A Hike into the Heart of Fiordland
Arguably the wildest part of New Zealand, Fiordland National Park is unsurprisingly known for its fiords, towering mountain peaks, alpine environments and extremely dense forest. Doesn’t that just draw you into wanting to hike the crap out of this national park?! With that in mind, here are some of the best multi-day hikes in the Fiordland National Park.
Fiordland National Park and its multi-day hikes might be remote but there are transport providers and guided hike companies that can get you to these locations and back again whether you are a lone wolf or want to be part of a group. Good bases to get transport from include Te Anau, Queenstown and Invercargill.
Anyone can do these walks, as long as you have a will to explore and are fully prepared. Check out our hike preparation tips here, then enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.
1. Kepler Track (3-4 Day Loop)
The first Great Walk on our list will take you all the way up stunning ridgeline walks. Everything in between on this 60km (37-mile) track includes lush forest, mountain peak views and clear streams. We recommend taking the small detour to the Iris Burn Falls, only 15 minutes away from the Iris Burn hut. Oh, and do not miss the gorgeous Luxmore Caves along the way too!
Location: The Kepler Track begins and ends in the Kepler Track car park at the southern end of Lake Te Anau. You can walk there 50 minutes from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Book your Kepler Track water taxi on Viator or Tripadvisor.
2. Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track (3-day Loop)
“Hump”? “Challenge” would be more accurate! The hump refers to a 900+ metre elevation gain in just one day. After that start, you’ll find the track is actually very rich in history both Maori and European. Its uniqueness lies in the 55km (34 miles) of the landscape that the track goes through, especially the rock formations on the mountain tops. You can appreciate them from the many boardwalks making the whole thing look surreal!
Location: Start and end the Hump Ridge Track from the Rarakau car park, Bluecliffs Beach in Te Waewae Bay. This is about 1 hour from Invercargill and 1h30mins from Te Anau.
3. Routeburn Track (3-4 Days One Way)
The most memorable part of the 32km (20-mile) Routeburn Track has to be the numerous views of the huge valleys below. Many trampers are also drawn to the hike by the many alpine lakes. All in all, the Routeburn Track is one of the most stunning Great Walks in New Zealand and a true alpine adventure.
Location: One end of the track is at the Routeburn Shelter near Glenorchy and 68km (42 miles) from Queenstown. The other end is at The Divide Shelter on the Milford Road, 85km (53 miles) from Te Anau. For day-trippers, full-day guided hikes are available on Viator and Tripadvisor.
4. Hollyford Track (3-4 Day One Way)
The very challenging 56km (35-mile) track starts at the rocky Darren Mountains and follows the Hollyford River valley all the way down Martins Bay. Before reaching the Tasman Sea, you will have to tackle many obstacles, from steep sections to swampland. If you don’t feel like tackling that section of the track, hop on a jet boat and skip it altogether to reach Martins Bay in no time.
Location: The Hollyford Track begins at the end of the Lower Hollyford Road, off of State Highway 94 Milford Road, and ends at Martins Bay on the west coast. Guided hikes are available with a return flight by helicopter, as listed on Viator and Tripadvisor.
5. Milford Track (4-5 Day One-Way)
Often raved about as one of the best multi-day hikes in the world, the Milford Track is Great Walk on every keen hiker’s New Zealand bucket list. Going through lush valleys carved by ancient glaciers to reach the peaceful Milford Sound is the greatest adventure of them all. The 53.5km (33.2-mile) track is, in fact, so popular that there is now a quota on the number of hikers that can tackle it each day only 40 trampers per day! Book early!
Location: In summer, the track starts at Glade Wharf at the head of Lake Te Anau (27km/17 miles from Te Anau township), which can be accessed by boat services and water taxi. The track finishes at Sandfly Point, which is a 15-minute boat trip from Milford Sound village. For day-trippers, guided day walks of the Milford Track are available on Viator and Tripadvisor.