Why Everyone Must Visit Fiordland

Date: 16 March 2021

Fiordland is known for its abundant wildlife, native forests, and spectacular waterfalls. This area can be described as an adventure enthusiast's dream, and it's not hard to see why when you visit this magical area of Aotearoa for the first time. If you haven't been to Fiordland before, this article will explain why this is a must-visit area of New Zealand for tourists abroad and our local visitors from around New Zealand.

Traditional style boat sails through Doubtful Sound on a sunny day.

1. Unlimited Walking Tracks

Fiordland is the gateway to many spectacular hikes, native New Zealand forests and serene waterfalls. The Fiordland area is home to some of the country's best walks and views, including the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn Tracks, making it hard to choose where to start!

2. Find Native Birds

It's common to see native birds in Fiordland such as the kea, kaka, tui, takahē and whio/blue ducks in Fiordland when you're heading on a hike or sightseeing trip. If you're out wandering after the sun goes down, you might even be lucky enough to spot a kiwi if you've got a red headlight! There are three types of kiwis in Fiordland: the spotted, the little spotted and the brown kiwi.

Kea in midflight

3. The Waterfalls

Approximately seven metres of rain falls every year in Fiordland, which is why the landscape of forests is consistently lush, and the waterfalls always look incredible. The amount of consistent rainfall means that the waterfalls are frequently running heavy, creating breath-taking scenery for eye-catching images to remember your journey.

4. See Native Glowworms

Visit the Te Anau Glowworms Cave to see limestone carved by glacial rivers for over 12,000 years! You can take a scenic boat cruise through these amazing caves carved by nature, see a subterranean waterfall, and finally hop onboard a smaller punt to see New Zealand's native glow worms.

Glowworms in the Te Anau Glowworm Caves

5. A Unique Marine Environment

Fiordland's marine environment is particularly special, as freshwater from the heavy amounts of rainfall lies on top of the saltwater. The freshwater, which is lighter in density than the saltwater, is stained a tea colour from the forest floors, creating a three-metre freshwater layer on top of the fiord. This tea-coloured freshwater makes a light restriction, which means that marine life usually found in deeper waters appears in shallower areas in Fiordland. Within the top 40 metres (known as the 40-metre band), it's common to see species such as black coral and bottlenose dolphins in Doubtful Sound. Some marine mammals occasionally visit Fiordland, such as elephant and leopard seals and orcas.


There are so many interesting and fun activities to do in Fiordland! From leisurely scenic cruises to some of New Zealand's great walks, there's bound to be something for everyone. This area of New Zealand is truly special, which is why it's a must-do when you're on the South Island!

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