Located in the Fiordland region
These are many places to go in Fiordland National Park:
Visit Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre for information and tips.
Find out how to get to Fiordland National Park by road, air or boat.
Find information on how to get to Fiordland National Park, what the weather is like, and tips for safety, including what gear you will need.
Glaciers scoured the Fiordland landscape for tens of thousands of years, carving the fiords, lakes and deep U-shaped valleys so typical of the area.
Fiordland contains some of the oldest rocks in New Zealand, predominantly hard crystalline metamorphic rocks like gneiss and schist, and volcanic rocks like granite. Lying close to the alpine fault where two plates of the Earth’s crust meet, the area has been folded, faulted, uplifted and submerged many times.
Periods of submersion under the sea-bed have created areas of sandstone, mudstone, and limestone seen today at Te Ana-au Caves and on the Hump Ridge.
Over the last 2 million years glaciers have at times covered the area, gouging into the rock and creating U-shaped valleys, many of which are now lakes or fiords.
Today hundreds of lakes dot the landscape, among them Lake Hauroko, the deepest in New Zealand at 462 metres. Fourteen fiords, some stretching up to 40 kilometres inland, extend from Milford Sound/Piopiotahi in the north to Preservation Inlet in the south.
Fiordland National Park was officially constituted in 1952. Today it covers over 1.2 million hectares and was declared a World Heritage Area in 1986.
Fiordland was well known to the Māori, and many legends recount its formation and naming. Demigod Tuterakiwhanoa is said to have carved the rugged landscape from formless rock. Few Māori were permanent residents of the region but seasonal food-gathering camps were linked by well worn trails. Takiwai, a translucent greenstone, was sought from Anita Bay and elsewhere near the mouth of Milford Sound/Piopiotahi.
Captain Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to visit Fiordland, and in 1773 spent five weeks in Tamatea/Dusky Sound. Cook’s maps and descriptions soon attracted sealers and whalers who formed the first European settlements of New Zealand. From the middle of the 19th-century surveyors, explorers and prospectors began to penetrate the unexplored interior of Fiordland.
Preservation Inlet boomed briefly in the 1890s after gold was found, but efforts to establish mines, timber mills and farms in Fiordland have generally been short-lived.
Quintin McKinnon and Donald Sutherland opened up the Milford Track in 1889 and began guiding tourists through the now world-famous route. Richard Henry, one of the pioneers of threatened species work transferred kākāpō and kiwi to islands in Tamatea/Dusky Sound in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
There are several heritages sites in Fiordland National Park:
|Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 3 249 7924|
|Fax:||+64 4 471 1117|
Fiordland National Park
Te Anau 9600
PO Box 29
Te Anau 9640
|Full office details|