About the region
Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park located in South West New Zealand is the largest national park in New Zealand covering encompassing nearly 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres) and is one of the world’s wettest regions. As one of the world’s greatest wilderness areas Fiordland National Park is characterised by steep, jumbled topography, rugged coastline, dense rainforest and a challenging climate.
The exceptional beauty of this vast landscape has long been recognised with Fiordland National Parks creation in 1952 and being declared a World Heritage Area in 1986, joining other natural phenomenons the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef. (World Heritage is a global concept where natural and cultural sites of world significance - places so special that protecting them is of concern to all people are identified.)
In 1990, Fiordland was linked with three other national parks, Mount Aspiring, Westland/Tai Poutini, and Aoraki/Mt Cook, to form an expanded World Heritage Area of South West New Zealand. It acquired the Maori name of Te Wahipounamu (the place of greenstone).
Much of Fiordland National Park is inaccessible by road, however, the Milford Road, considered to be one of the finest alpine drives in the world, provides access to spectacular Milford Sound. At the mountainous northern end of the national park and is renowned for Mitre Peak, Milford Sound is home to a number of marine mammals including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and the Fiordland crested penguins. The image of mile high Mitre Peak soaring above its sheltered waters has been an icon of New Zealand’s wild and scenic character for the best part of a century.
Doubtful Sound lies at the geographic heart of Fiordland and is the second most accessible and visited fiord in Fiordland National Park. The cruise across Lake Manapouri and a coach trip over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove to access the fiord represents a journey through a magnificent cross-section of wilderness. Three times longer than Milford Sound and ten times larger, Doubtful Sound is known not only for its breathtaking scenery, but also for its abundant wildlife - bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.