery post highlighting the natural wonders of Fiordland National Park in New Zealand.
Fiordland National Park in New Zealand
Fine national parks and preserves are found all over the world, but then there is Fiordland National Park – a slice of nature at its highest perfection. Covering more than 1.2 million hectares, New Zealand’s largest national park is a vast wilderness of pure beauty in its original state, a remarkable natural environment featuring stunning fjords, striking waterfalls and snow-capped peaks towering over the landscape.
Source : Sam Ferrara
Large belts of untouched rainforest hang on the mountains; waterfalls descend thunderously into massive fiords; glittering lakes and granite peaks have not changed one single bit from the way they looked thousands of years ago. Fiordland National Park is an ecological wonderland that was declared a World Heritage Site 30 years ago, recognizing its salient landscapes and “superlative natural phenomena.”
Fiordland National Park Highlights
Milford Sound is the amulet, the talismanic icon of the nation’s South Island. Even in a country packed with magnificent scenery, Milford Sound stands out for its sheer splendor.
Source : Real Journeys
Hidden in an out-of-the-way corner of the park, it is a picturesque harmony of sheer cliffs rising majestically from the water in scraggy rock triangles, limpid waters and temperate forests clinging desperately to steep mountains – at times giving up leading to a “tree avalanche”. It is the perfect place to hike, ride, sail, fly or take pictures.
Taking center stage is the impressive 5,560ft peak Mitre Peak. Also known as Rahotu in Maori, it is actually a cluster of 5 separate peaks coming together around one arrow-headed summit. Only a few people attempt the challenging climb, but every traveler takes tons of photographs, trying to capture the perfect image of the regal mountain – and its reflection.
But even the best photographers cannot fully capture the awesomeness of the landscape or bring out the sheer clarity of the air – you need to be there to understand the experience.
Today, this startlingly beautiful coastline still remains unchanged, retaining the power to fascinate anyone who visits. Make sure you take a cruise ship around the fiord and you will not forget the experience.
Doubtful Sound was originally named as “Doubtful Harbour” by the famous Captain Cook who sailed past in 1770, deciding not to go in as he wasn’t sure if it was navigable. It is Fiordland National Park’s largest fiord, an area of awe-inspiring beauty and great peace and tranquility. Perhaps this is why it is sometimes referred to as the “Sound of Silence” because it has an air of cloistered serenity unlike the Milford Sound.
At 421 meters deep, it is also the deepest of the fiords. It is long and winding, stretching from Deep Cove to the open ocean, a distance of 40 kilometers. Doubtful Sound is rich in flora and fauna, with many seals and penguins living on many of the tiny islets at the entrance of the fiord.
There are lots of ways to experience the wonders of this fiord – by kayak, scenic flight or a day cruise – but the best of them all is an overnight cruise. Nothing can compare to enjoying a sumptuous onboard meal bathed in the glorious sunsets that Doubtful Sound is famous for.
Fiordland National Park Wildlife
The variety of habitats in Fiordland National Park makes it possible for a wide range of flora and fauna to thrive. There are more than 700 plant species growing here that are not found anywhere else in the world, sheltered by the cliffs and protected from outside interferences by the park’s isolation.
Fiordland is also the sanctuary for some of New Zealand’s strangest birds. The takahē is one example, a large flightless bird that’s a close relative to the more populous pūkeko. Before being rediscovered in 1948, conservationists had feared it had become extinct.
Other endangered species such as the South Island Kaka, New Zealand Falcon, South Island Rifleman, Brown Creeper and Bellbird can also be spotted here. The many waterways in Fiordland provide a safe habitat for seabirds such as Shaqs, Gulls, Oyster Catchers, and Broad-Billed Prions.
Apart from birds, visitors also get to see many marine mammals such as Dusky Dolphins, Hector’s Dolphins, Southern Right Whale and Far Seals. Hooker’s Sea Lions are starting to thrive again and Southern Sea Elephants occasionally come to the shore.
While Your There
Don’t forget to pass by Te Anau, a beautiful settlement often dubbed as the “walking capital of the world.” Situated on the shores of Lake Te Anau, it is the starting point for renowned Milford, Kepler and Hollyford walking tracks. It’s unhurried and relaxed and there are many cruises and kayaking tours to help you explore the lake’s picturesque setting. A trip to Fiordland National Park in New Zealand is the trip of a lifetime.