Fiordland is one of New Zealand’s top destinations and a World Heritage Area with some of the most amazing scenery in the world. If you’re short on time, I’d recommend four must do things to maximise your stay in Fiordland.
1: Manapouri Power Station
The Manapouri Power Station is located 193m underground in a mountain on the edge of Lake Manapouri. It’s New Zealand’s largest hydro power station and is accessible by either a lift or the 2km spiral tunnel. The station is only accessible by going on a tour which starts with a boat ride across the lake and then a bus ride down the right side of the tunnel to the station. It’s a fascinating tour and highly recommended.
THE MANAPOURI POWER STATION IS CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE
2: Mirror Lakes & drive to Milford
The Mirror Lakes are on the drive to Milford Sound and offer amazing vistas of the scenery as well as incredible still lakes that create a ‘mirror’ and reflect those amazing vistas. The drive also takes you through some amazing scenery as you climb up into the mountains and back down to Milford Sounds.
3: Watch Keas
The best bird on earth, Kea’s are an extremely clever mountain parrot that are rather curious and will if given the chance, destroy your vehicle. They are often seen at the car park at the Homer Tunnel. They are often referred to as “cheeky kea’s” as a recent incident proved when officials wondered why road cones kept being moved.
4: Milford Sound Cruise
The jewel of Fiordland is Milford Sound and the only way to fully see the place is via a cruise. At times you’ll be floating 400m above the seafloor, looking a huge waterfalls crashing down off cliffs hundred of metres high and marvelling at Mitre peak. As you head out to the head of the sound you can also see the active Alpine Fault line. On the way back, a stop at the floating Milford Discovery Centre where you’ll learn about how fresh water and salt water mix on the fiords as well as look at rare black coral. Just don’t break it unless you want a $20,000 fine.
There are many things to do and see in Fiordland but with limited time, the best way to get the most out of your visit is to base yourself in Te Anua for a few days and take a day trip into Milford Sounds.