Fiordland Profile
In the Fiordland Region
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Home : Visitor Guide : Fiordland Profile

Fiordland National Park lies at the South West of the South Island of New Zealand. 1.2 million hectares in size, Fiordland is the largest National Park in New Zealand. It is the work of over 500 million years of constant sculpting as the land was relentlessly ground, split, fired, and pressured by the elements. Even today this process continues.

Fiordland’s economy is based mainly around tourism, with some fishing, agriculture, forestry and hydroelectric power development. The heart of Fiordland is the resort town of Te Anau, lying at the foot of Lake Te Anau. Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland and is the start of the road which leads to famous Milford Sound.

Fiordland is characterized by low population numbers, few roads, and an isolated and untouched state. Its landscape is typically wild and mountainous and is a rare place where humans have made little impact on the environment. Instead, there lie countless mountains and fiords, rivers and lakes, and forests teaming with life.

So great is Fiordland’s beauty, that early explorers put aside their usual dry explanations, and instead opted for a more romantic and mysterious approach. In the words of E.H. Wilmut: "The peaks in every direction are crowded and crushed together, till looking over the scene one appears to be viewing a petrified ocean".

The sheer scale of Fiordland defies description. The land abounds with valley after valley, rivers stretch for miles - fed by Fiordland’s many lakes, and near vertical cliff faces tower impressively overhead in the fiords and sounds, while waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet into the icy water below.
Milford Sound is the most famous example of this, where the steep rock walls and cascading waterfalls of the fiord attract thousands of visitors per year.

Fiordland is well known for its changeable weather - where rivers and waterfalls were once calm and placid - they can within a moment become thrashing torrents of water, demonstrating to the fullest extent Fiordland’s sudden and unexpected changes. But come back within a day, and that same place will be peaceful and silent again, except the sound of birds and other wildlife.

Fiordland National Park has a unique system of walking tracks and the most famous - the Milford Track - is known world wide. After all, Fiordland is coined ’The sightseeing and walking capital of the world.’

Fiordland National Park is a place of inspiration and solitude. Its incredible scenery and changeable moods are beautiful and fascinating to behold.

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