Fiordland’s top 3 Great Walks
5 Aug 2015
Luckily, those of us who live in Fiordland are well-aware of its natural wonders, and although we would sometimes love to keep this untouched slice of paradise all to ourselves, Fiordland’s magical landscapes hold secrets and stories that deserve to be shared.
I’m Kate Norris, and my husband Steve and I are passionate about showcasing the best of Fiordland to guests on our small group hiking and sightseeing tours. One of the greatest assets of this region is our three Great Walks – each offering a unique introduction to the spectacular scenery, wildlife and history of this area. What makes Fiordland even better is that the Kepler Track, the Routeburn Track and the Milford Track is just so easy to explore.
Keen to learn more about what Fiordland’s Great Walks New Zealand have in store? Then please read on!
If you are looking for an unforgettable alpine adventure that offers a glimpse of how New Zealand used to be, then the Routeburn Track is for you. This 32km world-renowned hiking track - once named by National Geographic as one of the top eleven trails in the world – takes you on a thrilling journey through the mountains, rainforests and waterfalls. There are glacial carved valleys, alpine gardens abundant with flora and fauna and views of New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps while you traverse along historic trails that have been used by journeymen since the late 1800s.
One of our favourite parts of the Routeburn track is the Key Summit, a section of the trail which offers sweeping panoramic views.
If you would prefer to experience the Routeburn and Key Summit in a single day, then a Routeburn Day Walk is a great opportunity. This is a day walk that is often described as one of the most impressive in the entire Fiordland region. One of the best times to experience the Routeburn Day Walk is during the Great Walks New Zealand season, which runs from late October to late April.
It has to be said that no trip to the Fiordland region is complete without embarking on a hiking journey on the Milford Track. Hailed as the Finest Walk in the World, the Milford Track is one of the most globally famous hikes. Once you step onto the track, it won’t take long for you to see why!
The Milford Track not only takes you deep into the heart of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, complete with some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring views and a natural wonder, it also takes you on historical journey along well-worn paths that have been used for centuries.
During a hike on the Milford Track, expect to encounter picture-perfect waterfalls, soaring trees teeming with native wildlife, towering cliffs and breath taking alpine views.
The Milford Track itself is 53.5km long (33.24mile), 4 day hike, but if you would prefer to experience a shorter walk along the trail then our Milford Track guided day walk is the perfect option. The 4-hour walk follows the Arthur River through emerald rainforest and on to Giant Gate Falls – a powerful waterfall that tumbles down sheer cliffs. It’s a great way to get a taste of this world-famous track without walking the full distance.
Custom built in 1988, the Kepler Track is a relative newcomer to Fiordland’s Great Walks, but that doesn’t mean it is any less spectacular than its more historic counterparts. In fact, the Kepler Track, with its stunning forests of silver-beech trees, crystal clear lakes and soaring ancient limestone cliffs is a breath of fresh air in every sense.
With its well-graded trail, the Kepler Track offers a more leisurely hike, while the white-sandy shores of Brod Bay add yet another dimension to the Great Walks of the Fiordland region.
This Great Walk offers a fantastic chance to see some of New Zealand’s cheeky wildlife in its natural habitat. The alpine tussock is a playground for the cheeky kea a bird native to New Zealand and renowned for its antics. You may also get to see some of New Zealand’s other native wildlife like the weka, curious tomtit and wood pigeon, as they go about their everyday business in one of the most spectacular places on earth.
A day walk on the Kepler Track is the ultimate way to experience this unique Great Walk as part of a busy schedule. We have a half day guided walk option, where we journey along Lake Te Anau and through ancient beech forest, as well as a full day scenic helicopter flight and guided hike combination into the alpine area.
3 Great Walks in 3 Days
Looking to explore Fiordland’s all three of the above Great Walks without the hassle and days to spare? Our brand new 3 great walks in 3 days offers an experience in Fiordland’s Great Outdoors that you’ll never forget. Showcasing the very best of the Routeburn, Milford and Kepler Tracks, you’ll enjoy a taste of three of New Zealand’s most beautiful Great Walks in a small group with an expert nature guide.