All you need to know for a great Fiordland road trip
Fiordland National Park attracts visitors around the world who want to truly get lost in nature. Fiordland is a World Heritage site and encompasses 4,868 square miles, providing plenty of space for you to roam and explore to your heart’s content. Entrance to the park is free, and there are a number of camping sites to choose from along your journey, making it a fantastic choice for a road trip with your family or friends. Whether you plan to stay in the park for 3 days or 3 weeks, you should definitely consider adding the following activities to your Fiordland itinerary!
Visit Te Anau Glowworm Caves
For a once in a lifetime experience, visit Lake Te Anau for a guided boat tour and entry to the Glowworm Caves. Your guide will share the history and geographical facts about the caves as they lead you through the breathtaking underground maze full of limestone passageways and whirlpools. Deep within the cave, the guide will give you the chance to see a hidden nook that is filled with thousands of glowworms, which you can find nowhere else in the world.
Cruise around Milford Sound
This spectacular destination is one of the only fjords in the world that is easily accessible by road! Even the drive to Milford Sound is incredible, as the Milford Highway offers diverse scenery that shifts from pastures to mountainous areas to forests along your trip. Once you arrive at Milford Sound, take a guided cruise with a naturalist to get close to the numerous waterfalls that surround the fjord. Look for bottlenose dolphins, seals, and penguins on your boat tour, and if you want to learn more about the aquatic animals near Milford Sound, you can book a scuba diving tour of the area! Or if you’d rather stay on dry ground, you can still view the underwater life by visiting the nearby Underwater Observatory to get a closer look.
Jet boat along Waiau River
Thrill-seekers and Lord of the Rings fans alike will love going on a heart-pounding jet boat cruise down the beautiful Waiau river, also known as the Anduin river in Middle Earth. You’ll get the inside info about all the Lord of the Rings filming locations along the great river while learning about the unique traits of the Waiau river itself. The tour guide will then steer the boat towards the serene Lake Manapouri while sharing the history of the early settlers in the area, unique aspects about the beech forests, and facts about the mountain range surrounding the lake.
Wander Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
A brief 15-minute walk from the Visitor Centre will lead you to the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, located within view of Te Anau lake. You’re sure to smile at the several unique bird species held in this lovely aviary, such as the rare flightless parrots, New Zealand wood pigeons, paradise shelducks, and more. Wildlife photographers and bird watchers will want to spend all day in this open-air sanctuary to capture stunning pictures of the animals. Meanwhile, families can join guides during daily feeding times or enjoy a swim in the nearby Te Anau lake.
Hike the Kepler Track
If you love hiking, this might just become your new favorite trail! Kepler Track is a 37-mile loop that was created specifically to show off Fiordland’s diverse geography to visitors. If you choose to walk the full track, you’ll get to travel through mountains, wander through valleys caused by glaciers, and explore the lush Fiordland forests. Feel free to take your time on your hike, as there are a number of huts and campsites interspersed throughout the loop.
Boat to Doubtful Sound
Unlike the easily accessible Milford Sound, you will need to go out on the water in order to experience this beautiful fjord, and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss. Doubtful Sound contains several waterfalls, including Helena Falls and Browne Falls, which spew rushing water down 2,000 feet of steep hills. You’re sure to see plenty of aquatic life during your tour, including fur seals, penguins, bottlenose dolphins, and even whales as you cruise alongside the several islands that make up this incredible fjord. Whether you choose to treat yourself to an overnight cruise or a day excursion, Doubtful Sound will undoubtedly be a highlight of your time in Fiordland.
You may feel like you’re in another world when you explore the gorgeous South Island, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without your phone! With a roaming SIM card from BNESIM, you can enjoy high-speed internet, international calling, and SMS messaging for up to 95% less than your mobile provider. Never worry about expensive cell phone bills or roaming charges again when you trust your communication needs with BNESIM.