Piopiotahi / Milford Sound
Mitre Peak stands as a majestic sentinel, guarding the amazing sight of Piopiotahi / Milford Sound. Its sheer granite cliffs tower into the sky and plunge into the depths of clear water.
One of Piopiotahi / Milford Sounds most successful conservation programmes, the Sinbad Sanctuary Project, has delivered pest control to help native birds and lizards in Piopiotahi / Milford Sound flourish. The long-term aim is to reintroduce species that have been forced out by predators. Sinbad Gully is situated at the base of Mitre Peak and is home to a number of rare lizard species as well as weka, whio, kea, kaka, large weta and other invertebrates. The Sinbad Sanctuary Project is a partnership between DOC, the Fiordland Conservation Trust and Southern Discoveries.
There are so many ways to see Mitre Peak, all provide a unique perspective. Fly over it in a fixed-wing plane or get up close in a helicopter. Sail below it on a scenic cruise and view it from different places along the fiord. Dive below the water-line to experience the sheer steepness of the rock wall and the life that clings to it below water. And for the experience of a lifetime kayak alongside the monolith that is Mitre Peak.
Find out more about Piopiotahi / Milford Sound here.
Te Anau Yacht Club Wharf
This wharf has become one of the most photographed places in Fiordland. It was originally built to service the Marakura Yacht Club but has now become a destination in its own right with people queuing to have their photo taken. At night, enjoy a picturesque view of the lights of the township, in summer, do a 'bomb' off the wharf with the local kids, and when the lake is high, imagine yourself walking on water.
The Milford Track is a name revered by kiwis and international visitors alike. It is a rite of passage for outdoor lovers and is an experience steeped in history, culture, geological wonders and New Zealand’s famous pioneering spirit. The Milford Track is truly worthy of iconic status.
Every possible aspect of Fiordland is on show here - glaciers, fiords, sheer granite mountains, lush beech and podocarp forests, majestic waterfalls and the chance to see rare birdlife. The walk follows the very same pristine rivers and alpine passes which were once traversed by Māori and European explorers. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, the hike finishes at Sandfly Point, where you will take a short boat ride to the breathtaking sight of Piopiotahi / Milford Sound.
Approximately 14,000 people walk the Milford Track each year and track bookings sell out well in advance. Our best advice is book early to ensure you have the opportunity to visit this remarkable place at least once in your lifetime.
Wilmot Pass - Patea / Doubtful Sound
Like many experiences in Fiordland, the journey to Patea / Doubtful Sound is as spectacular as the destination. Travelling to Patea / Doubtful Sound will take you over the Main Divide via the short, but spectacular Wilmot Pass. While many visitors prepare themselves for cruising on the world-famous fiord, it is often this short stretch of road which has the most profound impact.
The Wilmot Pass is a 21-kilometre (13-mile) long road constructed in 1965 as part of the Manapouri Power Station project. Today, it also transports visitors from their boat at West Arm, Lake Manapouri to an awaiting cruise boat in the fiord. The Wilmot Pass is remarkable for many reasons; it is Southland’s only road over the Southern Alps, it is one of very few roads within Fiordland National Park, and it is renowned as New Zealand’s most expensive road. But more than this, it offers travellers their first view of the spectacular scenery of the fiord below. From the summit of the Wilmot Pass, take a moment to savour sweeping views of Fiordland’s wild majesty, its river valleys, snowy peaks and cascading waterfalls.
Find out more about getting to Wilmot Pass - Patea / Doubtful Sound here.
View from Mt. Luxmore
The Kepler Track is considered one of New Zealand’s most impressive Great Walks, and the view from the summit of Mt Luxmore is arguably the most impressive part of the Kepler Track. However, if you don’t have time to do the 3-day Kepler Track, you have the option to take in the view yourself with a day walk from Te Anau.
The hike to the top of Mt Luxmore is fairly strenuous and involves traversing 1,200 metres (3,937 feet) in elevation to reach the 1,427-metre (4,681-foot) summit, but it is well worth the effort. The track takes you through dense bush and limestone bluffs at lower levels before breaking out into tussock above the bush line. After passing the Luxmore Hut, the track follows the rocky saddle to the summit.
From the top, take in a spectacular 360-degree view spanning across Lake Te Anau, the township and vast sections of Fiordland National Park in all its World-Heritage-listed glory. There are many options for getting to Mount Luxmore or the Luxmore Hut including an independent day walk, a guided walk, water taxi to Brod Bay or a helicopter flight straight to the top!
Find out more about getting to the Kepler Track and Mt Luxmore here.
FAQs about Iconic Fiordland
Can I stay in Milford Sound?
Yes although there are limited options. There are campervan sites and boutique chalets at Milford Sound Lodge, overnight cruises are also an option. There are DOC campsites along the Milford Road and accommodation at Knobs Flat and Te Anau Downs.
What walks are there in Milford Sound?
There is a short foreshore walk (up to 30 minutes) linking Milford Sound Lodge to the boat terminal, passing the airport on the way. There are several walks to do along the Milford Road. You can also take a guided half-day walk on the Milford Track from Milford Sound, pre-bookings essential.
Can I drive to Doubtful Sound?
There is no road to Patea / Doubtful Sound so you cannot drive. You must first take a boat across Lake Manapouri which meets a bus to take you to Doubtful Sound. When you book a tour all your boat and bus transport is included. Find a Doubtful Sound trip here
What is there to do in Te Anau?
Te Anau is known as the gateway to Fiordland, Piopiotahi / Milford Sound and Patea / Doubtful Sound. It also offers a range of activities which makes it worth staying a while. Activities include day walks, kayaking, sailing, cruising, fishing, cycling, hunting, jet boating, farm tours and scenic flights by float plane and helicopter.
What is there to see on the way to Milford Sound?
The Milford Road is a spectacular drive, be sure to allow plenty of time. There are many scenic stops along the road including walks from 20 minutes to 5 hours. You may also see the mischievous kea bird around the Homer Tunnel.