Fiordland National Park On a Budget
SightsMilford and Doubtful Sound are two incredible sights in Fiordland National Park. A sound is a large inlet of the sea larger than a bay and wider than a fjord. On your way into (and out of) Milford Sound, you will pass through the Homer Tunnel, which is about 0.75 miles long. It was once the largest gravel-surfaced tunnel in the world but has undergone some transformations since then. The tunnel is surrounded by astounding views from the valley of the Hollyford River.
Lake Te Anau is another sight within Fiordland National Park worth seeing. It is the second largest lake in New Zealand. The lake is the starting point of two different New Zealand Great Walks: the Milford Track and the Kepler Track.
NeighborhoodsFiordland National Park takes up the southwest region of the South Island in New Zealand. There are four main destinations throughout the park: Milford Sound, Te Anau, Manapouri, and Doubtful Sound. In Milford Sound, there are only a few places to stay, but a good amount of campsites. While visiting Milford Sound, and most other places in the park, it is imperative that you bring bug repellent and netting to cover you up, as the sandflies in this area are extremely aggravating. Te Anau is the last town where you can stop for gas before getting into Milford so be sure to fill up the gas tank here. There are a few accommodations in town, a grocery store, and restaurants. Most people use Te Anau as the last stop before driving two hours into Milford Sound, so it is the best place to stock up on food, gear, and gas.
Manapouri is similar to Te Anau in that it is the gateway to Doubtful and Dusky Sound. Doubtful Sound (actually a fiord) is another incredible area in the park where you can take cruises, kayak, hike, and see wildlife. Doubtful sound is much larger than Milford Sound, and less crowded too. There are not many accommodations here; you can either stay at the Deep Cove Hostel or sleep aboard a cruise ship for the night!
This park is neighbored by Mount Aspiring National Park. Queenstown is a large town on the outskirts of the park. Many remote trekking excursions leave from Queenstown. Near Queenstown are a few ski fields if you happen to be visiting in the winter; they are Cadrona and Treble Cone.
ActivitiesTake a cruise on Milford or Doubtful Sound. At Milford, there are mostly day trip cruises that take you along the sound, underneath a waterfall, and out to where the sound meets the sea. The three main cruise companies are Cruise Milford NZ, Milford Deep Underwater Observatory, and Real Journeys. The latter actually offers an overnight cruise if you wish to do that. In Doubtful Sound, you can take day cruises or overnight cruises with Real Journeys or Fiordland Cruises. These both include kayaking trips around the fiord. Whales, dolphins, penguins, and other wildlife tend to make appearances on these cruises.
Hiking is a very popular activity in Fiordland National Park. There are tons of trails throughout the park that can be done independently or with a guide. Two of the Great Walks are located in this park: The Milford Track and The Kepler Track. Both of these take a few days to complete, so you will want to be well prepared if you plan on doing these. Other great trails are the Hollyford Track, the Hump Ridge Track, and Lake Marion.