This New Zealand National Park Is A Must-Add To An Adventure Enthusiast's Bucket List

Lord of the Rings super fans and those longing to immerse themselves in amazing landscapes alike often add Aotearoa New Zealand to their bucket lists. Home to glaciers, mountains, fiords, and rich Māori culture, the country offers visitors a diverse lineup of options for customizing a trip. If you happen to be someone who simply can't wait to pair mesmerizing sightseeing experiences with heart-pounding adventure, you're going to want to make your way to Fiordland National Park at least once.

The unbelievably dynamic terrain that makes up this region has fascinated visitors since the area was established as a national park back in 1952. A trip this way puts you within reach of everything from waterfalls and snowy peaks to stunning valleys and lakes. The fiords here have been formed by glaciation over millennia and helped earn Fiordland National Park a prestigious place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1986.

The combination of such beautiful, challenging, and equally inspiring landforms proves irresistible for outdoor enthusiasts. A good place to start an adventure-focused journey here is to take a boat tour or kayak through Milford Sound. Wrongly titled a "sound" by early European explorers, Milford is actually an enthralling fiord lined by towering cliffs and thick rainforests on either side. The uniquely dark waters of Milford Sound are home to an amazing array of marine life ranging from fur seals and dolphins to penguins.

Spend time hiking and exploring

While on-the-water adventures at Milford Sound are a must, Fiordland National Park is also a mecca for outdoor adventurers who are excited to hike their way through a visit. The Milford Track is not only one of the park's most iconic routes for visitors to tackle but one that's famed for its challenge throughout the entirety of New Zealand.

At over 32 miles long, The Milford Track is a dream for an avid hiker and takes four days to complete, as trekkers sleep in designated rest huts along the trail. The reward for the effort is the spectacular scenery hikers can enjoy along the way. The Milford Track showcases majestic mountain passes, thick rainforests, and hosts Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall found in all of New Zealand.

This route is certainly relished by those looking for a unique challenge. However, it's not the only multi-day hike option in Fiordland National Park. Visitors ready to lace up their boots and explore the trails will find the Kepler and Routeburn Tracks equally inviting when it comes to multiple days of trekking opportunities.

Beyond the trails, Fiordland National Park hosts a multitude of lakes to explore. These provide an appealing and scenic backdrop for enjoying everything from jet boating to fishing during a visit. There are also options for guests to book lake cruises or make time for fascinating cave tours.

Guided adventures to enjoy

Getting out and exploring Fiordland National Park independently is always an option for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Of course, if you're interested in a guided opportunity with a local tour operator, that's available as well. Choosing to travel through the park alongside a knowledgeable guide can enhance your insight into the area's history and maximize your time to adventure through incredible terrain.

If you're looking for an experience in unspoiled nature, consider booking an adventure tour to Hidden Hankinson with the team at Fiordland Outdoors. As a small group, you'll sail across Lake Hankinson and Lake Te Anau to reach a rarely-visited wilderness area. This hidden retreat is encased by beech forests and is home to eels, rainbow trout, brown trout, and several of New Zealand's endemic bird species. Here, you'll get a refreshing sense that you've left civilization far behind.

Perhaps you're hoping to take your outdoor adventures through the national park to new heights. When this is the case, Fiordland Helicopters has you covered. Their Doubtful Sound tours are customized according to the views you're hoping to admire and the experiences you're excited to enjoy. Either way, you'll get a thrilling bird's eye view over the second largest of the 14 fiords in the region.

When you're ready to turn your travel plans into a reality, getting to Fiordland National Park is simple. Most visitors choose to fly into the Queenstown Airport. Once you've landed, it's just a three-hour drive to reach the park and all of your adventures ahead.