What to Do in Fiordland National Park
Where do you begin to plan a trip to such a breathtakingly beautiful part of New Zealand? Well, this list of things to do in Fiordland National Park will lay out some of your best options.
Located in the southwest corner of the South Island, Fiordland National Park is New Zealand largest and most remote wilderness area. Most of the park can only be reached on foot or by scenic flight, but areas like Milford Sound are accessible by road and are well worth adding to your road trip itinerary. Find out how to experience this stunning area for yourself with the Fiordland activities listed below. Plus, get more advice from our 10 Must-Dos in the Fiordland National Park.
1. Do a Road Trip Between Te Anau and Milford Sound
Often described as one of the most scenic roads in New Zealand, the Milford Road between Te Anau and Milford Sound should definitely be at the top of your list of things to do in Fiordland. There are plenty of reasons to take the road trip slowly, stopping by short walks and photo stops within this World Heritage Area. Either drive yourself or book onto one of the 10 Best Milford Sound Tours from Queenstown & Te Anau, which all make the effort to provide multiple stops for you to soak up the scenery along the way. See the highlights of the Milford Road in 15 Stops You Can’t Miss on the Road to Milford Sound.
Location: Te Anau
2. Challenge Yourself to a Multi-day Hike
Immerse yourself in the wilderness on one of the many multi-day hiking trails available in Fiordland National Park. There are three of the 10 Great Walks located within the national park, as well as other trails well worth considering for their incredible scenery. Take a look at 5 Incredible Multi-day Hikes in the Fiordland National Park for inspiration.
Location: All over Fiordland
3. Fly Over a UNESCO World Heritage Area
If you’re only going to do one scenic flight in your life, make it over a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Fly over the untouched rainforest, mountain peaks, alpine lakes, glaciers and breathtaking fiords on a flight either by helicopter or by plane. The flight options over Fiordland National Park are plentiful, from short scenic flights from Te Anau to flight, cruise and bus combos to Milford Sound. See the 5 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown for some ideas.
Location: Milford Sound, Te Anau or Queenstown
4. Do a Scenic Cruise at Milford Sound
One of the most popular things to do in Fiordland National Park, a cruise on Milford Sound captures the colossal scenery of New Zealand’s famous fiord. A cruise will take you along the length of the fiord, past picturesque waterfalls and under towering glacier-carved mountains. Many cruises also feature wildlife too, seeing a seal colony and the occasional pod of dolphins. Check out some of your best cruise options in 6 Best Cruises in Milford Sound.
Location: Milford Sound
5. Discover Doubtful Sound
While a cruise in Milford Sound is a good idea if you have limited time in Fiordland, those with the gift of time should seriously consider visiting Doubtful Sound. Twice as long, twice as quiet but no less beautiful, Doubtful Sound is a real treat. Either enjoy a full-day bus and cruise tour to this hidden gem with Real Journeys (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), stay awhile on the Real Journeys’ overnight cruise (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or land in Doubtful Sound with Te Anau Helicopter Services.
6. Visit the Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Discover a whimsical side of Fiordland National Park in the Te Anau Glowworm Caves. After a scenic boat trip across Lake Te Anau, join a guide for a walking tour into a limestone cave network. Walkways will lead you to underground waterfalls, holes in the ceiling known as “tomo” and to a magical boat float under a ceiling full of glowworms. Find out more about the Te Anau Glowworm Caves’ tour on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Te Anau
7. Explore the Wairaurahiri River by Jet Boat
Get off the beaten track and enjoy an adventure in the southern reaches of the Fiordland National Park. Wairaurahiri Jet and Wairaurahiri Wilderness Jet both offer incredible tours across New Zealand’s deepest lake, Lake Hauroko, before delving down the Wairaurahiri River. This is New Zealand’s steepest river, where your jet boat will power over grade 3 rapids on its journey toward the sea.
Location: Tuatapere or Clifden
8. Fish for Trout
Fiordland offers fantastic trout fishing, which you can experience for yourself on a half-day jet boat fishing tour with Fiordland Outdoors Co. Speed up to a tranquil fishing spot on the Waiau River in a jet boat and get expert advice from your fishing guide. Alternatively, fly-fishing on the Waiau River is also available. Find out more about fishing trips with Fiordland Outdoor Co. on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Te Anau
9. Kayak in Milford Sound
Experience more adventure in Milford Sound with a kayaking tour. Get closer to wildlife and enjoy a more intimate experience in the fiord with Roscoe’s Milford Kayaks. You’ll need a reasonable fitness level for this paddle under waterfalls and across the fiord. Find out more about the kayak tour on Viator and Tripadvisor. Alternatively, combine your Milford Sound cruise with a one-hour guided kayak tour with Southern Discoveries. Again, more details are available on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Milford Sound
10. See the Takahe at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
Finally, a fun free thing to do at the gateway to the national park is to see some of the wildlife that inhabits the park. The Te Anau Bird Sanctuary is a free attraction with a rehabilitation program for getting injured birds ready for the wild. See rare birds like the flightless blue takahe, alpine parrots called a kea, other forest parrots like kaka and kakariki, and more. Check out more things to do in Te Anau in our 5 Te Anau Must-Dos.
Location: 181/209 Manapouri-Te Anau Highway, Te Anau