Get off the Beaten Track in Fiordland New Zealand

Get off the Beaten Track in Fiordland New Zealand

Fiordland New Zealand is probably one of our favourite regions in New Zealand, and it’s not hard to know why. Huge waterfalls, massive peaks, glass-like fiords and fascinating wildlife – it’s one of New Zealand’s crown jewels, and paradise for those that love the outdoors. To truly appreciate the drama of this place, we recommend taking a side step away from the more touristy places. Here are five ways to get off the beaten track in Fiordland New Zealand.

First Light Travel's Hiking Tours

Choose Doubtful Sound instead of Milford Sound:

Longer and larger that Milford Sound but equally as stunning, Doubtful Sound is a little harder to reach but definitely worth the effort. Unspoilt and bursting with flora and fauna, it’s rich in wildlife, including New Zealand Fur Seals and Fiordland Crested Penguins. You can take a boat ride from Manapouri to experience the powerful serenity of ‘the Sound of Silence.’

Hikes other than the  New Zealand Great Walks:

With a reputation as one of the walking capitals of the world, there are endless tracks in Fiordland, New Zealand to explore for all ages and abilities. Don’t feel like the only options are the often-busy Routeburn and Milford Great Walks, though - there are plenty of other options. Lesser-known tracks include the Gertrude Valley walk or the Lake Marian track. These tracks aren’t as popular with visitors, so you’re likely to have many sections all to yourself.

Stay in Te Anau or Manapouri and get to know the locals:

Te Anau and Manapouri are both charming little towns nestled on the edge of Fiordland National Park, with an abundance of accommodation from camping to boutique lodges. As well as being cheaper and more relaxed then Queenstown or Wanaka, these lakeside towns can give you genuine insight into New Zealand small town hospitality. We are convinced it’s the people you meet along the way that make a trip unforgettable, so talk to the family next to you at the campground or ask a couple if you can share their table at a busy pub – you might just learn a local secret or make a lifelong friend.

Take a helicopter or jet boat road and journey deep into the National Park:

For a different perspective of Fiordland, New Zealand, a helicopter or jet boat ride are the best ways to see the park from every angle. High in the Fiordland sky, it allows you to get up close and personal to the 1692m (5551 ft) mighty Mitre Peak or the 580m (1902 ft)  cascading Sutherland Falls. As a jet boat zigzags the maze of crystal clear water Mother Nature carved from granite and ice, you are in the midst of paradise. Here you will realize the immense enormity and magic of Fiordland, New Zealand.

Make sure you explore by car – a great addition to your NZ roadie:

Theroads of Fiordland are not just for getting from A to B; they are some of the most awesome drives in the country (the Milford Road is one of our all-time favourites). Get behind the wheel and cruise through the ever-changing, magnificent hinterland of granite cliffs, snow-scattered valleys, reflecting lakes and frozen ice fields. Just make sure you schedule plenty of time to get from A to B, as you’ll want to stop for photos around every corner!


Brent Narbey
Brent Narbey
: 15 Nov 2015 (Last updated: 3 Jun 2021)

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