Your Fiordland Guidebook

6 Oct 2015

Wondering what to do when you visit Fiordland?

Fiordland National Park is without a doubt one of the most stunning corners of our backyard. We've lived here for years - enjoy our local tips on what to see and do when you visit. 

Fiordland National Park spans over 1.2 million hectares and contains mountains, lakes, fiords and rainforests. To give you a bit of an idea of the scale of the place, the book ‘Mountains of Water – The Story of Fiordland National Park’ describes it as an area “where mountains and valleys compete for room, where scale is almost beyond comprehension, rainfall is measured in metres and scenery encompasses the broadest width of emotions.”

You get the picture. It is, and always has been, the ultimate playground for explorers. From early navigators and adventurers to the whalers, sealers and surveyors of yesteryear to the visitors who flock here today, Fiordland National Park attracts those that love untouched natural places. 

Kepler Track and hikers from the air on the Kepler Heli Hike

Fiordland from above the Kepler Track in helicopter

Fiordland offers something for everyone

But perhaps the best part about Fiordland National Park is its diversity – whether you’re after a spectacular hike or a more leisurely day out amidst some breathtaking views, there’s something for everyone.

Hikers and walkers are spoilt for choice with Fiordland encompassing three of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks – the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn tracks.

For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the New Zealand Great Walks, these are a set of premier hiking tracks that take in the country’s most spectacular scenery. These tracks consistently rank among some of the best in the world and with three fantastic options in Fiordland there’s no excuse not to check one out if you enjoy hiking.

Meanwhile, thrill seekers can get their fix jet boating in the Wairaurahui Jet (the steepest jetboat experience in New Zealand) or the Luxmore Jet which takes in some famous Lord of the Rings locations. Or what about an adrenaline-boosting helicopter ride over the fiords?

Alternatively, if you who want to soak in the stunning sights at a more relaxed pace, a cruise on Lake Manapouri or Lake Te Anau or fish on the Waiau River would be a great option.

Milford Sound Walk Mitre Peak trips and tramps

Milford Sound with a local guide

Planning is key

With so much to see and do, it’s really important you plan ahead so you don’t miss out on any activities.

If you’re keen on doing one of the Great Walks you will need to plan your trip for during the Great Walks season which runs from October – April. Reserve your spot well in advance, as the huts that dot the trails tend to sell out months in advance. You can walk during winter, but winter hiking is limited to the valley walks, such as the Hollyford Track, as the mountains become covered in snow and at risk of avalanches.

Hot tip: Missed out on doing a Great Walk in Fiordland because of high demand? Consider a Day Walk on one of the tracks. You’ll get a taste of the stunning scenery the hikes are famous for, without needing to walk the full distance. We offer some fantastic guided full day and half day walks.

Even if you’re not going walking, it’s always a good idea to book your accommodation well in advance since the area is so popular – especially during peak season November to end of March.

Hot tip: Alternatively, consider planning your trip for a shoulder season like autumn when there will be less people, but still pretty good weather.

Let the locals help out – that’s what we’re here for!

The opportunities are endless in Fiordland! Which is a great thing...but it can also be a bit overwhelming to have so many activities available – especially if you don’t have much firsthand knowledge about the place you’re visiting.

Sometimes, it’s easier to hand over the reigns to someone who knows the area and can make sure you get the most out of your visit and the best bang for your buck.

That’s where Trips & Tramps can help out. With more than 20 years experience guiding small groups through Fiordland, we know the place inside out, and back to front and we’re proud to be able to give all our customers a truly unique experience of this world-famous area.

Our guides are friendly and down-to-earth locals who love sharing their knowledge of the area – with a few entertaining Kiwi stories chucked in for good measure!

Whatever your fitness levels and interests are, we are sure we can find the right experience for you. Our unique experiences range from Milford Sound day trips and guided walks right through to multi-day track packages (do day walks on three Great Walks in three days!) and private charters.

Get in touch! We’d love to show you around our backyard. 

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