5 summer must-dos in Fiordland (things to do, places to go, and where to eat)
3 Dec 2019
Summer in Fiordland is a beautiful thing. The sun is shining (well, some days), the birds are singing, and the flora and fauna are flourishing. Here are our five must-do experiences in Fiordland for you to discover.
1. Take a hike on a New Zealand Great Walk
Fiordland is home to three New Zealand Great Walks and is reputed as the walking capital of the world. Blessed with an excellent network of walking tracks, including the Kepler, Routeburn and Milford tracks – it’s time to get your hiking boots and explore New Zealand wilderness at its best.
Summer season is a great time to explore the alpine areas of Kepler or Routeburn tracks. You can enjoy the best of the Kepler Track on a guided day Kepler Heli Hike package where you can experience a scenic flight over Lake Te Anau to Mount Luxmore, descend along the Kepler track and hop on a boat cruise back to Te Anau. Or discover the Routeburn track on the epic one-of-a-kind Routeburn Track Guided Walk to Key Summit, Howden Hut and possibly beyond.
Both options include pickup and drop offs directly from your accommodation in Te Anau and with all the travel logistics involved, it’s a fantastic way to truly enjoy a New Zealand Great Walk without the stress.
2. Say hello to a Takahe
Once thought to be extinct, the flightless takahē is a unique NZ native bird and conservation icon. When in Fiordland, you can encounter these incredible creatures at Punanga Manu o Te Anau/Te Anau Bird Sanctuary in Te Anau. Located at the shores of Lake Te Anau, the sanctuary is home to the pre-historic looking takahē along with kākā - beautiful native forest parrots, kererū - New Zealand's stunning wood pigeons, and the friendly tūī – native birds which act as messengers to the gods according to Māori culture.
Only a 15-minute walk from Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre along the lake, Te Anau Bird Sanctuary is open daily from dawn to dusk with free entry – although a gold coin donation is always appreciated.
3. Dine on local game
If you really want to get a taste of Fiordland, then it’s time to try some local wild game. Make your way to Fat Duck Restaurant – a centrally located gastropub serving up the best of Fiordland on offer and in season. From venison to hare, wild goat and the freshest catch of the day, dine in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with your favourite beverage in hand – cheers to that!
Another great place to grab a bite is at locally owned Bao Now Te Anau – a hip and happening food truck situated along Milford Crescent across from the Fresh Choice supermarket. This is Fiordland’s first food trailer that serves up delicious kiwi kai with an Asian twist.
4. See Fiordland from the skies
Another Fiordland classic is the highly acclaimed Ata Whenua – Shadowland film – a must-see for all visitors and screened exclusively at Fiordland Cinema in Te Anau.
Filmed mostly from a helicopter across one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth, Ata Whenua delivers Fiordland wilderness you would otherwise never see.
5. Mitre Peak at Milford Sound
You’ve seen the photos and heard of its grand beauty - the distinct silhouette of Mitre Peak jutting up from the pristine shores of Milford Sound. This iconic mountain has gained celebrity status from across the world and is possibly one of the most distinguished landmarks in Fiordland.
The highest of Mitre Peak’s five summits stands 1,683 metres tall from the water and is at the heart of Fiordland National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For photography buffs, boat cruises provide unobstructed views of this natural wonder but Mitre Peak can also be viewed from the Milford Sound foreshore if you want to try your luck at capturing the magnificence of Mitre Peak.