Fiordland National Park is an absolute dreamland for nature lovers. The 1.2 million hectare national park is comprised of dramatic landscapes, and is a designated World Heritage Site. Featuring ancient rainforest, colossal mountains, pristine waterfalls and, of course, breathtaking fiords, this park has it all. While kayaking and scenic flights offer different perspectives of these diverse ecosystems, the trekking is the real attraction. Fiordland is a walking and hiking paradise, and home to three of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” – the Milford Track, Routeburn Track and Kepler Track.

Situated on the west coast of the South Island, spilling over into Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is a fusion of spectacular natural features. The marine life is a serious draw here. Explore a natural living wonderland of anemones, mussels, sea stars, conga eels, sponges, octopus, perch, wrasse and a kaleidoscopic myriad of sea creatures. You might even spot a dolphin, shark or seal flitting through the water. The most well-known species that makes Milford Sound diving unique is Black Coral. Fiordland has one of the world’s largest populations of black coral trees (about 7 million colonies) with some of them up to 300 years old.

Mitre Peak, an iconic mountain, is found deep in Fiordland National Park on the shore of Milford Sound. For the adventurous, climb one of New Zealand’s most renowned landmarks; or admire the snow-capped peak from the comfort of a boat cruise on the sound below. In our humble opinion though, the park’s must-see attractions are Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Scenic helicopter flights from the valley floor to the glaciers, where you begin a guided hike around the glaciers, is a once in a lifetime experience.

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Marcia Gordon