This remarkable natural environment features stunning fiords, spectacular waterfalls and snow-capped peaks. Ancient rainforest clings impossibly to the mountains; waterfalls tumble hundreds of meters into massive fiords; shimmering lakes and granite peaks look the same today as they did a thousand years ago.
A fiord is defined as a u-shaped glacier-carved valley which has been flooded by the sea. The fourteen fiords that fringe this south-west corner of the South Island were 100,000 years in the making, with the final details added during the most recent ice age just 10,000 years ago. On all sides of the fiords, spectacular waterfalls tumble incessantly as the region's plentiful rainfall finds its way to the sea. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, Milford Sound is always spectacular - daily scenic flights and cruises reveal its beauty to visitors. At 421 metres, Doubtful Sound is the deepest of New Zealand’s fiords. It’s a haven for nature, with resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.
The remaining two-thirds of Fiordland National Park is covered by virgin beech and pod carp forest. A 500-kilometre network of walking treks allows visitors to explore the primaeval world of mountain peaks, alpine lakes and moss-carpeted valleys. In 1990 Fiordland was listed as a United Nations World Heritage site and given the name Te Wahipounamu - 'the place of greenstone', after the area's most treasured mineral resource.